The longest queue wait line and one, if not the only one that had two WiiU demos for the same game, ZombiU was a game I was looking forward to trying out after hearing a little about it. If you’ve taken the time to read some of my previous reviews, you’ll know I’m a bit of a horror fan as well as horror genre games. I recently did a review on Resident Evil Revelations: the demo, and I’ll be pressing on to the actual game itself soon. As you can imagine then, I was really looking forward to trying this game. The creators of ZombiU have specifically stated they are going for a realism sense, a real time experience of a zombie experience the player has less control over than, say, a seek and find game.
From the first moment I awoke in the zombie world based on London, I truly felt I was the only one alive. The environment and sense of dread accompanying it is simply superb. There is ominous music playing in the background and noises of everything around the player, from flies buzzing about corpses to the groans of approaching undead. If you haven’t already gathered, this is not a game meant for anything less than a mature rating and it explicitly shows gore without fear. I played the game with headphones, which enhanced the experience a hundredfold, but I am not sure how this will be accomplished when it comes to the console itself.
The player’s goal is to accomplish missions, which are shown on the screen briefly, then on the game menu. The frightening part about accomplishing these missions is the fatal truth: one bite from a zombie, no matter how skilled or high a level your character is, will kill you. Then it’s game over for your character and you are given a new, randomly assigned character with a beginner’s skill set. The previously bitten character now becomes a zombie. The creators hope this will create more of a real fear of losing what the player has worked to upgrade. While I agree this makes it more certain the player will be careful and aware of their surroundings, I don’t like the idea of so quickly losing my character, especially with an endless bank of backup characters, each sharing little to no development of their background.
The graphics as far as the environment and the zombies themselves are well done, but the people/characters you play as are underwhelming and bland. The control scheme is smooth, with the gamepad used for shooting, aiming, and scanning the environment for hidden items/items on dead people that can be looted (much like Resident Evil Revelations). The game certainly pressures you with a quick zombie mob and makes the player learn by doing, rather than a tutorial based demo. There is a unique use of the gamepad in the process of lockpicking as well, with the player needing to move small dials to different places on the gamepad, all while being aware they can be attacked at any moment by looking at the television.
I was impressed with the atmosphere and the graphics, but the lack of character development and the awkwardness of the controls because I was a beginner and thrown into the action made it a little frustrating. I probably wouldn’t buy this one, but I’d give it a rent sometime when you want a scary game. How about you? Would you buy ZombiU?