Well, the Wii U has finally launched. With it, a slew of brand-new
games as well as some familiar ones. This time, we’re going to
take a look at one of the more anticipated launch titles: ZombiU.
Storyline – 3/5
ZombiU takes place in modern-day London, where a horrific viral
outbreak has a occurred that turns the infected into the walking
dead within moments of infection.
You play as one of the survivors of this outbreak, first seen
scavenging the dead for any supplies that will help you survive,
when all of a sudden, you’re attacked by a horde of the infected,
only to be saved by a mysterious voice seemingly coming from the
walls, coaching you to find an escape route where you ultimately
end up in what’s known as the “Safe House”.
It turns out that the voice helping you along belongs to a man
calling himself “The Prepper”. Prepper apparently knew that the
outbreak was going to occur beforehand, and true to his name, has
prepared thoroughly to survive. He takes you under his wing,
giving you tips and teaching you survival skills to help you stay
alive in the zombie apocalypse.
As you’re out scavenging from the safety of the Safe House, you’re
swept up in a plot involving a group known as the “Ravens of Dee”.
The Ravens are trying to establish an escape from London, and are
also searching for what’s known as the “Panacea”, a cure for the
The storyline of ZombiU isn’t the most original or creative that
gamers have ever seen, but then again, there’s not a whole lot of
wiggle room when it comes to the zombie apocalypse, so they make
do well enough with what they have. At the end of the day, the
storyline plays second fiddle to the survival, and it becomes easy
to forget what it is that you’re supposed to be doing.
Graphics – 5/5
Visually, ZombiU is superb. It takes full advantage of the Wii U’s
brand-new hardware. Environments, weapons, zombies, and characters
are all well-detailed and lifelike, with no pixelation whatsoever.
The environments in the game are very well done, creating a dark,
dreary, creepy atmosphere, helping to punctuate the hopelessness
of the odds you face. Everything seems to drive home the fact that
you are facing the end of the world, and no matter where you look,
you see death and despair. Enough to creep you out at any given
moment. And that’s a good thing.
Weapons in the game are all modeled from real-life weaponry, and
they all look authentic from their real world counterparts.
Animation is also smooth and polished, with no jerky animations,
skipped frames, draw-in, or pop-ups.
All in all, the graphics are excellent, and proudly show off the
power of, and Ubisoft’s support for, Nintendo’s new system.
Everything makes you actually feel like you’re living out the
Audio – 4/5
The audio in ZombiU is also surprisingly pleasant. The music, when
present, is gloomy and foreboding, and the music that plays while
in combat with a zombie never ceases to make one jumpy, wondering
if there’s another zombie lurking behind him, or even behind
yourself. And it also presents a sense of urgency when you’re
swarmed by a horde and need to escape as opposed to fighting them
The voice acting is also fairly well done, with just about every
line of spoken dialogue delivered clearly and understandably,
British slang notwithstanding. Also, all the voices are done with
British accents, as one would expect from a game that takes place
The part where the audio fizzles a bit is in the sound effects.
While the ambient noises, from zombie moans to the crackle of your
radio and scanner are excellent, the weaponry lacks that certain
“oomph” that makes you feel like you’re firing a real weapon.
The audio aspect of the game does a great job of adding to the
suspense and paranoia, and helps instill a sense of fear at just
about any given time.
Gameplay – 4/5
Survival is the name of the game here. Whatever you’re doing, be
it scavenging for supplies, fighting the infected, or fleeing for
your life, you do it in the name of living to fight another day.
Thankfully, the controls are easy to learn and use. Once you get
the hang of using the Wii U GamePad, the control scheme ends up
being incredibly intuitive, with the GamePad screen adding a
risk/reward element to going through your inventory.
Gamers will find that its core, ZombiU controls very similarly to
most first-person shooter games. This presents a base of
familiarity, but that’s only the beginning. Players must learn to
make use of their Bug-Out Bag, or “BOB”. This is done by using the
screen on the GamePad to manage their inventory, equip weapons,
and use healing items.
Players will also need to utilize the GamePad to scan the
environment for lootable spoils, scan CCTV junction Boxes to keep
the map up-to-date, hack the security locks on doors, and reveal
hidden messages written on the walls.
On top of that, players can also use the GamePad to line up shots
with some long-range weaponry, like the sniper rifle or hunting
crossbow. Thankfully, this turns out to be extremely accurate and
doesn’t suffer from the “trembling” of other FPS games, and is
only limited by the real trembling of your own hands.
While the gameplay makes the game extremely fun, once you finish
the game, you’ll find that there isn’t much to add to replay
value. Survivor Mode, which gives you just one survivor through
the whole game, gives even the most hardcore gamer a huge
challenge, and the multiplayer, while fairly entertaining, is
local only, without the benefit of online play. The game could
also have used more melee weapon options.
That’s all for the in-depth, here’s the breakdown.
Storyline – 3/5 Not the most original storyline, but does fairly
well within the constraints of the Zombie Apocalypse genre.
Graphics – 5/5 Superb use of the Wii U’s abilities. Dark, creepy
environments, sullen atmosphere, and realistic weapons create the
feeling of surviving a real apocalypse.
Audio – 4/5 Great voice acting, paired with paranoia-inducing
music, with the only real blemishes being with the weapon’s sound
effects lacking realism.
Gameplay – 4/5 Overall fun game, although it could use more replay
value. Multiplayer is pretty good, but lacks online component.
Total – 16/20
Although ZombiU isn’t a perfect launch game, it is an incredibly great game, and it has established itself as a true survival horror game, single-handedly
revitalizing the genre. Although a slight lack of replay value
makes it somewhat hard to swallow the $60 price tag, that will be
the last thing on your mind once you actually play it.