The Wii U has actually had a good crop of launch titles available at launch and has a fair few titles on its way over the coming months. A lot of them are ports of games we’ve seen on other HD consoles but Ubisoft have been brave with a brand new IP that truly integrates the Gamepad Controller into the experience – so much in fact that half of the action you won’t see in this review as it happens on the smaller screen in your hand.
ZombiU attempts to answer the question we’ve all asked each other in the pub, “what would you do in a zombie apocalypse?”. Well, the Prepper knows and he guides you through the game and sends you on missions away from the safety of Shadwell tube station to find all sorts of gear that will help you survive the oncoming horde. As you run through the streets bashing zombies round the head with a cricket bat you’ll be collecting planks of woods to barricade doors, guns to help you from a distance and flares and molotovs to distract the walking dead and set them on fire.
Although the graphics aren’t much to write home about, the game experience is. This game really makes you think carefully about walking into rooms and has you rummaging in your bag for items on your Gamepad whilst keeping one eye over your shoulder on your TV screen – it really does induce panic as you can die easily and once you’re gone, that’s it – you have to pick up where the previous survivor left off as a brand new person and have to pick up everything they’ve collected from their new lifeless zombified hands.
This game would score very highly but there are some big buggy buts that mar the experience. For instance, it’s not fair to have to wait for the next area to load whilst the game doesn’t pause – I’ve been caught and killed waiting for a door to open because of lazy game optimization. The game also has game-breaking bugs! I encountered one where I died and then couldn’t get through a supposedly open door as the next survivor in order to pick up an important item – let’s hope they get this fixed.
There’s also a local multiplayer mode where survivors take on the King of the Zombies who can use the Gamepad to place zombies into the world map to stop the survivors capturing flags and a rather amusing bonus mode where you can use the Gamepad camera to overlay a zombie face over your own and pull lots of silly faces – it’s strangely very, very funny!
ZombiU is a promising game and a great example of what can be achieved on Nintendo’s new hardware. It could have done with a bit more spit and polish though so let’s hope there’s a better looking sequel that fixes some of the bugs in the future. ZombiU gets 7 out of 10.
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