Based on the film that was based on a novel, World War Z is a 3rd person co-op shooter that sees you take on the roles of different characters in different scenarios, trying- to survive the zombie apocalypse. The game doesn’t have much in the way of narrative, but it does an okay job of telling the stories of the different avatars you will be playing as.
Let’s go shoot some zombies together!
World War Z really doesn’t beat about the bush. There’s very little in the way of cutscenes or introductions since the game assumes you know what you’re here to do, which is mow down hordes and hordes of zombies.
The game consists of four episodes, each containing a few chapters, which tells a bit of a story, and will have slightly different objectives. Each of the episodes is set in a different location and has four different characters associated with it. As I mentioned, there’s really not much in terms of narrative, but there is a story or stories to tell. Completing a mission with a particular character unlocks a visual novel style cutscene, which gives a little bit of story and background, but that’s about it. Each of the missions also has a bit of a story to tell, but this is more of a tool to give you objectives than anything else.
The matchmaking of World War Z should be commended.
The game is meant to be played online with friends, or through the rather solid matchmaking with strangers, but you have the option of playing alone with AI characters. You can also potentially start alone, and have players drop into your game, taking the place of the AI character. It is pretty seamless and the matchmaking of World War Z should be commended.
That’s a lot of Zekes!
Gameplaywise, World War Z is a bit of a mixed bag. It works well and plays well, but there are a few things that could definitely be improved on. The core of the experience is to go out and kill as many zombies as possible, without getting turned into their lunch.
You can progress through the entire campaign, which takes about 5 or 6 hours, or just choose random matchmaking, which will have you play through each of the episodes randomly. Once you are done playing the campaign, you can either go into the PvP side of it or grind out the current levels and episodes for better gear and loot. There is mention of more levels being added, but whether that will be paid for DLC still remains to be seen.
While you have different characters to play as, you also have different classes, each having specific roles within the team. The classes are not locked to the characters, so if you prefer a certain class or character, then you can mix them up as you please. As you progress, you can unlock certain skills and abilities, or even better starting weapons. Each of these unlocks are purchased through in-game currency simply called supplies.
Each scenario will give you some time to prepare, which is used to lay down some defences like auto turrets, or barbed wire barricades, and when time runs out, you better be ready. The zombie swarm is relentless, with what looks like thousands of zekes relentlessly charging at you. This can be quite intimidating, especially when you play on harder difficulties, and keeping a cool head is very important. This is also where the game falls a little bit short. The arsenal at your disposal is pretty large, but they do take a lot of the guns and supplies away if you’re ramping up the difficulty.
The main concern I have is the weight and impact of the weapons. You often see the bullet land, but there’s not that satisfying feedback of a head exploding or the force of the projectile pushing your foe back. This becomes even more apparent when explosives like grenades or RPGs are being used. I would shoot at a base of the zombies busy climbing the wall with a rocket launcher, only to have the rocket disappear in the crowd with a disappointing thud and a few sparks. There’s no massive explosion that sees zekes caught in the blast radius flying and rag-dolling all over the place and that kind of took me out of it a bit.
Player vs Player vs Zombie
World War Z also has a surprisingly robust and fleshed out PvP option. You have multiple modes ranging from your normal Deathmatch to Zone control to a supply run type game, which sees you pick up supplies, and drop them when you get killed. The team with the most supplies wins.
Each of the modes features a 4v4 setup, with you once again being able to choose any of the 16 characters, and a class of your choice. The big difference here is that you’re stuck with your weapons and gears throughout the match depending on the class, and you’re not allowed to change that out.
The big catch here is the zombies part of it. Every now and then, depending on the noise level of the match, a swarm of zombies will come to make life difficult and cause pandemonium in the match. It’s a bit more of a distraction than anything else, and it can catch you out if you’re not careful, but everyone seems to just try and survive it out, and then continue on with the match. It shakes things up a bit, and I’ve managed to catch an opponent off guard once or twice who was trying to deal with the swarm, so it is useful.
Just a bit of spit and polish
World War Z is a pretty solid game, although it does need a bit of work. Visually, it feels a little bit dated, sitting somewhere between the previous generation and the beginning of the current consoles. The impact and feel of the shooting also needs a little bit of work to really make things stand out.
While I didn’t have the opportunity to play with friends, the game has a lot of potential to be a lot of fun when playing together, especially if the developers keep supporting the game, fixing and tweaking things, and adding more content.