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ZombiU Box Art
System/s: Wii U
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Survival Horror
Players: 1+
GD Score: 82
Press Scores
Release Date:
N. America: Nov. 18, 2012
Europe: Nov. 30, 2012
Australia: Nov. 30, 2012
Japan: Dec. 8, 2012
ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language)

"Die, Respawn, Kill Zombified Body, Die, Respawn..."


Author: Christopher Rogel  

ZombiU is an adrenaline-pumping experience. However, the emotion behind the adrenaline is different than what gamers are accustomed to feeling. Despite the first-person shooting elements, ZombiU does not share the excitement that Call of Duty or Halo brings to the table, so don't expect that. Running and gunning is exactly what not to do in the game. Instead, ZombiU brings horror back into the zombie game genre. It's all about survival. What players will find here is the fear of being overwhelmed by two enemies, the fear of being trapped in an enclosed space, or the fear of something coming from behind your back.

However fun that may sound, this Wii U game is not a masterpiece that ought to be experienced by all gamers. Players may be frustrated by the difficulty or the passive-aggressive type of gameplay ZombiU brings out. Still, on the opposite spectrum, fans of the survival horror genre may revel in the excitement of being so close to death.

ZombiU (Wii U) Review Screenshots

ZombiU takes place in London, where an infection has spread. Yes, gamers will play as a survivor trying to live through the zombie apocalypse. And yes, the story is not on par with Shakespeare (did you expect that?), but of course, ZombiU does not attempt to push out a great narrative. The game concentrates on survival horror, the Wii U GamePad interactivity, and gameplay that's frantic and innovative all at once.

ZombiU's zombies are scary. Players who are unprepared may be taken down by single zombie. A fight with just two zombies may prove to be fatal. Throughout the game, the protagonist relies on his or her cricket bat to fight against enemies. Firearms are available, but the game makes ammunition scarce, so players must not rely too much on guns to get them out of sticky situations.

Because ZombiU is a survival horror game, players may experience death from time to time. Permadeath. ZombiU has a nice take of dying. When a character dies, the player will respawn as a totally different character. Their items are wiped and players must traverse the game to reach their dying point. Because this is a zombie game, it would make sense to infect the previous character. Yes, that's right. The character that died has become a zombie, and on his back is the backpack with all your stuff in it. This approach to death really feels like Diablo in a sense.

In addition to the survival horror elements, ZombiU takes advantage of the Wii U GamePad.  In a nutshell, the GamePad gives the player direction and examines the area to explore. Players can switch to a first-person mode on the Wii U GamePad and mark loot, enemies, and objects of interest. However, this mode will only mark certain objects; it will be up to the player to actually run and take a look. The GamePad also displays your inventory in the Bug-Out Bag.

ZombiU (Wii U) Review Screenshots

When the player switches to his explorer mode, the game will switch to a third-person view. ZombiU does this for a reason. When a player is using the GamePad, zombies can and will attack vulnerable characters. This holds true when players are rummaging through storages and organizing inventory. With the scary zombies, scarcity of ammunition, and this mechanic, ZombiU does not let up on the player. Gamers must be careful and not rush into dangerous situations.

All of these elements make ZombiU an interesting game for Wii U. Ubisoft has done an admirable job in making a good mature title for the Nintendo audience. However, as I have stated, this game is not for everyone to experience, and in addition, the visuals are not mind-blowing. In fact, they are very dingy and dark. While they are fitting for this type of game, it would have been nice for the game to be pleasing to the eye.

Aside from the visuals, the uneven pace of ZombiU may turn off some gamers. The game can go from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds. An empty area can lull gamers to sleep, but enemies can surprise players at any time.

In addition to the campaign, players have access to a few multiplayer modes where they get to be the King of Zombies (they can place traps and spawn zombies), or an actual zombie menacing the survival of the King. These modes are available offline (players use one controller or another depending on their role), but there's also online play, where in addition to the competitive modes, the community is alerted of your infections so they can go kill and loot your expired character before you get to it.

ZombiU (Wii U) Review Screenshots

In closing, ZombiU has a lot of positives. The survival horror elements will definitely please fans of the genre, and usage of the GamePad was integrated very nicely. The death mechanic was a nice touch as well. Even with all the good, there are some bad aspects. The visuals will not impress, and the game's pace will make some players uneasy.

All in all, the game will give a few frights and provide some entertainment. Is it worth time for gamers new to the survival genre? Players who are frustrated easily and unable to handle a few frights may want to pass. In the end, I recommend ZombiU only to survival horror fans and gamers who want a difficult game and enjoy a few scares from time to time. Those gamers will be the ones truly enjoying the game the way it was intended.

GameDynamo's Score for ZombiU (Wii U)
The visuals are dark and dingy. While it fits the atmosphere, the art direction could have been more pleasing to the eye.
The sound adds to the atmosphere. The screams of dread during combat really enhances the game.
High difficulty and scares may turn off some players, but there are nice ideas inside the game and it's fun for survival horror aficionados.
Play Value
The multiplayer modes and online features can add some longevity to the game, and the campaign is worth playing provided you enjoy this type of gameplay.
Final Score  82  
ZombiU is a nice launch title for the Wii U. Fans of survival horror will want to check this out.

Posted on 11/19/2012 | Game Played on: Wii U
Christopher Rogel

Chris started playing games at the tender age of 5. Since then, he sees mushrooms, hearts, aliens, and spikey-haired blondes in his sleep.

The views of GameDynamo's writers are not necessarily the views of the website as a whole. However, we support freedom of speech and enjoy diverse opinions about video games. Hopefully you do too!

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