Reviews// ZombiU Review Part II

Posted 5 Dec 2012 17:18 by
At the back end of last week we were checking in on the first two hours of ZombiU . Now, with plenty more hours in hand, let's pick up where we left off. So, where were we?

Ah yes, tricky situations. As you gain a bit of experience and get a proper feel for the game, you earn a feeling of, ĎFuck you, zombies!í as your bash their heads in with your cricket bat (which, might I add, has a very satisfying feel about it); not that this feeling lasts very long.

Before you settle in with your new gaming mindset, the hordes get bigger and harder. Youíll face more equipped zombies. Some with full bulletproof armour and S.W.A.T.-type helmets, and some with bombs strapped to their chests thatíll blow up the first time you hit them.

The annoying part about the suicide bombing undead is that if you find yourself bullet-less, youíre going to struggle to take them down without seriously damaging or even killing your character. Mixing these newly equipped zombies with a horde of the usual shop-owner types makes for a tough time. And yes, you are going to die Ė more than once, probably.

Whatís interesting about dying is that you respawn as a completely new character Ė a nice addition if you ask me. It adds a slight aspect of realism to the post-apocalyptic, zombie overrun streets of London. Now, as you play through as one character, you collect loot; sometimes from dead zombies, and sometimes from lockers or suitcases.

If you revisit the area in which you died, youíll find the corpse of your previous character reanimated and hungry for flesh. Thereís a special prize if you kill any previous characters, any ideas? Yep, you can claim back any loot that they may have collected. Annoyingly though, only the most recent dead character is available to kill, so if you die en route to collecting all that gear from ĎJohn Smithí, youíre pretty stuffed.

Anyway, Iíve mentioned loot, I suppose I should explain what type of loot you can acquire; most commonly, youíll find ammo, med packs and small snacks/drinks (which restore a small portion of health). Sometimes though, youíll find new guns. And when youíve found new guns, youíll find new upgrades for these guns.

Perhaps one of the corpses has already claimed it, or maybe someoneís left it lying around next to a work bench - convenient, considering that a work bench is required to upgrade weapons. These upgrades come in one of four parts: Firepower, Firing Speed, Spread and Capacity. You canít use all of these on any weapon though, I (stupidly) tried to add a capacity upgrade to my double barrelled shotgun before realising; hold on, itís double barrelled - it can only hold two shots at once.

Iíve mentioned London a couple of times so far havenít I? Well yeah, the game is set in London. Throughout your travels youíll visit well know locations such as Brick Lane and Buckingham Palace, but not exactly as you remember them. Some areas in the game have a very eerie feel about them.

A lot of the time, youíll find yourself stood in the middle of a foggy street where you canít see much further than a couple of metres in front of your character. Iíve genuinely found myself hesitating while playing Ė do I go around this next corner? Or should I just give up now and go make myself a brew?

Now Iíve already said that the Wii U GamePad is used for arranging your inventory, viewing your map and mowing down zombies while sat on a machine gun turret. But thatís not all! The first thing Iíll say about the multiplayer on ZombiU, is that itís offline, and I know, youíre all sighing and saying Ďuhh, weíre going to have to use splitscreen if we want to check out multiplayerí Ė no! No you are not. We have two multiplayer modes to choose from: Assault, and Killing Box.

Assault is a capture the flag-type mode. Player 1 takes hold of the Wii U Pro Controller (or Wii remote and nunchuck) and is thrown into a map on the TV screen. There are flags dotted around the map in which player 1 has to capture. Itís not all that easy though. Player 2 takes a birds-eye view of the map on the GamePad screen.

Commanding an army of different types of zombies, itís his job to thwart player 1ís plans and destroy the flags by spotting his reanimated lumps of flesh around the map to do what they do best Ė make a mess of everything.

Killing Box is a survival-type mode. Again, Player 1 takes the TV screen and has to, well, survive. Player 2 takes the GamePad. This time though, there are no flags to worry about. Player 2 simply has to place zombies wherever he/she wants and send them to mutilate Player 1.

I think that overall, the multiplayer is a great idea and itís been executed well. Nobody wants to play splitscreen, really. Now you might say ĎWell if people donít want to play splitscreen, why not just have an online option?í Well, it wouldnít work is why. ZombiU simply doesnít need online. Itís a survival horror game at the end of the day.

And thatís just it. ZombiU is a survival horror game, and it certainly does a brilliant job when it comes to pad-clenching scenes. Unfortunately, the combat is very repetitive and you arenít offered many different ways to purge the undead, but the sheer horror of the game makes it worthwhile. The GamePad is integrated usefully - it feels right, and not as though itís just being used because itís a new piece of hardware.

+ Genuinely scary
+ GamePad is integrated well
+ Multiplayer is a lot of fun

- Repetitive combat
- Annoying grunt when you swing the cricket bat
- Graphics arenít quite up to scratch

SPOnG Score: 8/10
Games: ZombiU


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