Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘Man I wish I had Brad Pitt’s life’? Well, now you can! Ok, maybe I’m stretching the truth a little, you can have his character’s life from the World War Z movie! That’s right, the awesome zombie movie now has a game thanks to Saber Interactive, Mad Dog Games and Focus Home Interactive. So, if you haven’t seen the movie, and why you haven’t I don’t know, stop reading and go watch it right now….
Briefly, the movie stars Brad Pitt at the beginning of a worldwide zombie apocalypse as he travels the world investigating the outbreak, where it began, what’s happening, and how can he stop it. The main difference between popular culture ‘zombies’ and those in World War Z is that within this franchise, they are really fucking fast!
There are no shuffling corpses here, these zombies (or Zeeks as they have been affectionately named) are zombies on acid! Hell, most of these guys probably couldn’t move this fast when they were alive, let alone when rigour mortis has started to set in. They can scale fences and even climb over each other so they can scale really high walls, they are much more lethal and likely to overwhelm you.
So, what type of game is World War Z? It’s a zombie shooter played in third-person with a co-op campaign in which you play as a team of 4 through matchmaking or with friends – just like OVERKILL’S The Walking Dead and the old school Left4Dead series. It also has a PVP mode for those who are more into beating down other players instead of zombies. The campaign has you travel to four locations, New York, Jerusalem, Moscow and Tokyo. Each of these, with the exception of Tokyo, is broken down into 3 story chapters for you to play through, Tokyo has only had 2. As long as you don’t have any problems getting through them, the game will only take you about 5 hours to complete. Oddly enough, you can play the levels in any order you wish, they’re not locked until you complete the prior one as you’d expect. When you select quickplay, for quick matchmaking, you’re also just placed within any of the locations.
Each location has a story that ultimately involves you taking down hordes of Zeeks, setting up defences and trying to protect someone crucial to the story. They’re fun to play as they all have different environments and are each varied enough, with visual changes based on the global location. I personally wished that there was more though as the campaign is very short if you’re not interested in playing the PVP mode. Sure, you can replay the various missions to build up your levels and unlock different perks for the various classes you play as, and you can up the difficulty (through five levels) to add some more challenge, but I don’t think there is enough to stop you getting bored of going through the same chapters multiple times. Its kind of like a Call of Duty game, there is a campaign but it’s more focused on the PVP matches.
There are 5 different PVP match types you can participate in; Swarm Domination, King of the Hill, Swarm Deathmatch, Scavenge Raid and Vaccine hunt, or you can select Quick Match for a random roll. Each mode is based on your standard PVP style but with hoards of zombies thrown in to fit the fact that it’s a zombie game, and to provide some nice diversity from other PVP games – I guess you could say it’s PVPVZ. I’m not much of a PVP gamer outside of Destiny’s Crucible, but if you are, I can see there is plenty here to keep a hardcore PVP player happy.
World War Z PVP mode has its own Classes and Levelling systems to build up via points you gain during the matches. There’s a good variety of classes, each one favouring different types of weapons and explosives, so pick whichever suits you best. The campaign similarly has 6 different classes for you to choose between and to level up by using the supply points you pick up at the end of the missions. They are The Gunslinger, Hellraiser, Medic, Fixer, Slasher and Exterminator. Each starts you off with different supplies and weapons and they all have different perks leaning towards the classes speciality.
Who will you be?
There are 16 different characters for you to unlock and play with within World War Z. You get a randomised one on the matchmaking screen and once you have completed a chapter with them, they will be unlocked in the collections screen. Once unlocked, you can view a video on their background in order to learn more about them. This is done with some wonderful hand-painted images which are voiced over by the character telling their story. In the same way, weapons only really become available once you have used them in battle and earned supply points at the end of missions.
In terms of your weaponry, you get a standard loadout selection of primary, secondary and an explosive device based on the class you start with, but you can also pick up different weapons at the resupply areas in the game, including some heavy weapons that are scattered about to give you a bit of a boost against the swarms. My favourite weapon was probably the chainsaw, its very satisfying seeing a Zeek get sliced in two. Thankfully, there are a lot of ammo and weapon spots during the levels for you to resupply and pick up medkits (at least on the easier difficulties). There are also defences you can deploy in certain areas to help you destroy the swarms, such as machine gun turrets, barb wire and electric fences to name a few.
Zombies, Zombies, Zombies
A nice collection of zombies awaits you within World War Z.
• First, we have your standard swarm zombies which are fairly easy to take down as long as you don’t get too overwhelmed.
• Next, there are the Screamers, they will call the other zombies to your current location, so you’ll want to shut them up quickly.
• The Lurkers will be hiding around corners so they can jump you – these will have you on the floor screaming for help before you know it.
• The Hazmat’s, unsurprisingly, have a yellow hazmat suit on. Once they have been shot, they begin to release toxic gas which affects your character.
• Finally, there’s the Bull, a brute in riot gear that will charge you and pick you up followed by repeatedly smashing you into the ground until you die or a teammate shoots the git.
There’s no introduction/tutorial to the controls, you get thrown straight into the game to fend for yourself. Luckily, the controls seemed to basically be the same as Destiny, so I didn’t have any issues trying to work out the general controls without having to look in the options menu. Personally, I would have liked it if there was something you could do when you inevitably get jumped by a zombie, being able to stab them or struggle to get free would have been nice. Instead, you just lie there, hoping you’ll get rescued. One thing I really wasn’t keen on was the inclusion of friendly fire with no way to disable it. As someone who likes to spray and pray, I found I was often shooting my team members early on, making them yell at me to stop shooting them. I had to learn to hold fire if someone steps in front of me whilst I’m attacking a swarm of Zeeks.
The trophies involve you playing a lot of the campaign and PVP modes so you can complete the skills trees, getting different types of kills, and using certain equipment so many times. There are only 4 specifically for completing the campaign, 5 if you include completing it all on the highest difficulty. A lot of them look like a grind-fest as you have to unlock and buy the final versions of the weapons and perks. If you enjoy this type of game you may not find this a problem, but If you were mainly playing for the story, you probably won’t be interested in getting this platinum.
While the campaign was fun and the gameplay was fairly diverse, I’m not sure there is enough here to keep me playing as a single player who isn’t the biggest fan of PVP. I reviewed OVERKILL’S The Walking Dead on PC a few months back and while that game has had its share of issues, as well as possibly scrapping its console release, I found it had a bit more to it to keep you going as a single player with the ability to build your camp and send survivors on missions. World War Z is a good alternative option if you were looking forward to The Walking Dead but it is more directed towards the PVP players in my mind. On the plus side, I didn’t encounter any bugs and the matchmaking seemed reliable for the most part.
World War Z is a well-made game that plays well and looks good, it’s just a bit short on single-player content.
World War Z£34.99
- - Looks great, especially the swarms
- - No Bugs or matchmaking issues
- - PVP content is varied
- - Lots of different classes and characters
- - Single player content is limited and relies heavily on replayability
- - Friendly Fire
- - No way to defend yourself once grounded
- - No real tutorial before getting thrown into a mission