ZombiU!

We got our Wii U last week, but what I really wanted.. actually, what I’d wanted since I first heard of it.. was ZombiU, Ubisoft’s survival horror set in the middle of London!

Rather than jump in at the deep end with the hardcore Survival mode, I decided to try the normal game mode first, where the game provides you with a new survivor if you die.  Just as well, because my first survivor died almost immediately, dragged off that first ladder by the ravenous horde!  The poor guy didn’t stand a chance!

The second awoke in the safe house, set up by “The Prepper” with a bed, CCTV monitoring station, workbench and chest.

After introducing himself, the Prepper tells me to grab the “Prepper Pad”: the GamePad, with map, radar and mission markers.  Later, this will also serve as your inventory and a scanning device, for marking targets and hacking CCTV.  It also has a connection back to The Prepper himself, so he can talk to you when you’re out in the field.

After getting the lights turned on, I went to collect a rucksack from a previous survivor.. who had of course, been turned into a zombie!  Right beside him was a cricket bat, so I finished him off in a rather brutal fashion before checking out the bag.. a pistol, some ammo, and a medpack.

The safe house is set within an abandoned station on the London Underground.. there’s litter, abandoned suitcases, graffiti.. it’s fantastically atmospheric 🙂

Next was a foray to the nearby supermarket, to hack cameras to feed into our CCTV surveillance system.  Creeping carefully through the station, I fought a few more zombies; using the cricket bat to conserve ammo, I found they were tougher than the first zombie, who had only needed two hits to kill.  I also looted a few of the “infected” bodies laying around, and paranoia set in and I made sure to remove the heads before turning my back on any of them!  While out exploring, you’re meant to use the radar frequently to check for nearby zombies, flashing them up on the map as little red dots.. I was then scared by a group of rats as I scanned and found three red dots in the room I’d just entered!

Out in the streets of Brick Lane Market, you have to scan the first junction box before your map appears.  While scanning, the TV displays a third person view of your character, so you can check for incoming zombies.. the same happens when you’re checking your inventory and looting, too.  I crept through the first streets.. having noticed zombies in the shadows off to the left, I was expecting them to come running if I made too much noise!

As well as hacking doors and cameras, you can also use the environmental scanner to mark animals and items, which then show up on the map.  I discovered that rats and birds can actually be looted for their meat, but that meat may heal or harm you if it is considered rotten!  I found flares and threw them to gather a few zombies together, then burned them by shooting barrels.  I gathered food items and a reasonable stash of ammo.. and I had thought I’d be able to keep this survivor till the end!  But entering the supermarket set off an alarm, and I became trapped between a zombie policeman and the horde.. and though I tried to run, there was nowhere to go.

My third survivor started off back in the safe house, but with the mission picking up where it had been left off.. and my backpack and all that lovely ammo was on my dead survivor’s body, out by the supermarket.  When I got out there, the zombies turned out to be trapped behind the wire mesh fence.. it’s a one-way jump from the street.  They couldn’t reach me, but I could reach them.. so as glitchy as it felt, I picked them off one by one before jumping down.  Only one more zombie to kill here.. Imogen, the previous survivor!

Looting her was.. comedic.. my survivor looked like he was going up her skirt to do it!  I’d have taken a screenshot (by pressing the Home button) but as yet, the only place you can put screenshots is in the game’s community in Miiverse.  Instead, here’s a rather shoddy photo, taken on my phone 😉

This third survivor made it through the supermarket, gaining access to the second camera and completing the mission.  However, outside the supermarket was some bizarre punk zombie, who seemed to be shooting lightning from his head.  I had used up most of my ammo, and with the incoming horde appearing from all sides, I tried to run for it but couldn’t find the exit before a zombie grabbed me and put me on the ground.

The fourth survivor was the first in a row of survivors who barely made it out of the safe house for the next mission.. to defend the safe house.  Eventually I realised that rushing doesn’t help at all, and while fighting with the cricket bat, pushing the zombie away allows you more time to take your swing, and stops them grabbing you while you’re still bringing the cricket bat down.

My latest survivor, a policewoman, managed to secure the station again, gather some new supplies, and started on her way to Buckingham Palace.  Those sewers were scary, scary places!

In one room beside the sewers, I found a short-cut back to the safe house, but rather annoyingly, found that you can’t save your game at any time you want!  The game told me that it “wasn’t safe”, despite being inside the enclosure with the doors shut.  I wanted to go to bed, but decided I’d better get to the palace as instructed, and then try to save again.  However, this game demands full attention.. and I didn’t make it past the next zombie!

I really like this game, despite the few niggles.  I’m looking forward to trying out multiplayer with Tim, and maybe even online.. and I actually want to try ZombiU’s survival mode! 🙂

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