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Game Reviewed: ZombiU
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Reviewer: Paul Stewart
Platform: Wii U
Category: First-Person Shooter, Survival Horror
ESRB Rating: M
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Remember back in 2012, when everyone thought the world was going to end, due to some Mayan prophecy? I literally laughed when 2013 came around. But before 2012 drew to a close, the Wii U was released, and ZombiU was released as a launch game for it.
In ZombiU, the zombie apocalypse happens in London, due to an ancient prophecy foretold by John Dee 400 years ago. Only a few survivors remain, and an ex-military, no-nonsense veteran survivor called ‘The Prepper’ coaches the player on how to survive the zombie apocalypse in London. Throughout the game, your player picks up the pieces to John Dee’s prophecy and takes up on a mission to find the cure and save humanity.
This is one of the very few zombie games which features permanent deaths. If your survivor dies, that’s the end of him. If you play on normal mode, you’ll always respawn with a new survivor and continue your predecessor’s mission. This game is also Wii U exclusive, where your survivor is given a Prepper Pad similar to the Wii U console’s gamepad.
How long will you survive?
(Warning: This review is based only on partial play)
What Parents Need to Know
This is the zombie apocalypse, and violence is the norm. Blood sprays gratuitously from zombies when hit, and the screen splatters blood when you are wounded or killed. Melee weapons can be drenched with blood after killing a zombie. Walls and floors can be seen splattered with blood, and I even saw a toilet and bathtub filled with blood.
Falling from heights results in realistic bone-crunching sounds. Zombie infection symptoms include gory, rotten flesh. Some of Dee's notes include violent descriptions of the infection.
Various weapons like cricket bats, pistols, rifles, grenades, knives, axes, etc. are used to defend yourself against zombies. Zombies can be decapitated or dismembered with a variety of finishing moves. Hitting zombies on the head results in parts of its face torn off, brains shown. Zombies claw and bite at you, and dying results in your survivor becoming a zombie, which your next survivor will have to kill to reclaim your gear.
Most of the language consists of British expletives like bloody, s**t, and possibly bollocks, and wanker. Expect infrequent uses of f**k and frequent uses of other milder profanities and misuses of God’s name. The game also features online mode, but players can’t communicate with one another.
A few statues in Buckingham Palace appear to be naked, but with very little detail. Some zombies and survivors wear small shorts and tank tops. One character, Sondra, mentions in a letter how she enjoyed a certain night with her lover.
Most zombie apocalypses originate from some viral strain that infects, kills, and zombifies almost everyone on earth, but in this game, it originates from a 400-year old prophecy foretold by an ancient alchemist and advisor named John Dee, who claimed to see into the future, talk to angels and used the occult to hold "Enochian Conversations" with these "angels," thus dubbing the zombie apocalypse "The Black Prophecy." Someone calls Dee "England's own Nostradamus."
A crystal ball that belonged to John Dee can be seen in a medical lab, along with some occultic textbooks. Some of Dee's letters can also be found, which include references to these 'angels.' Some walls or doors contain occultic symbols when scanned by your Prepper Pad.
The Prepper tells the player that if people had listened to John Dee, none of this would have happened. He says that Dee went into hiding, because King James I was obsessed with black magic, and had all witches and warlocks hanged. The King had also written an occultic book called 'Demonologie.' There is a survivalist group called the Ravens that believe John Dee was a prophet.
The Prepper tells the player, "God helps those who help themselves, never forget that." Graffiti saying 'Repent' and 'Prepare for the End of the World' can be seen sprayed on walls throughout London. The beginning of the game features a quotation of Revelation 9:6.
The Prepper tells the player not to see the zombies as human anymore, since they are dead, which pretty much justifies killing them. Similar to the moral dilemma presented in The Walking Dead. The Prepper tells you to look after Number One, and nobody else.
Bottles of beer can be found in an apartment, but not consumed.
One suicide victim can be found in a restroom, where someone tells you he probably had more sense than the rest of us.
A Child’s Perspective:
When I reviewed this game, I had to play it when my little brothers were not looking, which meant asking my folks permission to borrow the family game console, and play this game in the privacy of my own room. This game is chock full of violence, offensive spiritual content, language, and scariness that makes this game inappropriate for children.
ZombiU is definitely one of a kind, but a little slow paced in my opinion. While the graphics are very good, the storyline and gameplay I thought was a little flat. I found the game to be a little too challenging in some parts, especially when I’m ganged up by a zombie horde, with only a cricket bat and limited ammo and health to fight them off. I also believe the game could have been a lot better had they left out the occultic references. Due to the violence, language, and occult references, I only recommend ZombiU to adults, and as a rental only.