When I first saw ZombiU released for the Wii U on launch day I have to admit I wasn’t excited too for the game at all. As my time with the Wii U grew I began looking into playing different games that have been out. I remembered ZombiU and decided to contact Ubisoft for a review copy, they obliged and I was ready to get my Bug-out-bag set and my spare underwear on hand for the scares that were sure to ensue.
When I turned on ZombiU I was met with a survivor making his rounds trying to scavenge anything that was around. When all of a sudden he is met by a man on an intercom system trying to help him, what follows is one of the most terrifying things I have experienced in a video game and I will let you find that out for yourself.
You awaken to the same voice from earlier, who is trying to help you, he sends you on a type of tutorial mission which will help you get your backpack (AKA Bug-Out-Bag) that includes some minor tools and your prepper pad which is basically an in-game Wii U pad. He will also help you learn about scanning CCTV boxes to get a map of the area you are in and scanning the area to see what is around to loot. The gamepad is your bread and butter of the game, the pad will have you tapping on it to break barriers or moving your lock picks to unlock doors. It is also part of your inventory management and anything you need to look up will be done on the gamepad.
About an hour into play I found out what happens when you let a zombie get too close. My health wasn’t low so I thought when the Zombie lunged at me that I would take minor damage, well I was wrong, horribly wrong! My survivor was now dead, the game then reloaded me into the safe house with another survivor and sent me on my way to complete the task that I was sent upon initially without any of my gear that I had previously. When I finally made it back to where I died I was met with a zombie snapping and swinging at me, except this zombie was different, it was my old survivor that had just died. After I killed her, and the one who turned her, I was able to loot all of my old gear and get back on track. I then encountered another zombie that was someone else that had died playing the game, that’s when I knew this game wasn’t like the other survival horror games out there. This game had a more realistic touch and I was loving every frightening second of it!
Your main weapon is a cricket bat that will take a few whacks to kill a zombie, but this game is not about killing as many zombies as you can, it is about survival. You do not have to kill every zombie, which is a hard lesson I have been trying to teach myself. I have to re-learn survival and how to take my time. There are a lot of weapons to come across like a pistol, a pistol with a silencer, and a shotgun, those are just a few that I have come across, there are more in the game. The controls are pretty tight and make your character seem a bit heavy. You almost feel like that person and when you get into trouble, you will start running around in a panic, something I seem to do quite often. The use of the gamepad is excellent and even though the game doesn’t give you directions on how to do something it pretty much just comes naturally and you figure it out for yourself. Surviving on the other hand is a whole other story.
You will be turning your displays brightness up because this game is dark, you are given a flash light to see, but it can be very dark and sometimes that flash light doesn’t seem to be enough. I know this is part of the game but I started to feel claustrophobic after some time and it just added to the terror. The foggy and smokey areas were excellent and I did not experience any slowdown, the only complaint I have is that when a zombie caught a blaze the fire didn’t look too natural, but fire is always a tricky addition to video games, getting it to look just right.
The zombies look gorgeous, well, as gorgeous as a zombie can look. The world is astounding and it keeps calling my name, it keeps you sucked into the world. Graphics are a huge part of a survival horror game just because it needs to keep you pulled in and keep the tension high, which is something that ZombieU does perfectly. About thirty minutes into this game I was ready for my second underwear change and a shower as I was sweating with terror.
Hearing the moaning and screaming of Zombies in the distance are as terrifying as finding out you are all out of milk to soften your Cap’n Crunch cereal. Yes, that terrifying and nerve wrecking, every time I entered a new area I would ping my gamepad to check the radar for any zombies, no ping I was good to go unless that pad lied and the zombie was playing dead!
Another great addition is when the prepper contacts you; the sound will come from your game pad “out of game” instead of your display. I was shocked to hear his voice and thought that was a very awesome added touch. The sound in this game is excellent and keeps you in the action and on the edge of your seat. About one hour into the game I was ready for my third underwear change and another shower. This is one scary game to play alone at night with all of the lights off, the surround sound really amplifies my terror.
The game has a multi-player aspect but I have to be honest I have not messed with it much, it will require you to have a pro controller and a friend of course. One player will take control of the zombie horde on the Wii U gamepad and the other player will control a survivor with the pro controller. The object of the game is to control certain points as the survivor or zombie player, survivors can take points over faster than zombies. The survivor player will start with a pistol, shotgun and other toys. This is another mode that is hectic and frantic in the world of ZombiU and will have the Survivor player on the edge of their seat. Although the game isn’t made for this it was a nice addition to get another player into the action.
I can’t say that I had a terrible moment with ZombiU except for the minor heart attacks and girl like screams that came out of me. I didn’t add this earlier because I didn’t try it but the game also has a survival mode which lets you play the game as one survivor and once that survivor dies you are done, this is for the hard-core players and not something I was going to delve into because in my first 2 hours of play I went through 10 survivors, so I know that mode isn’t for me. I did have a few annoying points with that game but I think it was more of me being the problem. I always feel I have to clear the whole room out before I move on but sometimes you can’t and I ended up dying ignorant deaths, which are my fault. I think ZombiU is a must buy for any zombie fan and I loved the interaction with the game on the game pad. This is one game that will give you the full survivor feeling and make you wet your pants doing it! Please do yourself a favor and buy this game as soon as you can!
Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: November 18th 2012
Platforms: Wii U Digital: Yes (disc release also)
Game Cost: $59.99 - £37.99 ESRB Rating: M for Mature 17+
Players: 1-2 Competitve
Online Pass: No