The Dead Return…Years Later
World War Z, remember that book that spanned a hit movie, the one starring Brad Pitt, a global infection, and massive amounts zombie? Well, regardless of thoughts on the flick, there was one element that stood out, and it was definitely the way the zombies moved, attacked, and devoured everything on screen. So it’s surprising to to see in the year 2019, a time when movie licensed games have died out, we have one based one launching. Could it be, this is one of the best licensed games to release?
World War Z is an online/offline co-op shooting game, featuring a decent sized campaign, each with different characters, locations and missions. The other half is a typical style PvP (player vs player) mode with added zombie flair. Which mode players select is really up to whatever style fits, but each one offers zombie killing regardless. The campaign mode is broken into numerous episodes in various locations like New York, Jerusalem, and even Tokyo.
Here players are able to choose from a handful of four characters, different from each location. These are mostly for cosmetics as the real progress comes from leveling up the classes. Each class offers different boosts that can be unlocked as you level up. From being able to attract zombies with C4 before exploding, or perhaps doing more damage with grenades. Each class offers different start out weapons/perks. Every campaign match adds to player’s experience, even if the game ends with everyone’s death.
In the various locations, playing solo or with a group, players will be doing various tasks. One area might have poisonous gas you have to vent out to proceed. Another will have players scrambling to find car parts. One has players escaping zombies falling from above. World War Z keeps up the intensity with a multitude of various objectives in each episode, making them feel fresh and exciting the first time through.
That said, when replaying the levels, the same mission structure and type might could get a little repetitive but that’s where the horde comes into play. World War Z loves to throw so many zombies on screen, I couldn’t help but laugh, scream, and yell out in anticipation of doing battle with the undead. Every single time these hordes were on screen, my mouth was gaped in awe. It’s chaotic, it’s intense, and it’s absolutely the element a game based on this franchise needed to nail and the developers did it.
A Good Day to Die Hard
While the massive horde of regular zombies are a sight, they can be taken down with relative easy. This may have made the game a little too easy at times. Yet adding in the special zombies are what shakes things up. From a hulking armored zombie, to a fast aerobic zombie, these two can pin a player down and prevent them from moving until another character saves them. There are also screaming zombies that attract hordes. A chemical suite zombie who leaks out toxic gas to impede vision and health. By themselves, these would be easy also, but added in with the huge swarm of zombies, players end up with chaotic and frantic moments. Luckily there is a wide assortment of weapons such as shotguns, assault rifles, and heavy guns to find and use. This includes unlock upgrades as well.
With so much on screen there might be some concern on how the game runs.This is another area that I walked away feeling absolutely surprised. Having hands on time with both the Xbox One and PS4 version of the game, the game runs well on both. It’s also colorful, with vibrant locations, day/night time settings, and zombies that looks downright nasty. There is plenty to like about the visual style. There is some noticeable framing issues with zombie bodies when a huge explosion happens, but otherwise things run great.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Teamwork is also essential because as mention, there will be special zombies that can pin down players. The only hope for escape is with assistance of a teammate. Luckily if you’re playing offline solo, the AI can fight fairly well. Just don’t expect them to assist with finding items or doing anything other than surviving. It makes playing solo a little bit harder, but I was still able to accomplish playing alone, and with the various difficulty settings, this can be adjusted also.
Multiplayer-specific mode takes on a similar approach with its own set of unique classes. Players can upgrade each over time. This mode has typical features of classic MP, such as capturing an area, or team killing. Here they add their own spin on this where at times the zombie horde come in waves.. This can be both good and bad for players depending on the situation. The outcome always added an extra spark of excitement to the matches in what might otherwise be a typical multiplayer mode. That aside, the whole game is built around playing with others. This one is super friendly via matchmaking for both modes. Though currently it does not appear to have private lobbies.
When I first heard of a World War Z game, I came away feeling like this was one of those moments “too little, too late.” I was surprisingly wrong though. That’s not to say World War Z doesn’t have issues. Playing solo can be a little harder than expected since this game is definitely catered to MP. The option to play solo is a nice feature though. I also encountered numerous times on multiplayer with both consoles an odd audio bug that would permeate the entire match with this weird glitch like audio sound.
That aside, I’ve been having a blast playing World War Z. The zombie hordes are always an impressive sight to see and the thrill of fighting thousands of zombies has never been better realized. If players have missed the days of frantic co-op zombie shooters from last gen, look no further, World War Z is the answer.
Overall score: 8.0
- Zombie Hordes
- Combat feels good
- Variation in missions
- Lots of unlockables
- Odd framerate on explosions with zombie hordes
- Solo can be tad challenging
- Human AI too simplistic
- Lack of private lobbies
World War Z review code provided by the publisher. World War Z played on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, killed thousands of zombies and somehow still not turned. You can read MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here.