Zombies are my bread and butter. I make it my business to play zombie and survival games, simply because I love them. I was also born and raised in New York, so I take a certain satisfaction from its depictions in games and art, when it’s done well. All zombie games aren’t created equal of course, and all games set in New York aren’t necessarily worthy of the city.
NY Zombies II is an Android FPS that looks and plays like an action game from the end of the first PlayStation’s era, or, if I’m being kind, the beginning of PS2’s. That’s good in some ways and bad in others. For instance, with the PS2, art style in menus began to come into its own, began to suck you into and further enhance the game itself. The same is true of NYZ2. The menu is a map of New York, the levels are pushpins, and the gun lying on top of it is the store where you can upgrade your equipment and your skills. Descriptions of the levels appear as scrawled notes dated to count the days since the disaster. When you select things you leave a bloody fingerprint. Hey, it’s the little things. Menus like this might have been done a few times before, but it looks good and it works: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Unfortunately, the bigger picture isn’t much to write home about. The in-level graphics don’t do the current hardware justice. As a result, the game struggles to do justice to New York City. The only thing “New York” about this is that the relentlessness of the zombie horde is like being caught in the morning commute press for the 4 train. People will never stop coming, and neither will the zombies. No matter your level, zombies appear from every corner of the map as long as the level lasts. In some levels, the entire objective is to kill ’em all; at least that kind of makes sense in light of the general situation.
That said, when I pick up a zombie game, I’m looking to play something that gets my adrenaline pumping, and never ending zombies is NYZ2 ‘s way of making players jump. As an Android FPS title it has less work to do when it comes to putting the player in the midst of the action. Sadly, looks are important in a game where the other main features (mission structure and controls) are rough as sandpaper.
NY Zombies II has you make your way through the city, stopping at bland representations of landmarks like Times Square. If only every mission didn’t have some massive logical hole in it. You are tasked, for example, with setting up a barricade, and the game instructs you that the best place to do this is in the center of an open field. Because a wide open space where you have to cover 360 degrees somehow makes more sense than putting your back to the wall? No, it makes no sense, unless the developers were hoping players would get frustrated and spend real money on upgrades to make playing easier, or if the devs didn’t think about it at all.
In another mission you have to rescue survivors, but the unending onslaught of undead doesn’t notice them at all, only you. This is probably a good thing (aside from the complete lack of logic as to why the other survivors are invisible to the zombies, and vice versa), since there’s no auto-targeting system and the faux joystick controls could be tighter. It would be interesting to try this with an Android controller, hopefully, performance would be improved.
Another zombie game with more potential than follow-through, this could have been a decent buy. The three skill-trees added a layer of player freedom, even if only a thin one (since the game warns you that you’ll only be able to complete one tree). There are a variety of zombie types (infected dogs, birds, and emaciated high-jumpers in addition to the expected runners and fatties). I suppose if you don’t mind the achingly bad graphics and the rough controls, you could enjoy NYZ2. I’m not sure I would pay one dollar for it, though, let alone spend real money in the in-game store. Certain weapons are so expensive it’s clear you’d need to play this like it’s COD to earn enough to buy them, or plunk down real money.
It’s insulting when games rely on tired tropes that have been used a million times. It’s worse when gamers are expected to pay for them, especially when there are a slew of similar and better games that you only have to pay for once. Foursaken Media, NYZ2’s devs, have done better games in the past (Bug Heroes and Heroes and Castles come to mind), so they know better. Even for fans of all things zombie, NY Zombies II is only worth the free trial.
Is it Hardcore?
A survival game reminiscent of early PS2 without the benefit of tight controls, and with the added insult of an in-game store.