Flying into Willamette, Colorado with camera in hand the city appears to be devastated. People are ransacking the stores and fighting each other. Frank West, a freelance photographer and photojournalist, pulls his camera to his face. Zooming in he realizes there’s something off about these people. They’re moving erratically. Not just erratically but aggressively erratic. Panning toward what appears to be someone attacking another person on the ground, the person up top pears up and looks directly into Frank’s lens. These aren’t people anymore. They’re Zombies!
After the usually run through story beats the game lets you loses into a shopping mall which is overrun by the walking dead. Armed with only a camera and your fist you set out, but can pick up almost anything to use in your defense. The character movement is dated and a bit clunky, but manageable. I’m not sure that it wasn’t intentional done to create an extra level of panic due to Never feeling like you have full control of the protagonist.
Once you picked up a weapon, the attacks control well enough. Some items allow you to hold down the attack button and charge up for a stronger attack and others have one attack option. As you kill zombies you gain the games level up currency which is hilariously called PP (yes I’m 12) and at each level the game randomly upgrades your health, how many items you can carry, how much damage you do, or gives you a new ability. Some of these abilities are down right hilarious. Like the spinning lariat or the ability to pick up a zombie by its feet and spin in circles with it before letting it go.
The other way to level up is by taking pictures. It’s a really fun idea but the controls while in any aiming portion of this game are down right terrible. Not only do they not control the way you would think but they move very slow for about a half of a second then drastically increase in speed becoming unmanageable. That being said you get 30 total pictures to take during your playthrough and as far as I could tel there wasn’t a way to get more. Each photograph is instantly graded upon taking, the score is totaled, and then added to your total PP.
The game doesn’t only feature tons of weapons to pick up, some of which are hilarious (From hand guns to teddy bears), but it also features the ability to change clothes (duplo man!), make food for health and other stat boosts, and books that will give you stat boost but will sacrifice an inventory slot.
The game takes place over a 72 hours and that time is always ticking. People will call you on a walk or talkie and give you updates on where they have seen people and you can choose to attempt to save them. To do so you must go to their location, deal with whatever threat is bogging them down, then grab their hand and escort them back to the helipad office you original started at. This can be incredibly annoying at times when the AI just can’t handle, well, anything. If you manage to return them to safety you will get a nice little PP bonus though. I found this so tedious that I didn’t even bother and only plowed through the main story.
If you manage to die or miss completing a story beat within the time frame during your run you are faced with an option. You can restart from your most recent save or decide to start the game over from the beginning retaining your current PP level and any unlocks that may have come with it. The game is clearly meant to be run based but I opted to beat it in one go. Which was trying at best.
The story, in my opinion, was mostly throw away. Your standard zombie outbreak trope, but was still fun throughout.
Despite the games short comings I still had tons of fun playing it and was impressed with how well the games visuals have aged. If you have a couple hours I’d say it’s more than worth checking out. Don’t even bother attempting complete the campaign. Just run around and have fun in this ridiculous zombie filled sand box.