ZombiU: The Unsung Hero Of 2012
While the Wii U may be faltering on a number of fronts, I have still had some of the best recent video game experiences on the console. Oddly the newest system on the market managed to recreate some nostalgia, and I’m not talking about Mario.
ZombiU was one of the most refreshing games I’ve played in the last five years. Sure the concept of anything zombie related is now long in the tooth, but ZombiU managed to make the undead threatening again. When ZombiU was released, the market was filled with games in which players would lay waste to hundreds of zombies for laughs. ZombiU went in a different direction, a single zombie could end the players life. It added a sense of challenge to the game , as well as forcing the player to think out each encounter.
Player death wasn’t just a simple case of reloading a checkpoint, it actually had consequences. Upon death, players would respawn as a new survivor, stripped off all their gear. This played up the whole ‘surviving the zombie apocalypse’ theme ZombiU was going for. The combination of vulnerability and deaths with consequences made the game an intense experience. ZombiU became a nightmare to play, but in a good way. The threat of losing all of my hard earned gear in an instant was a awful, almost foreboding.
Every hour I played, I would have a story to share when talking about the game to a friend. I’d not had this experience since playing the likes of Silent Hill and Eternal Darkness. Survival horror had truly reached the next generation, and I was loving it. There’s a number of features in ZombiU that supplements the survival horror aspects, most of them using the Wii U pad.
Sorting out the inventory became a period of weakness for the player, as well as a means for the game to amp up the tension. Seeing zombies shambles towards you on the TV screen ,while you scrambled to pick your desired item of use on the Wii U pad, resulted in some genuine moments of panic. The same applies to opening locked doors and doors protected by key codes. They were neat features which made great use of the Wii U pad.
ZombiU was truly one of the best video game experiences I’ve had in a long time. Admittedly it’s a short game, and it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a awesome survival horror. It’s a shame that ZombiU became one of last years most overlooked titles. Given the struggle the Wii U has been going through, I fear that ZombiU will become one of the hidden gems. It’s also unfortunate that one of the few cases of true survival horror has went under the radar of many.