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You can see how Zack Snyder’s zombiepocalypse Army of the Dead could easily be translated into a first-person shooter video game. It would be unlikely if Snyder and the team at Netflix didn’t consider the spin-off potential of the property in the design of the feature.
So, it’s hardly a surprise that groups of six fans can now hunt zombies and save survivors together in a virtual reality-based role play experience.
Presented by Netflix with partners Pure Imagination Studios (PIS), Fever and The Stone Quarry, the Viva Las Vengeance VR ride can be currently enjoyed for $24 at LA’s Westfield Century City.
“It’s a VR experience with a level of immersion that, honestly, compares to the best of what Disney and Universal have out there,” Pure Imagination Studios chief Josh Wexler tells The Hollywood Reporter.
THR writer Chris Gardner doesn’t appear to have experienced the ride himself and promotes the show uncritically. For example, he quotes Greg Lombardo, head of experiences at Netflix, saying press-release style: “The zombie-infested world of Las Vegas Zack created is larger than life and it was only fitting to leverage the immersive power of VR to bring fans closer to the action and join the Las Vengeance crew.”
Battle the Dead. Save the Living. Army of the Dead – Viva Las Vengeance, an all-new immersive VR experience is coming this summer. Go to https://t.co/jSNXeP8Svy for more info. pic.twitter.com/CJ5fW5m5AD— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) May 26, 2021
READ MORE: Inside Netflix’s ‘Army of the Dead’ Virtual Reality Experience: “It’s a Massive Undertaking” (The Hollywood Reporter)
According to PIS, during their journey, fans can expect “an epic 30-minute action-packed mission through Sin City,” yet, as THR points out but does not comment on, the actual VR portion of the event is close to 12 minutes long. After the game ends, “participants can browse merch, pose in a photo booth and refuel at a concession stand with a menu by that features items like Zombie Mulitas, Tacos Alphas and the Viva Burrito.”
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the activation is as an example of mobile location-based VR – cancelled under COVID but back with a Vengeance, if you will. The ride itself takes place in a couple of converted Taco vending trucks (familiar from the film) and will tour other cities in the US along with international venues including Berlin.
Eric Switzer has taken the ride and enjoyed it. Reviewing the VR experience for The Gamer, he says, “As a huge fan of these theme-park quality VR experiences, Viva Las Vengeance is a welcome return that raises the bar for in-person VR in more ways than one… It’s similar to Star Tours and The Simpsons in that it uses moving platforms to simulate the motion that you’re seeing on screen.”
He also, somewhat hilariously, describes the pre-show warm-up in which the ride’s “training” crew staff tries to get participants hyped up.
“At one point, our trainer pointed at the only woman in our group and announced that he didn’t think she was going to make it back. I don’t think he meant anything by it, but it was pretty awkward. As we entered the next room and loaded onto the tactical taco truck, another cast member made the exact same joke to me. Thankfully, we weren’t there for the performances.”