- + Taking control of random strangers made me care more if I lost them
- + Unnerving atmosphere
- - Graphics could’ve seen a bigger upgrade on newer consoles
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
*Zombi was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Ubisoft and Xbox One by Xbox
“Every Body Counts”
After gaining cult status on Nintendo’s Wii U, ZombiU was acclaimed for its use of the Gamepad and its unnerving atmosphere. Being reborn and going multi-platform might take away its unique control system and exclusivity, but allowing more people to experience this gem is worth a little redesign.
Whilst a zombie invasion is probably not on the cards for our imminent futures, I still wonder what I would do if such an event were to occur. In the now retitled Zombi, you fill the trembling shoes of one of the few remaining survivors of a viral outbreak in London. There are hordes of the undead everywhere, but via the help of an unknown voice and his London underground safe house, your aim is to be smart and survive. Then again, dying is part of what makes Zombi so special.
Meeting your maker doesn’t mean game over, in fact once you do meet your demise you’re sent straight back to your safe house and take lead as an entirely new survivor. My first death was intentional and came through curiosity: what would happen if I purposely died during the opening segment? Would I be punished? Nope, I’d simply find a new soul to torture.
Facing the undead can be an easy task, but if you’re not careful you’ll find yourself cornered and down in no time. Scavenging your surroundings is helpful in many ways, as not only will you be able to stock up on weapons and health, you will also gather wood to barricade doors and find upgrades to form a formidable arsenal. Guns are present, but by also using melee weapons (such as a cricket bat), you can reduce the noise levels you make and conserve ammo. It’s satisfying to rid the world of the flesh eaters, but sometimes throwing a flare to distract them and slipping by unnoticed can be just as beneficial.
Your rucksack (or bug-out bag) allows you to carry your weapons and supplies – but there isn’t enough room for everything. You have to be smart when going out on a mission; consider how much ammo and health you’re going to pack, and then allow space for more items to come on board which you’ll find on your travels.
Through the use of a scanner, which can only be used whilst static, you can highlight notable points in your immediate surroundings. The fact that both your bag and your scanner now take over the entire screen, and are not secluded to a Gamepad, actually helps increase the tension. When I was in the middle of performing either action, I would constantly be on the lookout for nearby threats.
Should you have precious loot that you want to keep a hold of, all you have to do is travel back to where you died and confront the former and now re-animated body. Getting to fight for your loot makes you want to remain all the more cautious, and will often make you truly fear death.
Zombi doesn’t aim to be the best looking game, nor does it present an enthralling story, what makes it a joy to play is its simple and effective gameplay. Each time I ventured out of the safe zone and came across a body, I’d immediately do away with the head, playing the smart game and never allowing them to come back. I didn’t have to do it, but I found that religiously crushing each skull or a zombie – whether moving or not – gave me peace of mind. Let’s hope that if a zombie invasion does occur, I’m as good a hit as I am in-game.
The fact its gameplay has no bells and whistles helps ensure that the simple, unnerving threat of a zombie is always put front and centre. I didn’t care about its graphics or story, I was someone fighting for his life, trying everything in my power to not become another dispensable human being. I wanted random-civilian number 3 to be humanity’s saviour, not another disappointing failure.
Despite leaving the Gamepad behind, Zombi has ironically found new lease of life. Increasing the danger by using one screen to operate from ups the tension and makes you more conscious of your actions. It’s a pity that this re-hash misses a major graphical overhaul, but graphics aside, gameplay is still incredibly fun.
*PS4 vs Xbox One Graphical Comparison COMING SOON*