During SDCC, Ubisoft demoed their zombie-killing FPS for Nintendo's new hardware. Always an early adopter when it comes to new hardware, Ubisoft is something like a test case for Nintendo's new console, a gauge of whether or not the WiiU can meet the expectations trifecta of graphics, delivering hardcore gaming, and exploiting the new controller.

Based on my half hour or so of combined time with a slice of the single player campaign and its multiplayer mode, I can say with confidence that at the very least, ZombiU is committed to resuscitating survival horror. Because make no mistake: you will die playing ZombiU and often, a first-person love letter to breathless tension and near panic as you realize you've used your final bullet.

So how does it play? How is the new Wii controller used? And is it any good?

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Right now we might all be enamored with a certain Xbox 360/PC zombie shooter, but our intern still loves some classic light-gun action. See his thoughts on the Wii title a year after its release. Read More...

Nothing says "I love you" like Valentine's Day cards based on a zombie-shooter video game. Check out these adorable renditions of "Left 4 Dead"'s characters in fan-made, holiday-themed artwork. Read More...

It was inevitable that someone would take the powerful modding tools available for Valve's zombie shooter "Left 4 Dead," look at the powerful living-dead scenarios created by Capcom for the "Resident Evil" series and combine the two.


Every day this week, I'm counting down my five favorite gaming accomplishments over the last 12 months.

In 2008, my greatest elation with a video game had nothing to do with me.

Slowly but surely, I have tried to convince my girlfriend she would enjoy video games.

She loves "Tetris," "Super Smash Bros." and "Mario Kart," but this year, she made great strides to enjoy the medium on another level.

She played "Braid" a few months ago, but what most impressed me was when she asked to play "Left 4 Dead" -- a ridiculously fast-paced shooter -- alongside me online.

Coming to grips with "Left 4 Dead" was not an easy task for her (or for me, her teammate). The concept of independent movement and aim was both foreign and frustrating, but something she took to with great gusto.

Outside of "Left 4 Dead," she hasn't shown much interest in playing more complex games on her own. She likes how "Prince of Persia" looks, but doesn't want to play it. She thought the stories of post-apocalyptia in "Fallout 3" were interesting, but hasn't picked up the controller.

But she played "Left 4 Dead" and wants to play more. For me, that's enough.

Every day this week, I'm counting down my five favorite gaming accomplishments over the last 12 months.

In 2008, a little game called "Left 4 Dead" helped me overcome some social anxiety.

There are a few reasons why I rarely play multiplayer games. Primarily, it's because I enjoy the idea of starting a game, finishing it and moving on.

There's another reason, though.

I seem to suffer from a mild form of what the Internet tells me is telephonophobia. It's not a fear of telephones, per se, so much as it is a fear of taking and receiving calls.

Chatting over Xbox Live or something similar is a lot like a phone call, which helps explain why my stomach knots up before I start a multiplayer game.

But my girlfriend and others wanted to play online "Left 4 Dead" and I decided to answer their call. And so I played "Left 4 Dead" and really enjoyed myself. Maybe having my girlfriend sitting next to me reduced my fixation on voice chat anxiety.

I've always wanted to try "Call of Duty 4" multiplayer. Maybe in 2009, I will.

If you've beaten "Call of Duty: World at War"'s main campaign, then you've unlocked the the Nazi zombie mode.

The special mode allows four-player co-op and has gamers battling throngs of Nazi undead that become increasingly difficult with each wave.

Activision executive producer Daniel Suarez shared with Stephen Totilo what inspired the team to make the mode in the first place.

"It was one of the pet projects of one of the designers," he said. Read More...

My girlfriend is the definition of a casual gamer. She loves the "LEGO" series, carries a Nintendo DS everywhere and balks at the idea of touching an Xbox 360 controller. But she also thinks many Wii games are too simple.

She has never shown an interest in the more complicated games I enjoy. Then, "Left 4 Dead" showed up. She loves horror movies. The idea of starring in a personalized "Night of the Living Dead" adventure was too much to pass up.

There was a minor setback, though: she has never played a shooter before.

Yes, people like that still exist. And it was fascinating to watch her come to grips with it. When she asked "how do I aim?" and I pointed out the second stick, she gasped. "I can look around? I thought I could only look forward!"

She just blew my mind.


Key to the longevity of the otherwise short zombie shooter "Left 4 Dead" is the unique ability to play as the zombies.

But the feature doesn't mean anything if no one's playing it.

Developer Valve recently leased an initial batch of game usage statistics for "Left 4 Dead," based on achievements unlocked one week after release, providing our first hints towards an answer.

Here's what it tells about Versus Mode, where you play as zombies:

* No Versus achievements have been unlocked by at least 50% of users
* "Double Jump" is the most unlocked achievement, at 36.7%
* 0% of users have completed the "Lamb 2 Slaughter" achievement ("as an Infected, incapacitate a Survivor who has entered and left a safe room")
* Smoker and Hunter zombies have the most unlocked achievements (note: by design, they are also played more often by gamers)

There is something very important to note about these week-one statistics, however: only 25.4% of gamers have reported finishing "Blood Harvest," the final campaign from the perspective of the game's zombie apocalypse survivors. Just under one-fourth of gamers have not completed "Left 4 Dead"'s main draw, which may not give them much reason to check out the other modes yet.

We'll have to keep watching Valve's updates, however, to see if the zombie killers of the world decide to finally give the undead a fair shot.

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Valve's "Left 4 Dead" is steeped in the traditions of b-movie horror films. It's frantic, scary and gory, but not meant to be taken particularly seriously, either.

Along those lines, Valve produced four fake movie posters based on the game's levels -- "Blood Harvest," "Death Toll," "No Mercy" and "Dead Air."

We're not sure if they're planning on making these posters available for purchase, but Valve included mini versions of them while sending over "Left 4 Dead." I've scanned smaller versions above, but if you want to see them bigger…


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