ZombiU

Date Completed : 3/24/2013

ZombiU Box Art

ZombiU was the launch title I was most excited about for the Wii U but I wasn’t able to put a whole lot of time into it until recently.  Unlike New Super Mario Bros. U it displays different information on the Gamepad and TV, and it’s not kid friendly so I had to limit my play time to when my wife and kids weren’t around.  I wasn’t able to finish the game until my wife got a horrible migraine over a long weekend and started going to bed at 8 o’clock.

ZombiU is a survival horror first-person-shooter.  You use the Wii U gamepad as a communication device that allows you to talk with someone called ‘The Prepper’.  The Prepper has a safe house that serves as the base of operations for you in Zombie infested London.  At first he has you heading out on short missions to get supplies and guns but as you discover more about the Zombie plague you begin to look into the possibility of creating a cure.

The Gamepad is your life line in this game.  It displays maps of the areas you are in and it can show you where Zombies are located in each of the areas.  It can also be used to scan Zombies, Weapons, Ammunition and Medical supplies which is critical.  The game is very dark and it is difficult to see anything (even with your flashlight) but when you look through your scanner you can see the area quite well.  There are times when the scanner gets jammed and you can’t use it and when this happened I felt lost and I will admit a bit frightened.  You quickly come to depend on the scanner to tell you when Zombies are near.

The game is meant to be scary and it succeeds.  While I didn’t exactly wet my pants I did find the dark visuals and creepy sound effects to really set the mood.  In games like Doom 3 eventually you get to the point where you turn around every 30 seconds and shoot because there is always be something standing behind you that popped out of a hidden wall.  ZombiU mostly avoids the ‘There is something behind you’ gimmick and has some truly unique ways to surprise and frighten.  There were at least 2 occasions where I nearly jumped off the couch.

When you die in this game your character comes back to life as a Zombie.  It is then the job of the next survivor to go and retrieve your backpack full of goodies.  If I died it was usually because I was overwhelmed and an unarmed survivor would have a LOT of trouble getting my stuff back.  Most often it required 2-3 survivors which became a problem because of the load times.  Loading between levels takes quite awhile and when you die you start back at the Safe House which means you may need to travel between several areas to get back to your former self.

Get them!

Ammo is limited so use your bat as much as possible!

I went through about 30 survivors over the course of the game.  Some of them I was happy to see go but I became attached to a few of them and I was sorry to see them die.  I tried to power the Wii U down after a death to save my character only to find the game automatically saves when you die so you can’t ever go back.

Speaking of saving – save points can be several hours apart.  The quickest and most convenient way to save the game is let yourself get killed.  Once I was playing while the family was out and they came home so rather than let my kids watch me obliterate Zombie heads with a cricket bat I paused the game.  I left the game on pause for 8 hours until bedtime and then I found that the Wii U actually has a power down feature and it shuts itself off after an hour of idle time.  I lost about an hour of game play.

When I first started ZombiU I was a bit disappointed with it.  The story seemed a bit thin and the load times were frustrating.  After playing for awhile I really got into it and I’ve decided I’m keeping the game.  Now I’m hoping for a ZombieU 2.  There were a lot of problems with the game but with a little time, and a little love ZombieU could turn into something really great.

Pros

  • Lots of scares.
  • Zombie Killing.

Cons

  • Forgettable story.
  • Awful load times.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length:  12 hours
System: Wii U
Genre: Survival Horror / First-Person-Shooter