In VR circles, Arizona Sunshine is generally held in high regard – and it’s for a good reason. Released towards the end of last year on the PC’s VR platforms, the zombie shooter eschewed the overtly tense, hair-raising escapades of real survival horrors. Instead, it’s a bright and colourful, slightly silly game that focuses on the core shooting experience. And it’s one that doesn’t keep you locked in place.
Now available on PlayStation VR, the acclaimed shooter’s lost quite a bit in translation. As you may expect, most of that has to do with the PlayStation VR hardware – or at least how it’s been utilised here. Much of that comes down to control and tracking. To be fair, its developers have really tried to let players use every available means of control – but none of them feels quite right. Each control scheme has concessions that take away from what should be an enjoyable game.
You could use the DualShock – which, thanks to its analogue sticks, lets you move about freely. That comes with caveats as the game’s free motion made my stomach churn, so those who are prone to VR-induced nausea aren’t going to have a good time. You also can’t dual-wield with the standard PlayStation controller, which strips away much of the game’s immersion and fun.
If you do want to dual-wield or interact with the world in a way that feels most natural, then a pair of PS Move wands will be your best option. Aiming with the wands isn’t terrible, and the sort of natural interaction that it enables is probably the most immersive control option. Unfortunately, the lack of analogue sticks on the wands means that you either have to use teleportation as a means of getting around, or a vomit-inducing option that requires you press down a button on either wand.
Teleportation works well enough, but more intense firefights that have the undead rush towards you can be awkward and frustrating.
The last option for control is probably the best one, though it’s also limited. Those of you fortunate enough to have the PSVR Aim peripheral can opt to use that superior controller in either the game’s standard campaign or a newly rejiggered one that favours two-handed weapons. With the Aim controller, you also forgo dual wielding, but you get a much more accurate sense of aiming. Locomotion is far easier, as you’re able to use the Aim’s twin sticks for free movement or teleportation. It’s nice that there are so many options available, and you’ll probably find one you’re comfortable with eventually. It’s odd that there are so many control issues in a game that shouldn’t have them, especially given how well everything works in another PSVR shooter, Farpoint.
As with most VR games, everything old is new again – only with a little more presence. The game itself is a fairly linear shooting affair, with a few environmental puzzles thrown in for variety. The narrative itself doesn’t do very much but it’s a fun little diversion as you blast your way through the desert, listening to the frequently funny quips your hero makes as he slowly descends into madness. He has a terrible habit, like calling all of the zombies Fred as an example.
Arizona Sunshine is a competent shooter though, and there’s a certain delight in pulling off headshots that positively pop. With a decent arsenal of weapons, plus a few throwables like grenades, there’s a lot of fun to be had once you’ve wrestled with its control problems. On top of the campaign – which is playable in co-op – there’s also a four player, wave-based horde mode with live leaderboards to keep you busy.
Last Updated: August 8, 2017