ZombiU is a new action shooter title developed by Ubisoft for the Wii U, and happens to be a reboot of the company's very first commercial game, Zombi. How's that for trivia? London serves as the backdrop for this zombie title, which makes use of the new Wii U controller to scan the surroundings, access inventory and equipment (known as a "Bug-Out Bag"), and also serves as your map.
I didn't get a chance to play with the single-player mode, but I was able to experience the two-player versus mode, alternating between a zombie and a survivor. During the first round, I served up a great dose of zombie ass whoopin'. Interestingly, the zombie segment works a bit more like a tower defense game than a shooter, where the zombie player actually starts out by assigning zombies to either defend flags or go on the hunt for the survivor. After the match begins, the AI takes over zombie control.
To ensure the survivor isn't quickly overwhelmed, the character is actually surrounded by a radius where the zombie player can't place any attack zombies. Everywhere outside his immediate safety zone is fair game, however, and you can really come up with some devious ambushes. The one other limit is that there can only be 10 zombies on the map at any given time.
The second round, I ended up as the survivor. Capturing flags is rather quite simple, though you must be careful to not allow zombies in the area or they will pause the capture process. With limited ammo and rather slow reload times (You can never load fast enough during a zombie apocalypse!), it was a challenge to hold the positions. It became apparent the name of the game is for the zombie side to overwhelm the survivor in order for them to eventually run out of ammo.
The gameplay did have a few aspects I didn't quite enjoy. First, having to aim the gun before firing really slowed down the action. While it's quite possible I'm being a bit overly picky, I tend to shoot from the hip in moster shooters, and that's just not possible in ZombiU.
The second issue I had was that once the zombies attack you, there's no way to dislodge them, unlike most other zombie games. If you have a dose of antidote, you can stick them in the neck with it, but you can only carry two antidotes at a time, leaving you with very little leeway when it comes to being attacked. Pushing them aside does help, but it feels more like trying to avoid the inevitable. Once those zombies do latch on, it's pretty much "Goodbye, survivor."
I must admit the single-player campaign looked much more intriguing then the two-person multiplayer. Still, some might enjoy the tower defense gameplay and the intimacy of a 1v1 setting.
Look for ZombiU to hit shelves right around the time the Wii U does later this year, whenever that may be.