E3 Impressions: ZombiU

Well, if you haven’t noticed I’ve kind of taken a break from the blog. It’s summer, and thus, life happens. Life also ends, and sometimes horribly – like in the case of zombie attacks. There was one game this year at E3 that, while I’m not so sold on it yet, definitely intrigued me with the new hardware and interactivity. Ubisoft and Nintendo have teamed up to bring a zombie survival game that tests the boundaries of interactivity and brings a whole new perspective to the experience. The game will infect you and keep you on your toes as you try your best to survive in the upcoming: ZombiU.

The London Olympics – just prep for this?!

I’ve looked over countless interviews, stories, and information trying to compile something wonderful for you all. Consider it your survival inventory as you get ready to tackle the newest adventure from Ubisoft. I’ve looked over previews and interviews and here’s what I’ve learned so far about ZombiU, and what I think about it’s accessibility so far:

  • ZombiU seems to be a survival-horror game set in London in late 2012. I have to admit that I like the new environment vibe for this game.
  • ZombiU seems to require the use of both hands to do many of the actions required for the game. A difficulty for motion-impaired gamers.
  • ZombiU seems to have everything you’ll need to use incorporated within the Wii U controller: inventory, body scanners, etc.
  • The one touch controls of these functions definitely gives the game a plus in this regard. It seems easy, and provides accessible movements.
  • The touch screen seems like it may cause some struggles with colorblind gamers. The scanner is very bright with monotone blue tones.
  • There are moments within the game that the scanner gets disrupted. This will be extremely frustrating for deaf gamers due to loss of radar.
  • Gamers with heart conditions or other medical conditions that may be triggered by unexpected moments of fear may want to avoid this game.
  • The game is very dark and unpredicatable, which may make the game difficult for visually impaired gamers.

The game starts you off playing as a random citizen thrust headlong into surviving in this apocalyptic London environment. You’ll have to keep on your toes, keep your inventory up to date, and prepare for anything! The most innovative function I find that ZombiU carries is that Ubisoft incorporated a twist to gameplay I haven’t seen in past zombie games. If you die within the game there are NO save points. This means that the game is meant to be played through seamlessly, as though you are truly a survivor of the apocalypse. If you die, don’t worry though, you’ll be brought back as a brand new survivor. You WILL lose any inventory or upgrades you earned as your first survivor, but hold on – there’s a catch.
Don’t think that all is lost – [ even if that zombie is eating your brains like a bowl of oatmeal… ]

God Save The Queen – and EVERYONE ELSE!

You may come back as a new survivor, but if you FIND your old survivor body and kill the now-zombified former you, you’ll acquire ALL of the inventory, upgrades, etc. that the former survivor had. The bonus here is that things like doors, or impassable areas you may not have been able to access as a new survivor will already be opened and accessible. This means that each new playthrough will be different and more dynamic than the next. Ubisoft designed the game with surprise of the survival horror genre in mind. These aspects of the game may make the game more difficult for some gamers, but I’m actually excited for this title because of the unexpected design of it.
I want to feel frightened as I play through the London expanse. I want to feel like, no matter what, the gameplay won’t provide a linear similar experience each time. I want to feel that sense of tension around every corner, even if I’ve been around that corner before. I feel like, while the Wii U controller may be cumbersome and challenging, it’s going to aid in providing a brand new sort of survival experience that no one’s ever had before. I may have my concerns in terms of accessibility, but overall this game looks as though it’ll be one of the more adult successes for the Nintendo franchise. I can’t wait to get my hands on this for real and test out my survival skills – but this is shaping up to be a scary good time!
ZombiU is set to release right around the holiday release time of Wii U. So here’s to all of the disembodied fun and hoping we survive our royal induction into the infected world of ZombiU coming late 2012! Thanks Nintendo for giving me a reason to fear your console with an M rated passion!

3 responses to “E3 Impressions: ZombiU

  1. Just like you I wasn’t instantly sold on zombie u, but I liked how it seemed to utilize the Wii u. I like horror games, but I tend to avoid the action ones with zombie fodder in favor of games like project zero and Amnesia which often contain more genuine scares. The death system in this has left me intrigued though. If I ever own a wii u I probably would want to get this just to see how that works alone. Besides I’ve been moaning a lot recently about how deaths are approached in games :P.

    • Oh really? How so Wallcat? I’ve seen a lot of deaths in recent games and I’d love to hear your thoughts on how death might be better implemented within games. It’d be cool to start a discussion over it.

      • When I played Amnesia I found that its gentle approach to dying did take some of the scare out of it because I stopped being too worried about getting caught. In fact, at one point I got lost in a large area and dying re-spawned me at the exit with no loss of progress so it actually ended up being a good thing. Dying in Amnesia: Justine is permanent death, which means you have to restart from the beginning again. For me this is a much tenser experience than the main game for that very reason, but having to replay it over and over shows how scripted the game is and so it loses some of its scare once you know what to expect. The Zombie U death system sounds pretty cool as losing a character permanently is a big deal, but at the same time it sounds as if you’re not losing any progress or having to repeat scripted parts of the game. After I have finished my current game I would really like to have a go at designing my own survival horror experience, but I’m not yet sure how I would like to approach death. I don’t want to be too cruel about it, but at the same time I would rather not have a straight forward re-spawn with no real consequence and I most certainly don’t want to have players repeating scripted events. How I decide to do it will really depend on what feels right at the time and will enforce my chosen theme.

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