We get some more hands-on with Wii U's marquee launch day first-person shooter.
The demo for the Wii U launch game ZombiU at the Nintendo Wii U Preview Event was from the end of the second act of the game, according to the Ubisoft representative. Most of my exploits with this level are captured on video (will be up soon), and all of my runs ended in terrible, sad, pathetic tragedy. The one thing that kept crossing my mind while playing this game is that I wanted to dive right back into it despite how punishing the game was. It's like a weird cross between Roguelikes, Dark Souls, and Left 4 Dead. Considering I have an affinity for game mechanics in all three games, it is a very welcome conjoinment.
After my character emerged from the protected underground base, which is the story's central hub, I was at a pier, where I had to slowly work my way through, always keeping an eye out for zombies. It seems like you always have your trusty cricket bat for pushing back zombies and beating them to death, but you need to rely on pick-ups and accumulated ammunition to have more inventory. Inventory management is controlled on the GamePad's touch screen, and it all happens in real time. I had a few instances where I was looking in my backpack, only noticing at the last second that a zombie was about to kill me. Fortunately, you can quickly jump out of the inventory menu and fight back. Regardless, it keeps the tension high.
In the level, I had to deal with a scrambler that made my GamePad go all haywire and static. I had to, from a distance, take out the scrambler, while trying to not alert the nearby zombies. It seemed nearly impossible to do that, though. At this stage in the game, the zombies are slightly more evolved. They could climb ladders and do considerably more than the slow, slovenly Romero-esque zombies from the beginning of the game.
After beating the attacking zombie to death with the cricket bat, or if I had a gun, blowing his freaking head off, I took out the scrambler and slowly moved across the water to reach an area underneath a pier. In the water, you're helpless, and there's a neat effect where your character removes his backpack and holds it over his head. It's one of the many immersive things the game does to sell its world to you.
At this new area, I raised up the GamePad and used it as a scanner. I could check out environmental hazards and obstacles, and in this area, I scanned a TV that let me tap into the network, populating my mini-map to give me an idea of the world around me. After that, I had to deal with trying to take out zombies across another stretch of water. I never made it past this, but one time I did trigger a zombie who was attached to a gas tank, which blew me the hell up.
ZombiU is an honest unique take on the first-person shooter genre, and seems to leverage the Wii U GamePad in ways no other game is even attempting right now. It is a complicated and new way to play that any fan of first-person shooters should be eyeing on launch day.
ZombiU is just about done at this point, as the team at Ubisoft Montpellier is just doing final tweaks right now. If the promise of the game holds up, this will probably be a dynamite launch title in every region.