Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded reimagines this arcade light-gun shooter for PlayStation VR2, significantly improving the Quest and PC VR release. Here’s our full review:
VR offers a natural successor to light-gun shooters, and I’d argue Zombieland: Headshot Fever is a better House of the Dead game than the recent HOTD remake. Undead shooters are a dime a dozen, so it’s tough standing out, and Headshot Fever’s poor visuals and short length hampered the original version’s charms. Two years later, XR Games is back with a Reloaded edition on PSVR 2, adding many new features.
Zombieland fans should find plenty to like. It’s a self-contained story set after Double Tap, and Headshot Fever sees you playing “New Guy,” who joins the original quartet as they train for a sporting event called the ‘Zombieland Invitational.’ Headshot Fever retains the film’s humor and though most of the original cast don’t reprise their roles, Abigail Breslin (Little Rock) returns, while XR Games brought in Woody Harrelson’s brother, Brett, to play Tallahassee.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded Review – The Facts
Platforms: PSVR 2
Release Date: 2/22/2023
Developer: XR Games and Sony Pictures Virtual Reality
Using a mansion as your hub, there’s a practice range available and Tallahassee provides new weapons in exchange for TP (toilet paper), the new post-apocalyptic currency. New Guy can equip two guns that split into two categories: main weapons like pistols with unlimited ammo, alongside powerful secondary weapons with limited ammo best saved for trickier moments, such as your shotgun. Special perks can be equipped for bonuses like increased ammo supply, earning more TP per mission and steadier aiming.
Each level involves shooting live zombies inside an on-rails race course. However, Zombieland forgoes a traditional points system and ranks clear time, uploading these results to online leaderboards. Reloading weapons requires emptying your clip by flicking the joystick down, then moving your gun toward fresh ammo that hovers in front of you.
Hardly convoluted, but for a game prioritizing quick reactions, an automatic Pistol Whip-style reload where you point guns at the floor would go a long way. After clearing an area, a marker appears to teleport you onto the next area and, in Reloaded, that’s activated by quickly staring at it through eye tracking, which feels intuitive.
Chasing faster times is tough, but that’s where Zombieland’s ‘adrenaline mode’ kicks in. Activated by two consecutive headshots, time slows down and that’s extended through repeated headshots. Blowing apart these zombies in slow motion remains very satisfying, and decent enemy variety keeps life interesting. Throwers, unsurprisingly, throw objects which can be shot down. Big Guys are the tank class Zombie, while Ferals charge you. Be careful not to shoot Homers; these large but harmless zombies add a 5-second penalty if killed, though you can disable that with perks.
When it comes to gameplay, Reloaded largely remains the same Zombieland experience we saw two years ago. It’s not particularly ambitious and doesn’t take ages to complete but what’s here is good fun, which is more than I can say for most licensed tie-ins, and there’s strong replayability to each level.
However, similar to Cities: VR and Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, Zombieland received major upgrades that puts it a cut above your average PSVR 2 port. There’s expanded content with an extra story level, three new remix levels, additional Gun Range challenges, new weapons and more. Adaptive triggers provide weapons with different resistances when pulling the trigger, and you can feel the headset haptics kick in when zombies attack you.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded Review – Comfort
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded starts by asking what your preferred settings are. It supports seated and standing play, you can select your dominant hand, adjust both the vibration and adaptive trigger’s intensity, and choose a more comfortable height for your belt and gun holster. If you’re not comfortable with blood, or would prefer to tone down the action while streaming, bloody kills can be turned off in the settings menu.
More prominently, Reloaded uses a new cel-shaded art style with revised character models and new animations, which feels like night and day compared to the original game. It’s a highly welcome upgrade from the Quest and PC VR version’s distinctly low budget look and shoddy character designs. The new art style is noticeably cleaner, which looks better in the headset than it does across flat screenshots, and kills feel more stylish.
Zombieland: Headshot Fever Review – Final Verdict
As someone who grew up playing arcade shooters like Ghost Squad and House of the Dead, Zombieland: Headshot Fever almost feels nostalgic, and the Reloaded edition addresses most of my previous concerns in the Quest version. XR Games put considerable effort into this revamp and while you don’t need long to see it all, Headshot Fever remains an enjoyable time that stays faithful to the source material. If you enjoyed the film series or simply love a good shooter, Zombieland’s worth a look.
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