When it comes to virtual reality games that feature zombies, well, there are a lot them. Then again, there aren’t a lot of good ones, so I’m happy to report that Arizona Sunshine is definitely one of the best.
A few months before the HTC Vive launched into the hands of consumers in 2015, I was lucky enough to try a prototype demo of Arizona Sunshine. It played a lot like a Time Crisis game and featured small blue portals which allowed me to teleport to various areas. It started out as a basic wave shooter and has transformed into a story-driven exploration game; it’s fantastic to see how far it’s come. Whilst the game has been available on HTC Vive in full for a while now, its arrival on PSVR finally allows PlayStation fans to get in on the action, too.
Many developers that craft a shoot ’em up experience for virtual reality fail to conjure up anything beyond a generic wave shooter with boring, dimly-lit level design. Arizona Sunshine, on the other hand, manages to not only present a nifty bit of shooting enemies in waves, but also provides a good story mode. Its gameplay steers clear of making you feel invincible and instead of dolling out ammunition like candy, it’s scarcely available. Enemies don’t go down easily and the game’s realistic weapon handling means this isn’t your average arcade free-for-all. Movement across the game can be done via teleporting or free-form movement, something that can be accomplished by aiming with your head or hand in the direction you wish to travel.
Throughout Arizona’s story campaign I felt incredibly fragile and I continually kept a check on my ammunition – no automatic reloads here. You store ammo (as well as extra weapons) on a belt located on your waist and in order to reload you have to press the circle button (on PlayStation) to empty your magazine, bring your weapon to your waist and hay-presto, if you have any ammo you’ll reload. I’ve been too used to automatically reloading with the flick of a switch and now, under the pressure of oncoming enemies, I have to stop and think about what I’m doing. For extra authenticity Arizona also supports the PSVR Aim controller, though I’ve yet to get my hands on one personally. There is also a four player online wave shooting mode called ‘Horde’ which I found to be an enjoyable distraction from the main campaign, but when I decided to dive into the story again I could also request the help of a friend through its two player co-op option.
PSVR vs HTC Vive – The Differences
When it comes to content, both the PlayStation VR and HTC Vive present an identical Arizona Sunshine experience. The biggest difference between the two filters entirely down to controls and tracking. Whilst it probably won’t surprise you that the HTC Vive’s advanced and much more accurate lighthouse tracking system yields far better results than PlayStation VR’s camera tracking, the PSVR version can still stand on its own two feet.
Though the PSVR version can easily lose sight of your glowing Move controllers due to the nature of its hardware, to counteract this you’re able to turn left or right with the touch of a button, allowing you to stay central to your PS camera without losing tracking – it’s a little less fluid when compared to Vive, but it still works. In terms of frame rate the Vive presented a smoother and more consistent graphical showcase but, again, the PlayStation did a decent job considering its fixed and often limited graphical settings. Overall I’m very happy with the PSVR port of Arizona Sunshine.