Ramblings | The ZombiU Misconception

One of the most high­ly antic­i­pat­ed Wii U launch titles, Zom­biU was not quite what some peo­ple were expect­ing.  Depend­ing upon what you might’ve been hop­ing for from the zom­bie shoot­er, you could either have been delight­ful­ly sur­prised or a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed.  Since the release, the game has seen mixed reviews, but is that due to the qual­i­ty of the game or mis­matched expec­ta­tions? 

For me per­son­al­ly, I hap­pen to fall into the camp of folks that are real­ly enjoy­ing Ubisoft’s new sur­vival hor­ror title.  With a decent num­ber of peo­ple hav­ing the oppo­site opin­ion, I took to try­ing to fig­ure out why.  With a bit of fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion, I dis­cov­ered that most peo­ple were hop­ing for one game and quite a dif­fer­ent one was deliv­ered to their con­sole.  While some peo­ple may have been look­ing for­ward to a fast-paced zom­bie blast­ing shoot­er, they instead got a slow and delib­er­ate, atmos­pher­ic sur­vival hor­ror game.

Zom­bie games, while hav­ing a very rich his­to­ry, have been done more often than they should.  In most games, when off­ing some undead, it’s rather easy to to take out a large num­ber of them.  One of the first things I noticed about Zom­biU is that you’re put in a very dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion.  Com­ing across one zom­bie is not a huge deal as long as you’re on your toes, two zom­bies is doable, but a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult and three or more and you need to have a very clear plan in mind.

The game uses the stan­dard zom­bie movie rule of one bite and your dead.  While I have had few encoun­ters that end­ed some­what unex­pect­ed­ly with my demise, it hasn’t felt unfair at any point.  As you approach each sit­u­a­tion, the game gives you sev­er­al tools to make sure that you’re able to slow down and plan care­ful­ly.  While this doesn’t lend itself to a bom­bas­tic undead shootout, it’s the true sur­vival hor­ror game that peo­ple have been want­i­ng.

It’s been a while since a game has been able to real­ly shake me up.  Walk­ing through the envi­ron­ment of Zom­biU, I’ll find myself being very care­ful.  Every once in a while, the game will lull me into a false sense of secu­ri­ty by not hav­ing any zom­bies for a while.  Just when I stop using my sonar to detect near­by undead, I’ll round a cor­ner and a ghoul will be star­ing me in the face.  This cre­ates an amaz­ing amount of ten­sion that I haven’t expe­ri­enced in a game for a long time.

While folks have got­ten used to the Left 4 Dead style of zom­bie killing, this game is much more like a first-per­son ver­sion of the Res­i­dent Evil series.  Gath­er all the sup­plies you can hold and set out against odds that are not in your favor.  Treat all of your sup­plies with respect and horde them all into a giant box.  While there is no mas­ter of unlock­ing or Jill sand­wich­es in this game, the for­mu­la is still there and I’m glad to see it back again after so long.

So, if you were hop­ing for a more fast-paced game, please reset your expec­ta­tions and give Zom­biU one more try.  It might not be the game you thought it was, but it’s a sol­id ver­sion of what it real­ly end­ed up being.

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