ZombiU was an exclusive launch title for Nintendo’s Wii U console in 2012. Ubisoft is resurrecting the survival-horror game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC this year, and dropping the “U” from the title in the process, to make it just Zombi.
The re-release of Zombi was originally spotted on Australia’s Classification Board at the end of June, as reported by Gamespot. Rumors about the potential of a release to other platforms have been floating around since the launch of the Wii U. Today’s announcement of an August 18 release makes it official and gives Zombi a chance before the flood of new holiday titles hits.
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) July 30, 2015
Zombi is a first-person survival horror game with a perma-death mechanic. It’s a tense and slow game that builds on the scares with the threat that one misstep can mean the end of your current character and starting with an all new character. You then have to make the decision between improving the new character’s chance of survival by ending the now zombified former character and retrieving the survival pack that carries all your goodies, or starting from scratch.
As the trailer at the top of this article makes obvious, the game is set in a London overrun by zombies after a plague raced through the city. There’s death, destruction, and darkness everywhere, and your best friend is a cricket bat that you’ll use to whack zombies about.
ZombiU received mixed reviews on release for the Wii U (via Metacritic). The game was praised for its survival-horror mechanics, perma-death mode, and the use of the GamePad to interact with the game world. However, it was knocked for its graphics, clunky combat, and some unfortunate glitches that cropped up at the end of the game.
Ubisoft did provide some details on how the game has been changed for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC, but there was little talk on the graphics beyond being able to adjust field of view. The screenshots released along with the trailer suggest at least a resolution increase. The textures look much the same and there are a couple of places where the lighting looks improved. It’s not clear that there is a giant leap forward graphically, though.
Aside from the graphics, the big question is how the functions that the GamePad served in the Wii U release be incorporated into the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The console’s tablet-like controller was used to manage inventory, displayed a mini-map, barricading doors, hacking locks, and scanning the environment. It added to the sense of tension in the game to look away from the screen and at the GamePad to perform other actions and wonder if you were in a safe enough spot.
“We knew from the beginning that maintaining the tension and feel of the original was one of the main challenges, as the way ZombiU was presented on Wii U cannot be reproduced,” says Hélène Henry, Zombi’s producer. While the minimap (which formerly required players to glance down at the Wii U gamepad) has been moved onto the main screen, “We maintain a minimal HUD as much as possible,” Henry says. “It disappears when not required, giving the game a very lonely feeling. If you have surround sound, the awesome sound mix from the original still stands and greatly helps immersion. As much as possible, we’ve tried to keep those key elements.”
“We kept the central idea that you’re always vulnerable,” Henry continued. “Rummaging in the backpack still doesn’t pause the game. We’ve added a dedicated button to access the backpack, which lets players see their full inventory and assign shortcut keys.”
Players will only be able to see zombies approaching from the sides of the screen when looking through the backpack.
Other changes include the addition of two new melee weapons – a shovel and a nail-spiked baseball bat. The flashlight can be made brighter, as well, at the risk of draining the battery faster and attracting zombies. The multiplayer mode won’t be returning, though, since it was too dependent on the GamePad.
What do you think of the release of Zombi to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC? No price has been announced yet, but is it worth a look? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Zombi, Ubisoft]