I remember watching the very first trailer for this game during the E3 2012 Ubisoft conference with my jaw hung-low and fingers already itching to play it. Even though the trailer only consisted of emotional 3D stills and “God Save the Queen” playing in the background, it looked like a new zombie experience and I was already beyond excited! But then the name appeared, followed by the mention that this game was to be a Wii U exclusive. Before seeing that trailer, I wasn’t at all interested in the Wii U for anything besides Rayman Legends and the next Smash Bros. game, but now it’s mine! Was the purchase worth it? Find out by reading on in my Good vs Bad review!


As for the good things about ZombiU: From the very moment you start playing, you're thrown into a scenario that makes (or at least should make) you realize what you're getting into. You don’t play as some power house with weapons that can take you through hordes of zombies with nothing more than a scratch; you’re a regular human being. ZombiU is definitely a survival game, and it's not going to let you get through it without a fight. Zombies are just about everywhere, and the tools that you have to defend yourself are scarce. I mean sure, there will be plenty of items hidden in closets, drawers, lockers, the pockets of corpses, etcetera... But if you want the good stuff (and trust me, you do), then you're going to have to do a bit of exploring and think smart while doing so.


While on the topic of exploring, this game is a lot more than just survival at its finest, but horror in a zombie game that I haven't been able to experience for a long time. From the very beginning, I was hesitant when it came down to turning corners or even entering new rooms due to how eerie and quiet the game was. The locations that you'll be exploring are actually all relatively dark, but detailed and varied so there isn't a sense of déjà vu when you enter new areas. Just be careful when you’re exploring for materials because one wrong turn can lead to your death, especially if you don’t have your GPS sync’d with the area.


Players can leave small messages around the game for others to see which can either help, or fool them (much like Dark Souls). The ability to leave these messages just about anywhere is a wonderful idea, though the execution can be slightly confusing once you start. First of all, the only way you can even leave a message in the first place is by finding a can of spray-paint, which is actually pretty cool and realistic given the situation. However, instead of spraying words, you get to choose from a vast amount (36) of symbols instead. When looking at these symbols in a dark world where the undead can attack at any moment, these can be pretty difficult to translate... But if you manage to find spray-paint and take some time to study the selection, things will be much clearer as you play through.


Dying in ZombiU is by far the most unique (and awesome) of all death experiences that I've witnessed so far in gaming. Once you go down, the character that you were just playing as becomes infected and you're forced to start from the Safe House as another character. From there, what happens varies. There were some times when I had to fight a horde of zombies to clear out the safe house, and others when I simply had to continue the mission that my last character was doing. In addition to that, if you want your stuff back you're going to have to find your previous character, kill them, and hope that they're still carrying what you left them with. In the event that you don't find your previous character near the spot they died, there's a good chance that it invaded someone else’s game. You’ll also be able to see other people’s infected characters invade your world, which can be noticed by the names about their heads and the score that player had before they died. If you wish to check on your own previous characters and what their infected selves are up to, you can press the logo that looks like a signal tower on your game-pad, and swipe your finger to the left. There you will be able to see how many players they have encountered, how many they have infected, if they have been killed, and by whom.


Though dying is pretty cool in ZombiU, it's best to stay alive with one character for as long as you can. The longer you play as a character, the better their skills will be with the weapons that you use. Every time you use a weapon, experience is gained to help each type level up. As they level, weapon stats such as firepower, accuracy, ammo capacity, and speed will increase. Unfortunately, if you die your stats will be reset. Staying alive longer and racking up more kills on individual characters also puts you higher on the leaderboards, giving you some bragging rights in terms of who’s the better zombie apocalypse survivor among your friends.


ZombiU’s multiplayer is actually more fun than expected and quite addicting as well, even though it can only be played locally. Two people can play, giving one the ability to spawn zombies with the gamepad while the other plays as a survivor with the Wii-mote+Nunchuck or pro controller. There are also two game modes unlocked right from the beginning: Assault, which plays much like a game of domination (keep control of more flags the longest) and Kill Box, which places the King of Zombies (GamePad user) against the survivor to see how many points they can get before dying. My personal favorite mode though, is Survival, which is unlocked via Uplay.


As for the bad things about ZombiU: The fact that there’s a somewhat decent variety in guns but no variety at all in melee weapons slightly bothers me. From start to finish, the only melee weapon that you’ll be able to use is a Cricket Bat. Though it’s quite humorous and stereotypical (mostly thanks to Shaun of the Dead), I just can’t seem to understand how a game like this doesn’t give you more options in that area of combat.


Waking up as another survivor when you die is fantastic, but some of the characters that you can end up being are pretty annoying. In a sense, this is actually a good thing for the fact that the characters are more diverse than just name and appearance. Unfortunately when you’re playing as a character who decides to scream every time they swing their cricket bat or breathe ridiculously heavy after sprinting, it makes you wish that this game didn’t give you such a harsh set of consequences for dying.


Overall, ZombiU is a fantastic Wii U experience and an even better survival horror experience that I’ve been anticipating for a very long time. If you don’t own a Wii U, I certainly wouldn’t recommend picking one up just for this game. However, if you do own a Wii U and have an interest in real survival horror, this is definitely a must own. ZombiU gets an 8 out of 10.