Back in 1983, there was a music video called Thriller by Michael Jackson. Watching the video you see the zombies come out and surround their victim and then this sensational flow of this choreography starts to take place as in a celebration of their newest victory. And as it ended, Michael Jackson turns to you and you can still see that evil look. But what happened to the rest of the creatures of the night? Where did they go and what have they been up to? Did they all end up in one place or stay near the graveyard where they first appeared back in 1983. Does Developer Kodobur answer these questions and more? Let’s find out with Dead Land VR for the PlayStation VR.
Before we begin, I am going to say that some players may get a little frustrated. There are no instructions in this Endless Runner, but once you get the hang of it, you may find that you want to spend a little time just to see how far you can get. With that said, let’s continue.
Dead Land VR as I mentioned is an endless runner. The object is simple, how far can you get without dying. When I first started playing with the DualShock 4 controller (sorry, no Aim Controller support here) I had the choice of what perks I wanted to start with. I got to select from equipment, more armor, and more crates. Each one will cost you 100 per helper, so select wisely. I then started and was presented with an ax in hand. It was a mighty fine ax and one that any lumberjack or zombie killer would be proud to have in their possession. I then saw some zombies and no matter how many times I would swing or when I would swing I died. I died over and over and over again. This was the frustration I was talking out. With no instructions or even a small demonstration, I was left on my own to try and figure out how to move through these zombies. But then I figured it out.
Going at the zombies straight on does not work and I thought about it. If I was coming up to a zombie, I would come at them with a more side-stepping motion and that’s what works here. Since this is an endless runner, you have to use the left thumbstick to move left or right, so when a zombie is coming, just move to the side and then swing by using R2 and it works. You won’t be able to control where you turn to a different path per se, as this being an endless runner.
But I know what you are wanting to know. Where are the weapons and when can I start to use them? What are the other weapons you can use and how can you use them? Those are some valid questions and the answer is simple, you have to earn them. How do you earn them? Well, longer you can go without dying, the more points that you will receive which then you can use to purchase so said weapon and trying over and over to unlock the different weapons is fun.
Of course, if you don’t have enough credit to purchase the weapons, Dead Land VR does not have a problem letting you know which made me want to go back and keep playing so I have earned enough to purchase my first weapon, the handgun. When you first are able to purchase your weapon and use it, there is something that just feels right. Until you either run out of bullets which you will then just have your bare hands or you find a crate that will either reload your weapon or it may switch it back to the ax.
Oh, there is something I forgot to mention the trusty ax. At the top right you will have two things going on. Your ammo and how far you have traveled. Notice the ax in hand can only be used ten times. So once you use it all up, the ax goes bye-bye and you are left with your bare hands. Luckily, you can move side to side to avoid the some slow, some fast, some crawling, some super, and some dog zombies. Yes, there are dogs that will come at you leaping like it was a dramatic moment in a Michael Jackson music video, but those are easy to take down. The super zombies that seem to have no flesh on them, will come at you full speed to the side like they are going to try and hip check you in an NHL game, either be ready to sidestep and swing or lock and load.
When you die, you get to see how much you earned, how many zombies you killed, your new best, and how far you traveled. I know it might seem like frustration should take over, but as I mentioned, once you get the timing and you start to upgrade to the bigger and better weapons, it really is a self-challenge to see how far you can go. Areas, as well as weapons, are random. So when you start you could be going through the pet cemetery of graveyards or through the Children of the Corn type area. There were parts where I started and I was hoping I got my new weapon, but my trusty ax was in my hands until I came to a crate which could just replenish and you have the same weapon or could generate a new weapon that you have purchased.
Now I will say that on some rare occasions while playing, the game would stutter and like come to this crawl. One time it came out right as a crate was coming and another time it came out as a zombie wanted to play zombie tag and I became the newest member of the undead. Again this happened on rare occasions, so hopefully, a patch will be coming soon.
There were some zombies as I was coming near that seemed to be almost like they were trying to show me their dance moves as if they were part of the long lost Thillers so I would not shoot them and I decided to let some of them go on still using their moves that they learned and performed and were all too soon forgotten for their work since they no longer really had a steady gig since 1983. Then I decided to change things up and only shoot the ones that were running. I mean there is no need to come at me all in a frantic, just slow your roll, enjoy your undead life and carry on.
Let’s talk about sound. The really only sounds that you will hear is your heavy breathing that I am really surprised how long this person ran for with the out of oxygen sounding breath, but they carried on like a true hero. You will also hear the sounds of the zombies as well as the different weapons you fire. There were parts that some weapons sounded like another weapon, but honestly, it didn’t really bother me.
The graphics were OK but set out what it tried to accomplish. I did like how the fog was used with the cemetery as it gave that eerie feel to it. There were parts such as going into the swamp area that the grass just seemed to be placed there and not having any movement or life to them. Tunnels at times would have the light go out, which does add a little to the surprise factor in an already dark nighttime atmosphere. But being at night time and going through a tunnel, I can see why there would not be that much detail put in certain spots.
There are some things that I wish would have been included. I would love to more areas to run through in maybe different states or countries. I would have loved to see the Aim Controller used here. It’s not as much as a necessity as it is a want. And leaderboards would be amazing here. Being able who among your friends had the highest score or even to see who the best in the world would add even more replayability of trying to obtain the other weapons.
Dead Land VR never tries to be anything more than what it is. When using the ax and having this almost dramatic effect with blood spewing and even at times you can see the head roll can put a smile on your face. Yes, it can be frustrating at the beginning, but once you get the hang of things and keep trying, it’s just like anything in life that is new. Just stick with it and make it your own. Not everything is going to have the over the top explosions or cinematics and not everything benefits from having them. If you allow yourself the time, you may just find some simple fun to be had.
Dead Land VR is out now on PlayStation VR. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more weapons to unlock.