2.8 Hours Later

3:47 pm in Featured, Review, Reviews by EVNT

2.8 Hours Later is probably the fastest growing pervasive event of the last two years. Long popular in its native Bristol, creators Slingshot have since toured it round the country twice – most recently sending hundreds of players careering around the Isle of Dogs, closely followed by zombie hordes eager to taste their brains.

Well, I say ‘hordes’ of zombies but this wasn’t quite the case this time round. Yes, there were zombies and yes they were both surprising (particularly in the first section in which we had naively believed we would be safe) and scary. But their numbers were less than when we had played the game previously. Consequently, they had to move a lot more quickly to try to corner the victims that dashed across their path, especially when the player groups started bunching up and (literally) running in to each-other.

There were some fantastic set pieces and character interactions – the entry into a deserted container yard and discovery of your contact all bloodied and menaced by a hook wielding maniac who then turned on you was genuinely threatening (though to only have one zombie chase you on the way out again decidedly less so). The game locations and overall setting, with Canary Wharf looming over you the whole time, were extremely atmospheric and the concept of creeping through the streets trying to survive was still extremely enjoyable. However, by the final third of the game the numbers of players versus the number of enemies just got a bit ridiculous. It felt more like a set of playground games of tag and – in the final sequence with a random and unexplained mad professor character – British bulldog.

Which brings me onto my final moan (sorry!) which was there was just no *story*. Ok – to be fair, you don’t need much of a story – it’s the end of the world and the zombies want to eat your brains. Go. What you do need is game-world creation. And, despite the reasonable efforts of the characters we encountered on the way, every time we were looking for the next location we would encounter a bloke in a high-vis vest who would say ‘Go that way then turn left. You having a good night?’ as if you were actually on a student bar-crawl.

I admit that the many students who were on the experience – many as a result of earning a ticket through volunteering on a previous night – were having a riot. As, indeed, were the participants who hadn’t done anything like it before.