World War Z Review — Not All 7s Are Created Equal
World War Z is a fun and thrilling zombie killing experience that should leave fans of the Left 4 Dead series satisfied.
World War Z
Focus Home Interactive, MadDog Games
Xbox One X
Review copy provided by the publisher
Not all 7s are created equal I don’t remember where or who I heard this from but it has always stuck with me. If you think about it, it’s true. The Fast and the Furious franchise has grossed boatloads of money at the box office despite being average movies at best. However, if you just turn off your brain and go into the theatre hoping to see Vin Diesel fight dudes with a wrench and The Rock slinging catchy one-line zingers, you will probably have a good time. The same can be said about World War Z. Despite some bugs, not as much content as I was hoping for, and basically no real plot, this game knows what it does best and provides a fun and thrilling experience.
World War Z groups you and three other players up as you make your way through the 4 offered missions that take place in different cities across the globe: Moscow, Tokyo, New York, and Jerusalem, all of which contain a different collection of characters. Each of these areas are split up into two-to-four different missions. There are little storylines in each of the cities that you follow through, but there was really never anything of substance that was worth noting.
However, it almost felt like Saber Interactive was aware of this and never tried to shove a narrative that you didn’t care about in your face. I know that others might want a more narrative-focused zombie game, but you aren’t going to get one, nor should you ask for one here. Playing this game for the story is equivalent to going to Olive Garden for Chicken Strips. Sure you can do it, but why would you?
“[World War Z] knows what it does best and provides a fun and thrilling experience.”
Before you load into each mission, there is a list of different loadouts that are available to choose from that all include different perks. The gunslinger perk gives players a submachine gun and the ability to carry grenades, while another packs your character with an ammo box that contains explosive bullets that explode on contact. Perks can be upgraded over time as progression is made through the game and experience points are earned. Additionally, weapons earn experience points too and there are new weapons that can be unlocked.
In my time with World War Z, I experimented with all of the different loadouts and guns and there are loadouts for whatever preferences you have. One of the players I played with loved shotguns and mowing down zombies with effective burst rounds while I opted to always go for the submachine guns. Even if players want to switch weapons midway through the levels, there are areas with ammo boxes and an assortment of different guns that can be chosen from.
Now to the bread and butter of World War Z: killing zombies. What this game does that many others haven’t been able to capture is that massive zombie horde. As you make your way through each level, there will be certain areas that need to be defended from an oncoming horde. Before the zombies come, there is a little bit of time given so that players can ramp up their defenses by doing things like placing down automatic torrents, barbed wire fences that slow down zombies, or even just refill on ammo. Once the zombies get there, it really does put a little bit of fear in you. There is no way to kill all of them, right?
“Taking down swarms of zombies was just as fun the first time as it was the last.”
Hundreds of zombies will swarm you and your group and it is an absolute blast to lay them to waste. Just like in the movie that this game is based on, zombies will bundle up and climb on top of each other like ants to reach higher places. This led to taking out your heavy weapons or grenades and popping a few explosions right into the pile. I have to say, the novelty never really wore off. Taking down swarms of zombies was just as fun the first time as it was the last. The rest of the levels never really reached the highs that these sections did, however, they were still fun.
The gunplay is nothing special though and is essentially good enough to get by. Shooting waves of zombies is satisfying and lobbing grenades into a pile and watching them explode is neat. I did, however, feel that anything other then an automatic weapon was almost useless. Anytime I was using something other than that, my propensity for killing zombies fell greatly. It just felt that machine guns were much more effective in nearly all situations.
World War Z does contain PvP multiplayer as well and it’s just fine. It contains classic multiplayer modes such as King of the Hill, Deathmatch, and Domination. However, World War Z tries to mix up the formula a bit and throws zombies into the matches as well. It was interesting and added a bit of a twist at first, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly. Ultimately, the multiplayer isn’t anything special. I almost wish that they took the time to just add more missions rather than create this mode instead.
Speaking of missions, it sure did feel like there weren’t that many of them. It didn’t take long to play through all four of the main settings. After completion, I was left playing through the same missions on different difficulties and it got a bit repetitive. The change in difficulty definitely spiked my skills and had me more vigilant, but you can only defend a bus so many times before you want something new. However, the $40 price point is a bit of a justification for this.
There were a few bugs that I experienced that were a bit frustrating. The big armored zombies that charge at players would almost teleport to the right spot and pick you up. I definitely felt like I dodged out of the way but somehow they would still get me. Another bug I noticed was that zombies straight up walked through a barbed wired fence that I placed. There were some little bugs I noticed as well, but none of these were game breaking in any way.
“World War Z provides a fun zombie killing experience that should leave fans of the Left 4 Dead titles pretty happy.”
However, what was frustrating at times was getting disconnected from sessions and having to start an entire mission over again. I got randomly disconnected plenty of times and it made me often not want to play the game in fear that I could be playing for 30 minutes or so only to then suddenly get booted.
All in all, World War Z provides a fun zombie killing experience that should leave fans of the Left 4 Dead titles pretty happy. Mowing down waves of zombies is a blast, especially when partnered up with 3 friends. And that is all World War Z had to do. The game isn’t groundbreaking in any way and surely feels like it is missing some content, however, what is there will surely give players a good time and an adrenaline rush to go along with it.