PAX Impressions – ZombiU

ZombiU is one of the few games I am genuinely excited about for the Wii U and this year at PAX, Ubisoft put together an impressive display in support of this upcoming title. I drooled at the prospect of getting some hands on time with not only the game, but the Wii U as well. After nearly 45 minutes in line, I was given the opportunity to experience everything this undead shooter had to offer.

Let me just start off by saying, this game is ridiculously difficult. Either I’m absolutely terrible, or ZombiU provided some genuinely challenging gameplay. I started off in a dark, dank room with little direction. My only weapons were a pistol with a small magazine and a blunt wooden instrument. There was an objective displayed in the top corner of the screen, but it was very vague. My goal was to simply escape the building I was currently in.

ZombiU in action.

The game focuses heavily on scavenging. I spent the first few minutes searching nearby rooms for any supplies. When you are looting from corpses or containers the game brings up a prompt on the TV screen informing you to looking at the controller’s touch screen. From there you grab and drop the items into your pack. This all happens in real time, so if an enemy approaches while you are gathering supplies, you can be attacked without even realizing it. I managed to find some extra rounds in a bookcase. After adjusting to the rather large Wii U controller, I decided I was just about ready to dominate some undead foes.

Shortly after leaving the first room I was engaged by a group of undead fiends. I didn’t stand a chance. I emptied almost my entire magazine into the first zombie and it barely died. My first shot blew the top corner of the zombie’s head off and he continued to charge at me. With one down, I only had two more to take down. I switched to my giant wooden plank and began wildly swinging in their direction. I started beating on one zombie pretty severely, but the second spit some toxic goo in my face, making it nearly impossible to see. Before I knew it, I had a large pair of hands wrapped around my chest and a set of human teeth rared and ready to tear the flesh from my neck. I was tackled to the ground and viciously picked apart. This happened about three of four more times before I decided I better pass the torch to the next victim.

The Zombification Station courtesy of Ubisoft.

Overall ZombiU is a very impressive game. The unique scavenging system works very well for the Wii U controller. The zombie AI is definitely above average and should provide a challenge even to those experienced with other survival horror games. The standard controls for movement were a little loose and I found myself getting turned around rather easily. The graphics aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, but do a solid job of capturing the dark, grimy tone the game portrays. If you’re a fan of zombies and franchises like Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead, this game is right up your corpse-infested, alley.

Pros:

  • Unique and engaging, real time, scavenging system.
  • Genuinely challenging enemies with a wide range of abilities.
  • A true survival horror experience.

Cons:

  • Movement in the game seemed very loose.
  • The inventory takes a little getting used to.
  • The graphics for certain textures was rough.

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