Zombi is another Game With Gold for this month and I didn’t manage to complete it. The game is a first person survival game where one person is helped by a voice known as the Prepper to survive a zombie outbreak. I’ll admit that this isn’t a genre I find myself drawn to but I found playing it interesting.
I’ll start with the difficulties. There is normal mode which is the basic game and there is survival mode which is a one life mode. On top of this there is normal difficulty which has leader boards and chicken difficulty which as far as I can tell means you aren’t put on a leader board but makes no other difference to the game.
The game was very dark and all you get to light your way is a fairly dim torch which runs on batteries that recharge whenever the torch is turned off. This is to limit the player’s vision to make the game scary. The darkness works with the fact that there isn’t much background music in the game, it is almost completely silent. I think darkness and silence is a good recipe for jump scares which didn’t happen nearly as often as I think they should have done in the game.
A cricket bat is the first weapon you are given in the game and the melee combat is all about being patient and careful while trying not to get swarmed by the undead monsters. I thought the melee combat fit quite well and was a good aspect of the game. The ranged combat though used guns and crossbows which were weaker than the cricket bat which was a disappointment because it meant they weren’t worth using except against specific enemy types.
There were many types of zombie: armoured, spitters, undetectable to radar, exploders, noisy and teleporting EMP emitters which meant a nice variety. I liked the fact that some things weren’t straight forward and needed working out. I liked the quick time events which were put in in the right places. I liked how animal meat could rot and be bad for your health. I thought the Prepper was a likable and interesting character going from religious readouts to total paranoia. I liked the lock pick minigame. I even liked how you have to reveal fast travel routes.
Checkpoints also work in an interesting way in this game with there not being any. Instead of checkpoints the player respawns as a new character at the safe house with all of the previous character’s progress complete. This means that if a character spawns, beats a zombie to death and dies that zombie will still be dead for the next character and items can be recovered from the corpse of the dead character. Every character spawns with a cricket bat and a pistol. This method of spawning could be both good and bad, this was the reason I didn’t finish the game.
Throughout the game you follow waypoint markers on your map to complete objectives except these waypoints sometimes vanish when you die leaving you stuck trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go and what you’re supposed to do. I died near the end of the game and couldn’t find my way back to the mission area, after hours of trying I gave up. The game was never consistent enough with waypoints.
The game was inconsistent in other places too. You could climb over some things but not others of the same height; not all doors were usable even though they looked the same as usable ones; zombies that looked the same could take different amounts of hits to kill; you can’t pick up everything that looks as though you should be able to; you could lock pick some doors but not others when they said locked and the radar at first was activated with a button press but then it activated non stop on its own (I don’t know if that was supposed to happen).
Other problems I have with the game are that the crossbow looked like it had a scope that you couldn’t use; the speech audio was so quiet that I had to turn my TV up a lot; the most interesting area in the game had background music that sounded quite dynamic but there didn’t seem to be a reason for it and one area looked like it was all about combat but was instead a drawn out boring puzzle.
Even though the game was about survival I found myself willingly sacrificing my characters to wear down the zombie horde. There was too much combat in the game. If I had been on survival mode or if the normal style of checkpoints in the game then I might have cared more and played it as a survival game but as it was, death didn’t really matter which took all tension and fear out of the game. The characters didn’t even say anything to make you want to keep playing as them, just the occasional grunt.
The game was originally a WiiU exclusive and I’m glad Nintendo exclusives are making their way onto other platforms, hopefully we’ll get one of the really good ones next.
The game was a nice change for me and I can’t really compare it to anything, I even enjoyed some bits of it but as interesting as this game was for me, I don’t think it’s one I’d want to play again, even if there are zombies in busby hats.
The art that I’m using as the featured image was found on the achievements section of the Xbox website. A bloodshot eye with a busby wearing zombie reflected in it and a clock tower in the background, put all these things together and you get fear of zombies from the royal guard in London. It’s weird, a bit scary and represents the game well.