Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.
Release Date: April 16th, 2019
Reviewed on: Playstation 4
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publishers: Focus Home Interactive/MadDog Games
With Left 4 Dead 3 seemingly nonexistent, World War Z seems like the closest we’re ever going to get, for now. But does it fill that zombie killing hole? Or is it even better? Let’s find out!
Based on the film of the same name, World War Z tells the tale, or tales, of a world at war with, you guessed it, zombies. But it tells this story in a very unique way; through 4 separate mini-campaigns from all over the world. Moscow, New York, Jerusalem and Tokyo. To tell you each story briefly, Moscow tells the tale of Father Popov and his team on a mission to find a hidden Kremlin Bunker. New York shows a group of survivors at a Manhatten Office building fighting the hordes to escape the city whilst the military attempt to take it back. Jerusalem shows of a military squad on a mission to rescue a very important scientist at an abandoned satellite base and finally, Tokyo explores the lives of a voluntary search and rescue team to help as many civilians as possible whilst they make their way to Tokyo harbour. But, it’s not as simple as it all sounds because as you can probably imagine, the streets aren’t empty. You are surrounded by hundreds of zombies just waiting to tear you apart.
Finishing each campaign will require some quick thinking and skill but they’re great fun, especially with friends and though they’re not exactly emotional stories, you will feel more attached to the characters once you hear their backstories. They’re also quite long considering they’re mini-campaigns, with the added option of completing them on all available difficulty modes.
A third person, four-player co-op with ridiculous amounts of zombies and a whole load of progression is how I would explain World War Z. No matter whether you prefer to play online or offline you will still have 3 other people to help you along the way. If you choose offline, be prepared for some annoying AI. They’re helpful in terms of killing zombies, sure. But they seem to be glued to your side so they can get in the way the majority of the time, and with friendly-fire, that isn’t good. They also won’t go out and collect items, so if you have a mission where you have to find a few items spread across the map, instead of one person collecting each one to make it quicker, you will be collecting the lot. Not a major issue but it can get a little annoying. I would definitely say the way to play is online, with real people.
Making your way through each level you will find yourself up against hundreds of zombies, so keeping your ammo topped up is always good. Throughout the world, you will find many items including ammo boxes, new weapons, grenade boxes, med-kits, secret chests. There are loads! Items and enemies are all procedurally generated so each time you play is different too. It’s best to pick up everything you can (you will always use it) and to try out all the weapons you come across (there are a lot of weapons). Not only will this determine which weapons are better for you and which ones you should avoid at all costs, but you will also gain experience points on all weapons you use on each level. What’s so good about that? Well, upgrading your weapons means unlocking different variations of that weapons. So you can unlock the same weapon, but with a silencer attached so you won’t alert all zombies when you shoot or unlock a variation with a bigger ammo capacity. Unlocking this is so important.
On top of leveling up your weapons, there are also 6 unique classes you can develop along your journey. Gunslinger, Hellraiser, Slasher, Medic, Fixer and the Exterminator. Each of these classes has different perks, play styles and starting weapons and again, you will need to experiment with each of them to see which works best for you. They all have their own skill tree which you use your in-game currency to unlock. The currency is earned by playing the game. You also have to reach certain levels to unlock them, so the more you play the game, the better perks you will have on your characters. Honestly, I was surprised at the amount of progression you have in World War Z.
For each mini-campaign, there are 4 new characters for you to play as. Playing as each of them unlocks their backstory for you to watch. Some of them are heart-breaking and this gives you another reason to play through these stories multiple times, otherwise, you will never know what happened to these people, and you got to know!
As I said earlier, throughout playing World War Z you will encounter hundreds and hundreds of zombies. But there isn’t just one type of zombie, nope, there are four other ‘mini-boss’ zombies, and each of these has particular weaknesses and strengths. Firstly, we have a Screamer zombie. A right pain in the buttocks, this one. Whenever a screamer spots you, it will scream to alert other zombies of your presence, and it’s not just one or two zombies. It’s quite a few, kill this one as soon as possible. Next up is the Hazmat zombie, a zombie in a distinctive yellow hazmat suit that upon death, releases a cloud of poisonous gas. Stepping into this cloud will lower your health over time. Stay out of it! Thirdly, there is the Bull Zombie. This one is a big zombie wearing police riot gear. He’s extremely tough to kill and will run at you until he grabs you, and let me tell you, he does a ton of damage if he catches you. Lastly is the Creeper zombie. These will hide in the shadows making creepy noises until you or your team walks past, then they will pounce on you. They often come out of nowhere but are easily killed. On top of all those, you will quite often encounter swarms of 300+ zombies which is actually terrifying to see them piling on top of each other to get up to the ledge you are on. You need a lot of fire-power.
As well as a co-op campaign, World War Z also has a multiplayer mode, which was a nice addition. Imagine a third person Call Of Duty, with zombies. It’s great fun and can offer a nice change from the campaign. The main gist is that you will have a certain objective depending on which mode you choose (Team Deathmatch for example) and whilst trying to achieve that objective you will have to kill members of the opposite team who are trying to get to the same objective as you. Be careful though, make too much noise and you will evoke a zombie swarm.
The soundtrack suits the gameplay perfectly, it’s eerie, hectic and powerful. It suits any situation within the game and can automatically make you feel on edge upon hearing it. Certain sounds can just send shivers down my spine, especially the main theme song. The sounds in the game themselves are excellent also, the zombies sound creepy as hell and the characters voice-acting are great also.
I was pleasantly surprised by the look of World War Z. It looked a lot better than I was expecting for a £34.99 price point. Each and every character has their own style and is designed perfectly to suit their personality. There is very little variation to the look and style of the zombies but, with hundreds on the screen what can you expect? This didn’t bother me in the slightest, I was just bothered about killing them… But overall, the game looks and feels fantastic.
Overall, World War Z is a hell of a lot of fun on your own or with friends. It has so much content for, in my opinion, such a low price point. There’s so much choice in terms of upgrades and characters and has something for everyone’s style of play. It looks great, the atmosphere is great and the gameplay is great. Although there isn’t a powerful main story to hook you, the gameplay itself will do that all on its own. With hours and hours of gameplay to experience and even a multiplayer mode, World War Z ticks all the boxes. I highly suggest you play this manic zombie shooter.