Zombie Shooter 2 Review - An imbalanced mess
Sigma-Team was on a good run, since releasing Alien Shooter in 2003. As a teenager, I loved their games, and and still do today. While the first Zombie Shooter was quite uninspired, it was at least still fun.
Zombie Shooter 2 however, is a whole different story. It is the game, where even at the age of nineteen; I began to lose my respect for the developer.
Zombie Shooter 2 was developed and published by Russian developer Sigma-Team. It released in 2008 and it was the sequel to the zombie spin-off of Alien Shooter. While the game starts off promising, it soon turns into just the same as previous games, with a host of new issues.
A promising plot that falls apart
While Sigma-Team is far from renowned for their storytelling and plot, they do make some attempt in Zombie Shooter 2. At least to begin with that is. The plot starts off where you receive a letter from your girlfriend (Male Character) or sister (Female Character).
The letter, in short, tells you that they are working for the Magma Corporation and that they are looking forward to seeing you. The journey there does not go according to plan. When you reach the outskirts of the city, the road is blocked off, and zombies are roaming the streets.
You must make your way to the city to find your female compatriot and stop the outbreak. While the plot starts out differently from previous titles, it isn’t long before it returns to the old structure.
A glaring issue with the game is that dialogue doesn’t change in accordance with your character. Even while playing as a male, characters still say “your sister” despite the letter saying otherwise. A small but obvious issue that is easily fixed and should have been noticed during testing. As usual with Sigma-Team games, the plot does what it is intended to and nothing more.
Unbalanced and uninspired gameplay
The gameplay to Zombie Shooter 2 is exactly the same as Alien Shooter 2 apart from one minor change. You can only carry three weapons at once as oppose to five. One slot being for small weapons, one for medium weapons and one large weapons.
It feels like a pointless change as it doesn’t affect the gameplay in any way. If anything it just makes inventory management awkward, particularly when attempting to sell ammo. This problem is due to multiple ammo, types fitting in each of the three weapon slots.
Zombie Shooter 2 has a total of fifteen levels to complete, each with their own objectives. Some levels have optional objectives to complete to receive additional rewards, such as weapons, implants, and experience.
As for the general gameplay, it is still complete over the top mindless action. The main idea of the game is to slaughter tons of zombies. While starting off easy, the groups become bigger and tougher with each new level.
A level can contain anything between five hundred and nearly two thousand enemies.
At the beginning of most levels, you can access the shop through a computer. Here you can buy new items, weapons, armors, implants and ammunition along with selling old or obsolete equipment and repairing armor. As the game progresses, new items become available. Money is obtained through destroying objects, finding secrets and completing levels.
Certain levels have vehicles. One is a modified car with a turret. While you don’t control the car, you do control the turret. The second is a tank that helps you unleash destruction on the undead hordes. The vehicles sections are fun and vary the gameplay but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before.
There are an experience and level up system where each level up grants skill points that you can distribute how you see fit. It adds a nice layer of depth to the game and gives it character development and different character types.
At the start of the game, you get to choose a perk that gives you a special ability. While most of the perks are pretty much useless, a small number of them are handy to have, such as Hypnosis, Quick Learner, and Economist. Different perks can really change up the gameplay.
While the first game is uninspired, at least its core gameplay mechanics are balanced. The enemies in Zombie Shooter 2 have far too much health and deal far too much damage. This is particularly noticeable in the harder difficulties.
It is possible to finish the game on normal difficulty but impossible difficulty is not far from exactly as its name suggests. The final level contains too many enemies and a boss that deals far too much damage. The gameplay of Zombie Shooter 2 is a simply a copy of Alien Shooter 2 except imbalanced. There is literally no creativity or originality to it in any shape or form.
Uninspired enemies and level design
One of my main complaints of the original game was its uninspired level design. It reused old assets and environments from previous games while adding nothing new. Zombie Shooter 2 is no different. If you are in any way familiar with Sigma-Team’s games, you will immediate recognize the assets.
The usual environments are experienced throughout, laboratory levels, town levels, highway levels and underground levels. All of these environments were present in Alien Shooter 2, with literally no change or enhancement to them. The level design is so bad, that one of the levels is an exact copy and paste from Alien Shooter 2 Reloaded. You just navigate the level from a different direction.
As for the enemies, they are the same Resident Evil enemies found in the first game, with an addition of a few new ones. The new enemies are nothing special and include an old hag, a hulking beast, and a flying zombie. In reality, they are just three of Alien Shooter 2’s enemies, redesigned as zombies.
If you haven’t played Sigma-Team’s previous games, the level design and enemies will give you something new. For returning players of the franchise, however, things are beginning to get obnoxiously stale.
Copy and pasted survival modes
Zombie Shooter 2 contains a total of three survival modes, Campaign, Stand Firm and Gun Stand. First is Campaign. This mode takes place over a series of five levels where the sole objective is to survive each one.
As you kill enemies you gain experience and level up. With each level up you get to choose a new weapon and gain three skill points to distribute however you see fit. Enemies have a chance of dropping ammunition, health pickups, armor and various power ups; some unique to this mode.
While in Alien Shooter 2 I found the campaign to be fun despite its reliance on luck, here I find it to be impossible. No matter how I developed my character, I can never complete it. This is due to the aforementioned imbalance with the enemy’s health and damage.
Armor is like paper and breaks in no time, leaving you open to an onslaught of unprotected damage, resulting in near instant death. While the first two levels are fun, the latter three get to the point of utter frustration.
I am not one for giving into difficulty, but even I had to throw in the towel with this one.
In Stand Firm you just have to last as long as you can while killing as many enemies as possible. At the end of each wave, a boss will appear. When defeated, it will drop a more powerful weapon; five in total. As usual, enemies drop various equipment and power ups to help you even the odds, but your death is inevitable.
The final survival mode is Gun Stand, which has a more unique and engaging premise. You control a turret that sits in the middle of a map and you must fend off wave after wave of enemies. Upon completing a wave, a nuke is set off killing all remaining enemies.
Before the next wave starts, you get to choose the turrets upgrades that come in four different forms. Upgrading the turret itself, adding rocket launchers to it, calling reinforcements or repairing and upgrading the walls. As you progress through the waves, the enemies become more powerful and plentiful.
It is quite tactical as to what order of upgrades work, as some will perform better than others. It is both the most enjoyable and strategic of the game modes available. While Stand Firm and Gun Stand offer some enjoyment, Campaign is nothing more than an unbalanced mess.
I am sure there are players out there who have finished Campaign, but for the average gamer, it would be impossible. For those returning to the series, they will instantly realize everything is exactly the same, except its zombies; and the levels for the survival modes are exact replicas of Alien Shooter 2, making them straight out boring.
There is no other way to describe Zombie Shooter 2. It is a lazy design that has had zero effort put into it. Sigma-Team has always had a small but loyal fan base. As a fan since the beginning, the game made me feel very, insulted, especially considering I paid about €20 for it at the time of release.
Everything about the game is uninspired and imbalanced: Gameplay, enemies, level design and even the soundtrack are ripped straight from Alien Shooter 2. It even brought over the same bugs from the original. Enemies don’t trigger, and you can easily get stuck in the terrain, both glitches forcing you to restart the level.
Generally, I can look past the technical side of things, even gameplay imbalance to a degree. It's when a developer starts copying and pasting literally everything that I draw the line. If you have Alien Shooter 2, it's a far superior title. Don’t waste your money on this.
Interested in my thoughts on Sigma-Team's Theseus The Return of the Hero? You can find it here on GameSkinny.