Arizona Sunshine 2 review: Say Hello to Sunshine

Arizona Sunshine 2 review: Say Hello to Sunshine
Vertigo Games

Written by 

Lloyd Coombes

Published 

6th Dec 2023 14:43

We've all played a zombie game or watched a TV or movie about the shambling undead, and while the trope of those we love turning against us was once poignant and terrifying in equal measure, the brain-munching undead have lost their edge a bit.

Or so I thought until I booted up Arizona Sunshine 2 in VR and found just how hungry they can be when they're surging towards me en masse. Aside from simply representing yet another zombie game, it represents a sizeable step forward for a fledgeling franchise that's some of the most fun you can have in the medium.

GGRecon Verdict

Arizona Sunshine 2 is the closest VR has come to a popcorn action flick, and I found myself loving it for that. It's more than a little rowdy, and a tad rough around the edges, but it also offers some of the most delightful interactive elements of any Quest 3 game I've played so far.

The Walking Fred

Helicopter crashing in Arizona Sunshine 2
Click to enlarge

While we've had a Walking Dead VR title in Saints and Sinners, one which arguably set the template for combat against hordes of undead, Arizona Sunshine 2 is a little more along the lines of Zombieland.

As with its predecessor, our unnamed protagonist drops regular quips, but this time around he's able to be a little more endearing thanks to his new four-legged companion, Buddy, who joins the crusade to find some company amongst the undead he refers to as 'Fred'.

Buddy in Arizona Sunshine 2
Click to enlarge

Buddy is as close to Fallout's Dogmeat as you can get; a German Shepherd wandering the wasteland with players. He's also very handy in a fight since he can tackle individual zombies, killing standard fodder or slowing down bigger ones.

Almost all of Arizona Sunshine 2's enemies fall into one of those two categories, though, which can make you feel like you've seen the majority of its slobbering hordes within a few hours, albeit stretched across fun set-pieces.

Lock and load

Combat in Arizona Sunshine 2
Click to enlarge

Rather than experimenting with fresh enemy varieties, Arizona Sunshine 2 puts together plenty of them as they encroach. As they get closer, it feels claustrophobic and genuinely pretty tense, even in such a lighthearted playground as this.

That's magnified by a set of excellent reloading mechanics that required ejecting a magazine, grabbing a fresh one, loading, and chambering a round before unleashing hell on enemies. At first, it starts to feel like a methodical process, but as you come up against increasing waves of enemies it's easy to feel yourself struggle to move quickly enough.

A fun touch is being able to keep a single round in the chamber before ejecting the cartridge, at least allowing you to squeeze off a single shot without needing to chamber an additional one. It makes for a tense last stand, and each weapon feels distinct. By the end of my time in Arizona Sunshine 2, I'd built quite the armoury - and was thankful for Buddy's adorable tactical vest that means he can carry a couple of extra weapons.

Buddy the dog holding severed arm in Arizona Sunshine 2
Click to enlarge

It's not all shooting and splatting, either. While Arizona Sunshine 2 maintains its predecessor's dusty, almost frontier-like environmental design, it gives it a fresh lick of paint (it looks much more detailed on the Quest 3) and tucks more interactive elements within. Want to play beer pong, or throw a severed head to play fetch with Buddy? Go for it. It's not quite an immersive sim (these systems really just exist to add a little more whimsy to an otherwise barren land), but it's a nice touch.

You'll venture through small towns, larger sprawls, sewer tunnels and more, and while none of it feels particularly extraordinary to look at, those small details kept me seeking out more corners of the world to do fun stuff like throwing junk at a zombie's head. And yes, you can pet Buddy in VR.

Tunnel environment in Arizona Sunshine 2
Click to enlarge

The only issues I had with Arizona Sunshine 2, outside of its fairly predictable enemies and locations, were the occasional bugs. Items dropping into walls, zombies being propelled through the air by exaggerated ragdoll physics, and Buddy being weirdly kind enough to wait for a Fred to get up before tackling them back to the ground were the main offenders, but once I was lining up a chain of headshots with a pistol, or swinging a bat to cave in zombie skulls, I forgot all about it.

The Verdict

Arizona Sunshine 2 is the closest VR has come to a popcorn action flick, and I found myself loving it for that. It's more than a little rowdy, and a tad rough around the edges, but it also offers some of the most delightful interactive elements of any Quest 3 game I've played so far.

4/5

Reviewed on Meta Quest 3. Review code provided by the publisher. For more on VR, be sure to check out our impressions of Taskmaster VR.

Lloyd is GGRecon's Editor-in-Chief, having previously worked at Dexerto and Gfinity, and occasionally appears in The Daily Star newspaper. A big fan of loot-based games including Destiny 2 and Diablo 4, when he's not working you'll find him at the gym or trying to play Magic The Gathering.

Trending
Bloodborne Director gives new hope to PS5 remake
Open-world Shrek game shows exactly why we love the series
Xbox's first Switch games revealed, and you can play one tomorrow
Looks like a Tomb Raider 4 remaster is on the way
Former Indiana Jones dev slams The Great Circle for 'creative lapse'