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Review: Zombie Grenades Practice (PC)By Chris125 At 14.05.2018 15:11

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In many ways, Zombie Grenades Practice is a novel concept, surprisingly so given the content matter in question. Think of this as less of the action survival title that might be expected and instead imagine essentially more casual puzzle-solving within a unique setting and it comes some way to summing up the gameplay.

ARVI put a hoard of brainless zombies in a number of interior industrial sci-fi warehouse settings and in front of the eyes appear an arsenal of shiny grenades. Of course, they are mixed up with some additional attributes: such as the standard timed explosive, an instantaneous explosion type, a bouncing grenade, and a few more.

What is great is that the challenges that take place in each of the 15 stages do a fine job at taking advantage of the different types of weaponry on offer. There will be gaps in a wall in which a deftly accurate throw is required, or there may be an area that needs the instant explosive before the grenade rolls off, or maybe even a zombie that is on a higher level and requires the bouncing type. Overall, there is plenty of thought put into the objectives.

Alongside that, it is pleasing that they are bolstered with some additional things to keep in mind, such as protecting allies, hitting certain buttons and collecting objectives and also boss zombies that require more than one hit, ensuring that some degree of strategic thought is needed.

It is equally impressive the thought put into the little extra touches of authenticity when it comes to the physics of the grenades themselves. It would have been quite easy to take the easy route and assign the throwing action to a button. Instead, the developer has programmed in the realistic act of holding with one hand and pulling the pin with the other and then throwing. It's a touch that brings that incredibly important aspect of immersion so desired within the VR medium.

The shame in many ways is that in the process of trying to get the best score possible and using the least grenades possible - the challenge tends to be more often than not in battling the game itself rather than the various environmental challenges.

Whilst praise goes for thinking of the act of priming the explosive, the issues come with throwing it. Again, props for actually allowing the throwing motion rather than a safe analogue stick aim system. However, the practical difficulty with this comes in the complete lack of feedback within the system. Without any guidance, it is a complete guessing game as to how far or where the grenade goes. This can make things immensely frustrating when a great deal of accuracy is required in some of the trickier levels.

On top of that, there is an issue with the basic level of performance optimisation. Now, Zombie Grenades Practice is not a bad looking game by any means, indeed it has some quite nice details and effects. However, it seems bizarre that the requirements (even for VR) are incredibly steep. With the recommended specs at a GTX 1080 card, it puts it ahead of most of the competition in this regard, but well below what many users will avail of.

The result is that there is a significant level of latency, which does no favours when it comes to the problems with aiming and throwing. Thankfully, most of the action is static, so it isn't likely to present any motion sickness issues, however, it definitely is a problem and it would be great if the performance could be reviewed and tweaked going forward.

Additionally, in the interests of transparency, it is also fair to say performance is not without its crashes - happening on two occasions during review, one of which required Steam VR to be completely restarted. The annoying thing is in VR this is a lot more hassle than normal and so crashing tends to have the effect of taking any immersion away very quickly.

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Final Score
[i]Zombie Grenades Practice[/i] has something really pleasing about it. The concept is definitely unique and it is the kind of title that is perfect for VR when it comes to encouraging manageable, time efficient sessions of strategic fun. The physics are great, with the act of throwing the grenades a real treat, albeit the animation quality of the NPCs is not the best ever seen. However, it is a shame that technical issues involving the performance and bugs mar what could be a really great experience. A bit of further development and tweaking, as well as adding some additional levels, would improve things immensely.

6

/10

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