Ports of exclusive Nintendo games are pretty rare in the world of gaming. So to see the release of ZombiU, from the Wii U, for Xbox One, PS4, and PC was interesting. Especially as it was pretty well received when released for the Wii U.
Cracking the skulls of zombies is always a good time, and with a cricket bat instead of the standard baseball bat, even better. But without the added feature of the Wii U gamepad how will it stack up against the big boys of the Zombie world?
The big draw for me in Zombi was the way the death of your character is handled. Dead is dead! If you are killed then you start again at the safe house with a new survivor. Skills you may have advanced are lost as they are tied to each survivor. Any progress in the the form of doors opened and areas cleared will remain but as for any gear you may have been carrying, well, you have to go and kill your now zombie previous self to reclaim it. Beware though, if your new survivor is killed enroute to collect your gear is killed then all that previous gear is gone! So don’t load up with more than you need, just in case.
Without the use of the Wii U gamepad to mix up the gameplay, Zombi plays as a pretty standard FPS zombie game. The London setting is great and makes for a change but then within the game many of the areas and rooms are the same which really kills the semi-open world you have to explore. And another pet hate of mine, the inability to jump! You are given the option to climb onto or vault certain items but lack the ability to jump over simple obstacles. And while I am moaning, another horrible glitch saw me unable to open a previously opened gate in my safe house. I ended up having to travel the long way and come in from the other side, at the cost of some very scarce supplies.
Graphics whores will be disappointed with Zombi, it has only been tweaked slightly for the port so doesn’t come up to par with other titles, it is also a very dark game, even with your trusty torch. For a survival horror there isn’t too many scares, and those that might get you are very scripted and too be expected. Apart from your trusty cricket bat, all the weapons are run of the mill, from crossbow to assault rifle, pistol to sniper rifle. Ammunition is very scarce though, so melee is how you will have to deal with the majority of your new friends. You also have access to mines, Molotov’s, grenades, and the likes but be careful not to blow yourself up.
The variation of the undead is good, with some real ding dong battles occurring when you get a handful of armoured soldiers hitting you at the same time. Once you learn the tactic for each type of enemy though it quickly becomes a bit of tedium as you are exploring or on your way to the next quest point. Using your PDA to solve codes and search for clues adds so variety but in many cases isn’t required and only opens you up for attack while in use, along with your melee swing. Get the timing or distance wrong and you can be in all sorts of trouble thanks to the lengthy swing animation…
Although it might sound like I didn’t really enjoy Zombi, I did. And even though it only took around 12 hours to finish, including all the treasure hunting and exploring, it was good fun. Luckily Zombi has been released at a mid range price, $35 on Xbox One here in NZ, this makes it a good value ‘Arcade’ game as opposed to a substandard retail release, if you know what I mean. Replayability is there due to its short length, with a option to complete it with only one survivor, but the multiplayer seen on the Nintendo is gone. Fun game, good price point, shame there is no zombie Queen to hit with a cricket bat…