Zombies are an amazing concept for me, I have loved the fact that there are so many different versions of them in films, TV shows and even more. When it comes to videos games, I feel that they have more creative freedom when it comes to the look and the physical movement of the zombie. That being said I was a huge fan of the World War Z (2013) film that came out based upon the book, it was a good take on a zombie apocalypse with an even better twist for the ending. When I heard that they were making a game based on the World War Z franchise I was a bit skeptical to see how the game would play out.
Storywise, the game is broken down into four episodes that each follow four different protagonistic teams, depending on the episode you choose to play. Within the episodes, the story is broken down into chapters that help break up the story and gives the player the chance to level up their classes and weapon proficiencies before continuing on with the story. The game takes its settings from real-world locations these being New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Japan. I love the fact that the game uses over the shoulder third person view as it perfectly suits this type of game. It really pushes the whole four player co-op element as you try to fight off the large hordes of zombies as you progress through the story. If you ever had the pleasure of playing any of the Left 4 Dead games then you would be familiar with the gameplay in World War Z which was a brilliant choice to go for as it plays out really well.
I was surprised to see that the game had multiplayer game modes, it takes classic game modes that we see in other shooters and adds a new spin on them. They have Deathmatches and King of the hill but you don’t just have to worry about the enemy players you also have to fend off the zombies that are running around the map too. This affixes an added pressure and enjoyment to the game modes because it makes them feel fresh and new even though they’re not.
The key selling point in this game for me is how well the zombie AI is done. They behave like real crowds where if your in a narrow place they will start getting stuck and climbing over one another to try and reach you; as well as climbing on top of each other like in the film to reach high places, when they horde up and swarm you it’s like a mini boss fight in itself to try and survive and get through each chapter.
While playing you have the choice to play as one of the four characters that are playable in that episode, once you have chosen your character you can then pick your class, there are six in total, each having their own unique perks to help the players get through the chapters. My personal favourites are Medic and Gunslinger because it suits my play style when going through the story which is silences weapon as well as machine gun if things go south and I need to unload on some Zs.
As you progress you’ll come across different weapons, ammo and health crates and defensive items that will aid you in completing the tasks needed. At a certain location in the game, it will ask you to defend your location, this is when you have to fortify the area ready for the oncoming zombies, you are able to heal one another as well as revive each other. Even though you can play the game with AI it is miles better when playing with three friends or even just playing with players online. It makes the game more enjoyable as playing with real people is easier and more realistic than playing with AI because you can communicate with each other.
The game also wants you to challenge yourself by playing hard difficulty so that you can get better rewards and level up quicker. Personally, I agree because you get more out of the game and are more immersed because you feel wearier of how you play, for example, if you alert the zombies it’s harder to defuse and survive. It’s nice having the chance to play as the different character, by doing this you unlock their own little backstory and learn more about them which is an added bonus and a reason to replay certain episodes.
When completing a chapter you get to experience as well as money that you use to buy add-ons to your classes of choice as well as add-ons for the weapons that you use. This makes the game easier to play when fighting the zombies because you get things like extended mags as well as quicker to reload times. The main thing to note in the game is the friendly fire element, even on the easiest difficulty you will take friendly fire, this sense of realism is something that makes the game even more fun as it adds to the sense of seriousness. When playing on the hardest difficulty however, friendly fire is pretty much a death wish and if you die that’s game over. So make sure you keep them bullets for the zombies and not your teammates.
Graphically, the game is visually pleasing to look at, the level of detail that goes into the main characters, weapons and the hordes of zombies is truly awesome. How Saber Interactive managed to get the level of zombies into the game without it lagging all the time is very well done and makes for a truly horrifying experience when you see the horde charging at you but see yourself running low on ammo. It is very pleasing to play and really keeps you engaged. Audio in the game is very immersive, it really helps set the scene for each episode and see the level of damage that has been because of the outbreak. The weapons sound highly realistic and the zombies sound terrifying and when they horde up the noise is just amazingly scary, especially when you have 100+ zombies charging at you all wanting your flesh. When you are in tight locations it echos and really captures the damage that these zombies possess.
There is huge replay value to World War Z, it has five different difficulties setting for the campaign which allows you to replay the story with big differences. One of these being how the zombies react to your game style and how many are present in the chapters. The harder the difficulty the bigger the reward for the player, meaning that you can level up quicker and
find better weapons to tackle the hordes. You also get a selection of multiplayer modes that add more hours of gameplay but the main enjoyment for me personally was the campaign.
World War Z was extremely fun and I was very surprised at how good the game actually was. A familiar feel when it comes to gameplay that makes this game truly a pleasure to play with AI or with other players. I would have preferred to see a longer campaign as I was able to complete it on the first day of playing, but as I previously mentioned above there is still the replay value and multiplayer to keep me playing the game, though sadly I’m worried to see how long the game can keep me hooked for once I have completed the campaign a few more times and when the online dies out what else could it have to offer me. That being said though I can’t see it happening anytime soon as I’m having way to much fun with the Co-op campaign and even more so with the online. I admit at times playing with people online can be annoying because they want to troll or not complete objectives which can ruin the gaming experience but thankfully you don’t come across many people like that. In my opinion, World War Z has to be one of the best Zombie games I have played and I would highly recommend it to others, especially if they have played Left 4 Dead before, for these reasons I’m more than happy to give this game a 9/10.