Would you be able to survive a zombie outbreak?
Well, now you can find out thanks to a new game that’s come to Zero Latency Abu Dhabi at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island. Outbreak Origins is a survival virtual reality game that allows players to enter a world overtaken by zombies.
Whether you want to take on the challenge as a single player or with a group of friends (the maximum number of players is eight), the goal remains the same: survive and find a cure.
What players can expect
Upon arrival, we have to register for the game by filling out information including our names and height. It’s advised to come early to sort this out.
After that, we head into another room for a safety briefing ahead of our session. This is also when the game is explained to us in more detail.
We’re told about our mission but also given safety protocol to follow, to help us avoid walking into each other, or worse, the wall.
We’re also given tips to help us during the game, such as to aim for a zombie's head and to stand on a yellow “waypoint” to collect a special weapon. We’re also reassured that, even if we "die", we respawn in 10 seconds and that our guns never run out of ammunition.
After our briefing is finished, we put on hairnets and pull masks over our eyes (we look like robbers). We also need to put on backpacks that carry small compact PCs in them. Our weapons are connected to the backpacks.
As someone who has never tried anything in VR but enjoys playing video games, this is quite an experience. On donning our helmets and goggles, we are instantly transported to another world. My fellow players and I become avatars and we make our way through a testing facility that’s been breached.
There are six of us playing and we end up splitting into two groups of three. I don’t want to give too much away, lest I spoil the game, but it is best played with someone who is easily scared. One of our fellow players provided much of the entertainment throughout our mission thanks to her reactions, screaming every time zombies headed her way.
Through the headphones, we were all able to clearly hear and communicate with each other.
One noteworthy moment comes when we're tasked with having to cross a small ledge that's high above the ground. In reality, we know we're not on a roof, but I still felt as though one wrong move would result in a huge drop. I found myself taking small steps forward to cross it, feeling nervous and anxious about my movement, despite knowing I’m actually still on the ground in real life.
There’s a small window on the side of the room where people can watch players immersed in the game. At this point, I imagine seeing the six of us suddenly slow down and take small steps forward while we are trying to cross the virtual bridge. It must have been entertaining to watch.
So how does 'Outbreak Origins' measure up?
One of my favourite aspects of the game is how realistic our weapons feel in the sense that when we shoot them, there’s no lag in hitting our targets during gameplay. I advise wearing comfortable shoes, such as trainers, for the session. While there isn't any running (it isn't allowed anyway), it is better that your shoes make walking around easier.
The game is only 30 minutes but it feels like a perfectly good length of time for it. Afterwards, we all share a good laugh about our experience surviving the VR world of a zombie outbreak.
Even better, a scoreboard at the end reveals how we've stacked up against each other, ranking our kills and times we've died in the game to offer each player's final score. As a team, we finished 14 out of 33 on the all-time leaderboard.
While we would love to raise our team standing higher, one downside of the game is that it never changes, so if you've played it once, it may get a bit repetitive to return to, unless with a different group of friends.
Overall, Outbreak Origins is action-packed and gets your adrenalin pumping as it's also slightly scary (which is why it’s only for players aged 13 and above). It's a brilliant and fun time.
'Outbreak Origins', Dh180 per person, players have to be 13 or above, Zero Latency, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, www.zerolatencyvr.com