Game Review: Arizona Sunshine on PSVR

Providing you can actually find one to buy, Sony’s Aim Controller is the best way to slay in PSVR. Sure, you can take on Arizona Sunshine’s zombiefest with a DualShock 4, or by dual-wielding Move controllers, but trying to navigate a 3D world with face buttons is the best way to become an all-you-can-eat buffet for the undead.

To achieve a sense of full immersion in a virtual world gone to the zombie dogs, natural and reflexive player movement is a must. The dual analog sticks of an Aim Controller achieve this; the Move’s awkward face button option — or the solution of a mechanic that lets the player teleport to nearby spots — do not.

This is especially true on Arizona’s hardest difficulty, where ammo is scarce enough to frequently make you sidestep through that conga-line of freaks like an A-grade champion. That’s some intricate footwork, especially when consider the need to pause and physically snoop through abandoned cars.

That, incidentally, is one of the coolest moments in this experience: good ol’ fashioned survival-horror thieving. Resident Evil 7 was rather item generous compared. In Arizona Sunshine you’ll need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of fight or flight, and desperately pilfer through environments like you’re in your very own episode of the Walking Dead.

That said, Aim Controller players get the shaft when it comes to manipulating items in the world. The mechanics of reefing open doors and boxes was clearly designed with DualShock and Move players in mind. Trying to flail containers open with an invisible assault rifle in your hands is awkward as hell.

How does Arizona go against its closest competitor, Resident Evil 7? It’s literally a night and day comparison. Capcom went with dark and claustrophobic corridors with handfuls of enemies; Arizona is more of a broad daylight, hordes in open areas concern.

The production values are much lower here, too, though there’s still just as much fun and intensity to be had in this rudimentary-looking 3-4 hour campaign. Resi only gets shown up in one area: 2-player campaign co-op is available and Arizona comes standard with a horde mode.

A word of warning: a lot of compromises were made in order to hammer this game down from the PC VR formats into PSVR. If you spot an Oculus-based trailer, don’t expect the same zombie count, visual fidelity, and smooth peripheral tracking. What PS4 got was good enough, though no amount of calibration could rid our virtual hands of a slight arthritic jiggle. Doesn’t affect aiming itself, but it sure does annoy.

Arizona Sunshine is essentially just “walk around, shoot zombies, endure the protagonist’s VO and solve the most basic puzzles ever”. On paper that’s probably not enough to rock your world, but inside that fancy VR helmet even the simplest concepts become intense. At the very least, it’s another solid argument for Aim Controller ownership.

Score: 7/10

Posted in Blog, Games