Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead VR experience review

There’s been an outbreak of Shamblers and Alpha zombies in West London, and you’ve been drafted to fight them back in this virtual reality attraction.

Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead is a VR experience that’s popped-up in Westfield London (and Westfield Century City, Los Angeles) – and it’s a blast. Based on Zack Snyder’s hit Netflix action horror, it sends you and a crew of fellow sharpshooters on a rescue mission deep into Vegas, behind zombie lines, to rescue Dave and other survivors. Dave is a dope. He needs your help.

As a card-carrying member of Zack’s Army of the Dead fan club, there was no way I’d let Dave become zombie chum. Did my mission succeed? Now that would be telling...

First thing to say is that Viva Las Vengeance is big. It’s taken over what used to be department store Debenham’s in Westfield. Needless to say, killing zombies in a shopping mall feels right – we’ve got George A Romeo to thank for that.

The second thing to say is that this is hands down the best immersive VR experience I’ve played, mixing high-performance virtual reality headsets with state-of-the-art motion platforms and great a setup.

Once you’ve checked in (you can stow your bags and sundries in a locker), you’re briefed by one of the cast members, all of whom are decked out in military garb. I was asked to choose my avatar and weapon (I opted for a shotgun, obviously), and whether I wanted my laser sight active. Definitely opt for this as it lets you see just how accurate the gunplay is, plus it looks exceptionally cool amid the mayhem.

You’re then forwarded into the compound, where you’ll wait to be called up. The set dressing throughout is great. There’s a wall of the missing amid assorted apocalyptic signage, while a huge Valentine, the movie’s zombie tiger, keeps a watchful dead eye over the merch.

Army of the Dead_VR_Valentine.jpg

Eventually I was ushered in for my pre-brief, which takes place, naturally, inside a shipping container. Fitted out with tracking mitts, I was then ushered to my rescue vehicle, a tactical taco cart, where VR headset and weapon waited. Don’t worry Dave, I’m coming for you!

I’m not going to reveal what happens next, but the fluidity of VR movement, the detail in the animation and the physical effects that follow are first-rate. Viva Las Vengeance is a gloriously gruesome thrill ride.

When you exit, via the gift shop, you’ll get to see how well you did (or didn’t) do. I ranked as Expert Warrior. I’ll take that.

This may sound obvious, but make sure you’ve watched the movie before taking part, else you’ll not understand the references...

When it comes to COVID compliance, I’m told all VR kit is regularly cleaned with a UVC surface decontamination system called Cleanbox, and each VR headset and gun coated with FluoroPel 260, a hydrophobic and oleophobic treatment. This is probably enough to kill zombies.

Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead is open now, with a limited eight-week engagement. It’s suitable for players 13+. Tickets prices start from £18. Don’t miss it.

Dave is depending on you.