Hands On: All Zombies Must Die
RPS chum Paul Dean has been getting his (very much alive) hands on All Zombies Must Die. What follows is his report. The game is set to be released on PC in December.
It’s nonsense, of course. Zombies are, by definition, dead already. If they weren’t dead then they wouldn’t be zombies. Still, I have no time for sympathy and a perfectly practical solution to every zombie outbreak is invariably the very liberal use of force.
Good thing, then, that independent developer doublesix has provided plenty of weapons for would-be zombie slayers. Assault rifle? Check. Shotgun? Of course. Cricket bat? Don’t mind if I do. Chainsaw? Well, it’s been a while, but I think I remember… You just aim for the fleshy parts.
Though you can play it solo, you’ll be missing out because All Zombies Must Die is a multiplayer massacre at heart. Up to four players team up to fight their way through the undead hordes in what might be described as a messier and much more frantic reinterpretation of olden isometric shooter Syndicate. While it may seem disarmingly cartoonish, the very polished beta I tried wasn’t interested in pulling punches. “It starts off nice and subtly… and very quickly escalates.” doublesix Creative Director Jim Mummery told me, with some amount of relish. Pretty soon, the screen was packed with shuffling corpses. Then, I was dead.
There are some RPG elements thrown into this mix, as each player takes the role of a different character with particular specialities and stats that can be upgraded as they gain experience. Experience is won not only by slaughtering zombies, but also by completing a variety of quests, some of which are location-specific, character challenges or form part of the broader narrative. Some locations can be entirely cleared of zombies and this turns them into safe zones, hub areas from which your team can head out to complete more quests or simply to farm zombies for points and prizes.
Weapons, too, can be souped up with the addition of improbable and entirely illogical modifications. Add a torch to a sawn-off and, of course, you get a fire-spitting shotgun (and sadly, I didn’t get a chance to see what happens when you combine a lawnmower with a rod of uranium). Each weapon buff has a downside, since aggrieved zombies respond to different attacks in different ways, but they also drop more interesting loot when slain. Naturally, zombies are an equally diverse species and the ranks of the undead include soccer moms, riot cops and nurses. Expect everything to be filled out by additional DLC.
AZMD feels very much like the kind of game you’d play on your sofa with friends, cursing one another as you push your way through the hordes only to catch a burst friendly fire in your face, so it’s understandable that console gamers will enjoy it before PC owners this December. The Steam release is set for “very soon after” and I think it may well be worth sitting back from your desktop to enjoy in company. Go on, treat yourself to a few gamepads.
By the way, this is absolutely nothing to do with the forthcoming Orcs Must Die, from Texas-based Robot Entertainment. doublesix are firmly rooted in Blighty, though we agree that orcs, too, must always die. Always.
All Zombies Must Die should be available on Steam in December.