For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
World War Z was a movie released back in 2013, now some years later we are finally receiving a game that is tied in with the movie. The question is can the game make up for the poorly received first and cancelled sequel, and make something good for the franchise?
As mentioned the game does link in with the 2013 movie, but the campaign doesn’t bring with it a set storyline to follow. Instead you take on the zombies as a group of four characters in four different locations around the world. Giving you a look to what others are going through at that point all over the world.
The game does try to bring some more substance to the characters through some short back-story animations, that you will unlock by playing through the missions as each that character. This gives you the one real reason to switch who you control.
In the game you will just be taking on waves of standard zombies, with four types that have a bit more about them. These are the ‘Creeper’ that will jump on you and attack you while pinning you down, the ‘Hazmats’ called this due to the fact they wear a hazmat suit, and killing these will leave a poisonous gas in the air, and the ‘Screamer’ who will let out high pitch shrieks to attract the hordes to you. The reason for listing these three first is these are surprisingly easy to take out, and like the hordes they can be put down in one shot. The final and more tricky enemy is the ‘Bull’ which its a larger zombie that will charge you, pick you up and introduce you to the asphalt multiple times with slams. This one can also take a good number of bullets to put down.
The brings in the main gameplay element in the gunplay. But the weapons just seem very generic and don’t really pack the punch you hope they would. With the only weapon that feels any different being the cross-bow when you can find it around the levels. Which is a shame because with the hordes you will be taking on, it would be great if the guns felt like they had set advantages – but in most cases each gun can take them out in one shot.
The idea behind how the levels work are very similar as well. Work your way to a check point taking out the zombies in your way, then when at these set points set-up your defences and get ready to take massive hordes, like never seen before in a game. Rinse and repeat, although, the reasons differ per location on why you have to get prepared and fight of these waves, the core is just the same.
As previously mentioned you are going to be in a group of four to work through the levels. Meaning the game can be played in four player co-op and this where the game excels – be it with a group of friends or people you don’t know. If online gaming not your thing; you can play this offline with an AI team, but, you need to understand they are pretty useless at times. They like to run into your line of fire, run ahead or just get left behind and not catch up.
The final element of the gameplay is the unlock system, which is very grind heavy. Each class will have it’s own levelling systems to bring perks, each weapon has it own attachment unlocking system. All of which then have to be purchased with the currency you receive for completing the levels. This results in a lot of replaying of the same missions to even start to unlock things – which could be off-putting to some.
From the point of playing your first game to when you stop, it is clear the team at Saber Interactive have taken inspiration from Left 4 Dead. However, it just doesn’t give that same feeling of repeated entertainment that title did. Which leaves you thinking with a bit more work this could have been Left 4 Dead 3 we have all been waiting for, but it just doesn’t hit those high notes.
When it comes to the presentation of the game, I would say the team have done a good job. Each location is well designed and matches with the place and culture of that part of the world. Meaning you can tell the differences between New York, Jerusalem, Moscow and Tokyo and it’s not just all wasteland that has been decayed. To go with this the textures within the game all have some shine and polish to them. Add to this the number of different models to the zombies and the third person perspective you play in, and it’s easy to panic when you see the sheer amounts in the hordes.
You wont be surprised to know they have taken the best part from the movie and brought it into the game… the zombie pyramid. Seeing this in the game with the amount happening, and then taking them out from the bottom layer and watching them all fall, really does bring some great moments visually.
They have also done solid work on the audio. With strong voice acting, and then the noise of the hordes like seeing them really does bring some fear with it. Adding to this that shriek of the Screamer and it really does send shivers down your spine at times. Unfortunately as with the gunplay, the gun sounds are also pretty generic and some times the guns in the same weapon class are hard to differentiate between.
The game can be played with your two standard control methods on PC, so it really going to be down to your own personal preference on this one. But, one thing I can say is with the game also being on consoles, the controller is well mapped, and I found just out of ease I used the controller more than the mouse and keyboard.
It is hard to put a length on a game like this one, because there is multiple factors that could determine how long people could be playing it. If you are not in for the grind, you can likely jump in with some friends and get through all the levels on higher difficulties within five hours. Then if you are enjoying it and take to the grinding system of the game, you could spend countless hours playing with the AI or others online. Again as with the controller method it’s going to depend more the player.
Now World War Z does not have an official VR mode in it, but that is where vorpX comes into play. Now in order to get this to play in vorpX you are going to have to create a profile for the game – but this is not too much work.
In the VR profile you make, you will still be playing the game in a third-person view, and you will control the position of the camera with your head movement. Which also means when zoomed in you can aim in this way, just by the movement of your head.
Where this does a great job of placing you in environments within the game and makes those hordes a bit more scary, I think the game is a lot easier outside of vorpX. But it does allow for the VR action if that is what you want. At the moment it has a lot of glitches trying to play in Geometry 3D within the program, however, I think the Z-Adaptive does a great job and keeps you immersed in the game.
* Please note vorpX is not directly supported by Saber Interactive, and is a separate third-party product you must buy.
- Zombie pyramids
- Great co-op mode
- Hordes are huge
- If grinding is your thing, there’s loads to do
- Lack of substance
- Thin on content
- Gunplay needs some work
Where World War Z the game is better than it’s movie counterpart, and has some great points like the size of the hordes and those zombie pyramids; it just lacks something, which makes you constantly feel this could have been better. This might be due to the lifted elements from Left 4 Dead making it hard to not to compare them – and Left 4 Dead does it better. The switch to third-person view in the game really works for me, but then elements like the grind heavy levelling system wont be for everyone. However, if you are looking for something new to fill the gap or scratch the itch while hoping and waiting for a new Left 4 Dead, this is a good game to do that.