The world of virtual reality is still in its infancy. Due to this there’s still a novelty factor that, regardless of how much you try to ignore it, you can’t help but feel. As I booted up Arizona Sunshine and found myself in a caravan, which serves as the games main menu, I was wowed by how it looked. The sound design and placement of everything made me feel like I was there. The roof to the caravan was close enough for me to feel contained, but not so close that I broke the immersion if I stood up.

Needless to say, in terms of first impressions Arizona Sunshine does a nice job. You’re given the option to play through the story, play a horde mode or even play with someone online. Unfortunately the online community seemed nonexistent throughout my numerous attempts to connect, so that is not an area of the game I can judge. I was also only able to test two of the three controller methods, with the all important Aim Controller not at my disposal.

Arizona Sunshine recommends using the Aim Controller, but does allow gamers to try two other methods. The issue is none of those other methods are very good. The Move Controllers work well on a basic level but, just like most games that rely on them for precision aiming, they’re just not good enough. It’s also extremely clunky to move using the Move Controllers with teleportation the only method of movement, which isn’t easy when you’re low on ammo and trying to take on an impending wave of zombies. The zombies in the game aren’t just the ambling slow movers of old. Some of them are fast and will charge at you, meaning you need to try and shoot them before they reach you, as there’s no way you’ll out manoeuvre them. It’s a design decision that just doesn’t work due to how imprecise the controls are.

Surprisingly the DualShock 4 offered me more consistency when it came to shooting the zombies in the head, but it never quite feels natural to use. It’s a real shame as graphically the game looks nice, with its use of colour helping it stand out nicely in the overly populated area of zombie games. The Arizona desert is a great backdrop for a zombie apocalypse that hasn’t really been explored much in the medium of videogames.

The story to Arizona Sunshine is fairly simple, but that’s not a bad thing. The player goes from point to point in the hope of finding other survivors, a zombie story as old as time. There are a few nice moments and the dialogue can make you chuckle at times, but in the end nothing really elevates the story to the next level. That’s problematic considering how clunky the PlayStation VR version of the game is to play.

After failing to get around a group of zombies yet again due to the awkward controls the motivation to continue drops. If the story was captivating then it would encourage you to push on. To deal with the awkwardness and try and get to the bottom of what is going on. After a while the shine and pretty colours of Arizona Sunshine begin to fade away and once that happens you’re left with an experience that just doesn’t stack up.

Although the world of virtual reality is still in its infancy there have been plenty of experiences that prove moving around and shooting enemies can work just fine. For some reason that doesn’t happen here this is frustrating, especially when the game received a fair amount of strong reviews on PC. The developers seem dedicated to stick with the game for now and will be patching it, but it’s impossible to say if it will ever get to the standard that PC reviewers played.

If you’re after a first-person shooter virtual reality game it’s hard to recommend Arizona Sunshine as a first choice. The game itself is only a few hours long, the online community already seems nonexistent and the horde mode soon becomes stale, thus limiting replayability. There are some nice visual flourishes as you play through it, but it’s all ruined by multiple terrible control schemes on a system that just doesn’t seem to have the hardware to make it a competent game.


You can watch me play some of Arizona Sunshine below.



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2