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Review: Zombi

ZombiU, once marketed as the most hardcore Wii U exclusive at launch, isn’t exclusive anymore. Three years after the release of the original, Ubisoft decided to bring their horror story to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam. The original game used the Wii U GamePad a lot to create tension; so the most important question for this Zombi version is without a doubt: “Did the tension remained the same?” Well, not the same but it’s still scary as hell.

What happened to London? 

You begin this dark adventure as a nameless character that wakes up in a dark London. Forget the tourists and monuments; this isn’t the London you want to visit during your Holidays. For some mysterious reason, the once proud city has been transformed into a zombie invested apocalyptic city of doom. The first zombies you’ll face are extremely dangerous and one touch could mean death, you need to find help and you need to find it fast.

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This help was found at the entrance of the subway where a voice guided you to a safe house. This location is key in the game since it forms the base for all your investigations. The voice calls itself ‘The Prepper’ and seems to help you out. But is he really helping? Why do you need to find those items in those zombie-filled locations? The Prepper is the mysterious element of the game and you never really know why he’s helping you. It’s a key element in the story but also a ‘friend’. Without the help of this voice you wouldn’t survive, you need him as much as he needs you. It’s a great story for sure and creates a rather unique atmosphere.

It’s not the same without u

This story hasn’t changed and is the exact same as the one you could find in the Wii U version. What did change however is the lack of the GamePad. ZombiU used the GamePad in a very original way to create extra tension. The GamePad served as your backpack and location scanner, forcing the gamers to remove their eyes from the television screen and act fast on the GamePad. Where other games would pause while you’re looking for something in your backpack, ZombiU continued, meaning you had to take a look at the television from time to time to make sure the zombies aren’t near you. Of course this feature isn’t possible in the Zombi version but the tension didn’t go away.

A true horror experience

 

The developers found a rather simple yet satisfying solution for the lack of the GamePad. Instead of using a second screen, your backpack inventory takes most of your television screen while the action is still continuing in the background. It’s never really safe to look for stuff in your backpack since you never know how close the zombies are. Searching for stuff in your backpack is incredibly scary and works great with the ‘screen-filling’ solution. It’s a little less scary than on Wii U but it’s still scary enough.

Aside of the backpack, the scanning of the environment to activate a map or scan for enemies is done with regular controllers instead of motion controllers but we didn’t really miss the GamePad here, a regular controller works just fine. It goes for the mini-map that’s displayed in the corner of your screen as well. The radar that ‘beeps’ when enemies approach is still active even without a second screen and believe me, the tension rises high when the beep goes off on your television screen.

Unique gameplay

So why should you get this game? Well, Zombi is a very interesting survival game. As said before, the zombies are truly dangerous and facing them in packs is never a good idea. You’ll find some melee weapons and guns rather fast in the game but you won’t find that much ammo, taking a shot is only allowed when there’s no other way. It plays like the original Resident Evil games where most of the tension was created by this lack of ammo. The most interesting feature however is what happens when you die.

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When your character dies, he doesn’t respawn in the base. Instead of coming back to life, you wake up in the safe house as a new survivor. The old you has been transformed into a zombie, carrying all the weapons and items you’ve collected before. Your first task is to find the old you and take back what was once yours. If you fail and die again, the items you’ve collected are gone forever. It’s a very original reward system that works well for gamers who manage to survive for a long time. If you die in a zombie filled location you’ll have a hard time getting back what was yours. Believe us, you don’t wont to lose that powerful shotgun.

Thanks to this unique system, Ubisoft really managed in creating something new and interesting for the horror genre. It’s something new and thrilling and it really fits the game. Waking up as a new survivor makes sense in a weird way and it really benefits the mysterious atmosphere of the game as well.

It all looks good 

As far as graphics go, we can’t really complain. The game looks almost the same as the original Wii U game but that one looked great to start with. The textures are great but the lighting effects use the blooming effect a little too much. The game really shines in the dark locations where you’re scared to see what’s behind every corner. The real star of the presentation is the audio however. All zombies have horrifying cries and the music goes up-tempo when danger is near. The music enforces the feeling of danger and it will get your heart racing.

Conclusion:

Three years after the release of the original, Zombi still is a rather unique horror experience. The horror is the most important aspect of the game and never gets sacrificed for the sake of more action. The tension of the second screen is re-created well enough to allow the same amount of tension as the original. The only really downside about this version is the lack of multiplayer options. Aside of this, Zombi might be one of the best horror games on the market right now.

 

8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.