LifeisXbox’s The Living Remain review | Zombies are everywhere these days. Mainstream media, advertisements, movies, games, magazines, and comics. There is no denying that zombies have overrun our lives not just in movies and games, but in many aspects because of the popularity that they bring. VR has helped bring the zombie, and first-person genre into a new exciting, and frighteningly real experience that the standard 3D games medium has saturated for far too long. Sure there are exceptions to this such as Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 Remake, and Dead Rising, but VR really adds that extra layer of fear we all crave despite how much we tell ourselves we hate it. The Living Remain is the latest VR shooter that incorporates a good story, decent mechanics, and zombies into a pretty decent game overall. Created and Published by Five Finger Studios, The Living Remain doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it does add some nice gunplay, a decent upgrade system, and a story worth exploring.
Most Memorable Moment
For me, it had to be the water segments in the sewer system. That was straight-up terrifying! Seeing zombies crawl out of the water to meet your eye level as you are cautiously moving around will unnerve anyone. Since your speed is also reduced in water, running away isn’t so much an option. From then on, I spent most of my time ducking down into the water to see what was coming further away. The Living Remain absolutely nailed the atmosphere in this section.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC Via Oculus Quest 2 | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Satisfying Gunplay | The weapons in The Living Remain are some of the best I have ever used in a VR game. These are made better by the upgrades you are able to apply to them. There is a wide variety of weapons to use at your disposal too. There are the usual Baretta 9mm, a Colt Python, a Shotgun, an AK-47, an M-16 rifle, and an Uzi. Each gun has its own ammo type which you can see by looking at your belt. When you need to replace a magazine, you press the A button on the right controller and the X button on the left if you are using dual wield or are a lefty. You then grab the magazine from over your shoulder and insert it into the chamber of the gun. You then pull back the hammer or cock the weapon to begin firing again. Since the core mechanic of the game is shooting zombies, it’s really good to see there is so much detail in the weapons and the shooting system. Some weapons like the shotgun require you to load shell by shell, as does the Colt Python which requires you to spin the barrel and put in bullets separately before snapping it back into place.
- A Decent Campaign | The Living Remain has a decent campaign length for a VR game. Most VR titles don’t push the boundaries too much since VR can make people sick or get very tired after a short period of time. With a campaign that took me just shy of 4 hours to finish, I think that the 4 hour mark for a VR campaign is decent enough. It’s very linear in its approach and doesn’t offer too many areas to break off from and explore. There was never a time I felt lost or unsure as to where to go as the game offers very subtle audio cues telling you something needs to be interacted with. This isn’t a bad thing at all, and I find games like this are great ways of easing yourself into longer or larger games.
- Upgrading Mechanics | The first time I upgraded a weapon I was really impressed. The Living Remain uses a 3D printing mechanic to 3D print new parts for your weapons. Want a bigger magazine size for your weapon? No problem! Just 3D print one. Want a sight? Want a better grip or a speed load mag? There are quite a few possibilities here to mess around to give your weapons a much-needed upgrade. It also makes the guns feel more unique to you. During my playthrough, I decided to focus my upgrades around the handgun and the M-16 rifle. I made a red dot sight for my rifle, with a foregrip, and for my handgun, I gave it an extended magazine with better grips and various other upgrades. It is something I have never seen done before in video games let alone VR. The whole upgrade system felt original and refreshing and I actively sought out more filament for use with the printer whilst playing through the campaign.
- Graphically Impressive | The Living Remain is a pretty impressive-looking VR title. The streets, the sewers, and the abandoned warehouses are all nicely tied together and have a lot of tiny details that you really notice when playing in VR. Beams of light fall down through a crack in the ceiling whilst torn material blows in the wind, caught on a metal railing. It’s all here and the world does feel really alive for something that contains nothing but dead people. I mentioned above about the water sections, and that is also something that surprised me. Very rarely do you see this level of detail in indie games. We have underwater caustics, buoyancy, and reduced movement when dealing with water. Normally it’s an area that developers will steer clear of because it can be quite time-consuming and can sometimes not work correctly. But The Living Remain does a really good job here with the graphics and the small details, and I have to say, I really appreciate that. Remember, this is a VR game, and atmosphere and immersion is a huge selling point.
- Audio | The audio in The Living Remain is nothing special, it is actually quite limited to what it offers. The usual stuff can be found here such as the weapon shots for each weapon and they are satisfying enough. What it lacks though is room acoustic versions of those sounds. There are times when you are in incredibly tight spaces set within the confines of a facility, and other times you are out in the wide-open spaces. At no point do the sounds from the weapons change though. The music is also quite limited and instead, they go for cued music when certain events happen. The rest of the time the game is pretty much absent of music & other sound effects. It does make all the difference, especially inside a VR game where everything contributes to the world being made realistic and authentic. The voice acting is okay, it’s nothing to write home about. The actor who voices the main character is worse than the supporting characters of the soldiers at the end and the radio voice that helps drive the story forward.
- Lack of Zombie Variation | The Living Remain suffers from what most zombie games suffer from. Lack of variation. Within the first few minutes of the game, most of the enemies will become instantly recognisable. I don’t mean zombie with a hat, zombie crawling, zombie running, I’m talking straight-up copy-paste jobs that will sometimes really break immersion. During my time with The Living Remain, there were no zombies that ever posed a threat because all they did was shamble toward me. There were no mutations or variations or big boss zombies that made you go “Wow… I’m going to die”. That for me was a big letdown.
What we Disliked
- Fairly Buggy | The Living Remain has quite a few bugs, unfortunately. Despite being updated several times during my review period, there were numerous issues ranging from almost infinite health zombies, getting stuck inside objects and walls, and even black screens when loading forcing me to restart. It’s a shame because when this game gets going, it’s really fun to play, but there were too many times when the game was ruined by these bugs.
- Lack of Additional Modes/Replayability | Apart from the campaign, The Living Remain offers no additional modes or multiplayer. I would have liked to have seen either an arcade mode, shooting range, horde mode, or multiplayer like Arizona Sunshine. That would have been a great way to add replayability to the game.
How long to beat the story | 4-5 hours
How long to unlock all achievements | 4-5 hours
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I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.