World War Z is a third-person shooter from Saber Interactive and is now available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If you’ve played Valve’s Left 4 Dead games, then you’ll see a striking resemblance in World War Z.
Inspired by the recent movie of the same name, World War Z features massive swarms of zombies and the stories of four different groups of survivors from around the world. Is World War Z just another zombie game? Let’s take a look and find out!
World War Z Details
Platform: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Genre: Third-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A civilization on the brink of extinction
Rather than take a traditional approach at story telling, World War Z tells four unique stories from New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Tokyo. Each of the stories are listed as episodes with three chapters in each. As humanity is on the brink of extinction, in each of these stories you assume the role of a group of four individuals who have band together and are fighting for the survival of humanity.
Each of these self-contained stories of just the right amount enjoyment that you’d expect from the game—short, sweet and to the point. In New York, you’ll have to survive zombie infest buildings as you make you try to escape from the city. On the other hand, in Jerusalem you’ll have to rescue a scientist and attempt to active a massive weapons system.
In Moscow, your mission is to survive the zombie horde and find the secret Kremlin bunker. And, in Tokyo, you’ll play the part of a search and rescue team. Your orders are to help civilians make their way to Tokyo harbor as the island is being evacuated.
Six unique classes with upgradeable weapons and perks
What sets World War Z apart from other games in the genre are its six unique playable classes that you can choose from. Each of these classes have their own special weapons and perks that you unlock along the way. There are three different tiers of weapons that you will come across—all of which can be upgraded. This includes a special Heavy weapons category, which have very strong but mostly low ammo guns.
Classes in World War Z range from ranged combat experts, to explosive specialists, to medics, to a Fixer who can boost your team’s firepower. All have different gameplay styles that make them unique. In order to survive the relentless hordes of zombies, you’ll need to have the right combination of classes in order to be successful.
Not all zombies are the same and you’ll encounter a variety of them as you try to save humanity. Gasbags are zombies in hazmat suits that will release toxic gases unless taken down with a headshot. Screamers shriek and call for additional zombies—take these out at all costs as soon you can. And, Bulls are heavily armoured zombies that charge at you and can withstand a substantial amount of fire.
Zombie swarms powered by the Swarm Engine
World War Z uses Saber’s proprietary Swarm Engine and allows for an impressive number of zombies on the screen at any given time. There is nothing as exhilarating as seeing a horde of hundreds of zombies incoming. Graphically, World War Z isn’t a game you will show your friends to ooh and aah at. Conversely, it does a good job a recreating each of the four locations around the world.
Strangely enough, the speed at which the bodies of the zombies disappear is a little puzzling. In certain cases, hordes of zombies will start climbing walls to get to you. I found that if you shoot the base of the zombies, they will start to disappear and the remaining zombies will fall. Conversation between others in you group or people you encounter is standard fare and again it’s neither good nor bad.
Co-op campaign and competitive multiplayer modes
While you can play World War Z offline by yourself, it’s best played with a team of you and three other friends. There are two multiplayer modes, co-op campaign and competitive multiplayer. In the co-op campaign, it is best when everyone works together. Watch where you shoot as your teammates aren’t immune to your weapons and explosives. Additionally, the less noise you make, the better chance you have to take zombies out.
As much fun as I had with the co-op campaign mode, World War Z‘s PvPvZ competitive multiplayer mode is where the action is at. Teams of up to four players face off against each other and the zombie swarms in five different modes. You’ve got your standard deathmatch, king of the hill, and domination modes included.
However, the two modes that I had the most fun with were Vaccine Hunt and Scavenge Raid. in Vaccine Hunt you put must pickup a neutral object and hold on to it for as long as you can to earn victory points for your team. In Scavenge Raid, you must collect resources from around the map or scavenge them from dead bodies to earn points.
World War Z offers a satisfying experience that Left 4 Dead fans will enjoy
World War Z is a game that is meant to be replayed over and over again to improve your favourite classes. However, after about an hour or so, gameplay becomes repetitive. Playing with friends helps you forget some of that but the 4-5-hour co-op campaign can still get old fast. I found that World War Z is best played in short gameplay sessions, 20-30 minutes at a time were the sweet spot for me.
With that being said, the game still offers a fair amount of fun with friends and the competitive multiplayer modes are a nice change from the campaign. I like the way at which Saber Interactive approached story telling in the game—four different stories that offer about an hour or so each of gameplay. If you are a fan of Left 4 Dead and are looking for something to whet your appetite, World War Z does a decent job of it.
+ Classes and skill trees add depth to gameplay
+ Fun to play with friends
+ Zombie hordes are a sight to see
+ 4 unique stories from around the world
– Gameplay gets repetitive fairly quickly
– Content is lacking
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WORLD WAR Z
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5