World War Z does a great job at delivering a fun, chaotic co-op shooter reminiscent of Left 4 Dead, while also carving out its own identity thanks to some enjoyable gameplay mechanics.
Even though the big-screen adaptation of World War Z hit cinemas all the way back in 2013, we finally get our first taste of a fully-fledged video game tie-in thanks to Saber Interactive. While there’s no Brad Pitt and eloquent storytelling, there is an incredibly fun and well-developed zombie shooter here; and one which carves out its own identity amongst the market of similar games.
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The story takes place a little while after the outbreak, following a number of survivors in four key locations: New York, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Tokyo; but even though the game tries to dive into the personal motivations of each character, there’s not much to get invested in. Thankfully, the gameplay is where World War Z really shines.
It doesn’t try to do anything too fancy or complicated, but instead sticks to solid shooting mechanics and an interesting horde dynamic to keep players on their feet. You’re constantly moving, having to complete objectives, and making your way through diverse levels as you head to your goal. Certain areas of each situation require you and your AI or human survivor-buddies to take on aforementioned hordes before progressing – whether it be in a shopping mall, train-station or army barracks. These are high-tension moments which borrow mostly from the visuals seen in the film, and also give players the chance to experiment with some special weaponry.
And many of these moments will never be the same, as World War Z has a “director AI”, which will wiggle the game in your favour or against you depending on how you’re doing. Struggling with the mission? The game will gift you with a randomly generated weapon cache somewhere nearby. Finding things a little too easy? The AI will up the ante with a surprise horde around the corner.
There’s no denying that World War Z borrows a lot from the Left 4 Dead series, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Enemy types, characters, and world design will be familiar to those who’ve played Valve’s co-op shooter, but World War Z has injected enough personality to warrant it for any zombie-fan.