Although New Super Mario Bros. U was undoubtedly the Wii U’s most popular launch title, Ubisoft’s ZombiU seemed to be a contender for the runner-up prize. As a new IP with interesting mechanics and gameplay that utilized the console’s unique capabilities, it usually had a long line-up at preview events, not to mention quite a few gawkers to go along with it.
Now, three years after its unprofitable debut on Nintendo’s struggling Wii U, the zombified survival game is back. Not as a Complete Edition or revamped re-release, but a port for Windows PC and the industry’s other two current-generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Its name has also received a slight makeover, having had its familiar U trimmed for obvious reasons.
Zombi, as they call it, is a mixture between three different genres: first-person shooters, roguelikes and survival horror romps. The result is a relatively unique experience, but one that isn’t without its faults. In fact, if you’ve been coming to We Got This Covered for a while, then you may recall that I got frustrated with this game when I first reviewed it and ended up giving it only 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Since writing that review, I’ve questioned whether I was too hard on the game, but it did glitch on me badly. All of my fast travel points disappeared when I died in the campaign’s final section, and I had to spend hours fighting my way back for no good reason. That really soured me on the title, and it took months before I mustered up enough interest to return to it and (finally) complete it.
Revisiting the game — this time on Xbox One — has been a relatively pleasurable experience, as it’s still the same thing, albeit without the original’s multiplayer features. That said, it actually looks worse than I remember and has some technical faults, but we’ll get to those later.
Since it’s been out for a while and I’ve already reviewed it once, I won’t get too detailed with my synopsis. Then again, all that newcomers really need to know is that Zombi picks up after an undead uprising. Infected corpses walk the streets, bask in the sewers and saunter in the buildings of London, England, and we take on the role of survivors. Not just one, mind you, unless you’re someone who’s great at the game. In true roguelike fashion, each death forces players to start over without any of their gained items, though they can go back to where they last died and kill their previous character in order to regain everything.
Don’t be intimidated, though, because this isn’t an incredibly difficult game like some other roguelikes tend to be. It’s newcomer friendly, and won’t beat you down. The roguelike elements only come into play when you perish, and there’s an unlimited amount of survivors to inhabit. Hell, the in-game map also shows you where you last died, in order to make recollecting your possessions a mostly frustration-free affair.
This port is not perfect, though, and it doesn’t seem to have fixed the slight technical issues that marred the original version of the game. Although I haven’t played through the entire thing a second time, due to time constraints and because I’ve beaten it once already, I did put several hours into this iteration. During that time, I had some clipping issues, and also had the frame rate lessen to a crawl once after an explosion. Also, for some strange reason, the inventory menu has been fading in and out in glitchy fashion.
For the most part, though, things have been relatively okay. Sure, there’s been the odd issue here and there, but nothing too bad outside of the one major frame rate drop. It’s also a bit different playing the game without the GamePad, but Straight Right did an okay job of keeping everything to one screen, by putting the player’s (ugly-looking) radar in the bottom right-hand corner and allowing him to access his inventory, journal and map via the Xbox One controller’s view button. They’ve also added a couple of new melee weapons in the form of a nail-covered baseball bat and a shovel, as well as skins for the main cricket bat.
In the end, Zombi is only a twenty-dollar (digital-only) game, which is a good price for a solid experience. That is, if you’re willing to overlook some occasional problems and deal with a flawed port.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
Zombi is a flawed port, but its technical issues can be overlooked, and underneath the hiccups lays a solid game.