Review – Ed-0: Zombie Uprising

There is a term in the gaming community called kusoge, which literally means “crappy game” in Japanese. Whilst that may sound harsh and offensive to some, there is an actual community that celebrates kusoge as some bizarre kind of outsider means of entertainment. Games like Ikki, Takeshi’s Challenge, and Onee Chanbara are well known amongst kusoge enthusiasts. A game requires certain “qualities” in order to be considered a bonafide example of kusoge. It has to be Japanese, it has to be janky as all hell, but it also needs to have some kind of bizarre appeal, as if the developers had their hearts in the right place when making the game, only for some kind of reason (usually a low budget) ruining the end product. Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is a prime example of this.

Ed-0: Zombie Uprising Zombies

Fighting against tons of zombies wouldn’t be an issue if they didn’t all sound like your aunt trying to pull a ghostly voice.

Ed-0: Zombie Uprising has one incredible premise in its favor. It tries to be a roguelike and a proper 3D soulslike at the same time, all while being set in feudal Japan, complete with oni, yokai, shamisen, and everything else you know and love from that particular era. Essentially, a roguelike Sekiro. That does sound cool in theory, doesn’t it? Well, I wouldn’t have started this review by describing the meaning of “crappy game” in Japanese if that were the case. Sadly, Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is crap. But it’s also an endearing kind of crap. One that should have infuriated me way more than it did.

The ideas were right there. Ed-0: Zombie Uprising borrows the same control scheme from your traditional Souls game (plus a jump button), but without a stamina meter. Sort of. You can just spam the R1 button to your heart’s content if you want, and it won’t exactly be a bad idea if there are just a few enemies in front of you, for the dumb zombies you face off at first are brain dead and flinch easily. Also, you can equip a monstrous amount of stat-enhancing talismans during a run, and can even improve your starting stats back at your home base whenever you die. You have access to a ton of items, and you can even throw them at enemies in order to inflict special status effects.


Bro. What hell is going on with your hand.

So, imagine how cool it must be to play a game that fuses the gameplay of soulslikes, with the sheer amount of enemies onscreen of a Musou, and the sensibilities of a roguelike. In theory, you are very overpowered. In reality, you are not, because the game is trying its best to annoy you with questionable design choices and a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of pure, unadulterated jank.

Where to even begin? Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is such a mess that it’s hard to pinpoint what’s the worst thing about it. As you can imagine from a game made in Japan with a seemingly small budget, it doesn’t look good. At all. Between the rampant usage of repeated assets and proto-robotc character animations (there are Sega Saturn game characters with more moving joints than this game’s playable samurai), Ed-0: Zombie Uprising looks like a below-average PS2 game which just so happened to receive a modern-ish Unreal Engine lighting filter effect. With that being said, it does retain a decent framerate at all times.

Ed-0: Zombie Uprising Visuals

Well, I guess the fire effect looks nice. No idea why my samurai has bigger back problems than Quasimodo, though.

Sure, cheap and janky visuals were to be expected. I wasn’t expecting for the Souls + roguelike formula to be botched so aggressively, though. Ed-0: Zombie Uprising features some of the jankiest hit detection and auto-aim systems I have ever seen. You can lock onto enemies, but that doesn’t mean you actually lock onto them; you still have to line yourself in front of them for some bizarre reason, or else you will slash thin air like an imbecile. Picking up an item is also really bizarre: if you hold down the Triangle button, as the game tells you to do so, you will immediately consume the item, even if it’s something meant to be kept for later and thrown onto a foe. In that case, you will suffer actual damage. In order to simply collect an item, you have to merely tap the button.

Finally, even though you are somewhat overpowered in the sense you can stun lock enemies forever with your slashes, your main character is a twig. Whether you decide to play as a ninja, a samurai, or a sumo wrestler, you are a victim of your own frailty. Health items are scarce, your defenses are mediocre at best, and you will probably die out of… hunger. Yep, hunger. Instead of a stamina meter, Ed-0: Zombie Uprising has a freaking hunger meter that depletes faster if you decide to sprint or perform any sort of action. Given how your default running speed is far from ideal, you will want to sprint. And that will make you feel hungry. As a result, you will starve, lose health, and then die. Not because you didn’t “git gud” enough, but because you didn’t “git” enough riceballs throughout your run.

Ed-0 hunger

Fight against hordes of enemies… until you die out of hunger because you couldn’t find a riceball.

Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is a really bad game, but one that has a bizarre charm. It’s janky, unfair, ugly, sounds like crap, but it feels borderline endearing, as if the developers were trying to come up with something unique and fun, only to find out (much) later that their game was the complete opposite of that. I guess Souls aficionados will get a kick out of it, since it’s nowhere near as bad as some other soulslikes (looking at you, Dolmen), but the ones who will really enjoy it are that small group that just loves to consume janky Japanese kusoge like there’s no tomorrow. Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is the poster child of crappy, nearly irredeemable, but oddly endearing Japanese jank.


Graphics: 4.0

Between the repeated assets and Jurassic character animations, Ed-0: Zombie Uprising looks like a PS2 game after being plastered with a modern Unreal Engine lighting filter. It does retain a stable framerate, at the very least.

Gameplay: 5.5

It tries to emulate a Souls-esque control scheme, but with monstrously janky camera and hit detection issues. It does have a slight emphasis on hacking and slashing multiple enemies at once, which is fun, but it also has terrible survival elements.

Sound: 4.0

The very occasional interesting traditional Japanese music is muffled by poor sound effects and amateurish voice acting.

Fun Factor: 5.5

A Souls-inspired roguelike sounds like a surefire hit, but Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is way too janky to be considered a surefire hit. Weirdly enough, its amateurish levels of jank make it borderline endearing if you’re into “so bad it’s good” premises for games. Just not at a full price, of course.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Ed-0: Zombie Uprising is available now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of Ed-0: Zombie Uprising was provided by the publisher.