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2012 – The Year of Zombie Games Part 2

Posted on December 21, 2012 AT 06:38am

A lot of games that involve the living dead are pretty lax about the rules that come with a zombie apocalypse.  Specifically, that when you are bitten by a zombie, even just a little bit, you’re going to be one of them pretty quickly.  One game this year took this concept and turned itself not only into one of the more realistic zombie survival games, but one of my favorites of the entire year.

Like most everyone else, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into when I first popped ZombiU into my brand new Wii U.  After I started getting into the swing of things with the survival horror title, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I really enjoyed it.  Instead of a fast-paced undead blowout, a la Left 4 Dead, I was faced with a very deliberate and challenging romp through a zombie-filled London.

One of the things that I love about this game is how effectively it makes an undead encounter stressful.  In most games, you can run through a huge crowd of ghouls no problem.  In this title, if you’re facing more than two zombies at once, you’d better have a plan or you may end up as walker-chow.  The zombies will still take a few swings at you, lowering your health, before they go in for the chomp.  If they get ahold of you, especially from behind, it doesn’t matter how well prepared you are; one bite and your character is walking among them.

This brings me to the next awesome hook they’ve thrown in there.  If your survivor gets taken down, you get to go back out, find them and take your gear back the hard way.  After bashing in your former playable character’s skull, you can get all the precious ammo you’ve been hoarding and continue your adventure.  Another really awesome feature is, if you have a friend who also owns the game, when your compadres die, their zombie roams around in your game allowing you to kill them as well.

Many people had negative things to say about the combat in the game saying it was clunky, but I have another theory.  The combat in this game is the same as the pacing: deliberate.  You’re playing through this story not as a trained marine, but as a civilian with a cricket bat and a gun.  I don’t know about you, but I would probably have a little difficulty aiming at a zombie and would definitely take a few swings to cave in an undead skull.  A great touch is as you’re fighting zombies, you can hear your character slowing start to freak out more and more the longer you fight.  It doesn’t effect the gameplay at all, but it paints a nice picture of the situation.

This is currently the title that takes the best advantage of the Wii U gamepad and is my favorite title on that system so far.  This game, which is very much like a first-person Dark Souls with zombies, is one of my favorites of this year and I highly recommend it.

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