Friday, 12 July 2013

My 2c on the #Nerf #Zombie Strike range, left wanting for sure.

Mock Original Vortex Ripshot

I'm loving the whole idea. I'm a little confused at what point, and why the Zombie Strike range went radically off mark(?).

I'm a massive Vortex fan, don't get me wrong, but they could have really done something a little more unique, cutting leading edge for the HvZ genre or the blaster range itself. You can find the full Official Zombie Strike release here.  If they did this right, lets be honest, they would have every HvZ'er cashing out for these. High capacity, quick firing and funky aesthetics. No brainer? Well it seems like it's a little more complicated than we would think. Maybe they missed the boat by a year?

The Sledge Fire is new, and unseen, and we get a new crossbow (first in 20 odd years), and some funky new blasters. The range itself is neat, but there is something missing, something that leaves me (and other fans) wanting more.

I understand that Gnarwhal Studios control the IP on this, but you can still angle it in such a way it becomes "the standard" of blasters. Let's be honest, it's what is run at every game more or less (Zing and some others get a look in). So after reading Pockets rant, I had to let rip a little myself.

I suspect, that the conversation may have gone like this one sunny afternoon in Rhode Island Head Office (apply some healthy sarcasm):

Hasbro1: Yo Jerry sup?

Hasbro2: Hey Brad sup!

Hasbro1: Not much man, got to shift all these Vortex surplus somehow that no one wants, you?

Hasbro2: sucks2bu man, I gotta figure out some new designs for this gone-viral-but-we-denying-it ZS range

Hasbro1: yeah gl with that man, if only I could find a way to revive interest...

Hasbro2: u2 man, best of luck, I need to look at some old moulds for inspiration or something... hopefully I get away with it *yoink*


It may well be with Target bagging the Hammershot and Sledge Fire as exclusives, they may have taken on the IP of the moulds/designs, therefore the standard design for the range became just that - standard. But cmon, 2 years+ in the making, and someone somewhere must of said "hold up, will fans really buy what we are going to spin out?". On general the 99% of the Nerf fanbase will buy them happily, us in the NIC are another breed. Perhaps far too demanding, and of little impact on their sales. There is still time to fix things Hasbro.

Whilst I haven't personally used these, there's innovation happening right here - but it doesn't seem like the innovation stopped at the Sledge Fire. The Vortex blasters look to potentially employ something other than torsion springs to launch the XLR discs. You can see what appears to be no room to accommodate a torsion spring mechanism - not even a small one. Maybe i'm wrong here. What do you think?

Many in the NIC refer to the Hammershot / Wishshot as somewhat "old" now, maybe that's our addiction to scouring the web for new info, images and news from Baidu - is this a first for Hasbro beating Baidu at it's own game and releasing the whole range as we know it before they can?. What we are seeing new in the Sledge Fire firing is the upgraded barrel-snap mechanism - and lets not forget it's 3 dart cartridges. Whilst I don't know if they have done anything extensively new with the Vortex range mechanically - we live in hope.

I see a lot of people saying "hang on there folks - there is still time for them to change things, these look like prototypes". Whilst this very well could be the case, I doubt it. With what looks like the recycle of Vigilon, Proton, and some Jolty type action going on, it's FINE for now, but  I feel they have to sort their act out - they owe that much to their fans in sweet oblivion or not.

What is "upsetting" as a fan, is that they have clearly yanked the Crossfire Bow and the Sidewinder out of the upcoming NSE range (see badges on grip) and also the Fusefire (looks like Vigilon/slimmed Proton mould) is rocking the Vortex marking too. The Vortex range in ZS all hold one thing in common - single shot. In a world of toy blasters, a world of zombies, it's all make believe so why try to emulate the whole Resident Evil freak out of fumbling around for a round when you have 20 zombies closing in. I just don't see the point in these single shot blasters.... case and point the Ricochet is pretty much the Ripshot without the disc holder. So why bother buying that? Don't get me started on how the Crossfire has no Stock. I mean we could be happier fans seeing less plastic spam, and more accessories. Even if they continue the laziness and slap the Stockade Stock with a repaint - awesome. It's what should be on there anyhoo!

Mock NSE Crossfire Bow
Mock NSE Sidestrike

Mock Original Vortex Fusefire

NSE mock up by Southern Brisbane Nerf club

Maybe this is an expensive exercise for them to get feedback from fans - doubt it because they run extensive Focus Groups. Also saying that plastic is too expensive is a lame excuse for a multinational like them. No, if what AFoN said is true, it would be a terrible excuse for a market leader. When they are running a massive share buyback program ($115-150m) to reduce shareholder pay out and increase profits, it's like the brain is not talking to the hands.

I hope the internals are something we can work with, not being a modder myself, I am just a curious soul. I'm strongly wishing (most probably on deaf ears) that the string on the Crossfire is actually real and not a fake cosmetic like we see on the Rebelle Guardian. Perhaps they're waiting for modders to do some magic and go from there.

Nerf Rebelle Guardian Crossbow internals shot

N-Force - i'm glad we see this, having played with the blades at the Toy Fair, I was hoping we could see something more primemordial, dual ZS tomahawks/hatchets or even a sexed up mace. The cricket bat or baseball bat are a little too extreme and I can see they wouldn't want to promote easy-access violence. But then what are the existing range not doing? Smile

Nerf Zombie Strike Blade - redone Vanquish blade
I will pick this stuff up, but with so many single fire blasters already out, really? Could we have not come up with some badass blasters? There is so much already coming out, they could very easily of taken time out and made an awesome ZS pump action shotgun, maybe we will see that ZSwinchester rifle (in my opinion we are yet to see a flagship blaster for the ZS... please don't tell us it's the Crossfire Bow) or quit with this plastic spam and make a fist full of accessories that we fans DO want (EPPS, Stocks+++++).

My issue isn't that they are dishing out too many ranges too quickly, it's more that there seems to be a lack of thought behind what they normally do. I think N-Strike lasted for 5-6 years, I understand there is a huge gap to fill so maybe they are simply forcing competitors off the shelves?

What are your thoughts? Pretty sure I ain't alone on this.

PS. check out Mikes from Tactical Tags article: 'Hasbro Floods the Nerf Aisle' 



    I think these fit the ZS theme quite well. Buy 'em while you can.

  2. So do you think they will make the crossfire and sidestrike as elite guns? They would look a lot cooler!

  3. That Crossfire is photoshopped if you look one of the strings is missing a good chunk.

    1. They're all photoshopped. That's where they "deleted" the big ZombieStrike logo on the side of it. I shopped it back in for this post>

  4. I think the flush of so many blasters has left a lot of people wanting. Good post.

  5. On the crossbow, I wonder if the string will be inelastic and the bow arms flexible, or the other way around. Hoping the former.

  6. We'll have to wait to see how the ZS brand does. If it does well, hopefully we'll see more ZS blaster the likes of the Hammershot and Sledgefire. But, if these are the blasters we can expect in 2014, then I don't have a lot of confidence in the longevity of Zombiestrike :(

  7. [Alex] After having a mull over what you and Pocket have said, I'm feeling 50/50, but trying to see the positives:

    The Crossbow is definitely the biggest thing I'm looking forward to out of the ZS range. The Crossbow string will be for decoration from what I can tell / bet on. However with a bit of reinforcement modding of the bow-arms and then using an elastic/rubber strip, it could be made to mimic how people do "Nitefinders rubber band mods" to give some extra power.

    But you're right: why on earth does it not come with a shoulder stock? I can imagine a SuperSoaker SwitchShot stock painted up would look great, but also a Vortex Praxis stock in the similar colours would do the trick.

    It's a shame that no matter how much we seem to cry out for more accessories... they either bring out awesome blasters with no extras, or repaints of blasters we already have with a new accessory, (ala Stockade =_=) and yet they still aren't going with selling them on their own... although to their credit it is nice to see more dart and clip/magazine packs being sold now compared to 2 years ago.

    As far as the other ZS blasters go, I'm also stoked for the Sidestrike! It's basically an Elite Scout; one of the most comfortable and portable side-arm sized blasters, and the slide-priming action was epic to wield... but the Scout suffered from a teeny tiny plunger tube and not very good for competitive Nerf Wars :( so this guy is going to fill that void for me :D I prefer the look and idea of the Sidestrike more than a Firestrike, so that's a win for me personally.

    The other blasters in the 2014 range I'm a bit "meh" about. Being Vortex isn't the problem; infact it's partially a good thing. Think about it; the only *small* size Vortex at the moment is the Proton, but soon it will be joined by the Ripshot and the Riccochet, and I know of a few of my local Nerf buddies who will be keen on these simply for being small and Vortex based.

    ...infact I wonder if the Ripshot will have dual-disk firing like the Diatron because of how big/tall the opening "barrel" is compared to the other Vortex blasters?

    That being said, for the Fusefire... this thing is the odd one out in my opinion. It's just a fat version of the Ripshot with Firestrike style priming, glowing disk function / pretty lights on top? Nope, not amused by this one at all, although the front disk storage is nice to see (but again, also on the Ripshot :P)

    The sword I'm ok about... although I think I'd join the side of having a bit more variety in design and more than just ONE melee option... plus N-Force never really took off in Aussie stores, so I don't think I'll go to the lengths of buying/importing this one :( particularly since it just looks like a repaint of the N-Force Thunderfury... if there was a new mace style one though... :P

    Lastly, I definitely agree on the odd colour and design choice of the 2014 range compared to the HammerShot and the Sledgefire, particularly with the latter looking much more rough around the edge and survivalist feeling. But you know what the 2014 ZS colours remind me of? Not Zombies at all... but Military :\ they don't *feel* like Zombie style blasters, they remind me of playing with the tiny army-men toys :S

    The last thing I'm disappointed in is the rumoured "Winchester" style blaster... no sight of this one *yet*. I don't think the Sledgefire would be the equivalent of this, because the Winchester is not like a shotgun at all =_=. I also feel as much as it is nice to see more range in pistol/sidearm choices, it's a bit odd that we're not seeing anything clip / magazine / multishot based aside from the Sledgefire...?

    Still, for the the Crossbow and the Sidestrike make it all worth the wait for me :D and there's always such thing as a new lick of paint~

  8. I think most are overreacting to the Zombiestrike line. i for one am excited. The hammershot and the sledgefire are both awesome blasters that I will be picking up, and the crossfire bow and fusefire look pretty interesting as well. I think the real problem is that they surrounded these good nerf blasters with a bunch of cheap one shot pistols,and the melee weapon is a remade sword, rather than something more zombie themed. If nerf hjad announced the zombiestrike line with only the 3 or 4 best blasters and scrapped the rest people would love it. Seems to be a problem of quantity over quality.

  9. the sword is the vantage repainted not the thunderfury

    1. [Alex] Ah yes, thanks for the correction :-) I didn't notice the subtle differences like the end of the blade shape.