Since Resident Evil 4 most horror games have, for me, been quite dull. The Resident Evil franchise has had some good games since then but they aren't really horror and Silent Hill has largely gone down the toilet. Even Dead Space, a series beloved by many, seems a bit too contrived for me. So I haven't really been all that interested when a horror game has been talked about,
Of all of the games in the Wii U's fairly large launch and launch window lineup, ZombiU is the one that excites me the most. It looks like it has plenty of action but also plenty of tension and that, for me, is the winning formula for a horror game. Resident Evil 4, in my opinion the greatest horror game of all time, showed us that the best horror games strike a perfect balance between mad action and tension and since that game no other game has managed to strike this balance. I think ZombiU might get it right though.
The GamePad's uses in the game force you to look away from the screen whilst the game is still running, this means when you look back up at the TV there could be a horde of zombies trying to eat your face. This would be terrifying. It's tension like this that has been missing from the gunplay and gameplay of horror games in recent years. Resident Evil 5 suffered from the lack of tension and many feel that Resident Evil 6 did as well so this tension will be a welcome element of the gameplay.
The other great thing is the inclusion of permadeath, something which is far too rare in video games for me. If your character dies then you start off as a new guy, with a new guy's equipment. Want your old stuff back? Then go find your old self, who is now a zombie who is probably surrounded by the same zombies that killed you in the first place, kill him and take it back. This is a stroke of genius and its such a simple idea. Like having to reclaim souls in Dark Soul's you'll have to fight your way to your old gear. This adds a whole new dynamic to the gameplay and makes you seriously consider how important your gear is, where you are going and how cautious you should be if you don't want to die.
I don't think ZombiU stands any chance of being the greatest horror game of all time but it is certainly, based on the previews at least, the first must play horror game to come out on a home console since Capcom released Resident Evil 4.