REVIEW: World War Z - Interesting and Fun Zombie Shooter

April 29, 2019
REVIEW: World War Z - Interesting and Fun Zombie Shooter

Gamers, as well as movies and series enthusiasts, have a pretty specific idea about Zombie culture. It may have been one of the most popular, short-lived hypes of some sub-culture in the modern age. When Zombie culture was at its peak, many development teams decided to start creating their "perfect" game that would somehow represent their vision of it all.

The problem is that most of the games came out at the time when everyone had it enough when it comes to zombies and similar things. At that point, those titles were left at the mercy of the hard-core audience. Zombies have become a meme of the gaming industry over time, and after the Left 4 Dead game, rarely anyone managed to make a real high-quality title with that theme.

As time passed and the games were released late, we got absolutely nothing of good quality. Many movies, series that either failed or were somehow left behind or forgotten were also a part of this period. Take The Walking Dead, for example, a series that had a perfect start and 2-3 great seasons after that, and then somehow fell through because ​​its creator absolutely didn’t know what he wanted to do with the franchise. Not only did the show suffered because of this, but also all the games that were based on this franchise.

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World War Z, on the other hand, was a short and fun movie flick that came out back in 2013 and featured some solid and juicy Zombie ideas for that time. It was kind of refreshing in that sphere of the entertainment industry. Yet, six years had to pass for us to get a game that is based on the idea from the movie, or the book. Although the book already existed long before the movie, the movie has almost nothing in common with the book except the name.

So, the game which came out not too long ago is somehow related to the movie, but not the book, while the gameplay elements are similar to the gameplay of the most popular zombie shooter Left 4 Dead.

As the years go by, however, many players want for the sequels of the most fun, popular and best franchises such as Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal to happen but there are none still. Yes, Valve is in charge of all three titles and they are probably hibernating somewhere in their offices, and we gamers can only dream of what they could look like or what their gameplay would be like.

As Valve is thinking of ways how to make gamers wait for these games for another decade, Saber Interactive, together with Focus Home Interactive, has decided to launch World War Z. They didn’t put this game in the AAA class, neither according to its price range nor even by its quality.

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Now, after a bit bigger introduction, I’m going to focus on the game. World War Z is, simply put, a third-person co-op based zombie shooter. There are four episodes in the game, and each takes place in one of the four world metropolises - New York, Istanbul, Moscow, and Tokyo. There are three missions or rather levels that you must complete in each city, except Tokyo. The third and final “episode” is expected in the coming weeks, which would also end the Tokyo story.

Similar to Left 4 Dead, you don’t have to finish the previous episodes in order to play the next one; no episode is locked. Generally, you'll find many similarities with the L4D game, and the harsh reality is that the game is a lot like that title.

What is interesting is that each city has its main characters. In New York, you will follow the story of four strangers struggling to get out of the city, while in Tokyo, Istanbul or Moscow you will play with other equally excellent and interesting characters

The core of gameplay comes down to cooperation between characters, communication and getting rid of zombies in the most efficient way possible. You can play the game with bots, of course, and they are even quite useful for spotting stronger zombies on the map, healing or reviving you or your teammates on the map, and so on.

Still, the best experience is definitely with three other players, no matter if they are your friends or not, as the WWZ game has a great Matchmaking system. Even all the players I played with, who I didn’t know, proved to be good at the game, and had a sense of tactics and survival in the harsh conditions of all cities.

All the cities are not a rehash of the previous one, but they are totally different, in architecture, the places where you fight zombies, your main mission as well as your appearance and even the season. You need a lot of time to go over one city that when you "move" to a new city, it seems like a real refreshment.

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In addition to the four characters you can choose at the beginning of the game, it's up to you to choose the class as well. There are many classes at your disposal, which are basically not very different except for the specials and "passive" skills that help you control the crowds, revive your teammates, or heal them. Honestly, they're not very different at first, but each class has about 30 skills to choose from as you level up. That segment differentiates them and gives complexity to any class you choose to play with. The question is if you will play this game long enough to create a character that will be noticeably different from your teammates that have a different class.

There is also a loot system in the game, something similar to (well, of course) L4D games. During the level, you will come across various weapons that you can take, so the weapons you choose at the beginning limit you only till the moment you find others on the map. Which happens pretty quickly.

Also, at the level, you can find health packs, adrenaline shots, special, stronger weapons that melt zombies in every possible scenario, and so on. The revival system is widely known to everyone, as is the healing of other teammates because it is identical to that of the L4D game.

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The shooting mechanics are great. No matter what weapon you use, you'll simply have that grin on your face as you kill off hordes of zombies as you go through each level. The simplicity and effectiveness of gameplay mechanics are exactly what makes this game really great, interesting and addictive. Once you start, you'll have a hard time stopping, even when you cross all levels. Here I come to another reason that makes crossing each level again really interesting.

There is a dynamic spawning of hordes in the game, which means that each time you play, the hordes will act and be in a different place. To be more precise, hordes of zombies and even ordinary and special zombies. You never know what's behind the door, whether it's a room full of zombies or a great loot. It is up to you to explore, to be brave and determined in passing each level, over and over again. Honestly, it's impossible to level up one class during one crossing, which is why going over the levels again is fun.

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As much as the game is based on chaos, it is very important to be quiet and stealthy in some moments. Zombies will not be able to react if you eliminate them with weapons that have a silencer on them. Unless they hear you, they won't be able to summon a horde of zombies. No matter where you are, they will try to reach you.

This moment is known from the World War Z movie when zombies make a tower out of their bodies by climbing one on top of the other in order to reach their goal. Because of the great engine that Saber Interactive has worked with, this is also possible in the game. Practically, you will see on the screen more than a hundred zombies who will do everything to get to your delicious brain. The horde scene itself is simply fantastic, and the one even more striking is when they are climbing on top of each other to reach you if you are on high ground.

In addition to the Single Player (co-op) experience, there is a PvP mode with one little catch. Zombies are present in every mode, so at times when you are fighting the opponents from another team, it is possible for a horde of zombies to disrupt your plans and simply "walk over" you taking resources, control points, and so on. A great and refreshing thing for a multiplayer mode of a game like this.

Final Impressions

World War Z may not be a triple-A game by some criteria. It doesn't have a classic campaign, but it does have great and fun gameplay that makes up for absolutely every possible slip that may exist in the game.

The simple recipe that includes killing off zombies has once again proved to be a success. The dev team didn’t focus on something that was untested nor they experimented with some gameplay elements. Saber Interactive played it safe and gave us an excellent game at a great price. I played the game on Xbox One X and I give it 8/10.