Visceral violence, slow motion gore and stirring national anthems made the first trailer for Ubisoft’s foremost Wii U game, ZombiU, incredibly striking. Shown last year as Killer Freaks from Outer Space, things have changed quite a lot in the last 12 months. Set in merry old England during a hellish zombie outbreak, you play as one of a number of survivors searching for a way out of the madness among the walking dead.
As we began the demo in front of Buckingham Palace, fires are blazing and vehicles wrecked. Corpses are all around as we begin to gingerly explore the area, encountering our first set of zombies. After a couple shots their heads explode with a visceralness never before seen on a Nintendo system.
Using the new Gamepad, the controls are similar to most console FPS games, walking with the left stick and aiming with the right stick. The second left trigger aims, right shoots, reload and the rest of the commands fit into a set-up standard for the genre. As for the screen, it’s used for many functions, including showing the map, inventory, picking items off the corpse and scanning. The first person scanning module should be familiar to anyone that played Metroid Prime or Resident Evil Revelations on 3DS. It’s an interesting feature, but it’s strange to stand still in the middle of a zombie outbreak and start searching an area through a view finder.
After passing by the Queen’s home we headed to an abandoned nursery school to search for supplies. Poorly lit and hiding zombies around every corner, it’s a perfect setting for a zombie outbreak, one that found us crawling through vents and hopping over tables in search of supplies. It was in the nursery when we ran out of ammo and pulled out our fittingly English melee weapon, the cricket bat. We were bashing in skulls with the best of them, with a simplicity that made way more sense to us than the actual game of cricket.
Eventually we turned one shadowy corner too many and were soon a little too close to the undead. Out of bullets, even our cricket bat was failing us, and soon the horde was upon us. That’s when we were shocked to find oursleves dead. Unlike other zombie games, ZombiU takes things seriously, with a rule of “One bite and you’re dead.” So despite what you may think about past Wii-exclusive games, it looks like this one is aimed at the hardcore.
After our 10 minute demo, we can say that ZombiU is more than just a fancy trailer. It’s a very real FPS for the Wii U and one of the most full featured games we’ve seen on the Wii U yet. Though no release date has been announced, based on Ubisoft’s history with Nintendo, we’re betting we’ll see this one out at launch. Stay tuned.