Live action zombie games are becoming increasingly popular, and there’s a growing number of these experiences available in the UK. 2.8 Hours Later, the citywide zombie chase, is one of the biggest. I’d never played one of these before, and with the game coming to Sheffield this year, it was pretty much a given that I’d be trying it out.
There have been several different versions of 2.8 Hours Later in the past few years, meaning those who have played before will get a different storyline and objective to their previous game. 2.8 Hours Later: Survival is the latest chapter in the story of the zombie apocalypse. Our mission was simple: retrieve a bottle of water from Safe City and bring it back, ensuring our water carrier does not become infected, thus infecting the water. We were given a map and our first set of co-ordinates, which would bring us to our next set, and so on until we reached our final destination. With zombies at almost every turn, we knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we were up for the challenge.
I’ll be honest- I wasn't really sure what to make of this event at first. I usually get nervous when I'm trying out a new scare attraction because I don’t know what to expect, but this time I wasn't scared going in; just concerned about all the running we’d be doing! It wasn’t until we received our brief from The Commander that this started to feel like a scare event, and from that point on, it got pretty exciting. The Commander was a very convincing character and the briefing room contained some great pieces of theming, such as spray painted banners, maps and technical equipment. This was a near perfect dispatch into the game environment.
Unfortunately, the tension levels dropped off a little when we reached our first point on the map, as there were several teams backed up waiting to access the computer which gave the next set of co-ordinates. This happened a couple of times over the course of the evening; we had to wait with the steward until we were given the instruction to proceed. One way improve this would be to use actors in these positions. They could remain in character and interact with us, helping to move the story forward and keep our heads in the game. Although I don’t doubt that this would be quite difficult to achieve.
Alongside the zombies, there were a few ‘human’ characters dotted around. These were fun to interact with, given the fact that we were unsure of who we could trust! Some gave us instructions, others just tried to confuse us. All the performances were excellent, and I was really impressed by our first character encounter; a somewhat gruesome scene which featured a woman who had been bitten, and her friend begging us for help. Needless to say, we hurried along.
There were a couple of indoor environments as part of the game, and the theming inside was OK, but I was hoping for a bit more than just flashing lights. The outdoor theming was limited because the game zone is so large, but there were a few signs along the way which linked back to the task. At one point we found ourselves at the Safe City perimeter fence, which had a hole in it for us to squeeze through. There were warning signs and some emergency lighting at the border, but once we got through the fence it was almost completely dark. It was tense… even more so when we spotted several zombies shuffling around in the shadows. This was easily the most effective and scary segment for me.
The zombies were all fantastic, they did such a great job. Their movements were really unsettling; sometimes they were just twitching and lurching towards us, sometimes they would break into a run. Some groaned, some made terrifying screeching noises. I had underestimated how scary it would be to have one chasing me- it’s really quite unpleasant! At one point we were well and truly ambushed. Several members of our team were tagged (including me!), marked, and later scanned to see if we were infected. We were. But fortunately, our water carrier remained uninfected. Mission accomplished!
Overall, 2.8 Hours Later: Survival was an amazing experience, filled with tension, excitement, and moments of genuine panic! The addition of a few more challenges, solo games or dares would have taken the fear factor to the next level for me, but the game alone is still an effective format. It’s an extremely well executed event, and the chase element ensures that even the bravest players will be panicked once the zombies are in pursuit! This is intense, adrenaline fuelled scare entertainment; it’s physical and exhausting, but also a huge amount of fun. If you’re considering going for this then believe me, it will be worth it. But as with most scare entertainment, you more involved you get, the more fun you’ll have. So get pumped, get into character and get ready to run for your life. Will you survive? There's only one way to find out!