Here’s something different. A gory, M-rated zombie slasher set for the WiiU’s launch. This would be the first Nintendo system to launch with an mature rating, and it if continues as we saw it, it will likely be the title to own come launch day. At its core, “ZombiU” is a pretty, standard survival horror game. Comma intended. Even in the unfinalized state we saw it in, lightning reflections bounced gorgeously as they bounced off the rain-soaked streets. Flickering lights illuminated outlines of crows eating bodies, and cockroaches scattered as you came close to their piles of trash. Despite their relative newness to the survival horror genre, Ubisoft seems to have taken some good pages from survival horror script.

“ZombiU” also made great use of the GamePad. Nearly all of the normal display stats are relegated to the touch screen, leaving a very uncluttered, if dark, viewing area that players must look away from time to time. The touch screen works mostly as a sort of loot backpack, and occasionally as a place to solve puzzles. The game doesn’t pause while you’re sorting through your backpack, however, which means more times than not you’re playing right into their undead hands. Players could also hold up the gamepad and press a button to use it as a sort of scanner to locate key items. Another hectic way to divide your already strained attention.

Weapons included the familiar shotgun and pistol, but also a cricket bat, for those oh-so-desperate moments. The finale of our demo also hinted that more than a standard zombie infestation was at play.

“ZombiU” even gets creative with asymmetric multiplayer. One player, using the GamePad Pro accessory, gets tasked with survival while the other takes on the role of zombie master, deploying different types of minions using the controller with the touch screen. Strangely, Ubisoft isn’t allowing use of the Wiimote itself to aim, but that may change by launch.

Takeaway: From what we’ve seen, a this will be a must-have.

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