Zombies are overused in video games with almost every Call of Duty offering Zombies mode, Dead Rising tackling open world Zombie adventure and games like State of Decay ticking the rest of boxes for whatever is left for Zombies. It is not easy to release a game that can easily impress in this setting. It has to be unique to set it apart from other similar clones. School Girl/Zombie Hunter is unfortunately not one of them.
The game is set in a school where a group of school girls (duh) are trapped after a Zombie apocalypse begins. They have to work together as a team, to save themselves from the onslaught of Zombie while figuring out how to survive the outbreak. This could have been potentially another High School of the Dead with a strong cast of character and well structured story, but it ends up being a mission based game where the focus is more on doing the same repetitive tasks again and again backed by a dull combat.
School Girl/Zombie Hunter is set in the same universe as the popular hack and slash Onechanbara, which also features women in bikinis killing zombies. Despite that, the story is completely different and features its own unique cast of characters. Each character has its own distinct personality although it hardly matter when you find out that most of them play the same with the exception of their melee attacks and some skills.
The game could have worked well if the gameplay was good since the mission based design encourages you to repeat them in order to get a better ranking, but this is where the game fails to work properly. Each of the mission is fairly lackluster in term of design offering nothing exciting aside from the killing the same group of zombies. You will also get into occasional boss fights but these suffer from the same problem and end up being repetitive instead. There is no skill and strategy to use here and simply rushing from one objective to the next should work for most of the missions.
As a game that relies on fan service, the game does have its moments. You can change the outfit of any character going as far as stripping them down to their underwear. This is not surprising for those who might have played Onechanbara, which offers similar outfits and perks to the player, however it is hard to ignore the repetitive nature of the gameplay. The fan service level is a little bit too much for my taste and the developers have even implemented mechanics which rips the clothes of the girls when they get damaged.
The weapons could have potential to enhance the gameplay if they offered some nice perks, but the system is just not as deep as one might expect. I was expecting good shooting gameplay from the game and it was disappointing to see that the game barely functions as a shooter. The camera is just too static and you are limited to zooming into with a single button press which also limits your mobility because you won’t be able to notice enemies closer to your character.
The melee combat is tied to the stamina which is also used to run if you are just looking to end a mission by rushing to the objective, it can come handy. If you are interested in collectibles, you will find plenty of them in each mission including secret bats that you can shoot to kill. Some of the collectibles unlock more weapons and outfits for your character. Weapons are also determined by their stats so you might pick the best weapon for each character. You can customize their weapons, attacks and outfits all at the mission select screen.
The game is divided in chapters and each mission offers multiple cutscenes advancing the story. These cutscenes are completely cut and dry and lack any personality for the characters, so it is best if you can skip them since you won’t likely miss anything important. That said, the developers do deserve a mention here for atleast trying to present a story, no matter how incoherent and terrible it ended up.
The single player campaign is not that long and relies on replay value by awarding ranks for missions, in case you want to get the highest ranking in each mission or find all collectibles. You can also play online multiplayer which is limited by a room-based matchmaking system. You can create your own room or join a room created by a player and play a mission together with them.
School Girl/Zombie Hunter Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: SG/ZH School Girl/Zombie Hunter is a shooting video game PlayStation 4 exclusive. The game has been released in Japan on 12 January 2017 and West on 16 November 2017.
Rather than taking inspiration from the action packed High School of the Dead, School Girl/Zombie Hunter manages to make an otherwise fun setting into a completely dull experience with its repetitive gameplay, low quality cutscenes and lackluster story.