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ZombiU is all about survival, but failure is pretty cool too


Ubisoft's ZombiU for Wii U combines common survival horror elements, like inventory management and limited ammunition, with FPS elements like shooting at things in first person. As a survivor in your standard issue zombie apocalypse, you must search and loot bodies to find necessary equipment, while taking out zombies with whatever weapons you have handy. Putting the backpack on the WiiPad forces you to be very alert about both screens, to work quickly, and to be nervous.

The WiiPad acts as a scanner, allowing you to ping for items, which are then highlighted on the main screen. You can use it to hack keypad locks, typing numbers quickly and frantically so you can get back to shooting. It also acts as a sight or scope for weapons, allowing you to aim with the gyroscope and line up the shot on the screen.

The coolest feature of ZombiU has absolutely nothing to do with the touchscreen. When you die (and you will, since one bite does the job) your character wakes up as a zombie, and you respawn into another randomly generated person in a nearby safehouse, with a quick caption popping up telling you that new person's name and age. My first character was male; after he died, I woke up as a 23-year-old blonde woman.

Those zombies representing your shortcomings continue to stalk around the area you died, and you can find them and kill them, thus erasing the evidence of your inability to survive the zombie apocalypse and getting the items back that were left on the body. It's kind of like going back for your body in a roguelike game, except your body is also going after you. It's an interesting gimmick, and it's more interesting because it's a game design gimmick in a lineup rife with interface gimmicks. And the interface gimmicks are also neat! Now, about the name ...

Gallery: ZombiU (E3 2012) | 8 Photos

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