ZombiU Review – Wii U Resuscitates Survival Horror

Game: ZombiU
Genre: Survival Horror
System: Wii U
Review by: Desz

It’s quite ironic that after all these years of the survival horror genre being unaccounted for — a true survival horror game is born exclusively to Nintendo, known for their reputable family friendly systems. ZombiU is not a bloody shooter (like most classic survival games have turned into.) ZombiU is a mothaphukin Survival Horror game, that has awaken the genre with an unforgettable dark experience that scratches every possible horror-craving itch.

Story: ZombiU is a post apocalyptic zombie-infested story that puts you in the shoes of a wandering healthy civilian roaming the streets of London trying to avoid zombies at all cost. However, just like the time Glen lend his voice to Rick and saved his life in the TV series “The Walking Dead” (assuming that you watch the show) a man that calls himself The Prepper, calls you out and offers you shelter and a place/safe house you can call home. The safe house is your main portal to all other areas in the map, weapon upgrades, and intel information. The Prepper will assign you with tasks and your mission is to complete ‘em and return safe, however, that won’t come easy. (I’ll get to that later in the gameplay section.) The safehouse is not a so-called “safe place” by all means; you still have to be aware of your surrounding from time to time, and even defend your home from zombie attacks on certain occasions. However, the safe house is the only place you will learn to miss and love when you’re out trying to complete your tasks at hand, while trying your best to stay alive.

Gameplay: You will DIE! Yes, you will die and you will die often. ZombiU can get frustrating at times — you will hate yourself and also hate the fact that you couldn’t approach a certain situation with more tactics, but the reality is, the game is built to surprise you, terrify you, and kill you that way. The reason dying hurts so bad is because it comes with consequences. Once you die, you do not return as the same survivor, you awake as a different survivor, and that’s where it really hurts. You will have to go all the way back to the location of your death or bite and kill the now zombie-you in order to retrieve your items. This will get you pissed off, especially with the amount of backtracking in the game. Many missions will have you backtrack in order to unlock certain areas or mandatory abilities.

Weapons: You are handed with a flashlight, a cricket bat, and a pistol with 6 rounds. However, just like in real life, the ammunition will run out, especially if you’re shooting at everything that moves and zombies are not easy kills in this game. You will have to use tactics to take ‘em down. The cricket bat will be your best friend.
Despite the fact that the game has a weapon-upgraded feature, I didn’t find myself using this feature often — mainly because when out in the zombie-infested areas, finding new rifles means you need to find its ammo and that never came easy. Having a rifle in this type of game will only get you so far. It didn’t feel as if I found “the best weapon” to kill zombies, because ammo was so scarce. Which is why you will always find yourself falling back to your cricket bat.

Wii U Pad: The Wii U pad is an essential part of this game. It is your main source of information, inventory, and control. So how well does this work with the game? It works! Besides being the main control thanks to its dual analog sticks (which work wonderfully) The pad is also used to scanned hidden objects, codes, as a sniper rifle, as a pick lock tool, as a map and zombie alert tool, and it also hold slots to your inventory.

While the setup of the Wii U Pad and the inventory is clever, I really hated the fact that the pad was not very responsive to switching non-active to active gear with the slide of my finger. It is built for this purpose, but the screen is just not sensitive enough to move items in-and-out of the active slots quickly and proficient. There were occasions that I had to slowly guide items to the active slot in order to change weapons or add mines or flares all while seeing a herd of zombies heading my way on my big screen. This was quite annoying. Definitely not an inventory tool you would want out in a zombie-infested zone.

Despite the touch screen flaws’ the pad does give you a sense of reality and surpasses expectations when trapped or killing your way out of dark areas. It really does feel like the pad is your main tool for any sort of communication and survival assistance. And it will be used to surprise you on several occasions too.

Graphics: ZombiU is not be the best looking game out, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure there are some small frame issues from time to time and you will encounter some trapped zombies between walls that somehow stretch their arms through them as if they were ghost, but the game’s environment design alone make up for all of that. The environments give you the sense of horror, tragedy, resistance, and anxiousness. It’s a dark world!

Sound: I played the game at night (usually after midnight.) with a pair of 5.1 headsets. I heard every tap, cry, grunt, and zombie noise possible. The sound itself will give you chills! I did experience some technical issues from time to time, in particular when revisiting certain areas in the game — the same suspense sound clips or music would loop even though you don’t actually find the zombies posting and waiting for you a second time around.

Breakdown: ZombiU is a memorable and terrifying experience with over 15 hours of gameplay (give or take.) I don’t think I’ve ever played a game or watched a movie that gave me chills or made me jump back as often as this game did. The environments will make you feel alone and vulnerable at all times. It is the type of game that will make you consider putting down the controller and not because it’s a bad game, but because it’s that scary. I can’t stress enough on how important playing this game in the dark and with headsets is. You will thank me when you come across a nursery.

Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
MSRP: $59.99 find the best price via Juegodeals.

  • Devon

    Great review! I bought a Wii U yesterday along with ZombiU and all I can say is that I can wait to play it all weekend! Thanks!

  • MarcosM

    Picking this game up! Heck yeah!

  • Tragek

    Great review. Ive been on the fence about picking the Wii U up. I might wait until next year some tax return. Zombiu will be one of the first titles I get. Im not big on horror games, but I do like zombies.

  • Den-den

    I bought this! Right on the money with the review. I love it. Wish Nintendo wiiu had more games though.