I had to stop playing ZombiU.
Not because it’s bad or anything; It’s pretty great. It’s just that I had a really good moment right now, and I had to step back and collect myself.
I was in a new area, and I could hear some ominous music in the background: discordant piano chords pulsating almost with a rhythm. Pretty decent effect, I thought, as I moved further into this area and slowly killed a few Zombies. It was a grand hall, on the second floor, and I peered over the railing to see whether there were any dangers lurking below, so that I could prepare accordingly.
And I saw a Zombie standing right in front of a Grand Piano, mashing the discordant chords as if hypnotized by the sound.
I don’t know the implications of that, man – do Zombies like music? Are they still somewhat human? What would it mean for gaming if I were to pop his head with a carbine from this distance, like some kind of infamous historical assassin? I don’t know, all I know is that ZombiU is so damn fresh and fun that I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how exactly it is that so many “critics” are not liking it.
But let me give you a run down of why it’s such good fun for me: Zombies are very powerful. A single one takes over 4 blows to the head with a bat just to be thrown to the ground, before being finished. Encountering 3 of them can easily mean your death if you lose your cool and start pressing the wrong buttons. Encounter any more on a close distance and you’re just going to have to run.
Another thing: it’s dark. It’s so dark, and you never know what you are going to find around the next corner. Other survivors – online players – have left warnings for you to heed; save room downstairs, Zombie ahead, danger above. Some of them are trustworthy, others aren’t. Every other corridor is pitch black and creates an awful (good awful) sense of dread. If you bought the game for it’s survival horror elements, let me tell you right now, the horror part will satisfy you. The survival part? I still have yet to see. It’s early in the game, and I have many medkits. Granted, they are not very useful because sometimes it doesn’t matter how healthy you are, you just get bitten and that’s the end of one life.
The visuals are very good. This is definitely a few notches above the average PS3 and 360 games, thanks mostly to the great lighting. Lighting is the most important aspect of 3D Horror games, in my opinion, so I believe this game put its resources in just the right things. I’m saying this because, as those that followed the game before release, the character models don’t look quite so good, yet I find this doesn’t detract from my experience at all. Had the character models been beautiful but the oppressive sense of darkness diminished due to lousier lighting, I would not enjoy the visuals quite as much.
I’ll just stop there for now. I will go back to this game immediately, and hopefully have a review ready within 2 or 3 days.