Zombi is so devoid of fun that I found it painful to keep playing after the two-hour mark.
Zombi has a great premise; it’s your typical zombie survival-horror game that takes the realism to the next level by making you take your eyes off of your surroundings when you manage the items in your backpack or unlock a door.
I’ve seen many complaints about how this works on PS4 compared to the Wii U’s utilisation of the gamepad, but I actually found that this was one of the better aspects of the game.
Unfortunately, I never found the taking your eyes off your surroundings gimmick to play a role as there wasn’t an occasion where I was adjusting my inventory, checking the map or lock picking where all of a sudden I was being swarmed by zombies.
Similarly, the game makes great use of the Dualshock 4’s built in speaker.
From the very start you are being guided by a man calling himself “The Prepper” who communicates to you over the radio, with his audio being outputted on the controller speaker which immerses you in the environment.
The radar beeps from your “prepper pad” are also outputted on the controller speaker, giving you the feeling of actually holding the pad in your own hands and I can see how well this would have worked on the Wii U.
This is as far as the positives go for this game.
Initially you are genuinely scared to face the zombies, until you have a couple of encounters with them.
Soon you realise that the zombies are merely a mild annoyance and that defeating half a dozen zombies at a time is far too easy by simply backpedalling occasionally and timing your cricket bat swings.
Because your cricket bat never breaks or has any noticeable drawbacks you’re able to easily conserve ammo, meaning when you do have to call on your guns as a last resort you’ll have plenty of bullets to get the job done.
Generally in a survival-horror game you’ll try to avoid encounters where possible as to conserve supplies, but with the cricket bat at my side I found myself going out of my way to kill every zombie I saw.
The only downside to the cricket bat, and every melee weapon, is that it can take you up to a dozen hits to kill a single zombie.
Sometimes you’ll be pixel-perfect and kill a zombie in one hit and on other occasions you’ll spend a minute bashing it in the head for it to somehow still be alive.
You’d think this would make the combat tougher but it’s merely a minor inconvenience as the zombies always go flying back four or five metres giving you more than enough breathing room.
Each of your characters swings are accompanied by a nails-on-chalkboard grunt that actually becomes painful when you have to hear it ten times within 30 seconds.
Speaking of characters, one of the more interesting aspects of the game is the perma-death.
When you die you become a new character and lose your supplies, however you can go back to the location of your death and get the supplies back, bashing your former characters brain in if you fell pray to the walking dead.
If you die on the way back to your previous character you lose those supplies forever, which is quite baffling as there’s no reason to why you shouldn’t be able to go and collect those supplies.
You’ll also rarely encounter the perma-death mechanic and when you die it’s most likely not because of the zombies.
The majority of my deaths came from falling off of a ledge or a mine blowing up, while only one or two of my deaths came from an actual zombie.
You’ll also encounter numerous problems with zombie AI and spawning.
Zombie’s will often randomly spawn outside of the map and climb in, which is far less cool than when they’re already inside the map waiting for you.
There will be times when you’ve cleared literally an entire building out and there is no possible way there are any zombies left, but the game will decide to spawn ten zombies out of nowhere.
Sometimes they’ll even start spawning zombies inside of an empty closet that you were in just seconds ago.
When attempting to sneak past zombies it also becomes a completely random as to whether the zombie is alerted to your presence, no matter how quiet you are.
Your prepper pad also becomes useless when the game decides it wants to “scare” you and have a zombie ambush you out of nowhere.
There are two things wrong with this however:
- Your pad is supposed to detect ALL movement.
- It’s completely obvious when they are setting you up to be ambushed.
I almost enjoyed the upgrade system for guns, but it becomes a bit pointless when you find upgrades literally everywhere and by the end of the game you will have maxed out every single weapon.
Upgrades also seem meaningless when a headshot, regardless of the weapon or upgrade level, one hit kills the zombie.
To top it off the game decides that an auto aim is necessary, which actually screws you over in situations with multiple zombies as you end up aiming and firing at the wrong target.
To top everything off the game’s plot is nonsensical and the three “different” endings you can receive are 95 per cent identical, making them meaningless.
Zombi has such a great premise for giving traditional zombie survival-horror games a fresh spin, but it horribly fails in nearly every area and ultimately creates a game that isn’t challenging, exciting, suspenseful or fun in anyway.