Recently, we’ve covered several roguelike titles. Some were amazing, others implemented the concepts in a fun way, and a few were better off without them. Thus far, I can’t think of any title that tried to merge the concepts behind Dynasty Warriors with the genre, so it was different enough to be intrigued by Ed-0: Zombie Uprising. With a charming idea, goofy mechanics, and a lot of silliness, does Ed-0: Zombie Uprising deliver, or is it already dead?
Ed-0: Zombie Uprising begins with an explanation of the situation. In this timeline, the world went through a different version of our Industrial Revolution, resulting in the so-called Zombie Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, these forces have invaded Japan, causing a zombie outbreak, which you must deal with. It’s just the right amount of campy fun that D3 Publisher is known for. While narrative works pretty well, the same can’t be said about gameplay.
So Many Friends
Before experiencing an actual stage, there is an oddly robust tutorial. All the mechanics are explained in length. There is a normal attack, strong attack, special attacks, modifiers, usable items, and so much more. It’s good if you’re not overly familiar with the genre, but it doesn’t quite work with the concept.
Instead of getting players on the same page, it explains a couple of things before throwing you into the middle of combat in various unexplained situations. There is some tonal whiplash going from a mode that explains basic concepts like running but then gives you four different doors without actually detailing what to expect.
Thankfully, Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is simple enough for the average player to understand instantly. At most, you need to take a moment to read or use something to figure it out. However, its approach leaves a lot to be desired.
Typically, these games add expanded and explored concepts as players increase their skills. Some of this is present in Ed-0: Zombie Uprising; it‘s just lost in a sea of poor decisions. One of the most notable is how slow the early game is.
The first stage I received had maybe 12 zombies, a modifier that made them explode on death, and a wide variety of items I could collect. I’d say, on average, it took around eight hits to kill an enemy. It isn’t an unreasonable sum, but far more than you might expect. Enemies had the same approximate amount of power. Roughly seven hits would end my run, something that could happen relatively fast if I am not careful.
Killing an enemy resulted in it exploding about three to four seconds later. It’s an odd choice for that mechanic, as I was more likely to forget it existed and take damage than it actually changing my play style, which is usually the intent. Later stages get better when there are many things to kill, but it’s the same core issue we had with Exoprimal. Asking players to invest a sizable amount of time in a bad-to-okay experience so they can unlock an okay-to-good experience rarely goes over well.
This is especially true given the clunky nature of Ed-0: Zombie Uprising. Graphics and gameplay feel reminiscent of classic budget titles like Simple 2000 Series Vol. 61: The OneeChanbara or Global Defence Force. This gives it a novelty I don’t think is entirely intended, though it will resonate with players who have fond memories of experiences long past. For everyone else, it will feel oddly dated.
Ed-0: Zombie Uprising Review Verdict
Ed-0: Zombie Uprising: Understanding Ed-0: Zombie Uprising comes down to what you're expecting. It appeals to the same group that loves the Earth Defense Force. Graphics are rough, and experience is okay, but there is certainly a novelty that is becoming increasingly difficult to find. As a result, it will be a love-it-or-hate-it experience. Those it appeals to will quickly get addicted, whereas most will likely not get it, which is perfectly fine. – Grant