Review Code Provided
World War Z is a multiplayer game through and through and one that plays in a fashion similar to Left4Dead, albeit in a third person perspective. You control one character from a group of four survivors and who that is depends on which of the game’s four episodes you decide to play since they all take place in different parts of the world.
You can play with people online, with your friends or you can choose to play offline and have the AI fill the open spots. If you want, you can also switch off the AI’s ability to fill a space and maybe even go solo in a private game if you’re feeling lucky. I wouldn’t recommend that though, I tried it and without anyone to save you from the grapples of the infected, it’s pretty much game over for you.
World War Z is your standard third person zombie filled shooter and walking through some of the environments it almost feels like someone dropped hordes of zombies into The Division. The environments are very well detailed and some even have destructible elements you can use against the infected, though this sets up a false precedent since there’s actually very few things that will behave that way. In the first part of the New York episode there are giant stars you can shoot to take out some zombies, but as far as I’ve seen, they seem to be the only item to let you do that despite the various other conveniently placed hanging objects. There are several explosive containers and leaking oil barrels dotted about though which just happen to be in the path of your enemies.
When it comes down to defending yourself from the horde you can carry one side arm and one primary, both of which can be swapped out for the myriad of other weapons available throughout the levels, as well as which ever piece of equipment comes with your chosen class. There are also occasionally heavy weapons placed around that are ideal for taking out large numbers of enemies at once and they really come in handy to turn the tide in your favour, the down side is though that once the ammo is gone, the weapon is discarded and you have to hope you come across another. There does come a point when after you’ve gained a few levels for your chosen class that you’ll become able to have the characters take different weapons in with them and some may even be granted a starting heavy weapon.
There will be moments in the game where you have to defend a position from an enormous horde so you have to go about places defences such as turrets and barbed wire in preparation for the upcoming attack. While it does help a little towards clearing out the horde, it’s short lived, particularly if you opt to use one of the manually operated machine guns which runs out of ammo fairly quickly and leaves you completely exposed to attack. This means that you really have to be on top of your game when defending an area because you can’t rely on the little extras and taking your attention away for just a moment could lead to disaster.
The levels in World War Z take place across four different locales spread around the globe and whichever set of four survivors you play as depends on where you are. Each of the characters plays exactly the same way, their only difference being appearance, what does change how they play is dependant on whichever class you pick and it doesn’t matter who you play as because the level ups apply to everyone. Some of the classes are more suited for close quarters thanks to things like their increased melee damage, while others might be more suited to a more explosive style of play, it’s up to you to decide which of them you like the most, though you can change at any time while not in a match.
As well as the expansive class system you can also level up your weapons, unlocking new attachments and increased firepower bonuses, among other things. The thing that I found annoying though was that you have to level up each of the weapons independently, say for example you’re using your pistol and it reaches level two, if you don’t go and unlock level two and use that variation of the weapon, you’ll no longer gain experience for it until you do. It’s not too annoying in and of itself but when you consider that you have to collect points by playing the levels to be able to unlock things and those things can cost a fair amount, it could be a while before you can get to the next level of the weapon. On top of that, no matter how well I did, the amount I earned seemed to be capped for any given match, so when you take that into account, it really could take you a long time to unlock everything.
The hordes as I’m sure you can imagine are a formidable foe, ranging in size but always deadly, the horde is largely composed of your standard infected. These ones aren’t too much of a bother so long as you can keep your distance and for the ones that get up close, you always have your trusty melee attack, you will get tired and become weaker though so don’t overuse it. As well as the standard zombies there are also lurkers, which as you might guess from the name, lurk around in the dark waiting to pounce on you, these ones can be killed easy enough and they’re weak enough that if you’re not swarmed, your character can escape their grasp. There are also gasbags, screamers and infectors, these ones are a bit more of a pain; gasbags will release poisonous smog as you shoot them, which lingers around for a while causing damage to anyone unlucky enough to be caught in it. The screamers will endlessly call in more of the horde until you take them down, the longer you take the more difficult it can be to get to them and the infectors spray you with a fluid that if you don’t disinfect will cause you to die and turn.
Lastly there are the bulls, these are the most annoying if you don’t learn how to deal with them, especially considering they can come out of nowhere and catch you by surprise. They’re not too hard to deal with, which is a little at odds with their intimidating stature but if they get hold of you they’ll slam you into the ground repeatedly until you’re either rescued or dead. There’s no other way to escape them once you’re grabbed, you can’t out run them and you can’t dodge their charge, the best you can hope for is to put something between you and it or try to kill it before it reaches you, some quick thinking with your equipment can help to bring it down, especially if you have a taser and then you can stop it in its tracks.
The hordes are the most exciting part of the game and rightfully so, seeing the sheer size of them and knowing you have to bring them down or die adds a good amount of tension. They’ll come at you in full force, even piling up into pyramids to try and reach you but they’ll come tumbling down easy enough if you can take out a good chunk of them. A lot of the time you’ll be so focused trying to take out one giant clump that you haven’t noticed another has massed out of your view and is bearing down on you with alarming speed.
If you want to take a little break from the campaign, World War Z also offers a robust PvP (player vs player) multiplayer mode which has its own game modes and class types you can peruse. The gameplay of the multiplayer mode is something more akin to what you might expect playing The Last of Us but the key difference here is that if you’re busy fighting away without a care in the world about how much noise you’re making, you’ll soon find that the horde descends upon you forcing you to choose between being eaten alive or taking down your enemy. The hordes also vanish as quickly as they came, ending that particular wave.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy World War Z, especially after only being somewhat of a dabbler when it came to Left4Dead, the gameplay is very similar yet at the same time strangely much more engaging. This is probably as close to Left4Dead 3 as you could ever get, or at least until Valve decides they’re going to listen to their fans. I had actually been avoiding getting it since I knew what sort of game it was and I worried that if I were to play it alone I may not have as good a time and while it is true that it’s not as fun as playing with friends, the AI was much more competent than I expected, even allowing me to pass a level that I’d struggled with playing alongside three other humans.
The game has recently had the Proving Grounds update which added a couple of things, chief of which being a modifier type element to the levels in challenge mode; they have a specific set of things you have to be able to overcome such as more aggressive enemies or limited ammo while making things like chainsaws be more effective and that’s only a taster of what the modifers bring.
While the game already boasted a high replayability, this just adds even more value to an already great game and with season two on the horizon with a horde mode in tow, now has never been a better time to jump in and give it a try.
If you want to see how the game plays, you can find footage of all of us here at Northern Gamer playing it by going to our YouTube channel.
To find out more about World War Z you can visit the official site or if you’d like to buy it, you can go here;