Arizona Sunshine 2 – The Review

December 31, 2023 ·

Zombies have a way of peaking the interest of many people. From those who love to watch movies about them to those who play games about getting rid of them, there is something about the undead and feasting on the living that has many rooting for them to those who secretly watch with their hands over their eyes with just enough room to peek to see what happens that make us fans of the zombie genre. Love them or hate them, it doesn’t look like they are going away any time soon. But has developer, Vertigo Games, given us what we all have been wanting from a sequel? Let’s find out with Arizona Sunshine 2 for PlayStation VR2.

Arizona Sunshine 2 is the the next-gen sequel to the fan-favorite VR apocalypse, and packs even more gore-geous zombie action and sets you on an all-new limb-strewn adventure in search of answers. In a post-apocalyptic world where every bullet counts, experience the thrill of realistic combat as you wield all-new and fan-favorite weapons, from shotguns to machetes and flamethrowers.

So before you go in using all the bullets you can, there are a few things that you should know. First, you are going to need some room. You will be swinging and shooting all while trying to survive and you don’t want to hit anything or anyone. Second, decide if you are going to play sitting or standing. If you are playing sitting, make sure you have your favorite place to sit. Fighting zombies is tough work, so you might as well be comfortable in doing so. Third, make sure those Sense controllers are fully charged. You don’t want to become the next meal all because you forgot to charge them, do you? Fourth, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone. And finally, just have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…

Now, before we get started, we can’t talk about Arizona Sunshine 2 without talking about Arizona Sunshine. Well, I mean, I guess you could, but for relatable content, let’s do so anyway. When Arizona Sunshine came out for PlayStation VR back in 2017, there was something about it that a lot of players found interesting. We had the zombies that we could just shoot away, we had the setting, and we had the sounds. But I think when playing with the PlayStation VR Aim Controller, there was just something special about it. Then the road map continued with the Dead Man and The Damned DLC that gave us more.

Now, seven years later, we get the sequel that improves on a lot of things we could have hoped for. Playing as the same nameless protagonist from the first game and in a vastly improved-looking Arizona still find yourself in the face of deadly Freds, aka zombies as you narrate your adventure that includes some dark humor as you search for answers.

But of course, there are a few things you will need to do to make sure time here in the sunshine is as comfortable as can be. At the very beginning, you have some choices to make. Do you want to play standing or seated, do you want to move smoothly or teleport, your preferred language, and most important thing, do you want subtitles? Then your next choice is to calibrate where you want your ammo belt. I do enjoy this because if you are playing seated in a chair with armrests, it’s easy to calibrate it to where you can get to your weapons even with armrests. You also can select your accessibility, interface, audio, and network. Vertigo Games has pretty much thought of everything here. As you are making your choices, take a minute to enjoy the dusty settings where you can smell death in the air.

Being what you have dealt with in the past, you have had time to reside in your little RV of a home. It has pretty much everything you would want. Drinks in the fridge that seem to not want to open, bottles that are on the floor and counter that you have decided from your previous nights of hopes and dreams to put some things in, a boarded up window with curtains, sink, oven, bed, and a door. Yup, everything you could hope for in your life at this point. But it’s the refreshing step outside where you can see the partly clouded sky and Fred across the way that allows you to appreciate the smaller things in life, such as a grill that I am not even going to question where the meat came from.

It’s not until we find the destruction of sorts that we have been looking for that we learn that there is a patient zero that is responsible not only for your anxiety, living conditions, and life choices but also for gaining a new partner/friend that you didn’t realize that you needed in a dog named Buddy. Now, Buddy can play fetch, you can pet him, and you can even send him to attack so said Freds as you try and make your way across Arizona to have a word, if you will, with patient zero.

As you make your way across Arizona and try to reach checkpoints, you will want to be on the lookout for ammo and food to restore your and Buddy’s health. Those hamburger patties and hotdogs that we are not going to question what it is made of that just happen to be lying around for who knows how long, is what you and Buddy will eat to restore your health. Ammo will be scattered and could be anywhere, so make sure you check any car doors, tables, portapotties, and dumpsters.

There will also be other objects to collect such as glue and metal that will be used to make explosives such as grenades and even fire with malatoves. With each of your hands, you can store an item such as weapons or meat to eat later. There are plenty of weapons here with each feeling a little different from those that require ammo to those that you can swing and chop away Freds with. And yes, you can shoot and chop off limbs, which you can then use.

At times there will be more Freddies than you might like and all coming at you. Sure you can try to shoot them all as you reload your weapon in hopes that you can reload like there is no tomorrow. Using the different weapons does have a different feel which adds to the experience which also means that reloading is going to be different for each weapon. And then there will be times when there are Freds that are dead and blocking your way with no way of moving them until you send Buddy to help out. Just be on the lookout for openings and send Buddy to help out. I will say that his dragging Freds around is like no other.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. With the graphics, Arizona Sunshine 2 is fantastic on the PlayStation VR2. From the moment of the main menu to just the level of detail of the different sections whether the areas were dark versus those that were light, there were times once the area was secure, that I just had to sit back and enjoy what was being presented. With the sound, you have the narrative that you, as the protagonist, are telling along with the one-liners that made me laugh even after killing some zombies and having blood splatter all over the place to even closing my eyes to hear the zombies over in the next area moving about. But I did enjoy how the zombie’s growls and grunts seemed to escalate with the music to let me know things were getting serious.

There are a few things that I would love to see. First, more content. Yes, besides the campaign, you can play co-op in the campaign and even do a 4 player horde mode. But I would love to see more DLC to add to the story and more modes to play in even if that included bosses. Second, even more weapons. Yes, there is quite an arsenal of weapons to be used here, but more would be just fun to use. I mean, there were all those bottles at the beginning, let’s do something with those. Finally, more items to craft. Right now there are only four to craft and having more will help in those crazy situations.

Arizona Sunshine 2 shows us how a sequel should and does approve of the original. It gives us the blueprint for a working formula that can only expand from here. In life, we are sometimes faced alone with what appears to be the end, but it is when we open ourselves up, learn to trust, and can have that special bond with something so precious as life, that we know we realize that we no longer have to be alone, but together anything be accomplished.

Arizona Sunshine 2 is out now for the Quest 2,3, & Pro on the Meta Store, Pico, PlayStation VR2 on the PlayStation Store, and Steam VR. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Vertigo Games, please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. 

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, it’s time for some co-op action.

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