With Resident Evil and, seemingly, Dead Space both eschewing traditional survival horror in favour of something more action-based, it's refreshing to witness a developer happy to do just the opposite.
ZombiU depicts a reasonably accurate representation of modern day London, albeit one overrun by the undead. The Blight, as supposedly predicted by Royal Astronomer John Dee in the 1600s, having transformed the living into soulless monstrosities.
As a result of Dee’s predictions, Charles II formed the Ravens, a Torchwood-like group dedicated to restoring humanity. As a survivor – or rather a string of survivors, as if you die that's all she wrote for that character – it falls to you to follow the Ravens' guidance and drive back the hordes.
What ZombiU gets spot on is its atmosphere, as right from the start you’re thrown in against the zombie hordes with only a handful of bullets and a cricket bat to defend yourself. Taking stock of any given situation is the key to success, with explosive barrels, natural barriers and gun emplacements all coming into play as you formulate a plan.
Adding to the sense of dread is your torch, which seems to know just when to run out of juice and the way in which ZombiU uses the GamePad.
Here, the GamePad takes care of everything from scanning environments, to decoding angelic script and managing your inventory. The caveat being that while you're busily engaged on the touchscreen the game doesn’t pause, meaning your character is still at risk of attack.
It's a surprisingly successful way of heaping stress on the player, whether frantically inputting a key code, or simply switching weapons should your gun run dry mid-encounter.
The game isn't without its flaws, however. Sudden spikes in difficulty can tip stressful situations to the point of being annoying. Dispatching zombies with a cricket bat, though deliciously gory at first, becomes tedious without a way to upgrade it and the story rather fizzles out too.
There is even a hint of a multiplayer mode thrown in, where one player can place zombies and another simply survive. But again, there's an overwhelming suspicion of underdevelopment.
ZombiU is full of the kind of ideas we were promised when the Wii U was first talked about. Smart GamePad integration points towards new gameplay mechanics, and the sense of potential is pervasive. Yes, there's a feeling of the game not being properly joined up, but for a new IP on new hardware, there's much to impress. ®
More Info Official ZombiU website
re: sound ..
Well, since the sound that comes from the pad is the police radio chatter, a tinny little speaker is just about right.
(Worth noting: neither of us actually knows how good the speakers in the pad are, although I doubt very much that they are a match for your main gear.)
Gotta hand it to developers
They bring old games over to a new system to test the water, and when those old games don't sell well as the majority of the people who wanted it already have it on the original systems over a year ago have it already, they will say there is no market on the new Wii U, and screw it over for games.
I've seen this on the Wii, and other other systems they bring a old, and terrible edition of a game from japan over it bombs they cancel the good release in the US as there is no market.
As for people judging a system on the 1st round of games... seriously when has a game system even been remotely pushed at all when they 1st came out. I don't think I can recall a launch game really push any system or show what they can do.
" i didnt want it to use my £2000 B&W speakers or anything. 7.1? nah, can i just use some tinny little speaker on the pad...."
You won't need your 80" 4K TV either - just use the low-res screen on the Gamepad.
"If these are the best games on the Wii U right now I'm glad I haven't bought one. Mario Bros and ZombiU I'd be interested in. But the rest either don't interest me (nintendo land) or I can grab on a console I already own (batman arkham city / Darksiders 2.)"
If only Nintendo had asked you first. Then they wouldn't have had to go to the expense of designing, manufacturing and selling a new console.
I do hope you've written to Sony and Microsoft to prevent them from making the same mistake with *their* next consoles. I'd hate for them to go to the effort of releasing the PS4 & neXBox if they don't interest you.
Given that the previous Wii console also put some sounds through a "tinny" speaker on the game controller, I'd guess you were equally disappointed with that too, so you wouldn't really be the target market (and I don't know of anyone who complains about the noise through the controllers, to be honest - that's there for secondary sounds related to that particular player usually, not the main game action).
And the number of people with a £2000 7.1 amplifier setup AND who like playing Wii are probably lost in the intersection of the Venn diagram rather than a huge portion of the market.
Similarly, when I buy a laptop, the sound quality on it is pretty much irrelevant so long as it's loud enough. There aren't many people who hook up their laptops to the hifi either because that tends to be the audiophiles only anyway. And my TV has speakers on the back that are good enough that I don't even *OWN* a hifi or amplified speaker any more.
Never forget: Most people are happy with laptop speakers, iPod headphones, integrated TV speakers, and the little cheap plug-in iPod "speakers" that run on AA's. You are in the minority here, seriously.