San Diego Comic-Con 2012 housed some of gaming’s largest games including a private showing of upcoming console Nintendo’s Wii U. There was a room that showed off Nintendo’s Wii U along with some of the most anticipated titles for the console. ZombiU was one of the more popular titles among guests. This is a game made exclusively for the Wii U and back when it was announced it came to everyone’s surprise of its contents. Unlike most recent Nintendo titles this game is rated mature and will feature a post-apocalyptic setting filled with zombies. Getting our hands-on this game was delightful however it did bring a lot of questions concerning the Wii U to mind.
First and foremost it is important to note that we played this game with the Wii U game pad. It had been noted to us that the game will also be playable with the Wii U pro controller if desired upon release of the game. With that being said please bear in mind that some of the opinions in this preview would be altered if the demo was played on a different controller type.
The demo started with the player getting up out of bed in search of contents to put in his or her backpack. It was a surprise to find that the demo started this way and with a short bio of the character instead of a cut scene. When the subject of gameplay was brought up there was an interesting answer, this game is strictly about surviving there is no main character and there is no pausing the game. The player’s objective is to make it through the level without dying, if they die so does their character and they will restart the level with a new survivor. This new survivor will fight their way through the zombie horde and can even eventually meet up with the previous character that the player had died with before. This is a very interesting approach to the game in which mixed emotions can be said about.
To make note of the positive points about the game play of ZombiU is that this is something that has never been done in a game before. To make a game that is all about surviving where when your character does die, that the end of them is quite amazing. The short bio that comes along with each character helps the player to get a quick perspective on who they are playing as, that’s all they need to know and all they are given; no background, no backstory, just a simple little bio. The gameplay of ZombiU is unique to say the least. It is clearly something that you can only get while playing this game.
With the positive points being noted there are also a few negative points about this single aspect of the game to make note of. With the switch of characters that can happen as frequently or as infrequently as desired makes it hard to understand where a true story will come into play with the full game. It is a wonder if the player will ever get to know their character past the simple bio or if there will even be any cut scene sequences that demonstrate an ultimate objective. On the note it is also a downfall when it comes to the inability to pause the game. Sure- in a really zombie outbreak there is no pause, and this even shows off the survival aspect very well; but we are here to play a game and while playing said game players have basic needs to attend to (eating, drinking, bathroom, mom/ dad/ sister/ brother/ girl friend/ ect barging in, and other unexpected interruptions) that would call for simply pausing the game. It would be nice to know your character isn’t getting its head gnawed off while you’re trying to explain to your friends on why you can’t make it to the movies.
As stated above we did get the chance to play the game on the Wii U controller instead of the Wii U pro controller, which we would assume most people would do but fell it is important to make note of that once again while we explain the way the controller works for the game. The Wii U gamepad is a unique way to play. There is of course the buttons on the side of the touch screen that is located in the middle of the gamepad. These buttons are for simple movements and ways of combat while the touch screen is for menus and the cool 360 viewing mode.
The 360 viewing mode is one of the more unique features that we have seen in a game. It allows players to use the gamepad in a way that the player can turn their back to the TV and see what is behind their player on screen through the tough screen panel. Even though we are not sure how convenient it will be to turn your back to the TV while playing it is neat to know that doing so is possible.
ZombieU is going to be a must get game for any hardcore gamer if they plan on purchasing the new Nintendo Wii U console. This game is one of the few Wii U titles that seem to be geared toward a core audience instead of the casual player the Wii drew into gaming. One note that is important to make is that we feel a hardcore gamer would enjoy this game far more with the Wii U pro controller just based on convenience and what they are used to. The game was unique yet there are questions like what about story and why are we being punished for needing to use the restroom that we can’t wrap our minds around. Until then we know that this game is promising and the more information released about it the better players respond.