Sep 22, 2010

If 'Zombie Apocalypse' Were Accurate...

...Armageddon would be mind-bendingly tedious.

I don't normally buy games from the Playstation Network, but I am eerily susceptible to media about zombies. Movies, comics, books, games, ringtones (I wanted a Left 4 Dead 'Witch' ringtone for a time). That's why I initially picked up Zombie Apocalypse for 10 bucks on PSN.

It is a standard two stick shooter that has a few similarities with Valve's Left 4 Dead franchise. You can play as one of four characters (just like in L4D). One of them is a grizzled old white guy. Another is a hipsterish African-American. One is a hipsterish ginger...and the woman.

Well, I guess that's really just the most blatant example of lifting from L4D but even that isn't totally egregious and obvious - and not necessarily true - so I'll move on. I mean, I could fill an entire post with the coincidences between the two games (They both have shotguns! They both require you to kill an inordinate number of similar-looking people! They both mostly take place at night! Holy Jeez!)...but I won't.

Suffice it to say that ZA is fun for short stretches, but it's a same-y sort of game, so don't expect much in the way of varied gameplay. You shoot zombies. And more zombies. And even more zombies. Blood literally covers whole stretches of the screen at certain points, and yeah, that's fun, but honestly it gets old.

And this is me saying it! I absolutely love zombies, couldn't get enough of them. That is, until this game.

The problems arose when I decided to try for all of the trophies. There is one little sucker called "Hotter Than Hell," which prompts you to finish a game mode called "7 Days of Hell."

Now, granted, I should not complain that a game mode called "7 Days of Hell" is frustrating. It's like ordering snake whiskey in Thailand and complaining that you got a rattler stuck in your throat.

But it is really frustrating! And really tedious! The game has no sense of pace, even a rudimentary one. It sounds ridiculous that I should point pacing out, because Zombie Apocalypse is not a story-driven game. It's a challenge, much like old NES titles, but there should at least be a suitable crescendo of zombie violence in the final portion of each stage.

Especially the seventh and final one.

Instead, what I got was a mass of zombies midway through the final level and then a gradual tapering off in the numbers, until the very end, where I was forced to snipe the occasional zombie until the DAY 7 SURVIVED accomplishment popped up. Unacceptable. There should have been a frantic battle at the end, or the level itself should have been shorter and more difficult. Overall, I killed about four thousand zombies in that final level, and it took an astonishing forty-five minutes to beat it.

The regular game mode isn't that horrific, but it does get quite repetitive, because there are only a few levels, a few guns, and a few zombie types.

Zombies have been cool long enough for me to get a substantial fix on the undead, but

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