‘ZombiU’ Is Waypoint 101’s Next Game

So, I finally figured out what’s been bothering me about this game.

I like a lot of things about it. I like the intentional, grounded environments. I like the low-budget grossness, that the game leans into like a good B-movie (I mean, the game’s hideous, but it does have a certain aesthetic quality.) I like how the game leaves you spaces and mechanics and choices. It’s linear, but in the right way giving the player agency and consequences in a game space. I love the tragedy of seeing a character you used to inhabit turned monstrous. I love how, as @WastelandHound describes, the game gives you just enough room to make your own stories.

But there was something, besides the shallow melee and the repetitive enemy design that was bothering me. It was a lack of humanity.

Dark Souls has a near-apocalyptic, grounded space with consequences for death and multitude of stories and play styles. But it also has Firelink Shrine. The moments of saving and redeeming others. It is a game world of both kindness and cruelty. The sublime and the hideous.

ZombiU has only ugliness and although its spaces feel lived in and real, it lacks that touch of the human. I want to see who these people were. Their dreams and their problems. Only then can the tragedy of zombies truly strike.

It’s a mess and there’s a lot to like in it. Ultimately, its tension is hollow, without a real human cost.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Waypoint thinks about it!

I’m gonna be honest, I’m… not really liking this game so far. Everything feels… flat. I got to the helicopter crash scene. I’ve only died maybe five or six times, but the majority of them felt out of my control. The random explosion zombies don’t feel fair, and the fact that zombies will randomly have an instant kill grab is really frustrating. None of this made me feel scared or worried; the result wasn’t one of Horror as it was of annoyance.

The corpse run mechanic is really clever, but I never actually liked doing the corpse runs. They felt like obligations, not desperate sprints. I also get the feeling the scanning is way cooler on the WiiU.

The plot verges on entertaining; the occult conspiracy stuff is neat! But the execution feels dry and uninteresting. And god, the combat is so dull. It’s so repetitive. It mostly consists of jamming the left click. The guns feel fluffy and don’t have any oomph to them.

I will make a compliment: The extremely limited resource space encourages experimentation and using those resources (unfortunately it kind of fails because those resources don’t really feel worthwhile.)

I hear you. I’ve only put in a couple of hours and have just arrived at Buckingham palace. There are some good ideas, but the actual execution is lacking and the controls are just a little too cumbersome to me. I should look up how much longer it is to the Tower of London to at least try to hit the target point in the game.

looking through this thread i would love it if anyone that already owns two copies of the game on WiiU and some other platform was able to give a little context of the differences.
i feel like some of the problems i had with the game were due to porting away from 2 screens and i feel like theres a much bigger difference of experience between the different versions

mostly im curious about what was displayed/handled by the WiiU pad and what’s been moved to the single screen of other platforms.

It’s been a couple years since I played the WiiU version, so I’m going off memory, but the game doesn’t pause, so basically any “pause” action you perform would be displayed on the tablet. When looking at the map or rifling through the inventory, your character on screen would kneel down while you fiddled with the WiiU tablet. All the tablet stuff was touch-based, and it’s not like the inventory was always open on the tablet or anything. You still had to deliberately let your character’s guard down to access this stuff.

I think the scanning was also done on the tablet, which could conceivably lead to you turning your back to the screen while the game was still running.

On PS4/XB1, all of this is done in the traditional video game way of overlaying the menus, scanner, etc on the screen. It still doesn’t pause, so there’s still plenty of tension, it just loses a lot of its uniqueness.

My main problem with Zombi is I’m playing after pouring dozens of hours into Dying Light (ridiculously underrated) and the latter does everything better. These games are going for very different things but are both still survival-horror zombie apocalypse games with a heavy focus on melee combat and scavenging. The movement feels better in DL, the combat is weighty and you can feel the crushing impact that every strike has on an enemy/zombie, and the setting manages to give you plenty of room to breathe and move around while still feeling menacing and oppressive. Nothing about Zombi is particularly satisfying enough to justify playing it over and over again which is what it asks of the player. I’m just really not into it.

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I don’t have any particularly insightful critique, but am I the only one who’s really getting their ass kicked by this game? I’m playing on "Normal’ difficulty (WiiU version). Ammo seems really scarce, so I keep trying to use my cricket bat even when I have guns. I keep getting killed by single zombies because I mess up my cricket bat timing and my character just decides to lie down as soon as they get touched by a zombie. It’s also super frustrating when I die while holding multiple medkits and 2 or 3 mags of pistol ammo!

I’ve only just made it out of the grocery store area, but I’ll probably give it another go today and see if I can power through. Maybe I’ll try using more flares and just running past zombies.

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It really is all about the timing with the cricket bat. I mentioned above that it’s been a couple years since I played it, but if I remember right, you have to swing just a split second before you think you should have to. Like, imagine you’re trying to whack them on the nose, instead of the top of the head. (Maybe someone playing now can speak more to the specifics.) I’m not trying to say “git gud” or anything, but once you do get that timing down, holding off 2-3 z’s at a time is entirely plausible.

Here is what is on the gamepad

The map and all functionality. To ping the radar you have to press a button in the bottom right corner of the screen. This requires you to either be looking down at the screen to see what appears or only look down when you here the beep which means you might miss exactly where it is.

Turning on the flash light and switching weapons/items are tied to quick slots on the touch pad that you have to press. You have six slots total you can quickly switch between.

To access your inventory you have to swipe down from the top of the gamepad. You then drag and drop items around. On the screen your character takes a knee and rummages through their bag. You can see a little in front of you but can’t move the camera.

When scanning, everything is on the bottom screen. You can look with right stick or use the gyro. The main screen shows your character turning around, but only faces the direction you were initially facing.

When breaking barricades or lockpicking, you do everything on the bottom screen.

They do a good job of splitting your focus or making you not quite able to keep up with all the information. Trying to pick a lock with two riot police zombies slowly stumbling towards me was pretty intense.

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I’m interested in hearing about the game on the podcast but in the time leading up to the 101 I’ve not found any time I’ve been interested in actually sitting down to play it. I hold a general curiosity and have been meaning to get to it after getting it on a steam sale a while back, but I generally never feel the urge to sit down with a horror game.

Last one I played that was in a similar vein was Dying Light, which I had a good amount of fun with jumping around and slashing at the undead, but got immediately stressed out when they introduced the powerful special infected and leaned into the survival horror.

As mentioned I want to get around to it at some point but for now I’m content in hearing about it in detail on a 101 episode instead, like I did with Binary Domain.
(Unlike BD though this seems more hinged on the experience of playing it)