World War Z Review
Bullets, bodies, buddies. Need we say more? World War Z uses its simplistic genius in an attempt to topple giants of the industry with its madly entertaining co-op gameplay. For many of us, Left 4 Dead 2 remains the epitome of what a co-op zombie shooter should be. Not too complicated, easily picked up and full of undead horde-slaying madness. As it ages, however, is there room for a newcomer to sweep in and steal the spot as the top zombie shooter? Let’s take a look and find out!
First of all, let’s take a look at what makes a successful zombie game. There seem to be two different schools of thought and while at first glance both may appear to have merit, it has become quite clear which style appeals to gamers more.
The first style of zombie game is what I will call the zombie ‘horror’ genre. Think of Outlast and the like. These games are often dark, creepy and usually prevent you from blasting away all zombies in sight, instead opting for stealth tactics.
The second style could easily be dubbed the zombie ‘massacre’ genre. Dead Rising, L4D(2), CoD: Zombies, etc. would all fall into this category. These games typically focus on multiplayer gameplay, provide you a loose story and a wide array of weapons and then unleash you into massive hordes of undead baddies.
There is no doubt that there is more money in (and consequently more games that follow) the second formula. Just think about how Dead Rising 3 was possibly the biggest launch title for the Xbox One. Or how the Call of Duty franchise was completely revitalized by the addition of the zombie-slaying mode.
After this brief analysis, there should be little question as to why World War Z opted to also follow this second school of thought, albeit with some exciting new mechanics.
The World War Z main menu is no nonsense and straight to the point. Co-op campaign or online multiplayer are the only options. Co-op campaign (which can be played solo with bots acting for your teammates) is where most players will want to start, as it eases you into the game a little bit.
Much like L4D2 & Dead Rising, you will find yourself needing to traverse through areas hugely populated by zombies and will need to use your team and equipment wisely. Always be on the lookout for crates on the ground which could contain health kits, rare weapons or useful equipment. Your base character can carry a primary, secondary and heavy weapon as well as your class’s base equipment, a med kit and a special equipment such as a turret or barbed wire.
Also reminiscent from the L4D series are the ‘special’ zombies that appear on the map. Many of these are direct counterparts to those found in other games and will seem quite familiar to veterans of the genre.
One area that adds a nice layer of progression and replayability to World War Z is weapon experience. As you use weapons more you earn experience with that weapon class and unlock moded versions of that weapon. These can then be purchased using supplies that you earn by playing the game (in campaign mode, you earn more supplies for playing on harder difficulties).
It may not seem like much, but this simple addition almost doubled the fun. I was always on the lookout for my favourite weapons so that I could use them, earn more experience and unlock the versions with foregrips, flashlights, red dot sights and more.
This combined with the character class-levelling adds just enough depth to the game without being complicated enough to require dedicated time learning the ins and outs. Want to help keep your team alive? Play as a Medic and unlock perks that boost your healing abilities. Like blowing stuff up? Play as a Hellraiser and boost your explosive capabilities. It really is just that easy.
The multiplayer game mode puts a spin on classic PvP combat. Imagine deathmatch and domination (point control) gameplay with the occasional swarm of zombies coming in to mess up your day and you essentially have the World War Z multiplayer experience. This is a pleasantly unique combination of fast-paced PvP and PvE gameplay that is sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys traditional online multiplayer.
Overall, World War Z is a fantastically entertaining zombie-shooter that just leaves us wanting a slightly longer campaign mode. Nevertheless, it will be a staple for those casual weekend game nights with the squad for some time.
World War Z is available on both PS4 and Xbox One and on PC through the Epic Games store.