Blog

Welcome to Reanimated, the new home for discussion on all the virtual nasties that take pleasure in biting off your face when you game!

A New Year, a new Wii console and a new survival horror with ZombiU. Since the consoles launch in November, ZombiU has received mixed reviews from critics and gamers alike, but are people being too hard on a launch title that offers great potential for the revival of survival horror?

Originating as Killer Freaks from Outer Space, the concept for ZombiU has remained relatively the same throughout its development: to provide a immersive experience that will challenge a gamer’s ability to survive. Gone are the original Rabbid style aliens, making way for a serious zombie apocalypse of London town. Of course they may have just taken influence from the Underground during the Olympics, which was enough to scare anyone.

ZombiU takes place in a world reminiscent of Romero’s Living Dead series featuring a terrifying and deadly apocalypse of zombies. Although there is some plot to the game, it very much takes a secondary position to that of purely surviving as long as you can with little help it provides.

Personally, I find it refreshing for a large development team to take a less-is-more approach with a survival horror rather than spit out a mutated Hollywood-friendly monstrosity from the likes of Paul W.S Andersons’ ‘imagination’. A scenario full of guns, bio-genetic labs and survivors who suddenly gain an innate ability to kick undead ass as soon as the apocalypse comes knocking? Yawn!

Know thy zombie heroes, and those that would stray you from the righteous paths of the dead.

My dear zombie lovers this is purely unrealistic, and while I appreciate that such styles of play can and will be enjoyable, there really is nothing survivalist about them. Take your Call of Duty armoury and combat savvy military agents with an uncanny ability to heal instantly with the aid of a bandage. ZombiU is about ‘real’ people surviving a ‘real’ apocalypse and I think that is where so many have failed to see its beauty.

Last time I checked while walking through London, most street corners aren’t full to the brim with medi-kits or ammo supplies (unless maybe you’re in the back streets of Edmonton). And yet when this is reflected in a game, it supposedly falls short of an entertaining experience. Why? ZombiU is a challenge, one that calls out to true fans of survival horror and says “Here! Strip away all your wishful thinking and convenient supplies! Take a cricket bat and head for The Winchester!”

Its dark, desolate and almost lomographic depiction of London is drool-worthy, and has obviously had a significant amount of time spent towards recreating our capital city. While I understand out-of-towners may not be in a position to fully appreciate this element of the game, this London girl (born and raised!) feels an overwhelming sense of pride seeing my beloved city captured so well, especially when full of decaying undead!

My Diana F wishes it could capture this shot on its 120 film!

The new tablet controller provides an experience that immerses you in the action. When playing in the dark with the lights off, it’s almost possible to forget where you are as you spin your scanner around the room hunting for clues or supplies. The limited ability to save has rocked many opinions, with gamers stating that it is both overly difficult and, if you can believe it, inconvenient.

I’m sorry, I didn’t know that a horde of brain eating monsters would stop and let you catch 40 winks? Yes it’s hard when you get one bite and you’re dead, or if you have to go two hours without having a break, but ZombiU is for the hardcore. It’s training for the real thing. The ability to stay alive without mixing herbs or equipping a shopping trolley with chainsaws is a necessity in an apocalypse, although the latter would be a pretty good option if you could make it to B&Q in an undead outbreak!

In a gaming age where everyone seems to think you need some kind of glowing back pack or acid filled grenade launcher to beat the bad guys, it is refreshing to see a game stripped back to what it should be. In recent years even my beloved Resident Evil has lost its way (what I wouldn’t give for it to find itself again) and so to be offered an experience that goes some distance into bringing survival back into survival horror is very welcome indeed.

While this year sees the return of franchises such Dead Space and Dead Island, I personally await one thing: more announcements on Zwei. From the mind of Shinji Mikami, creator of Resident Evil and Dino Crisis to name but a few. Our hopes of truly resurrecting the survival horror genre now lies with him. Rest assured this dark, dank and dead-loving corner of Ready Up will be waiting to bring you all the news as and when it happens.

Until then, don’t get eaten… OK?

Comments are closed.