Last year, ZombiU was known as Killer Freaks from Outer Space. However, after finding that Killer Freaks was too fast paced, Ubisoft chose a slower enemy: The zombie. When I talked to the co-creative director, Jean-Phillipe Caro, he said he was thinking about a ESRB Teen rating but to his surprise Nintendo said it was no problem if the game was M.
If you’re looking for a zombie game that’s actually scary, then ZombiU is for u (sorry, that’s the start of many “U” puns for years to come). In Resident Evil 4, the fact that you could die at any almost time always kept me tense. In ZombiU, one bite and you’re toast. However, when I was playing, I found there was a big window to defend myself by holding up my weapon automatically and then kicking away to free myself.
As usual, the tensest moments were when no zombies were around and I was just waiting for them to appear, especially when I could hear but not see them. When zombies are around, it’s no problem to keep track of them. As I would pass bodies on the ground, I kept my guard as I expected them to spring to life, or at least the undead equivalent. I was overwhelmed by a horde of zombies at one point, and I couldn’t make enough distance to start taking them out, so I was forced into the next area. Fortunately, they didn’t follow me through the door.
What makes it so special for the Wii U? Perhaps out of all the games on the show floor, including Nintendo’s, it made the best use of the Wii U gamepad’s screen. With a crossbow, I had to lift up the gamepad to aim and zoom in on zombies. The best use was as a scanner that you could spin around everywhere to find out where items were. That type of scanning is definitely a feature I would love to see in a new Metroid. The dual screens were also put to great use in a lock picking, where the top screen shows a third person view and lookout for incoming zombies, where the gamepad screen is used to pick the lock.
Just as I grew reliant on the screen for scanning in dark areas, it was taken away from me in an underground shaft. I was left with a flashlight to fumble my way around in the dark. I was told by the attendant that I had to scan a zombie nurse that I killed, an objective I missed while switching between the TV and gamepad screen. I’m sure that once I became used to the game’s language that wouldn’t miss those in the future.
Overall, I’d say that ZombiU is the survival horror game we’ve been waiting for and Wii U launch title that Nintendo needs. The only downside is that the main character’s name isn’t Leon Kennedy but I can manage. Stay tuned to our developer interview on our Youtube channel.
Developer: Ubisoft Paris Studios
Available On: Wii U
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