ZombiU Hands-On: Better Than The Name Would Suggest

By Kris . June 9, 2012 . 12:30pm

One bite and you’re dead. This was my briefing on ZombiU.


My character (whom the Ubisoft rep named “Kris” after looking at my nametag) started out in front of Buckingham palace equipped with a pistol. I had no context as to why I was there, and even less information about what I was supposed to be doing. But I was told that if my character died, I would have to hunt him down and get my stuff back.


Noticing a zombie that was marked with player a name (presumably belonging to a previous player of the demo) who was carrying a sizeable backpack, I walked towards them, eager to try my pistol out. After a headshot (aim with L, fire with R, no surprises there) , I ran over to the fallen zombie and was given the option to loot his things.


As I did that, the onscreen image switched to a view that showed me what was behind and to the sides of my character as he rooted through the backpack. All inventory management was done on the gamepad. While there was a handy “take all” option, to equip the crossbow I found, I had to slide the crossbow from where it sat in the boxes representing the backpack to my equipped weapons.


The crossbow worked a little bit differently than the pistol. As a silent weapon, it wouldn’t attract any other zombies (which was helpful, since blowing off the first zombie’s head had drawn a couple), but it obviously fired quite a bit more slowly. Since the zombies were approaching me from a distance (including another previous demo player) I had a chance to play with the scope. Holding L to aim and lifting up the Wii U GamePad brought up a view from the scope, and tapping the screen allowed me to zoom in further. Using the crossbow was quite a bit of fun until I heard a moan behind me.


Immediately redirecting my focus to the TV screen, I saw a nearby zombie lunge toward me. At first, I expected that I was dead, but instead of biting me, it just smacked me. I switched to my pistol by tapping its icon on the gamepad and started running back and shooting at it, taking off an arm, and then its head.


Unfortunately, this began attracting more zombies. I kept moving back, trying to kill all the zombies I could with my pistol until I noticed that I had two bullets left, and there were too many zombies shuffling around to use my crossbow effectively. I chose to run.


Fortunately for me, I ran right by the former demo player that I’d shot down earlier, so I took a chance on his backpack. As the camera angle shifted from the first person view, I could see my undead foes closing in. It was much more frightening than I’d expected it would be, given that I knew that a single bite would mean death and I had to redirect my attention to the controller. Luckily, there was a bit of pistol ammo in the backpack I was looting, so I quickly tapped “take all” on the gamepad and started running away and reloading… but I ran backwards into a loading screen and the Ubisoft rep told me my demo was over.


Food for Thought:

1. The demo’s title screen proclaimed that the game had a multiplayer mode. When I asked about that, the Ubi employee told me that in that mode, one player uses the Wii U GamePad to place zombies around the map and the other player uses a Pro Controller to fight them off.


2. The demo I played was very short, but effective. I wonder how long the game will manage to make inventory management scary, especially with the “Take All” option in place…

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  • malek86

    This sounds pretty fun. More survival-ish than I had initially thought from the trailer and *cough* the name.

  •  This is for everybody who wants a more resident evil 1 kinda feeling.

    Except the zombies arent slow. They just smack you around instead of biting you and eating you as quickly as possible

    • Guest

      Fast zombies doesn’t really make sense since the whole reason they’re supposed to move slow is due to rigormortis

      •  Crimson Heads would like to have a word..or a bite of you

      • Left 4 Dead zombies aren’t technically dead…… They are infected by some sort of rabid virus dat turns them……crazy?

  • that “Multiplayer” is bound to be abused by friends who just wanna prank their friends.
    You’ll seeing rage vids on yt and junk like that.

  • I can’t lie this game gave me a Red Steel Wii Launch vibe! Still with the actually footage shown, and people’s impressions with it. Glad to see it may be actually decent game.

    • I played the MP mode on the E3 floor, and it was a lot of fun.  I played as the survivors using the Pro controller and had to fight against a horde of zombies spawned by the WiiU Gamepad player.  It was Capture the Flag, and I had to keep the zombies off the flag while capturing my own by standing near them and waiting for the “capture” bar to fill.

  • This gotta be the 1st one-time rule ZB game in recent memory. And no inventory game pause…. 

    • keithmaxx

       Yeah, people are gonna be ways suprised when they find themselves closed in by zombies when they take too much time thinking about inventory… I like this sense of suspense and danger.

  • Rohan Viajar

    permadeath? in a zombie game?

    • Guest

      DayZ mod for ArmA

  • Suicunesol

    That does sound fun. :O I’m glad that although it’s a zombie shooter, the developers seem to be making it a good zombie shooter.

  •  More zombie games. Whoo

  • Corey Letcher

    permadeath, heres hoping its NES Hard as well

  • Guest

    This is the only game right now that interests me for the WiiU and I normally dont even care for FPS 

  • Göran Isacson

    What I find interesting is the way this game seems to use the hardware to limit you in interesting ways- the best horror is ALWAYS the horror that makes you feel weak, but not annoyed. If they can use the tablet to become both boon (inventory screen, use it for handily swapping equipment on the go) and limiter (splits up your vision so you can’t always be onehundred percent aware of yours surroundings) then this game just might have a very interesting set-up, despite the “thematic” trailer filling me with bad Dead Island flashbacks…

    • boundries_san

      and if u noticed, this game seems to not have a pause screen.^^(Maybe???)

      As i see the MC is changing equipment while the zombie is moving.^^

  • Rolling Guy

    Damn.. I’m still saving up for the Vita and now this comes along. Jesus, this gaming year is killing my wallet.

  • darkfox1

    Wow this game sounds really good. Makes you feel like you’re really in a Zombi invested town. I also like how the Wii U Gamepad adds a whole new level of immersion. I am have really high hopes for the WiiU.

    • boundries_san

      Add the fact that when ur char dies, u must play as other char considering that char is dead there.^^ This is going to be really fun especially when u know some of ur friend sucks on playing this kind of game lol.^^

      • Friends: OW seeya! *dies*
        Player: I can haz your equipment?

        • boundries_san

          Man that seems to be the scenario here lol.^^ Not to mention, if we can play this game online and the game allowed friendly fire, i can see some jerks who wanted to survive killing u and then stealing ur backpack lol.^^

          • zeta

            if this game would sell well and hope sequel/dlc would have this option

          • Rohan Viajar

             not bashing on anyone here. (in my perspective)
             if there were friendly fire.
            theworldofnoboundries is right.

            In that case, I would lose motivation from playing the game because (though it would be a cool idea and it is when it’s on movies and tv shows.when people fight against each other for survival) it is in game, so there really is no remorse for killing all other players in your path (not like real life) so what would happen is that they’re would be so many douches and trolls that would end up just ruining the game’s experience for many people.

  • takopako

    *happy sigh* not so much toward the game, but toward the fact that siliconera (like most gaming news sites) isn’t jumping on the i-hate-ninty band wagon.

     i love unbias <3

  • boundries_san

    This is what a zombie apocalypse game done right as it is different from other game where we can’t really dies and that does not gives us the vibe of danger where we really needs to be careful.^^

  • neetyneety

    This really had me impressed when I saw it in Nintendo’s presentation. The way the Wii U Gamepad was incorporated to make it into an almost augmented reality experience looked pretty amazing, to say the least.

    I have high hopes for this (and the Wii U in general), hope it delivers some good, tense, Zombi-killing action.

  • XypherCode

    Now THIS is a Zombie game :D

  • British_Otaku

    Sounds like a good project, I only want to know what the purpose of the characters are. Perhaps something like to escape London or to survive as long as you can in a MineCraft fashion before the creepers come finish you off.

    My problem is that despite having a cool control concept and permadeath (makes every game it is in better like Fire Emblem and maybe Valkyria Chronicles if it got harsher), there isn’t really an objective. Would like to know whether we will know about the other survivors and choose where to start from as well.

  • TheDarkEmpress

    Possible chance of a zombie apocalypse game being done right? You don’t sayyyyyyy……

  • revenent hell

    If I had a ton of money and didnt want a 3DS and Vita first I would buy the WiiU for this game. Im liking its looks thus far and once more details come out about it I might at the very least just buy the game and wait for the WiiU’s price to dive down within time. My support factor goes in to a day one buy even if it takes me time to get arround to playing the game

  • Are there any mentions of on-line support for this game?

  • Zombie Ur *insert body part here*

  • isfuturebright

    Ubisoft owned E3 2012

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