ZombiU

aka: Attack of the Killer Rabbids from Outer Space, Killer Freaks from Outer Space, Zombi
Moby ID: 59015
Wii U Specs
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Description official descriptions

ZombiU is a first-person horror survival game based on the heritage of Zombi, the first game published by Ubisoft. The game is set in London, England, and the player controls a random survivor of a zombie apocalypse and starts in a metro station. Next to surviving, the protagonist is also after a cure to combat the outbreak, which was first predicted 400 years earlier as The Black Prophecy by John Dee, an astronomer and adviser to the queen. A secret society known as the 'Ravens of Dee' researched his predictions and worked towards finding a cure. The members hide in a bunker and one is chosen by the Raven leader Sondra to confront the zombies. The spiritual leader is called Prepper and assists the character through radio during missions by providing hints and overlooking the situation when the character manages to restore the power to the CCTV cameras. When those are online, Prepper can draw maps of the surroundings that are displayed on the GamePad. Meanwhile, Dr. Knight, one of the Queen's doctors, also searches for the cure as a panacea under Buckingham Palace.

The protagonist explores different locations, needs to take out zombies, and collects items and weapons. True to the spirit of survival horror, it features a form of permadeath. If the character becomes killed or infected, which is possible with a single bite, he slowly turns into a zombie and if no medicine to combat it is found, another character from the bunker is sent out to continue the mission, but without the gathered items or weapons. In the hardcore Survival mode the consequences are fiercer as the entire campaign needs to be restarted with no option to revert back to an earlier point. Basic items when starting are a flashlight, a gun, some ammo and a cricket bat. Ammo is scarce and needs to be spent wisely. In most situations riskier melee weapons are used to save the firearms for the most difficult encounters. Even then, only head shots are effective. It is however possible to track down the former protagonist and kill it to reclaim the inventory. Next to the basic items there are also medicine, grenades, molotov cocktails and wooden planks to barricade doors. Barricading doors and hacking combinations locks is done in context-sensitive situations through the GamePad's touchscreen. In other situations it displays the mini-map (when available), and it is used as a sniper scope or to manage the inventory. Additional items can be stored in the home base. The device's gyroscope is used to scan the environment by holding the left trigger. The GamePad is held up towards the TV and acts as a scanner to view the surroundings, even through walls. At those moment the game turns to a fixed third-person view where the character remains vulnerable. Discovered items in unexplored rooms through scans are stored on the mini-map to help locate them.

Attacking requires a careful approach. When fighting with the bat for instance, holding the left trigger is used to block, and to attack the right trigger needs to be held. Once released, the bat is swung. If the right one is held too long, the character becomes tired with the raised arm and lowers it again. As the movement is slow, it requires precise timing during fights and only a small amount of zombies can be attacked that way at once. The right trigger is also used to shake off zombies. They generally leave the character alone when no sound is made or when he has not been spotted. Therefore most situations require the isolation of zombies from larger groups. When the Miiverse is enabled, other players' characters can appear as zombies in the game, and clues or hint tagged on walls can be seen by other players in their games.

Multiplayer is available for two players and only offline. One player uses the GamePad and is King Boris, king of the zombies. The environment is shown using a top-down view of the entire level and the king can put zombies in the game while the other player uses a standard controller (Wii Remote with Nunchuk or Pro Controller) to complete the levels. The asymmetric multiplayer is organized around three game modes and five maps, but with the same type of gameplay, including elements of capture-the-flag and domination game types.

The later released ports for other platforms work without the above described inclusion of the Wii U GamePad. All special gimmicks like the scan function are either triggered with a button press or are otherwise integrated into the UI, e.g. the map is displayed in the lower right corner of the screen. Online capabilities and multiplayer are completely gone,

Spellings

  • 殭屍+ - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Wii U version)

706 People (672 developers, 34 thanks) · View all

Presented by
  • Ubisoft
A Game by
  • Ubisoft Montpellier
In Collaboration with
  • Ubisoft Bucharest
Development Team
  • Ubisoft Montpellier
Producer
Creative Directors
Associate Producer
Audio Producer
Written by
Artistic Director
Game Design Content Director
Game Design Team
Level Design Content Creator
Level Design Technical Director
Rational Level Design
Level Design Team
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 66 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 1 reviews)

This game disappointed me... FHP OUT!

The Good
Use of the gamepad was intuitive, music and sound effects are well designed. I've heard multiplayer is good, but I don't play well with others so I wouldn't know.

The Bad
Use of the gamepad was counter intuitive during fight sequences in that you need it to switch weapons, and for a game that punishes you for dying, it's spiteful to put you in a powerless position for even just a moment, all while trying to cover yourself on the fly with no ammunition.

In general the controls are just terrible. Let's face it, the gamepad is basically a tablet computer in your hands, and with the controls it brings your arms far enough apart that you have to get used to playing with it as if it were a standard controller and there is a comfort level you have to find in this configuration. That being said, L3 for running was truly a bad idea as L and LZ are just below it, and were constantly disrupting my progress. I had to mentally remember to keep my left index finger snuggly under L so I didn't accidentally trigger it or LZ while running, especially during the circus time trials, which are forced on you when you just think you're getting a hang of the game. The option to invert look on the game pad was a glaring omission, as I'm an old school gamer and have always used flight-sim style controls on my FPS's. Mentally switching between the two view formats was such a headache that I literally re-programmed myself to play with standard controls. It's been an adjustment that has literally re-defined how I play games now.

Graphics are substandard, with poor textures and a garish "looking through a dirty car window" aspect to them. Because of this I truly wasn't scared, feeling as if I was watching some animated Zombie movie where poorly rendered dead things were being thrust at me.

Zombi U is blessed with at least one horrible programming snafu, such as when I was locked in a safe room in Buckingham Palace and was unable to do anything but quit my game and lose all my progress. Load times are also questionable.

Logic seems to be an option in this world, as you are left with nothing when you reincarnate and you start at level 1, but your weapons retain their upgrades and you always have a pistol and a bat. Additionally, zombies are typically lumbering unfocused creatures. Regardless of this fact, in Zombi U they keep up with you at an irritating rate, even when you run. They might as well be alive.

Disappointing character development puts a damper on the emotional draw of the game. The Prepper seems to be in his own little world, eventually falling under the illusion I'm working against him. The doctor in Buckingham Palace has an interesting flare, but his character is so undeveloped that we don't really care when his predicament comes to a dead end. Finally there are these spoken messages throughout the game that are intended to engage the player in the evolution of the "Blight", but they seem more like sprigs of parsley on a dinner plate; sure you can eat them but they are hardly satisfying. All of these factors augment the feeling that you're not interacting with anything, just running around bashing Zombies.

While I don't mind the next aspect so much, game play has been compared to Metroid where you backtrack for additional items and clues, and Zombi U is all about retracing your steps. But at least Metroid has tight controls that give you a fighting chance and doesn't compound the punishments if you don't play the game a specific way, such as this game where if you fail to survive during the final sequence, your shortcuts are removed.

While you're free to travel almost anywhere in London, I would have suggested a better chronological flow to the game, where we experience the passage of day and night, such as in Skyrim. I think this urgency to get under cover when night falls would have added an amazing dimension to the game, but time seems to be a prisoner along with us, where it's always night or always day depending on where you're at.

Some have said the game should be looked at as true survival horror but even the original "Resident Evil" gave you a save system to fall back on, Zombi U gives you a learning curve for wrapping your head around the idea that you are playing a body, not a character, even though they all have names. If they die, you can move onto the next one so having any feelings for these automatons is pointless. Yeah, it probably looked good on paper, but I think just like the lack of connection with the Prepper, all of these elements enhance ones indifference to the experience, and it totally works against the game.

A challenge for many and I do respect that, Zombie U is definitely a game that will monopolize your mind and give you plenty of work to do to get through it, but it could easily have been put on a mobil device and called "Bash the Zombies" and would have been just as effective.

Some have also said that you shouldn't have preconceived ideas about what this game should be, and assume those of us who don't like it are expecting a traditional FPS rather than a unique survival horror experience. I argue that I'm pretty open minded about gaming experiences, but in this stage of gaming technology we have a right to expect a $60 game to be fluid, varied, logical, bug free with a lot of content, and Zombi U is NONE of those things. Thanks to Ubisoft it never will be, and honestly I think my biggest peeve is Ubisoft's willingness to abandon this title even though it clearly has a strong fanbase, of which I was one for a short while. Correcting their programming errors with proper updates and perhaps offering one DLC package would have been nice, but they have declared this one DOA, and so should we.

The Bottom Line
An ugly little merry-go-round of tedious, repetitive and unfulfilling gameplay that's less about fun and more about work. That is, WHEN it works.

Wii U · by FireHorsePrime (21) · 2014

Trivia

Origins

The game was originally planned to be an entry in the Rabbids series, with the main enemies being monstrous versions of the rabbit-like creatures. As the game took on a darker and gorier tone, members of the development team decided it was no longer appropriate for the family friendly image of the series, so it was retooled into a standalone title.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2012 – Best Wii U Game of the Year
    • 2012 – Most Demanding Game of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Patrick Bregger, Kennyannydenny, Harmony♡, 一旁冷笑.

Game added December 26, 2012. Last modified January 4, 2024.