Arizona Sunshine 2 Review - The Walking Shred

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The first time I played Arizona Sunshine 2, I left feeling a bit nauseated, but I soon realized this was due to my time spent away from playing VR games. The second time I played Arizona Sunshine 2, I was quickly overwhelmed by its hordes of undead and left feeling like the game was perhaps unbalanced. By the third time I put on my Quest 3 headset, I'd rediscovered my proverbial sea legs, I'd mastered the art of zombie crowd control, and I enjoyed the game for what it is: an arcadey trek through the apocalypse.

In the VR-exclusive first-person zombie shooter Arizona Sunshine 2, you'll take on the role of the original game's hero for another excursion through an undead hellscape of airports, sewage tunnels, and rooftop parking lots, each of them loaded with ammo and "Freds"--the too-jokey protagonist's word for zombies--in similar quantities. The game's intentions are clear right away: This isn't the sort of game where you'll need to worry about ammo reserves very often. This is a power fantasy, though not without plenty of tension, too.

Arizona Sunshine 2 shines brightest is in those moments when you're tasked with clearing out intimidatingly large hordes of zombies. As mentioned, at first I found this so difficult that I assumed I failed to account for something--a skill move, or a control option, or something. It turns out I just needed a little practice. Like a lot of VR shooters, you can do yourself huge favors by mastering the reload animation. Initially I fumbled around with that mechanic, which caused me to take more than a few bites to the jugular, but it didn't take long before I mowed through undead like a John Wick Halloween spin-off.

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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - Before You Buy

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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - Before You BuyAvatar: Frontiers of Pandora (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S) is a flawed but faithful and fun representation of James Cameron's universe. Let's talk. Subscribe for more: ▼ PC via Buy Avatar: Watch more 'Before You Buy': #avatar

Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora Review - The Good Blue Man Group

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Before starting Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, I was reminded of what I think of when considering any open-world game: Killscreen's review of Fallout 4 by Chris Breault, and the opening line, "Here comes the trashman!" Breault discusses an experience of constantly picking up and covering yourself in the garbage scattered around that game's massive world. It's a description that feels highly applicable to most open-world games--huge, but full of refuse that you spend endless hours picking through and carting around, only to replace it with newer, better garbage. Most open-world games are too concerned with filling their worlds, both literally and metaphorically, with a deluge of needless stuff, and it’s why I find the genre can be off-putting.

It's the fear of that torrent of trash that made Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora surprisingly refreshing and also endearing. Frontiers pushes aside some of the concerns about sifting through heaps of junk and clearing incessant icons from your HUD by keeping your screen clear so you can appreciate its gorgeous vistas and strange creatures, thus encouraging you to take in and understand the world around you. Though it still has a lot of open-world staples, like numerous activities and an expansive crafting system, it manages to incorporate them as systems that enhance an overarching feeling of exploration and discovery, and it never bombards you with them. These elements feel like they're meant to help you experience the world itself, instead of just filling it up with more litter.

Two things make Frontiers of Pandora work: its incredible setting and its alien protagonist. I've never had much more than a passing interest in the Avatar films, but Pandora, the lush alien world on which they take place, is an outstanding location to set a video game. It's an enormous and strange place, filled with alien plants, creatures that glow in darkness, and wildlife that towers over the landscape.

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