Expectations were higher than a baked politician who had won an election when ZombiU was announced. With its slow motion zombie trailer – akin to Dead Island, but set in Britain and less emotional – ZombiU looked to be the stand out “mature” title in the Wii U lineup. While some people thought zombies were being ignored from the Christmas wishlist of gamers worldwide, it seems that launching on a new title will be the way to raise the undead profiles.
After waiting for at least twenty minutes in line, chatting to fellow “liners”, which is what we called ourselves. You wait with so many people you develop your own language and way of interact, when you think someone is about to leave a station, you all expect disappointment and begrudge the person ahead of you, sneering, cursing their loins and their ancestors... until it's your turn. You're the chosen one and you light up and realise that you don't care about the rest of the liners. You could care less about their rules and hastily thrown together communication techniques, you are now playing a game before those liners and many in the rest of the world.I
t is with this kind of mentality I joined ZombiU. I was handed the control pad and briefly explained the controls, which I really didn't comprehend for a few minutes into my playtime. I woke up in Buckingham Palace, dead bodies surrounding me and some stuff in my inventory. I decided to head in one direction, down a short hallway into a room. I was greeted by a zombie in a gigantic black hat, not unlike the British guards you'd expect to be roaming and doing their usual royal guarding duties, but they were after me and my brains.
I thought quickly and fired two rounds into their chest thinking that I was the victor seeing them collapse against a wall. This sense of glee was brought to a crashing halt when the supervisor beside me said, remember they're zombies so shoot them in the head. My entire geeky mentality towards the undead came crashing around me. How could I forget? How, after almost a decade and a half of training, reading the right literature and absorbing zombie culture that I forgot to shoot them directly in the head?
The zombie rose to its feet and I got a direct shot into its forehead. It stumbled back and died against a wall. I checked my inventory, looted his body before eading down a long dark hallway. I checked a room to my left and found just some minor things to pick up and started to look properly at the controller I'd been given.
From all the games I had played that day, ZombiU is the best use of the Wii U hardware to date. The controller is, as usual, easy to hold, easy to switch from big screen to little screen and the display is fairly clear. There is no lag between the connection and everything on the inventory screen is great. You can check your inventory at any moment, use the screen as a map and even check how your stats are going. Ubisoft have got something great with ZombiU and I have to advise fans of zombies need to get this title just from its game mechanics alone.
While the usual zombie fodder of games gives you a single protagonist and sets a path before you to go live out your hero's journey, ZombiU will kill you and reanimate you, while you’re then forced go live someone else’s life. As you play through the game, the futility of your situation grows and not every area will be so heavily supplied. It takes the DayZ style of building up a character only to die flailing, screaming and unable to stop the undead situation the fates have put upon you.
ZombiU has to be one of the best games I played there for the simple tension, anxiety and gameplay it promised then delivered. I can imagine a few people getting bored of the repetitive dying, the gloomy settings and the similar looking zombies as you hide, stalk and try to escape the London streets, but the key thing to note is that ZombiU is a Wii U exclusive. It looks good, plays amazingly, has a possibility of dynamic replayability and I don't see it being ported to any console in the future.