World War Z, in a matter of fact, shaped up what I’ve expected it to be – an insanely fun co-op zombie shooter that pretty much feels a lot similar to Left 4 Dead but better. Saber Interactive didn’t just make the game look amazing, but also something that players will definitely enjoy throughout its campaign and as well as its player-versus-player multiplayer modes.
However, World War Z isn’t without issues, there are glitches you’ll come across, but it’s how repetitive the entire campaign can be when you start to become nitpicky if you play it alone.
World War Z was first revealed in The Game Awards 2017, it showcased that you will be facing off against zombie hordes that go up to a thousand of them all at once. While it’s loosely based on the film, the game isn’t considered to be something like a sequel knowing that the 2013 film’s next entry got canceled.
There’s no real narrative that will hook you up for hours and hours like The Last of Us or the recently launched Days Gone. Its co-op campaign is separated per episode per city, you have New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Tokyo. Each episode holds a series of a maximum of 3 chapters, except for Tokyo since it only has 2, with a fixed mini-storyline and unique characters.
In the campaign, you can choose either to go solo or with your friends: that’s the Offline and Online modes. While the game centers a lot in “cooperative” mode with other players, it, unfortunately, does not present the essence of how teamplay should be aside from not hitting your buddies with your gun and preparing defenses when clearing out waves of zombies.
Players can choose from Hellraiser, Gunslinger, Medic, Fixer, Slasher, and Exterminator. Each class has its own distinct characteristics and abilities that would be beneficial for your squad of four. However, the progression isn’t tied in as a whole but it’s separate per class. For example, if you’ll play more as a Medic, the experience points you earn will stay which class you opted for. You get to unlock certain perks and skills like 50% faster reload for Gunslinger or the ability to carry a specific special weapon at the beginning of the stage. Aside from the class-specific upgrades, what you’ve earned can also be spent on weapon upgrades.
You will definitely spend more time on replaying certain missions, again and again, to rack up those points to maximize each class and complete all weapon upgrades. While this does sound like a real grind, once you’ve got everything unlocked, you’ll get to experiment with tons of abilities for each one that would be really entertaining; then you’ll start taking harder difficulty levels to make everything a lot interesting than it was.
Even though there’s a purpose of playing through the campaign, at first it gives you a “wow” moment of seeing zombies forming a pyramid, fending them off as you hold your position, but as soon as you progress through the chapters and the next episodes, it slowly begins to show how bland it is especially when you’re playing it alone. Might as well you play it with your friends to keep your mind away from judging its campaign overall.
What amazes me the most of Saber Interactive’s work is World War Z’s visuals. You never expected a game priced at $39.99 would look so dazzling in all aspect that it even gave me an impression that it looked almost similar to The Division. You get the chance to look closely at the character models in the main menu, it seems that the studio wanted to showcase how visually competent the game is. Really, the level of detail, especially with its in-game environments, that Saber Interactive put into the game is tremendously impressive.
Graphics-wise, the game has, no doubt, aced it but what about shooting? As a shooter game, it requires to have the right amount of mechanics that shouldn’t hinder the overall quality of the game. This is where World War Z has done it correctly, it feels so right in the bat when you shoot zombies straight to the face. With a variety of weapons that feels unique, you get to deploy a heavy machinegun that packs a lot of punch that mows down a pyramid of zombies gaining momentum, and rapidly kill them too with an SMG.
But the meat of the game isn’t leaning towards the campaign mode, no. The player versus player multiplayer modes offer tons of replayability that you’ll never get tired of playing. Each mode is unique and it doesn’t go to the usual route of “player versus player” modes, Saber Interactive added some quirks that make the experience enjoyable – the inclusion of zombies.
There are 5 modes in total: Swarm Domination, Swarm Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Vaccine Hunt, and Scavenge Raid. I’ve played more on Scavenge Raid just because it gives that adrenaline rush to quickly gather supplies as fast as you can to put your team at an advantage before it hits a critical noise level where hordes of zombies rile up. Vaccine Hunt, on the other hand, does emphasize teamwork better due to the fact you have to defend the player carrying the item.
If you’re wondering, the experience points you get from playing multiplayer is different from the ones you earn from the campaign. You can only get to use the experience points you’ve gathered from the mode you specifically played on. It’s actually a fair gameplay design so people wouldn’t just stay in campaign mode to grind but to try out multiplayer mode with other players. So if you have it in mind to grind your way up to a higher level in campaign mode for multiplayer, you should stop right there because you’re doing it wrong.
While the glitches and bugs aren’t game-breaking and don’t really affect the entire experience, the only gripe I have with the game is how repetitive the objectives are in its campaign mode. In the end, World War Z is still a great spiritual successor of Left 4 Dead and it packs a lot of fun when you play it with your friends.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by Focus Home Interactive. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.
Tested on: PS4 Pro