It'd be fairly accurate to say the Wii U’s presence at E3 was underwhelming. I thought it was bad last year with the four "games" they had that practically did nothing to show off the console, but this year, the games that were available didn't cause a major reaction with most of the attendees.
Since I had no appointment with Nintendo this year, the ideal time to try and play with the Wii U would be Thursday, when most attendees had already gone home. After my QA session at the Konami booth regarding Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, I made my way to the Nintendo booth to see what kind of wait time I'd be looking at. I saw that Arkham City: Armored Edition was available, but I didn't think replaying a game from last year would make an impression. However, right next to it, was ZombiU with only a couple of guys in front of me.
After a painful 10 minutes of two guys who looked like they've never picked up a controller in their lives trying to play, it was me and another guy that was up to play the game. I was purposely behind the guy with the Wii U controller so I would get my grubby hands on it immediately. After some quick info from the rep there on how to play the game, it was time to control some zombies.
In the multiplayer mode we were playing, the other guy and I were doing a version of Capture the Flag with me spawning the zombies while he played the survivor. Using the Wii U controller, I had to place zombies on the map. There were four zombies I can pick from: a zombie to attack the other play, a faster version of the previous zombie, a guard zombie that only move when the other play comes within their range, and capture zombies who will go capture a flag. You only have so many zombies that you can spawn, and the areas you can spawn them in will change depending on where the other player is at in order to prevent zombies from spawning right on them.
After a couple of minutes getting everything down, I had a lot of fun being in control of the zombies. It required me to guess where the other player would go, and then figure out what the best tactics were. Do I simply send out as many zombies as I can to get him or just enough to distract him while I send some zombies to capture the flag?
This new perspective of a zombie was so entertaining...until the other player realized that I was having more fun and asked if we could switch. I said sure and handed him the Wii U controller as he handed me the Wii U Pro Controller. From there, I was playing a wannabe Left 4 Dead which really let the air out of the fun balloon.
As a survivor, you have your shotgun to blow off zombie heads up close. What was different from other games, however, was that once a zombie grabbed you, instead of trying to shake free or simply take damage, you had to use these syringes to take down the zombies. once you're out of syringes, the next zombie that grabs you will cause you to lose a life. I did find it interesting that I could see the strategy the other player was using on me, as I could see on-screen if he was having zombies capture the flag or just sending zombies to come kill me.
Since I was playing as a survivor, I had to actually look at the TV instead of the Wii U controller, and I have to say the game doesn't look that impressive. Yeah it's a launch title, but the game hardly looks any better than Left 4 Dead 2, and that's a bit depressing considering that game is two years old now.
Even though playing as a survivor didn't impress me much, controlling the zombies in that fashion made me reevaluate my stance on not purchasing a Wii U at launch. ZombiU could be the game that's interesting enough to make me buy the Wii U.