World War Z Review
World War Z (WWZ) is essentially a spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead Franchise. Having played both Left 4 Dead games I’ve been looking for a similar experience since Valve somehow forgot how to count to three. Having seen the movie this game is based on, I was curious if developer, Saber Interactive, could replicate those intense zombie swarms and deliver a thrilling zombie experience. And for the most part, they did.
WWZ is primarily a multiplayer game, but it does have a single player mode with AI companions. These companions won’t take special weapons, nor will they fortify positions during swarm prep time. However, this was the right choice as it avoids that frustrating feeling of a bot consuming a valuable resource. Unfortunately, you cannot use the bots as pack mules for special weapons or breaching charges which are used to access special loot areas.
There are two multiplayer modes – coop and PvPvZ. The coop is just like Left 4 dead where you and 3 others attempt to get from point A to B. The PvPvZ is where your team faces off against another and zombies in a variety of modes from deathmatch to king of the hill. I preferred the coop mode, but the multiplayer was decent as well, even if the queue times were a little long.
There are 6 classes in WWZ, each with a unique role to play. The Gunslinger utilizes automatic weapons and is good for thinning swarms. The Hellraiser, my personal favorite, is an explosive expert. Everything from grenade launchers to C4 and claymores. As you would guess the results are satisfying. The Slasher can get up close and personal with brutal melee attacks. The Medic can buff your team and stop you from dying, which is always good. A Fixer is almost as important as a medic for your team. They can start with masking grenades that poison zombies and hide your team from the hordes. Finally, burn baby burn, the Exterminator is a lot like the Hellraiser but with a focus on fire damage.
Variety is Good
There is a nice variety of weapons and upgraded versions of each that can be unlocked as you use them. Everything from assault rifles, submachine guns, and shotguns. They even threw in a crossbow with explosive bolts. You have 3 spaces for weapons a primary, secondary, and special. Special weapons, unlike regular weapons, cannot gain ammo, once it is used up it is gone. So make you need to make it count. These special weapons are anything from chainsaws to grenade launchers, with a full auto shotgun sprinkled in.
The enemies in WWZ should be familiar to veteran players of zombie games. There is the bull who will charge into your team pinning whoever is too slow and is a bullet sponge. The hazmats are filled with poisonous gas where headshots are the only way to stop them from exploding. A creeper is similar to the bull but does more damage. The last of the special zombies is the screamer who will alert other zombies until you take him out. All the specials are quite similar to their Left 4 Dead counterparts but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Where WWZ really shines are in the hordes. If you have played other Left for Dead style games, you will be familiar with the horde system. WWZ has some of the most terrifying looking hordes I have ever seen. Much like in the movie, these zombies move like a wave crashing into the fences and walls as they climb over each other to reach you. In the aqueduct mission, they literally poured in from the ceiling. It is so refreshing to see large numbers of base zombies behaving like the threat they would be if a full city was infected. During horde attacks, you are often gifted a plethora of means to defend yourself. These can include machine gun emplacements, auto-turrets, and barbed wire. You are going to need to use them to their fullest to thin a swarm before it crashes into you.
Graphics wise the game is solid, but not outstanding. The first thing I like to do in any review is explore the options. This is usually a good indicator of how much attention the developers have paid to their PC release, especially if it’s a port. Overall, I have no complaints. There is no capped fps and the resolutions is up to 1080p. I would have liked to see 1440p, but you can’t have everything. I was able to keep a reliable 50-60 fps on medium. As for the audio, again no complaints as the zombie screams gave me the appropriate levels of chills down my spine. Some of the weapon and explosion noises could have had more pop but I recognize I am being a bit nitpicky.
When all is said and done, World War Z is a worthy entry into those Left 4 Dead style of zombie games. At a competitive and reduced price, it is excellent value for the buck. While a few more story missions would have appreciated, you do get a fair amount of content for the price. Additionally, some more mod support would have made the experience that much better. World War Z isn’t exactly a polished game but it is an intense and thrilling experience that is easy to recommend.
***A PC code was provided by the publisher***
- Terrifying horde attacks
- Cheap price
- Good variety of weapons
- Upgrades can be tedious
- No high resolution natively
- Long non-campaign queue times