Saber Interactive / Focus Home Interactive (studio)
01 May 2019 (released)
02 May 2019
So this is an interesting one, a game that’s influenced by a film that came out in 2013 (sequel hopefully coming out and directed by David Fincher) and very, very loosely based on the book by Max Brooks. I mean it; it’s not even similar to the book at all …. But I’m missing the point. Now we have a game and it’s a zombie horde shooter similar to others in the genre like Left 4 Dead. But where it may have striking similarities to the ground breaking game that defined a genre, it’s got a few tricks up its un-dead sleeve.
So World War Z is a four player co-op action game with elements of zombie’s hordes, crafting and a few other survival mechanics. Now you’re properly thinking “Wow, another zombie shooter? Don’t we have a million already?” and I would yes, sarcastic person, we do. But while people often groan (or moan like a zombie) at the concept of a zombie shooter, there’s no denying we have fun with them regardless.
This four player co-op does a lot of things right surprisingly and while it can be mindless, it’s a ton of fun none the less. You’ll be fighting your way through 4 distinct areas including New York, Jerusalem, Tokyo and Moscow with each area having their own unique environments to traverser through. Each chapter is broken down into a couple of levels and it’s up to you to reach the objective in each one. So for example you’ll be fighting the hordes through the subway tunnels of New York, and then battling your way through a chemical plant in Moscow and take on waves of enemies on a harbour in Tokyo.
Each of the playable characters has their own backstory along with each chapter having its own self-contained story. Unlike Left 4 Dead 4 which linked each chapter together, these are all self-contained and add up to a bigger picture. This is fine as you can play any of the levels you want to without having to try and fill in any gaps. But each location is littered with environmental details that creates a picture as too what this zombie apocalypse was like and it wasn’t pretty let me tell you.
So moving on, World War Z hosts a class system which contains you standard classes just with fancy titles like the Gunslinger, The Hellrazer, The Exterminator, The Slasher, Medic and Fixer. All of them play a vital role in the team and each has their own starting weapon and special ability whether that be carrying grenades or healing items. Once you level up each class however, you can see the expansion of weapons and effectiveness of abilities really shine through. So once you’ve levelled up the medic, you’ll be able to heal your team mates with a pistol that shoots healing stims. It’s a bloody life saver when things get really manic.
You’ll need to spend a fair amount of time playing the game to gain XP, allowing you to level up your chosen class. This is where World War Z manages to better games such as Left for Dead by adding extra layers to the characters you play as. Even if you fail a chapter, you’ll still earn something from it and won’t lose any progress or XP because of a hiccup or ill-advised tactic that meant you were overwhelmed by the zombies. As soon as you level up and get new gear, you can become more effective within each chapter and it doesn’t stop there.
You’ll most likely spend approx. 10 – 15 on each class to level it up to the max and within this time; you’ll unlock all manner of gear that just makes the game even more fun. And I really do mean this when I say the game is just so much fun.
Taking the class system out of the formula, you’ll still have the impressive amount of guns and their customisations on offer to fine tune and earn throughout your many play-throughs. Plus you can upgrade and equip anything you want as it’s all obtainable from the get go. No needing to replay levels multiple times in order to get a bit gear you were desperately looking for.
So World War Z has guns, class systems and of course, plenty of zombies. No wait, I meant an insane amount of zombies to shoot your wave through. The intensity each chapter brings is immense as the hordes litter each area you pass through. They’ve taken one of the few good elements of the film and implemented with outstanding results in this game. Fighting these hordes is such a rush and with things like barriers and traps being at your disposal, you’ll often have a blast at the utter relentlessness and overwhelming nature to each encounter. It’s so ridiculous but in a way which you just nervously laugh at and just think “yeah **** it, do or die time”.
I do love the overwhelming nature these types of games have and thankfully everything seems pretty balanced when it comes to combatting the hordes. World War Z offers enough for you to bunker down, set up defences and have fun watching zombies get torn to shreds. Then there are of course different zombie classes which appear in every game like this and they’re same as always. Okay you know the classes I mean so let’s say it together.
The sneaky zombie, the zombie that pukes/poisons the heavy and the crazy one.
It’s fine considering the overwhelming hordes is so impressive and when they do the pyramid thing, it’s glorious. While on the subject, the game looks extremely nice, with a high level of polish and impressive visuals and sound design.
It goes without saying that this is first and foremost a co-op game which you play with other, real people. There is a single player option but the AI is just not as responsive as the real thing.
Now there have been a few bugs present in the game, even a moment or two where our team couldn’t progress and we had to start the level again. But with the fact you’ll earn XP even if the game fails on you, is a life saver and lessens the burden of losing progress or more annoying, loosing XP. The developers have said there will be patches, but depending on the hardware you’re playing on, you’ll most likely be fine.
Overall, World War Z is pretty dam good if you’re looking for an intense shooter featuring hundreds of zombies on screen at the same time. It’s bloody good fun with friends and hosts an impressive class system with plenty of depth, plenty of guns and gear to use and of course plenty of zombies to mow down. Definitely check out!
++Intense co-op action gameplay
++ Immersive class system and customisation
+ Looks and sounds great
-- few bugs and connection issues
- same old zombies elements seen before
A PS4 review copy of World War Z was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.