Zombies Ate My London Neighbors
"How long will you survive?" That is the question that Wii U exclusive ZombiU asks players. That's when the game isn't kicking your ass left and right, causing your adrenaline and pulse to pump wildly in fear, having you throw you hands up in the air when an infected grabs onto you and chews on you like a doberman with a fresh piece of meat. ZombiU is a genuinely scary game where survival isn't just of the fittest, but also the smartest, the most strategic, and seldom the most foolhardy.
ZombiU thrusts you into the zombie apocalypse as a vanilla survivor, who has nothing on him or her than a cricket bat and a handgun with six bullets in it. That's it. Through careful searching of your surroundings, new gear, new weapons, new upgrades, helpful items to keep the undead at bay, and items for your health can be found. Your bug-out bag (or B.O.B.) is where you can store goods. However, this is just temporary for reasons you'll soon find out.
|This shot to the head is gonna|
be a wicked pissa'!
ZombiU is harsh in its difficulty. Each encounter is incredibly intense. It's just the degree of intensity is higher when dealing with a whole horde of undead coming after you. When dealing with just one zombie, things can become very tense very quickly regardless. All it takes is one missed swing of your cricket bat, your lone melee weapon, or one poorly timed shove and a zombie can go in for the kill, biting and infecting you.
|Well, this survivor's screwed.|
|Going in guns blazing like Rambo|
is not usually the correct strategy.
There is a chance to regain these items, but it's just one chance only. Your survivor will take the form of a zombie at the place where he or she perished. You have to return to that area, kill the now-zombified survivor, and take back their goods. If you fail again, the goods are gone forever, and in a game that is punishing in its challenge, what, with so few consumables, health packets, and ammo lying around, this can mean the difference between being able to continue your missions unabated or being heavily inconvenienced by being forced to replenish your stock of goods out of necessity.
|Hmm. I doubt that sign on the top|
left has to do with zombies...
Each survivor you control earns points for things like completing missions, killing infected, etc. When your survivor dies, a high score is shown. There's online leaderboards to compare your best survivor total with other players. It's also a means to play against yourself, trying to score high, keep your survivor alive and successfully get through as much of the campaign as possible.
Being a launch title, showing off what the Wii U GamePad, Nintendo's big innovation (you can put that last word in quotes if need be) for their latest home console, is a must. I would surmise that Ubisoft Montpelier has accomplished that goal not only as a launch title but ZombiU still remains one of the games that best uses the GamePad in general.
Pretty much every non-combat-related task within ZombiU is performed by interacting with the GamePad's screen. You can scan the area for hidden items, see which infected are worth troubling with by seeing if they are carrying any helpful items, and so much more. My favorite feature, and this is one that makes the terrifying nature of ZombiU so incredible, is using the GamePad to organize and select contents within your survivor's backpack. The game does not pause when you're checking the contents inside of your backpack, a task that is done on the GamePad screen. This means you're vulnerable when looking at the GamePad and fiddling with backpack organization. There's always the chance that a stray zombie can come in from behind or into the fray and infect you while you're in the middle of selecting items.
|The Wii U GamePad is put to excellent use.|
ZombiU captures the feeling of hopelessness, and part of that is due to its abundance of amazing imagery and visual design. Post-apocalyptic London feels like the real deal with such a natural design that nothing really feels too out of place or game-y. The disheveled streets, littered with garbage, messages on walls, huge attention to detail-- all of this makes London a character with a personality of its own, helping to lend itself to the absolute bleakness players will find themselves in.
[SPC Says: 9.0/10]