Driving the Point Home
I really like taking public transportation, because it can be so much more relaxing than dealing with traffic and crazy people on the road. You still have to deal with crazy people, however, and that can be harrowing in its own way.
At least they’re not zombies though. That would suck, apparently, and not be at all as awesome as one might think. I’m making reference to ZombieU of course.
Firstly, my Wii U appears to be functioning without problem despite the initial freezing issue I had. Internet searches revealed one possibility being a bug that exists with foreign language updates coming from Miiverse while playing. The recommendation was to set it to “English only”, which seems to have worked. I don’t need to talk to people in other languages on Wii U anyway. They are all around me in real life!
I had some time this week with both New Super Mario Bros U, which I loved, and ZombieU, which I wanted so badly to love but could not.
Let me get this out of the way. If you enjoyed New Super Mario Bros in any iteration, you will find the same in New Super Mario Bros. U, only more so. They didn’t change much besides the levels, some of the suits, and the upgrade to HD graphics. It looks great. It’s still fun and hectic in multiplayer. What more could you ask for?
They did add a few variations of time attack modes which are fun and a really good fit for the series. After all, if you weren’t playing Mario recklessly, you were doing something wrong to begin with. The time attack levels are short, so they don’t take a ton of fine tuning to reach gold medal, but the standards are high. I had a near perfect run on a few and only beat the gold medal time by half a second.
So New Super Mario Bros. U is awesome. On to ZombieU.
The problem with ZombieU is that the things that make it great, become aggravating with repetition. It is really cool that you start out as a new character every time you die. It gives the game a certain continuity and urgency. But after dying 6 or 7 times (and you will), you stop really caring about the next hopeless zombie chew toy to wake up startled in that same bed.
There are long sections of each area without zombies. It definitely heightens the suspense, so that when a zombie does pop in on you it’s more startling and you still peek around every corner. But if you die in an area the zombies don’t respawn, and you have to start all the way back at the bunker, so you’ll be sprinting through those empty halls and areas you’ve cleared sure of your safety. And you’ll be doing this constantly.
Finally, and this is my main complaint, the combat is really hard. Most zombies take 4 or 5 whacks with the cricket bat and even several bullets to the head. And bullets are somewhat scarce, so you’ll find yourself using the cricket bat a lot. It becomes tedious and aggravating. And then you’ll hit a zombie, only it won’t land for some reason, and he’ll decide to latch on and bite, even though you had a plenty of health, and that’ll be it.
It’s not that it’s difficult, that would be fine. I like games to challenge my reflexes and strategic thinking. The problem is that it’s difficult in a way that doesn’t do either of those things, or even make sense. I don’t feel like I die because I make a mistake or am not quick enough. It feels arbitrary, like any zombie could bite me at any time, but they usually choose not to.
Maybe the next zombie game will hit the sweet spot. Overall though, 2 out 3 three ain’t bad for my Wii U launch shopping list. Scribblenauts Unlimited will be next, and I have very high hopes.