Originally released for the Wii U as ZombiU, Ubisoft’s entry in the realm of the undead has finally made its way on to big boy consoles. The game also gets closer to being accurately spelt by dropping the U and sticking with Zombi. All jokes aside Zombi is an amalgamation of things, both good and bad. As far as games in general go this is by no means the worst game I have played, but it is far from the best.

Before this review delves into the bad let’s start with what Ubisoft’s Zombi does right. The game does a fantastic job of setting up and maintaining its atmosphere. Zombi starts off creepy and desolate, so much so that I didn’t want to leave the safe room for fear of dying. Which is fantastic, because that is exactly how a horror game is supposed to make you feel. It was around that time that a group of infected got into my little hidey hole and I was tasked with dispatching them. As the extremely tense moments passed I developed a rhythm, a few would trickle in from my left, then my right. Run up, whack it a few times, rinse and repeat. I must have missed one because at one point I was winding up to swing at a zombie I got hit and jumped back in fright. I switched to my pistol as the crowd closed in, my sense of dread deepened as I realized I had my back against the wall. The impending sense of relief I got as the last body crumpled to the floor can only be described as rewarding. It felt like a true survival horror experience. Sadly it was one of few I experienced during my time with Zombi.

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There’s a lot of negativity to cover for this game, so I feel compelled to get it out of the way now so we can end on a high note. Combat is a vital part of what makes Zombi stand on its own as a horror game. So why Ubisoft made it feel so blasted complicated is beyond my comprehension. The formula for standard fights in games are: player presses singular attack button with melee weapon equipped, then the character on screen hits the enemy with it. In Zombi, for whatever reason, players have to hold LT to swing the weapon back and then RT to swing forward. Typically this must be repeated at least three times to kill an infected, which is pretty much a death sentence around hordes. “Well then why don’t you stick to guns,” you the beautiful reader may ask, mostly because they’re only useful for the horde attacks. It feels like a waste of ammo to only use guns, plus I learned the hard way how running around cranking out head shots will come back to bite you.

I was playing as my second survivor minutes after my first one was cornered and feasted upon, I found this little safe room and laid my character down to save. Upon exiting the little haven, the crazy man on the radio (more about that gentleman later) shouted “I’m sorry mate there’s a horde! You need to defend yourself!” Before he had even finished the sentence several zombies were already running around the corner. I switched to my pistol and began picking them off. Bodies fell at my feet one by one, I soon created a small gap and slipped into a wider area. Greeting me with open arms and gnashing teeth was a group of at least ten more infected. I began taking pot shots at their heads then tragedy struck, my gun clicked empty. I kept trying to shoot, hoping the gun would somehow reload. Long story short, I got around to killing the rest of the attackers but ran out of ammo due to being wasteful earlier on when I should have gone Shaun of the Dead on them and whacked them repeatedly in the head with my trusty cricket bat. That’s a nice touch to the whole survival aspect. It taught me without the need of a tutorial or someone popping up and explaining how the world works, and it felt nice to experience something solely based on trial and error.

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As I said earlier the combat in Zombi is wonky. The combat is very reminiscent of the analog control scheme in Dead Island. You even have to thrust the thumb stick down while holding the right trigger to execute enemies. While I’m sure it was meant to be a way of adding challenge to the game, it just makes the game tedious. Trying to deal the minimal three hits to a zombie’s head when others are closing in or clawing at your back leads to another major chink in Zombi’s armor. It can often be difficult to know precisely when you’re going to die, the only indication being an animation that shows your character being forced to the ground and bitten. That was the case with my first character, I was being hit in the back while dealing with an enemy in front of me. I spun around at half health to kill the enemy and was immediately grabbed and infected. There was no prompt to allow me to save myself, there didn’t seem to be any struggle system at all. I was just slammed to the ground and it was lights out for Muhammad.

The second character death was totally my fault. I was up on a ledge (presumably out of harms way) rearranging my inventory to compliment the plan of attack I had for the area. It was supposed to be simple, toss a flare into the open to draw out the undead and then toss either my grenade or the Molotov into the crowd. While I was shoulder deep in my backpack, I began taking damage from a zombie that some how managed to get up on my platform and sneak behind me. I panicked and accidentally hit LT and RT thinking I had my cricket bat equipped but instead lit us both on fire with a Molotov. Which I didn’t realize I was holding because I was busy screaming and panicking. Upon dying I had an interesting realization about the infection. In the realm and lore of Zombi we aren’t all infected (which would be from the veins of The Walking Dead) but must be infected via contact with the virus, which is an homage to how zombie infections originally started when zombies became popular many years ago. It was a nice little additive to the story that made me stop and smile. Mostly because I didn’t have to go cave in Annabel’s head to get all my equipment back, I just had to raid her burnt course. It was oddly refreshing to not be putting my hands all over a zombie.

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Almost Jumped Through the Back of the Couch When This Happened

I will say the subplot aspects of Zombi do add a little shine to the experience. The man who guides you through the story is absolutely crazy. I say “guide” and “story” only because I can’t put “this crazy guy just tells me to go places and I blindly follow because games have taught me to trust voices on the radio” into simpler terms. That essentially sums up the entire story. I find it odd the character didn’t have a red flag pop up when the guy said ‘the queen is a lizard person who knew this was going to happen’. That’s paraphrased but it still struck me as odd that no one questioned  it. Outside of lizard people, the stories strewn around in the notes I found were quite interesting. Some said things like “ the government knew this was going to happen, and politicians ignored it” and various other little scripts that felt worth while to read.

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Closing things off on a higher note, the game’s characters are really well done for being a group of murderous mutes. Though very little is told about each character you can play as, the game does give you tidbits of information that makes each character a little more relatable. For instance when you start as a new character their name and occupation pop up on the screen, you can even access the character‘s identification card from the inventory menu. Muhammad, was a construction worker before the outbreak took place. A practical job, that would lend him a little more muscle in the apocalypse. Annabel was unemployed, but I was still sad to see her death. My current character is a police officer, which for many reasons is beneficial in a zombie apocalypse, with body armor and bullets being readily available.

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I only encountered these enemies once, I’m assuming all they did was scream to attract more enemies

In the end Zombi proves to be a truly horrific experience. It accomplishes a lot of what horror games today tend to falter at, truly being a scary experience. As someone who didn’t get a lot of time with the game when it originally released on the WiiU, I find it to be a sub par experience on the higher powered consoles. That being said, it’s an okay game with a whole list of issues, but I still recommend giving it a try to see if it’s something you like. The game definitely grew on me over time, I started out ready to rip the game apart in this review but towards the end, I felt myself getting more and more infatuated with it. Not to the point of me wanting to climb to my apartments roof and yell about how it makes me feel, but at least it’s better than Escape Dead Island.

Zombi Review
Zombi does right what a lot of horror games fail at. It sets up and maintains its atmosphere amazingly, but it falls short in terms of overall gameplay. It's unfogivabley annoying control scheme causes uneeded deaths and takes away from the experiance. The sense of not knowing why I was really doing what I was doing other than the fact that some guy on my headset told me too also cause a huge disconnect.
Good Vibes
  • Fantastic atmoshpere
  • Short and easy achievement list
  • Causes a legitimate sense of dread when playing
Bad Vibes
  • Horrific controls
  • Aiming guns wasn't as accurate as It could have been
  • glitchy deaths added uneeded aggervation
6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel