ZombiU - E3 Preview

When Day 2 rolled around for Assimilator and I, we had a plan of action in place to check out the West Hall which contained the big guns of the video gaming industry: Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.  Upon entering the hall, I immediately lost track of Assimilator because there was one game I really wanted to try for the Wii U and that was Zombi U.

Sure, I’m a sucker for zombie games and as we all know, there are a shit load of zombie games on the market.  My question was, “How would Zombi U be different from the large selection of zombie games already on the market?”  First off, the name zombie in the title is used without an ‘e’ so I guess that already makes it different, no?  In all seriousness, there are some unique aspects about Zombi U that helps it differentiate itself from the other zombie games on the market.

When I got in line to play the demo of Zombie U, I was shocked to notice that I was second in line and didn’t have to wait all that long, score!  When it was my turn to play, the first thing I noticed was how light the Wii U gamepad is.  Still, by the looks of the Wii U gamepad, it looks like it should be a heavy controller and awkward in one’s hands, especially hands like mine seeing that I have pretty small hands.  Luckily for me and other people with small hands, the Wii U gamepad didn’t feel awkward and it was a lot lighter than what meets the eye. 

As for the gameplay, Zombi U is bringing back the survivor aspect of survivor horror.  Your survival kit consists of your Wii U gamepad and honestly that’s all you need.  Think of the Wii U gamepad as your backpack.  In the demo, I was equipped with a pistol and melee weapon, not too much for zombie killing.  I started off in a parking lot where I learned how to scan my surroundings with the Wii U gamepad.  Scanning the surroundings with your gamepad showed me where to find items of value, i.e. ammo and weapons.  I kind of felt like someone from CSI using the gamepad as scanning equipment, pretty cool.  Upon scanning the area, I found a crossbow…perfect for killing those pesky zombies.  I immediately equipped by crossbow and was on my way.

In the distance, I saw a zombie coming my way.  I aimed the crossbow like any normal gamer would with the L Trigger.  Even though I was aiming, I still couldn’t see the zombie in the distance very well.  The Zombi U presenter told me to point the gamepad at the television and that essentially served as my scope on my crossbow.  Sure, this kind of sounds like a gimmick, but it was actually implemented very well.

So, you know how I said think of your Wii U gamepad as your backpack?  Let me explain what I mean.  When you loot items or want to change your inventory, you have to look down at your gamepad to do this.  When looking at your gamepad, your character on screen puts down his backpack and rummages through it as you are looking down going through your gear.  This may sound lame, but you really start to feel immersed in the game.  When you are looking down at your gamepad, the game is still going, no pause button here.  At the demo booth, I was looking down at the gamepad looting some ammo off a dead zombie and the gamer behind me waiting to play yelled at me to watch out for the zombie that was charging at me.  I immediately looked up at the television screen and sure enough, there was a zombie almost on top of me while I was looking in my backpack (gamepad).  I quickly pulled out my shotgun and executed a head shot on the zombie before he could take a bite of me.  If it wasn’t for the gamer behind me, that zombie would have had a good dinner! 

The Wii U gamepad simply made the gameplay feel so much more immersive.  I am the first to admit that I thought the Wii U and the gamepad looked weak and full of gimmicks.  I didn’t see how the two would revolutionize gaming.  I’m not ready to say that the Wii U will change the face of gaming forever, but I’m man enough to admit that I really don’t think the Wii U and the Wii U gamepad is full of gimmicks and am actually quite excited to see what video game developers can do with this new system.  Look for Zombi U to be released at the same time as the system this holiday season.