World War Z – The Review
World War Z is a four-player coop game inspired by Paramount Pictures’ blockbuster film franchise and the video game ‘Left 4 Dead’.
The Campaign – Level Design + Story
World War Z’s campaign involves 4 ‘unique’ scenarios set around the globe. These scenarios include New York, Moscow, Tokyo and Jerusalem. Each campaign takes you through a few uninspiring stages in the style of Left 4 Dead (fight from A to B taking on hoards and fulfilling simple defence objectives as you progress).
Unfortunately, each and every level gives the same drab experience as the last. The levels are linear with very little to explore and are nothing special to look at. Within the entire 5 hour campaign there are zero memorable moments and none of the characters introduced in the game will be remembered.
Other than the impressive number of enemies on screen at once, as far as looks go World War Z isn’t anything special in terms of graphics. With a boring, drab colour palette and grainy textures there isn’t a single moment that I can think of at least where the games graphics impressed me… It seems overall graphics have been slain to allow for the number of enemies on screen.
Enemies + AI
Although the graphics are nothing special the game does introduce a new mechanic, this is definitely the most exciting part of the game, Swarms… Put simply, Swarming is where a gigantic horde of zombies will climb on top of each other in order to create an undead pyramid in order to climb and reach your position. This mechanic can be witnessed multiple times throughout each and every episode (mainly during a defence mission). It’s not too difficult to stop them in their tracks and can be fun to watch masses of zombies fall after shooting or blowing up the enemies at the bottom of the pyramid.
Like in Left 4 Dead you’ll encounter special types of infected. The enemies found within World War Z, The 4 types are as follows:
The Reaper – Hides in the shadows and leaps at you in an effort to pin you down and scratch your face off.
The Bull – Comes equipped with a suit of heavy armour and charges at anyone still breathing pinning them / slamming them on the floor.
The Hazmat – Releases toxic gas into the vicinity upon death.
The Screamer – Calls in hordes, and makes them aware of your position.
Regrettably, although similar to Left 4 Dead’s they are much less interesting… there are 3 reasons for this…The first is simply down to there not being enough variety of enemies, not to mention 2 of the 4 ‘special’ enemies act exactly like a normal swarm member (or stand there and do nothing). The second is down to the enemy design / introduction…Even though Left 4 Dead was released over 10 years ago the enemies look and feel more menacing. To add to this there are no moments of tension for the special enemies… USE MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS MORE EFFECTIVELY!
Now, on to the third reason, the AI… The enemy bots are dumb, enemies frequently get stuck on walls or fail to see a way round a closed door (even though there is another open 6 feet away).
If you are playing single player you’ll have the joy of working with 3 friendly bots. Unfortunately these bots are among the worst I have seen within this generation of video games. Friendly bots in this game simply follow and shoot. They do not use items, they do not heal, they do not pick up new weapons… They do not do anything of any use.
Weapons + Customization
In World War Z you can use traps, barriers and the environment strategically to stay alive. There are a good variety of weapons to take advantage of and six different classes allow teams to assign roles to each player.
Each class does have a genuine impact on the game, whether you choose to be a ‘Medic’ (extra healing) or a ‘Hellraiser’ (Extra explosives). Each class can be upgraded to level 30 unlocking new perks as you go. The new perks are earned via currency handed out upon the completion of missions. Good news… there are no microtransactions that take advantage of the in game currency!
The same can be said of every weapon in the game, each weapon offer a very simple upgrade tree that’ll increase the weapons effectiveness up to ‘five tiers’. Each enhancement adds attachments and stat increases however this should not be mistaken for gun ‘customization’… Unfortunately other than using in game currency to ‘level up each weapon’ there is no real customization.
It’s this aspect combined with class upgrades that may give the game an ounce of replayability for some players. I should also mention, for the online game modes there are separate classes with some limited customization.
Online Multiplayer – The Best Aspect of World War Z
The online Multiplayer consists of five game modes. These cover your typical team deathmatch, domination, and king of the hill-esque wars of attrition. However, the presence of the undead really changes the game. During the game the undead will infest the map and attack occupied zones.
The game mode ‘Swarm Domination’ really stands out for me and although the maps aren’t too amazing there is much enjoyment to be had in fending off swarms of the undead while taking part in your preferred game mode. Now I say the multiplayer is the games highlight… and it is BUT it’s unlikely to pull you away from better multiplayer titles for very long.
Although better than the movie, unfortunately, World War Z doesn’t quite meet the standards of Left 4 Dead. There is some fun to be had with friends mowing down hordes of zombies and playing online however after playing through the rinse-and-repeat story missions, I find myself much less interested in the game with no motivation to want to play any of the levels more than once.
Sure, a new patch may come at some point. However, at this time, I don’t think I can recommend World War Z at this time… Possibly wait for Days Gone.