v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Zombi | Done!

The most recent game I finished (right before I headed off to the annual MTA conference the past two days) was Zombi on the XBOX One.  This was originally a WiiU game (a horror game on the Nintendo???) but it made its way to the xbox a few years later.  It's an ubisoft production and it's something I got for "free" by subscribing to Gold (since my membership is expiring soon I thought I give it a try). I have to say that before getting this for free this would probably not be a game that I would have paid money for (after playing it, it seems like a game I should have bought ;-) ).

That said, the game  takes place in London, after a zombie (virus?) outbreak. Some guy called "the prepper" rescues you and brings you down to his Tube/Metro/Subway safehouse and gives you the spiel about preparing for this day for a while, and the world has gone to hell in a hand-basket. There is no cure, so you might as well ride it out.  You don't really get to see this prepper, you just year him through the intercom.  Also, apparently some scientist by the name of John Dee made some "Black Prophecy" around 400 years ago predicting this event.

The player is basically sent through missions to unlock CCTV junction boxes (which gives the prepper more eyes as to what's going on out there), and collects supplies for the Bunker.  In one of these trips the player stumbles on a scientist who's working on a cure, and you decide to help him out (the prepper's not happy about that). In any case, as you progress through the game the story unfolds - you get the cure, you find people who (in thunderdome fashion) abduct and pit survivors against zombies for entertainment (assholes...) and you (hopefully) get saved by the RAF before they firebomb London.  In the end, you get to see the prepper (from behind) who finds another survivor to help him stock his survival bunker.  I ended up getting the 'bad' ending, where I finish the game, but I don't quite make it to the evac helicopter (booo!). There is no save point at that stage in the game, so you survive it, or you don't.

The game is anxiety inducing.  It's probably the first game, in a long time, that has given me a thrill. Most zombies you can dispatch with a cricket bat (if there are one or two of them around).  More than that and you better run. Mines, grenades, and motolov cocktails are also options, and work well for swarms. Guns are fine, but you find out quickly that they are useless (unless you have a sniper rifle and are inaccessible by zombies, in which case you can pick them off).  Zombies really need to be close for you in order for a gun to be effective.  If you get swarmed, and have no where to go, a gun might save you (just aim of the head).

As far as enemies go, these aren't Romero zombies.  They can be fairly fast, so they will eventually catch up to you if you run, and there are a few varieties of them.  I put them into three categories:
  • Regular zombies: just people who died and are in civilian clothing
  • Professional zombies: dead cops, firemen, or military - they tend to retain their headgear which means that you need to knock off their helmets before you can take them out.
  • WTF Zombies: Zombies that spit acid at you, or are on fire (and don't die), or are made up of electricity or spectral powers and they blink in and out (seriously, WTF???)
The zombie I disliked the most were zombies that had oxygen tanks on them (I think those were firemen).  They are explosive and move than one when I hit them with my bat, or shot them, they exploded and took me with them.  I lost a considerable amount of survivors this way. When you die, a new survivor takes your place (new profession, name, age, gender, and so on - but I didn't notice a difference in the player stats).  You can backtrack to where the last player died to reclaim your gear, but I some good guns, ammo, and health-packs  by choosing to just move it along.

The game ending was really satisfactory.  Whether you get rescued by the RAF, or whether you die, the ending is about the same.  The only difference is that you see yourself getting rescued instead of only seeing London being bombed.  What about saving humanity? Why did you go through all that to get the cure when you don't really see a big payoff for it?

In terms of stats:
  • 498 zombies killed
  • 17.5 hours of playtime
  • 22 survivors killed
  • Best survivor score: 3980
  • 17 (of 20) achievements earned
  • 790 points (out of 1000) earned
 I don't know if I want to play this game again. Knowing how heart-pounding it was (and that the payoff isn't all that great if you survive and get rescued), makes the replayability of the game minimal (for me anyway).
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