Vertigo Games’ Arizona Sunshine has been met with significant critical acclaim and commercial success since its launch on PC for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive late last year. Now, the Rotterdam-based studio has turned its attention to PlayStation VR, launching the PlayStation 4 edition of the videogame later this month.
As a first-person shooter (FPS) set in a zombie apocalypse, Arizona Sunshine’s setting may not sound all too original. And it’s not. However, the added benefit of being designed from the ground-up for virtual reality (VR) has allowed Vertigo Games to make an experience unlike many of the videogames that share its premise. Arizona Sunshine stands aside from the run-of-the-mill zombie FPS videogame by immersing the player within its ramshackle depiction of southwestern America through the use of a brand new medium.
As a single-player experience Arizona Sunshine features a campaign that takes the player on a journey through a desert wasteland. Less of an adventure and more of a shoot-anything-that-moves experience, Arizona Sunshine follows the hugely successful Farpoint as being a first-step into new territory; this isn’t as deep an FPS experience as Destiny nor as engrossing a story as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but then it shouldn’t be expected to behave as such. The fact that it’s light years ahead of being VR’s Space Invaders is commendable in its own right.
Given the illusion of freedom, the player is actually courted along a linear path to ensure a reasonable difficulty curve. The occasional checkpoint will offer a wider box to explore before being funnelled down a specific path once again. This is no bad thing however, as its allowed Vertigo Games to offer some varied gameplay and keep the path interesting. Submachine guns run out of ammo and you’re forced to go for headshots with your pistols; an opening above a ravine grants you a sniper rifle to take out distant foes. Arizona Sunshine’s gameplay loop is familiar, but benefits from this by not raising too many new barriers for those already engaged with the FPS genre.
Using the PlayStation Aim controller with PlayStation VR actually works far better than might be expected with Arizona Sunshine. Performing similarly to Farpoint, the analogue stick is used to move and the front trigger to interact. Reload is located on a rear face button and shoot, quite obviously, is on the trigger. The separation between head-look for movement and PlayStation Aim movement for aiming feels very natural, taking the experience of combat weaponry a step ahead of a more traditional FPS control scheme. VRFocus hasn’t yet had the opportunity to play Arizona Sunshine with a DualShock 4, however it’s already clear that adding the PlayStation Aim to your VR arsenal is a worthwhile investment.
Arizona Sunshine launches on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro this month, with the latter edition of the videogame appearing very close in terms of graphical fidelity to its PC counterpart. If Vertigo Games are true-to-their-word on parity in other areas of the videogame, the PlayStation VR could well be receiving another ‘must have’ title in a matter of weeks.