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World War Z Review

Edited by: Jade Swann

Note: OPNoobs received a code from Saber Interactive for coverage purposes.

Guns blazing, limbs flying... World War Z, developed by Saber Interactive, brings the grit of mass zombie hordes to players in a fantastic display of incredible performance and an impressive customization tree. Prepare yourself for a refreshing co-op zombie blasting title.

GRAPHICS

World War Z attempts to paint the world of the zombie apocalypse in a bleak, civilization mid-fall universe, and it does a fantastic job of it. Though the textures and models aren’t anything to write home about, they definitely shine as an immersive tool within the title. Most of the textures are high quality, though there are some that appear slightly neglected, such as the rubble piles under buildings or the stacks of books that have fallen off the shelves.

The dismemberment from grenades or a .50 caliber machine gun drives home the power that each player wields against the hordes of zombies. Legs fly, arms tear, and heads explode with every round fired from a high-caliber or explosive weapon. The character models also scream “attention to detail” from the developers, as each campaign has four new characters for you to delve into. When it comes to the zombies or character models, World War Z has pulled no punches.

GAMEPLAY

World War Z plays very similarly to some of my favorite zombie shooters of all time. The overall premise of each level/map is to progress through hordes, fight off the special infected, complete small tasks (such as opening pathways or activating the power), defend positions from rampaging swarms, and then complete the mission via extraction or by entering a “safe zone” area. If this sounds familiar, I assume you have played the Left 4 Dead series, and while this title shares a lot of the same gameplay, it does not feel like a copy-and-paste variant.

CUSTOMIZATION

Each match you complete will add experience points to whatever class you played as and whatever weapon systems you used to crush the hordes. Overall, there are sixteen different characters, twenty-seven different weapons (each with progressive customization), and six classes to choose from (each offering a leveling tree). I was extremely impressed by the volume of content added to a game that has such a simple mantra: Kill. Everything.

PVP

World War Z also offers a PvP option in which you battle other players, as well as the zombies in multiple types of game modes. You choose between different prefab classes and enter the match against seven other players, most being team-based modes. Though this is a fun option, it is slightly hindered by the network provided. There appears to be a slight time delay across the board. Bullets will hit a target, but the target will not react immediately, making each gunfight feel a little wonky.

When it comes to playing World War Z, I prefer to stick with the campaign missions. There are four different campaigns, each having two to four missions to complete. There is also a difficulty slider, which can drastically change how the game is played. I remember playing Left 4 Dead back in the day and always thinking it was a little too easy, even on the hardest difficulties. That is not the case here. The harder difficulty levels make this title a true challenge of teamwork and ammunition conservation.

HORDE AFTER HORDE

One of the most impressive features is the crowd system. You will face hundreds of zombies in their hordes, all while maintaining a steady frame rate. I can’t think of many titles that have been able to supply players with that kind of combat. Each zombie acts as an independent entity, though they will use teamwork against you. For instance, if you find yourself at a high vantage point, the zombies will form a sloppy human pyramid to get to you, climbing and crawling over each other in an attempt to reach your position. This creates a perfect moment for explosive weapons, as if you are able to take out the base of the pyramid, they will all collapse.

The zombies will also scale every fence that surrounds your defense perimeter. If too many are on the fence at one time, it will crumble under their weight and give the rear of the horde a perfectly straight line approach into your defense. Prior to each horde defense round on missions, you will be able to find different add-ons in boxes to bolster your chances of success. These range from electrifying fences, to auto turrets and landmines.

On some of these rounds, NPC soldiers will also help in your defense. This adds a level of immersion that I love to find in these types of games, as I always feel obligated to defend those poor troops left on the frontlines. This all adds to the gameplay in a wonderful way, making you (or maybe just me) feel attached to the other survivors as you defend a gateway or a civilian evacuation ship.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE FRIENDS...

World War Z offers solo players the option to play with just AI teammates for all missions of the campaign. The AI is nothing very impressive, and will usually stick to following the player and engaging any target presented to them. If you want to take a stealthy approach through the “quieter” parts of a mission, you can deploy your suppressed pistol, which will cause all of your AI teammates to deploy that same weapon. Noise also plays a part, meaning that every round fired will draw in more zombies to your location. The AI will do their best to not step on your feet about this.

The issue with the AI teammates not being the sharpest tools in the shed is nothing new. Occasionally, I found myself pounced by Lurkers (the Left 4 Dead equivalent is a Hunter), which would be tearing my character to ribbons, all the while my teammates gathered around me to watch the show. Maybe my character never bought them coffee before the apocalypse?

6

The Verdict: Good

World War Z is a downright fun take on a four-player co-op zombie shoot ‘em up. There are moments of awe as hundreds of zombies fall from the rooftops in an attempt to drag you to the underworld, and moments of nail-biting tension when only one of your friends is left standing and must fight dozens of the infected through a doorway. The mission sets and character customization offer near endless replayability, but the biggest downfall this title suffers is its networking, which could be ironed out in the future. Overall, for a non-AAA asking price, World War Z is definitely worth a look into.

Bric Hudson
Written by
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 16:43
Published in Action

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Bric is a US Army veteran and a passionate gamer. While in military service, he found gaming to be a way to connect with his friends all over the world. This blossomed into a fascination with the gaming culture and the experiences had while launching up a whole new title. He is fond of a variety of genres, which is reflected on his Twitch streams and on his Youtube channel. Find Bric on YouTube. Find Bric on Twitch.

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