ZombieU review

ZombieU review

Developed by Ubisoft, ZombieU is one of the launch titles for the Nintendo Wii U console. There is even a ZombieU bundle which you can opt for. Here's our ZombieU review. See all game reviews.

ZombieU is set in London after 'The Black Prophecy' with an outbreak of, er, zombies. You take on the role of a survivor with the help of 'The Prepper', an ex-army who was well prepared for the events. You have to fight off the zombies and complete missions while one of the Queen's doctors hunts for the cure, called the 'panacea'. See also: Nintendo Wii U review.

Survivors start in the relative safety of The Prepper's bunker who is nothing more than a voice who gives you tips, instructions and gets mad if you die.

The initial problem is that if you die, you wake up back at the bunker and take on the role of a different survivor. You must go find your previous character – now zombified – to kill them and take back your kit. This not only means that there's no central character to get attached to, plus it is just a pain since you die a lot in ZombieU.

One you get out of the bunker, London looks great with plenty of detail and thought gone into the levels. In a similar style to F.E.A.R you walk around tentatively, not know what will be around each corner. In this sense, ZombieU is gripping like a well-made film draws you in and causes you to forget reality.

Your main weapon is the original choice of a cricket bat and you'll use this a lot since ammo for guns is limited. Deaths are brutal, which is great if you like that kind of thing. The main issue is that zombies are difficult to kill, and can kill you much easier than you can them. Taking on one zombie at a time is simple enough; you don't know how many hits of the cricket bat will be required which makes things especially tricky when there are multiple. Running is quite often your best option.

The artificial intelligence is another issue with some zombies having no idea you're standing in front of them while others spot you from a mile away. There's no obvious pattern.

ZombieU Wii U GamePad

If you can avoid the frustration of dying all the time, then gameplay can be good. ZombieU uses the Wii U's gamepad very well as you would hope a launch title would. As you wonder round London whacking zombies on the head you can use the GamePad to see where you're going and access your inventory. Other uses include an environment scanner, hacking locks and making barricades. While this is useful we feel there's more potential here, plus there's the fact that in the latter uses you are put into a static third-person mode on the TV which leaves you vulnerable to attacks.

A gripping story to the game would have balanced out some of these flaws but unfortunately most missions are a simple fetch and return style while puzzles follow a repeating pattern – scan walls for numbers to put in a keypad.

Luckily the multiplayer mode is good fun, although it's local only. Here one player is the survivor and the other is the zombie king. The latter deploys hoards of zombies with the touchscreen via a bird's eye view which the survivor must combat. 

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Hitting zombies with a cricket bat is fun but too much emphasis on this rather than clever gameplay means ZombieU fails to score well. While post-apocalyptic London looks great, laborious tasks and dying far too easily will likely leave you frustrated and looking for another game.