Review: Dracula: Vampires vs. Zombies
Can a VR wave shooter still be fun? It can when it's done right.
Mention the phrase ‘wave shooter’ to any long standing virtual reality (VR) fans and the likelihood of a groan and roll of the eyes will follow. In the 17 months that PC head-mounted displays (HMDs) have been available to consumers, both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have been inundated with this genre of first-person shooter (FPS). Whilst certainly an easy and engaging form of VR entertainment, the proliferation of these types of videogames has already saturated the market, and with far more exploratory titles like the recently released Killing Floor: Incursion or Lone Echo, the question has to be asked, is there still a place for the stationary wave shooter? Well Avatarico seems to think so, releasing comedy title Dracula: Vampires vs. Zombies.
Very much in a similar vein to Dick Wilde, Dracula: Vampires vs. Zombies doesn’t take itself too seriously with a protagonist who’s a brash, in your face, action b-movie star, and the fate of the world is somehow in his hands. As you might expect from the title, this videogame is all about killing waves of cartoon zombies, vampires and a few other enemies to boot.
Unlike some of the other FPS titles already mentioned, Dracula: Vampires vs. Zombies doesn’t weight itself down with excessive weapon loadouts, mixing up ranged guns with massive explosive ordinance. Instead you have to master just one, a compound bow and unlimited arrows. There’s no drawing arrows from a quiver – this is a pure arcade style experience – just fire away as quickly as possible. It seems that because Avatarico hasn’t needed to spend time on developing other weapons, focusing solely on the bow, that the studio has created one of the best gameplay mechanics for this style of weapon.
Using the bow feels fluid and accurate, the controller that’s in the bow hand nicely rumbles as the string is pulled back, so whether it’s a long shot or short range there’s never a moment when the bow seems inadequate for the task. So that’s your one and only main weapon – the bow does have blades attached should any enemies get too close – but there are four secondary items to collect that help in those tough situations such as a handy molotov cocktail for some group damage, or a lure to attract them to a certain spot.
Dracula: Vampires vs. Zombies has two modes, Campaign and Survival. The former has two areas, City and Forest, each with a total of 20 waves to complete. While you do need to survive in the campaign the main focus is that of scoring points. Headshots are the best for this, and the further the distance the more you’ll score. To mix up the gameplay somewhat, not only do you have different types of zombies to kill there’s also a few people to save. They’ll come running out from behind buildings screaming their heads off to be saved. Not only do they score big points but certain survivors will carry health bonuses, or items like the molotov, so saving them is of the utmost importance.
So now you maybe wondering is Dracula: Vampires vs. Zombies any good? Well yes and no. To be brutally honest it’s still a fairly generic wave shooter where everything pops up around you, and as long as you’ve reasonably quick and accurate it shouldn’t be too difficult to complete. That being said the bow is awesome fun and a joy to use. If you’re after a simple, pick up and play shooter then there’s nothing wrong with Dracula: Vampires vs. Zombies – it’s certainly one of the better ones. Should you be looking for a title that features loads of immersive gameplay, story, and really explores VR technology then you should look elsewhere.