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PCVR GamesReviews

Z.O.N.A Project X Review

Z.O.N.A Project X got my attention after watching some early access gameplay, around the time the game launched in full. It looked like the game was going to bring the feeling of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series to VR.

STORY

In the game you are placed into the shoes of Freedom Fighter, who is the only known surviving member of an attack on your train. You are soon screwed over by the person that rescued you and left to fend for yourself in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone. The question is, can you survive, find your missing squad, get revenge on your rescuer and find what you were originally looking for?

GAMEPLAY

Z.O.N.A Project X plays out as a survival game in a way, however, there wasn’t very many times I found myself struggling to find ammo or resources – there was only a few times where I was thinking I better reserve ammo and try and avoid combat. I don’t know if I was just lucky, it just seemed every time ammo started to run low, I would find a room with either ammo-boxes to refill the magazines or just magazines in general.

When it comes the combat and guns, I feel that this handles well, and the iron-sights and attachments seem to be accurately calibrated. I would recommend always storing a magazine for your gun on your body, otherwise you will be in a panic trying to get one out of your backpack mid-battle – I forgot to do this a few times and in most cases it ended in death.

Now, one area I had issues with the weapons, was in a rush to reload my guns at times I would accidentally remove the sight and drop it, resulting in having to look for it in the long grass. This is quite easy to do, as the cocking mechanism is close to the sight in most cases – and it is quite easy to use the wrong button to remove it.

The game will throw a good number of enemy types at you, as well as a number of anomalies that need to be avoided in different ways. This keeps the game feeling fresh as you make your way through the wastelands, as you might suddenly come across a new enemy type to take out or avoid.

At first I was quite annoyed by the lack of a map on your PDA, as it seemed I was just exploring looking for the next area or ending of the current section. However, as I moved further into the game, I noticed the sense of exploration really is a great for a game set in an exclusion zone.

PRESENTATION

Visually the games depicts a dilapidated nuclear exclusion zone perfectly, and holds-up well in the graphics department. There is a few flat textures here and there, but these do no pull you out of the immersion – and is understandable on how busy some of the areas are with foliage with the areas being abandoned. With the size of the development team the work they have done with the visuals is really impressive.

The sound really sets the atmosphere perfectly, and for me this is by far the strongest part of the game. The storms, the environmental sounds, the moans and groans of the monsters and the sound of the guns are fantastic. As I was exploring each location, you can get a real feeling of dread, as the atmosphere sets the tone of what is going on in the exclusion zone.

My only real issue with the audio is that there is no voice acting, meaning you are going to reading all the radio messages you get in the game. But, this is something AGaming+ is looking to address in the future, and with it being small development team, I can understand why this is might not be present.

COMFORT/CONTROLS

When it comes to comfort, the game offers limited options. This allows for seated and standing play and snap or smooth turning only. Meaning no teleport of vignettes for those who require these options. Also the game offers a pick-up system like Alyx or by manual pick ups – there is an option to turn off gravity pick-ups if you want to remove this completely.

TRACKED CONTROLLERS

GAMEPAD

LONGEVITY

The game took around five to six-hours to complete, and comes with two endings. In this time I only played one of the endings, so I could go back in and try and get the peaceful ending. This is something I might do further down the line as I enjoyed what I played. So, getting both endings is going to make the game have more longevity.

REVIEWED USING VIVE PRO EYE & INDEX CONTROLLERS

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Z.O.N.A Project X brings a real S.T.A.L.K.E.R vibe, but in virtual reality. With AGaming+ really depicting the dilapidated exclusion zone in Chernobyl well, this is then brought to life by the atmosphere through the use of audio, which sets the tone perfectly. With solid gun-play, survival elements and a good variety of enemies ranging from dogs, mutants, zombies, soldiers and some anomalies keeping the game feeling fresh as you progress. If you are looking for game that feels close to S.T.A.L.K.E.R in VR, I would recommend giving this one a chance.

GAME DETAILS

Release Date: August 25 2023
Developer: AGaming+
Publisher: AGaming+
Price: US $14.99 / CA $19.49 / €14,99 / £9.99

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