A World At War
The book World War Z is pretty well loved, while the film based around it received a mixed reception from the same audience. Personally I love both, but I was beyond wary of the videogame adaptation. There seems to be a sort of unspoken rule in media: if it’s a movie based on a game, it’s going to suck. The inverse is also often the case. So, just where does World War Z fall on the scale of games?
Let The Bodies Hit The Floor
The campaign of World War Z is split up among four heavily populated locations around the globe. In the USA, you’ll fight to survive against zombie hordes in New York City. In Israel, you’ll find yourself in Jerusalem when as it is overrun. In Russia, your cold sweat might freeze over as you battle through the streets of Moscow. And, finally, to round things out, in Japan you’ll fight tooth and nail to live through the hellscape that Tokyo has become.
Overall, environments capture their settings pretty well, with regions having their own distinct flavors that portray the chaos of day to day life being destroyed in a matter of hours. Walking through offices, city streets and backlots, it all feels like things were torn apart very suddenly. There are eleven levels spread across the four regions, with additional ones coming later for free for the Tokyo segment.
But enough about the environment, you want to hear about the zombies! Are they the intense wall of bodies flooding the streets? Or are they small encounters with only a few to worry about at a time? The answer to both these questions is yes.
Hordes are not a constant threat, but that doesn’t mean that the time in between is lazy downtime. There are plenty of zombies stumbling along in smaller groups and you can either approach them with your guns blazing or take a stealthier approach. It’s amazing just how effective a silenced weapon and crouching is against them. More often than not I could go through an area and just pick them off one by one.
Then there are the defensive moments where you have to hold a position against cinematic hordes that bear down on you. This is usually easily enough handled with proper firepower, but it’s also important to consider just how you go about setting up defenses like turrets, memorizing where exploding barrels are and even booby trapping fences with electricity. It’s an incredibly fun time with co-op partners. If you play with the AI, however, it’s a bit of a drag as they are often ineffective on higher difficulty levels.
Don’t Get Overrun!
All in all, World War Z is a pretty fun experience. It’s one that definitely surprised me, as the developers in my opinion didn’t put their best foot forward with the trailers. It still may not appeal to people who weren’t fans of the movie, but if you’re a fan of zombie games, especially co-op experiences like Left 4 Dead, it’s a solid experience at a relatively cheap price for the amount of gameplay and replay value you’re getting. Just make sure you’re playing with friends, as playing with randoms is often as bad as playing with the single player AI.
A solid co-op experience, zombie hordes are fun to fight against, campaign levels feel varied enough that it doesn’t seem too repetitive.
AI kills enjoyment in attempted single player sessions, playing with friends is a must because playing with randoms is also a trainwreck.