All Zombies Must Die! PSN Review
It seems the game industry can’t get rid of zombies at the moment. They have infected nearly every type of genre. The development studio, Doublesix, also seems to be attached to zombies since they’ve developed a sequel to their PS3 and PC game Burn Zombie Burn. What sets All Zombies Must Die! (AZMD) apart from the previous game is that it features mechanics that try to evolve the simple twin-stick, top-down shooter formula. Which can only mean a good thing right?
The town of Deadhill hosts the game’s main character, Jack, as he tries to survive the zombie onslaught while figuring out what has happened to his peaceful town. The storyline isn’t to be taken seriously as it revolves around Jack trying to prove to everyone that the world filled with zombies is in fact a video game. It’s light hearted and mildly amusing. Along the way you’ll meet up others like Rachel, the annoying stubborn ex-girlfriend, Brian the crazy scientist who likes radiation a little too much, and finally Luxo, an alien who looks like he wants to be part of Rastafarian culture with his multi-coloured hat.
Deadhill itself is broken up into different zones. Initially, you start in the town centre and have to make your way to the police station to find the first survivor. Every time you want to transition to a new area, you have to accept and complete a request for a sentry guard that has blocked a new path. These requests require a wide range of tasks, such as killing a certain amount of zombies or collecting a number of items. Sometimes they will add a twist, like radiating zombies and killing them after they mutant into powerful zombie beasts. At first I enjoyed the tasks, but as the game continued these requirements began to become a hindrance, especially when I needed to go through three checkpoints to travel to my desired destination. As a result, quests ca suffer from that old feeling of familiarity. When combined with having to keep moving to the other side of the map to finish them, it basically becomes a game of constant backtracking that gets stale the longer you play. I found playing in smaller successions helps the experience more than trying to complete the game in one or two sessions.
The game’s combat is easy to understand and master. Analogue sticks act as movement and aiming on the left and right while the triggers shoot. Weapons consist of your classic zombie massacre tools such as shotguns, machine guns, pistols, and of course that trusty chainsaw that you MUST have in any zombie game or you just aren’t correctly supporting the genocide of the undead. Each weapon has a limited amount of ammo and fuel, but, thankfully, you can switch to your fists to do some damage when your stock is empty. The game gives a generous supply of ammo, even dropping ammo along with health from zombies you kill, so the weak fists aren’t often used.
Once you arrive at your first base, the game’s RPG elements will begin to show. Quests are handed out to you to complete, and finishing these tasks along with killing zombies gain your character experience points, though you do not immediatelly level up. Instead, you have to go to your base to spend the points. Levelling up allows you to increase basic stats like health, defence, attack and speed; however, it’s a bit of a pain that you have to go back to the base every time you want to level up, so prepare to do the bidding of those guard turrets that block your way.
Your base allows for much more than just increasing your stats or picking up jobs; another main feature is the customization of weapons. In an early part of the game, you’re introduced to a mechanic when you learn to combine a lighter with some wood. In a moment of magic, you gain the plank of fire. It’s homage to Burn Zombie Burn as the weapon acts just like in that game — touch the zombies and they set alight. Materials — used to create these new weapons - can be farmed by repeating zone requirements. Every zone has its own specific material that is used for building weapons. Completing required tasks will make them drop. Again, it’s usually killing a required amount of zombies that makes this happen.
A game like this just asks for cooperative play, and it rightfully features up to four players. AZMD feels like it was made with multiplayer in mind since playing alone can become tedious at times. If you fail in single player, you have to restart from the last zone you entered. Multiplayer, on the other hand, allows you to resurrect a fallen ally, making it slightly easier to get through the game. however, it’s a hell of a lot more fun blasting a huge group of zombies as they surround you with friends than by yourself. It’s just a shame that the only cooperative action you’ll be doing is on your sofa and not over the Internet. This game is cooperative couch action only, which is ultimately a little dissapointing.
Doublesix has gone with the same colourful art style that was used for the previous game. Everything is caricatured, giving the visuals a cartoony, goofy (my god, those hands!) look. There is no voice acting, but there is some interesting dialogue that will occassionally cause you to chuckle. If you are only mildly interested in games, you might not find them as humorous. You might even grow tired of the joke, as the suggestion of being in a video game runs throughout the whole story. As for the game’s soundtrack, it’s something that’s just in the background and isn’t all that memorable.
Even with the repetitive nature of All Zombies Must Die, the overall experience is fun. It’s recommended for times when you need to play something with a few buddies. It’s not earthshattering, nor will it change your opinion on zombie games or twin-stick shooters. But for the cheap entry fee, it will supply entertainment for you. Just take it steady like a zombie and play it in small spurts.