Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on the new horror/classic hybrid novel by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, sounds like an unusual game. On one hand, we expected a well-made game based on Freeverse’s recent track record, but on the other, this appeared to have all the ingredients of a shameless cash-in on the popular zombie theme. Putting all skepticism aside, we dove right into the experience. Turns out we were right: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an unusual game, but it’s highly entertaining.
The game doesn’t require familiarity with either the classic or the revamped novel to follow along here, but if you have read either of them you will enjoy a deeper satisfaction from the story. With all the characters and families from the original novel being included, the guys at Freeverse largely stick to the script until it’s time to introduce zombiefied Englishmen, ninjas, and animals. Early on you’ll just learn to roll with every wacky turn, because the dialogue is comical and ridiculous at the same time.
Some mighty strong legs on you, miss.
This is a classic side-scrolling beat-‘em-up game. You play as Elizabeth Bennett, the novel’s protagonist, defending your family’s name while kicking zombie tail across most of the game’s 12 levels. Moving Elizabeth around is handled with a virtual analog stick, and delivering blows and attacks is done with a series of taps and gestures on the right side of the screen. The special moves are fun as they can kill off several enemies at one time, and between levels you can beef them up to make attacks even more effective.
One element that does a great job of tying together this game’s mix of interesting design choices is its production value. We really dig the muted, yet effective, visual style that looks like an interactive Rembrandt painting. The illusion is shattered when the killing starts; zombie limbs and blood fly all over the place, making for a hilarious contrast of styles.
Indeed, good sirs, I shall tear you limb from limb.
The music is apt as well. During the story sequences, classical tunes fill the air to supplement the conversation. But once zombies crash the party, the tone shifts to something out of a horror movie.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies isn’t the longest game, and there are not many extras to encourage repeated play-throughs. The Plus+ network integration incorporates leaderboards and achievements, but that’s about it. Watching how the classic Austen unfolds with a zombie twist is almost worth the price of admission alone.
We know it’s easy to get apathetic about yet another zombie game, but this one is something else. Big ups to the team at Freeverse for executing such a unique premise that strangely feels perfect. Fans of irreverent and beat-‘em-up games will likely enjoy this fun, albeit brief, re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice.