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Zombie Apocalypse Review

Developer: Nihilistic Publisher: Konami
Release Date: September 24, 2009 Available On: PS3 and Xbox 360

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Zombie Apocalypse joins the growing throng of zombie games available on both PSN and Xbox Live Arcade. Luckily for Konami, I have thus far avoided every single one of them. What turned my attention to finally picking up one of these grunting shufflers? To be honest, it was because of the demo.

Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t really do anything new, which I am hereby designating zombie romper, first truly seen in games like Dead Rising and more recently Left 4 Dead. This is opposed to zombie horror games like Resident Evil that are more methodical in their approach. Its control scheme is the newer, and, I must say, brilliant use of the right analog stick as the shooter. If you have never before encountered this, it basically takes the concept that Ape Escape introduced with the capture net, but makes it work with guns. This means that while you are controlling movement of your character with the left stick, the right is controlling the direction that you shoot in. The brilliance of this system works best in the three quarter top down perspective that Zombie Apocalypse employs.

The variety of weapons that you will be pointing in the direction of your zombie enemies is pretty robust for a PSN game. Quite a few of them have very strategic purposes against the equally robust multitude of zombie baddies that you will encounter. Weapons range from the mundane and cliché shotgun, to dual wielding sub machine guns, right on down to Molotov cocktails, while you will see enemies ranging from the shufflers, to knife throw grannies (yes, you read that right). You also have one defensive item, the Teddy bear, which you definitely have to experience for yourself, but it basically acts as zombie bait.

So you’ve got guns, you’ve got zombies, what do you do? Basically, survive. This is a relatively short game that you can probably play through in a night, but later on you will see why you’ll be coming back at least a few more times. Each level consists of a day. When you survive all the waves of zombies in a day you move on. The game is very forgiving as you have unlimited continues in the regular mode, and each time you do continue it drops you back in the day at the point you were. So if you survived three waves in day 20, your continue will plop you right there, not at the beginning of day 20. There are also the occasional survivors to save. Just stay near them and wait for the helicopter to pick them up, and believe me you’re going to want to save them because when they get turned into zombies, they’re one of the worst kinds.

As far as play through, while the zombies and weapons have a great variety, there are only three bosses, and to avoid disappointing you, all three are the exact same boss, just wicked hard the last time. Both local and online gameplay are very similar, though I personally prefer local because I’m old fashioned like that. You can play with up to three other players in the age old Gauntlet style, really high camera, and your movement around the map is limited by that of your partners. Besides the regular game mode there’s also Turbo mode (which is exactly what it sounds like), a chainsaw only mode, 7 days of hell mode (harder than imaginable), blackout mode, and finally all weapons mode. Playing through each one of these modes provides a rather unique experience definitely worth your time.

Beyond that the leader boards add a whole new dimension to the replayability of the game. Your scores only count towards the leader boards if you don’t use a continue. I imagine striving to survive all 55 days without your entire team dying will drive many gamers insane. Having played through the 55 days personally, I can attest to the insane amount of skill this would require, but also know that it will probably be accomplished within a week of the game’s release. Throw in trying to do this on all of the different game modes and you’ll probably still be coming back to this game months from your initial purchase.

The visuals of this game don’t blow anybody out of the water, but the multitude of details I’ve noticed with just one long play through are quite incredible. From the way limbs fly with different weapons, to the mayhem of gore, to the bulimic vomiting zombies, each thing on-screen was given a clear amount of detail, with no one thing standing out from the others (like in Punisher). The sounds are top notch with haunting background music, the screams of people wanting to be rescued, and the disturbing laughter of the kamikaze zombies gathering around your corpse on the game over screen.

From top to bottom, Zombie Apocalypse is an extremely well polished, and in the end, extremely fun PSN game. For $9.99 there is really no way you can go wrong. The best part is, even if you don’t trust me, you can always download the demo, which lets you play through a few days of survival, and see how great this game is for yourself. So what are you waiting for? Go out and kill some zombies. It’s what everyone else is doing right now.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8
Written by Jason Macor Write a User Review