ZombiU (Hands-On Preview)

If ever a console needed a title to appeal to regular gamers rather than small children and fitness-obsessed parents it’s the Wii U. After the relentless shovelware from the original Wii, Nintendo have a lot to prove to get us onboard.

It’s not a great start for Ninty at Gamescom 2012, as they couldn’t even be bothered turning up in first-party form. Thankfully Ubisoft have stepped up -hot off the heels of a hella-strong E3 showing- to get gamers onboard, with Rayman Legends and the much bloodier ZombiU.

My brief hands-on session made apparent just how much the devs have been inspired by Demons’ Souls. For example, when you die you lose that character permanently and become someone else. If you want to get your gear back, you’ll have to track down your former zombified self and kill them. It’s more than a little similar to the bloodstain system in Demon’s Souls. Hopefully, we won’t have to trek long distances to get back to where we left off as that was a major ball-ache in DS.

The tablet screen can be used as a blacklight scanner to find items or to discover hidden messages. These messages are left by your online friends, potentially warning you about lurking zombies in the next room or hidden items. Not that there’s anything to stop them lying to screw you over. Especially seeing as they can come into your game and kill you.

It’s not just these mechanics that have been lifted from that evil shit of a game. The unresponsive handling for melee attacks and bastard-hard nature of the game has been brought in too. One bite from a zombie is enough to kill you. Weapon ammo is so scarce it makes the original Resident Evil look like Gears of War. At least the crossbow has ammo you can reuse. Pistol aiming is wobbly and tense as you try and line up a headshot. I’m told you’ll be able to upgrade aiming skills as you go, but that’s not much help if you lose that character two seconds later. Wobbly though it may be, it’s manageable and it does add to the tension as you pop off a perfect headshot at a lunging zombie.

The melee handling with the cricket bat feels awful though. There’s such a delay between the input and the on-screen action which makes the whole thing feel way too lethargic considering you’re about to get your neck ripped open. Not to mention it takes ages to crack a zombie’s skull apart with this thing. Give me that tasty looking pick-axe I spied in another gameplay trailer please.

Click here to read the rest of my hands-on preview at Dealspwn.com.

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