The Zombieland franchise has seen its fair share of ups, downs and everywhere in between. The original 2009 that kicked it all off was a phenomenon, and is still, to this day, considered to be one of the most beloved zombie-themed films of all time. The sequel, coming a decade later, wasn’t beloved in quite the same way, while the video game adaptation, Zombieland: Double Tap – Road Trip was widely panned. 2021’s Zombieland: Headshot Fever though was a step back in the right direction, and now, the Reloaded “Definitive Edition” has arrived for the freshly launched PS VR2, and fortunately it’s the course correcting chapter that the film and game franchise absolutely needed.
At its core, Headshot Fever is an arcadey light-gun shooter, similar to classics like Time Crisis and House Of The Living Dead. Players will move through twelve core levels, almost all of them being a linear, track-based journey that places dozens of bumbling and jumping zombies in your firing line with an ever growing arsenal being available to you to mow them down. Every run you go on sees your loaded up with a handgun, loaded with a unending collection of bullets to fire, and a secondary arm, one that packs more punch but has a limited pool of rounds available.
Your secondary arm range isn’t huge, with variants of SMGs and shotguns available, but for all guns, primary or secondary, the capabilities of each can be upgraded if you accumulate enough TP, which isn’t some niche gaming stat terminology, it actually stands for toilet paper. In a post ‘zombie-outbreak’ world, toilet paper has decent currency, and you can use any TP that you earn for completing certain objectives within each mission, or even for killing zombies as a means to buy upgrades. You’re not adjusting the scope, or increasing magazine size on an incremental level, you’re simply levelling up the gun to the next tier which then unlocks a suite of new improvements all at once.
The primary mechanic of the game stems from headshots. If you can land quick-fire headshots – sometimes allowing the zombies to get dangerously close to ensure that happens – your character becomes ‘adrenelised’ and this prompts a bullet time of sorts as well as speed bonuses that help you complete the level in a faster time, allowing you to unlock bonuses and climb the online leaderboards. As it turns out, but isn’t overly well explained, the adrenelised state is also essential for the game’s final stage, and it was only after I’d lost hundred of rolls of TP to this expensive level that I learned the way to success.
Each level has its own B-side as well, putting hilarious cosmetic changes and sometimes especially challenging additional objectives in front of you to overcome, and while none are essential to get to the end-game, these additional levels do serve as a great chance for players to extend themselves, and get that additional clout over their friends.
Mechanically the shooting in VR works well. The game is responsive and the shooting is precise, while the built-in systems of the PS VR2, from the eye tracking to the headset vibration, all play important parts in immersing you further in the experience.
Abigail Breslin reprises her role as Little Rock in Headshot Fever, but the remaining members of the core cast are not present, they have been represented pretty well by the stand-in actors, while their visual representation is excellent. Headshot Fever Reloaded isn’t going for realism, but it’s style pops nicely off the screen, while the audio effects work complements the action as well.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded isn’t doing anything especially revolutionary, but what it does, it does extremely well. The action is great, the level design extracts suitable levels of panicked player response, while the various underpinning systems elevate the action further. It’s just what new adopters of PS VR2 and fans of Zombieland are looking for.
REVIEW: Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded isn’t doing anything especially revolutionary, but what it does, it does extremely well.