|Posted on November 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM|
This review can also be read here
ZombiU was a surprise announcement at E3 2012. During Nintendo’s press Conference Xavier Poix of Ubisoft France introduced the game after Just Dance 4. It was through that first trailer gamers got their first look at the graphic new title ZombiU. For me it was love at first site, before gameplay was even shown. I like Zombie killing games, they are super fun. As time went on and I learnt more and more about the game it just made me want it even more.
ZombiU is the sequel to Ubisoft’s first ever game Zombi, the game was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, and published by Ubisoft. It was released on November 18th 2012. It was a launch title for Nintendo’s new WiiU console.
The Story of ZombiU is simple; you are a survivor of a devastating Zombie apocalypse in London. When the game starts you are found in the streets and helped out by a guy named The Prepper. In addition to trying to survive in Zombie infested UK you are also tasked with finding the fabled “Panacea”, a cure for “The Blight” upon London, as told by Welsh astronomer John Dee.
The Game is a Survival Horror, but in addition to trying to survive you will get missions from The Prepper, or any other characters you meet. These missions include, finding fuel for the generator, or more weapons for your safe house, these are the most dangerous times in the game, playing smart is the key to survival. Because this is the Zombie Apocalypse ammunition is not easy to come by; in order to fight the infected you need to use your cricket bat. Bludgeoning the infected in the head is what you will be doing for most of the game. Some infected will go down quick but others, like Palace guards and ones in Body armour will not. When using your cricket bat you have to time your swings properly, if you don’t, you die. You don’t always have to fight the infected though; sometimes it’s smart to just push them aside and run away.
Although ammo is a precious commodity, there will be points in the game where you have to use your gun. Guns can be found throughout the environment, Choosing when to fire your gun is important; the infected are attracted to light and sound, if you shoot one there is a good chance more will be on the way. As you go through the game various upgrades can be added to your guns increasing various aspects like accuracy, firing speed or capacity.
Throughout the course of the game there are many different types of infected you will encounter. The most common types are the "Civilian" Infected. As the name suggests these infected are civilians and they are the easiest to take out. Next are the "Armoured" infected, these ones are police or SWAT officers who have been infected; they wear bullet proof vests and as stated above are a bit more difficult to take down, some even wear helmets forcing you to knock it off before you can damage them. The Third type of Infected encountered are "Spitting" infected, as the name suggests these infected spit a type of acid at you. If you are hit it takes off a large amount of your health, staying at a distance is key. Unlike other infected these ones are characterized by a white mist that comes off of them. Another type of infected you will encounter are the "exploding" infected. These guys wear scuba gear and can be found anywhere. (Not just by water) One hit with your cricket bat will set them off, so it is best to shoot them from a distance.
Lastly are the "Electric" Infected, these infected are characterized by the electric charge running though their bodies, because of the electric interference the lights in the areas these ones are encountered are off and won't come on till they are defeated. These Zombies also affect your Prepper pad, replacing your map with noise until they are defeated. This infected also have the ability to appear and disappear at will, they are the toughest kind you will encounter. Other infected that you encounter but are not really common are Screaming infected (they alert other infected to where you are) and Red Infected (these types of infected are covered in a red mist and move a lot faster than normal infected.
Looting is another big part of gameplay. Everywhere you go in the game there will be Containers, and various bags and closets to loot. It’s through looting that you get items like health packs, ammunition, and planks (wood to board up doors) While looting you have to look at the WiiU gamepad to drag any items you want to your Bug out Bag; your bag has limited space so be mindful of what you carry. In your safe house is a metal container for you to store any excess stuff for use later, things will pile up over time and like your bag your box also has limited space.
Preparation is another key to surviving; it’s not enough to just have a gun, every time you venture out of your safe house there is a chance you could die. Being well prepared isn't just about bringing the right items, it's also about knowing your environment. In the game you have a device called the Prepper pad, the pad is like an in game WiiU Gamepad controller, here you can manage your inventory, check collected documents, view your survivor score or check your objectives. A nifty feature with the pad is the scanner, when you enter a new environment its always smart to scan, scanning will reveal were the infected are, what doors are open or unlocked, what items are available to loot, and reveals messages on the walls. Every time you scan the pad updates your map; this way you know where to go and where to avoid.
If your character does bite the bullet you immediately spawn into another survivor. Once this happens you have a chance to recover any items from your bag at the time of death. The only thing standing in your way is you, i.e. your zombified former self. In ZombiU if you die you have to go back to where your old survivor died to retrieve your bag. Use caution, because if you die on the way to take out your old character, you will permanently lose everything in your bag when you spawn again, everything, guns ammo, health packs, it will all be gone for good. A cool feature with this is if you have Miiverse enabled on your console you will occasionally notice, your friends zombies show up in your game. If you’re running low on supplies this is a great way to resupply
Speaking of friends, while ZombiU doesn't have co-op either online or off, if does have an offline multiplayer mode. In this mode one player uses the Game pad, the other uses either the Wiimote and nunchuck or the WiiU Controller Pro. The game is like capture the flag, the player using the Gamepad has to use Zombies to capture flags, while trying to fend off the second player, by sending zombies after them. Whoever captures the most flags wins.
Lastly ZombiU features support for Ubisoft’s Uplay service. Completing certain objectives in the game will gain you “Units” that you can use to buy in game rewards. On the games menu you can check your current score and unlocked content buy going to the Uplay menu, on the ZombiU menu.
Graphically, ZombiU looks great. Being a Wii gamer for the last 6 years has really lowered my expectations when it comes to graphics. So to me ZombiU looks amazing. Gameplay wise, it’s here that the game got bad reviews; other reviewers said that it was Slow, and dull, Gamespot even criticized it for not being an Action Game. The thing is yes, ZomibU is a slow game; it’s not fast paced or filled with tons of action. You have to remember this is a Survival Horror, not a fast paced action game. The Slow pace is intention and actually a good thing as it adds to the games tense and creepy atmosphere. Never before ZombiU have I played a game where I could feel my hair standing, and my nerves jacked. During gameplay the only sounds you will hear are, your characters breathing, the occasional bit of trash knocked over as you walk, and the screams of the infected in the distance; these are all very effective creating that atmosphere. Take some notes Capcom. Control wise, the gamepad does take a bit of getting used to; at times it could get in the way, and the combat controls feel clunky. When using turrets, picking locks, or looting you have to look at the gamepad, this has the effect of really tripping you up especially if you’re trying to get away from infected.
Points of criticism for ZombiU are minimal; my only gripes with the game are the Clunky Controls and melee combat. As tense as the combat is I wasn’t a big fan of having to beat down zombies with just a cricket bat, It would have been nice to have multiple melee weapons at your disposal or even be able to upgrade the bat so it delivers more damage. I also didn't like the lack of replay ability, once you finish the game it's over, literally over. If you want to play again you have to delete your file and start over. There's Survival mode but like normal mode once your done, its done.
Aside from these few issues ZombiU is an amazing game; it’s one of the few games that I actually hate to play because it scares me so much, yet so great that I keep going back for more. The only other game that comes close is Cursed Mountain for the Wii. I love the direction the developers took and I hope to see more in the future.
ZombiU get 8.9 out of 10.
Categories: Wii/WiiU Reviews