Developer Tamsoft has been known as of late for their action games. The Onechanbara series specifically is known for its over-the-top and enjoyable hack-and-slashing that’s good in a B-movie sort of way. So when the developer announced their next project, SG/HZ: School Girl Zombie Hunter, fans of the developer were interested. Considering how worn out the zombie game genre has become, does this title stand out amongst its peers?
SG/HZ is a third-person shooter where the girls have access to a plethora of guns, gradually unlocked as you progress through the game. Like other zombie games this generation, your goal is to kill the zombies coming near you as to progress further into the level.
Some of the zombies carry weapons in an attempt to tighten the difficulty, which is completely discarded on the fact that the zombies have some of the stupidest AI I’ve ever seen in a game. Onechanbara wasn’t a perfect game in this department either, but at least some of the enemies in that game put up a fight. The “harder” difficulty modes don’t help remedy this issue, as the game just ramps up the number that spawn at any given moment. It’s heightened difficulty through attrition and it’s a bore to play at these higher difficulties. You don’t even get to see the zombie bodies pile up as they quickly disappear, so you can’t use them for cover.
Another blemish is the fact that the control scheme is borderline awful for anyone used to a typical third-person shooter. As a quick example of this, the Circle button controls your jumping, while the X button controls your zoom. That should give you a quick glimpse at the issues here. Tamsoft developed Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash, released before this title, so seeing the controls regressed so horribly here is a major disappointment.
There’s a story woven into all of this, but to be honest, it’s forgettable at best and annoying at its worst due to one specific thing about it. Tamsoft tried to make the characters more human with character interaction cut-scenes, but the typical girl things they talk about are entirely out of place for a game where there’s supposed to be a zombie outbreak. One word to sum it up would be tone-deaf. Western publisher Aksys Games gets credit for making the actual dialogue entertaining, so that’s a positive at least.
Of course, like a lot of games coming out from Japan lately, this game objectifies women. This was true for other games such as Senran Kagura, but that series (specifically the main games) at least had a narrative where the female leads felt multi-dimensional and not cookie-cutter representations of tropes. As expected, the more damage is dealt to one of the girls, the more the clothing rips off — with fully modeled rip-able clothing to boot. And you can even throw your clothing at an enemy to distract them, but with the braindead AI of the zombies this isn’t really needed unless the player wants to stare at half-naked women the entire time.
Overall, this game at best is an okay zombie killing game. While it may seem similar to other games such as Onechanbara or Senran Kagura, it’s merely a pale imitation.School Girl / Zombie Hunter was reviewed using a PS4 Digital Copy provided by Aksys Games. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|The localization by Aksys Games is one of the highlights, as you can tell they had fun with it.|
|Mind-numbingly stupid AI.|
|The harder difficulties don’t make enemies more intelligent, instead just adding more of them to pad out the length of each area.|
|While other games by Tamsoft have objectified women, those at least had a narrative that didn’t feel like an complete and outright objectification.|