Sabre Interactive released their World War Z game via the Epic Games Store for PC and with a release on Xbox One and PS4. Without beating around the bush or offering any pleasantries, right off the bat it’s a Left 4 Dead clone in third person.
Place a group of hard-as-nails survivors in locations such as New York, Jerusalem, Moscow and Tokyo. Introduce loads of fast moving zombies. Offer plentiful weapons, then get the survivors to escape and there you have the ingredients for World War Z. It’s vaguely based on the movie of the same name but ultimately is an excuse to copy Valve’s now aged Left 4 Dead series
It’s actually quite a fun game to play though as it impressively boasts large numbers of attacking zombies which require the team of four to stand their ground. Some moments of the four campaigns mix things up where specific points need defending. It’s here players place auto gun turrets and other traps to thwart the advancement of the pack at large. Other moments place the squad in tight environments where the chances of an ambush increase. Zombies come in a variety of forms and it is here where the Left 4 Dead similarities become even more apparent. Goo gushing hazmat zombies cause damage when players caught in the cloud of gas fail to move away. Screamers attract hordes of zombies and tanks are tough, leapers jump on you. All familiar turf here with a name change. Not, that it doesn’t work mind.
Each character dishes out satisfying attacks via a melee weapon or from afar using graded guns such as rifles, SMGs, shotguns etc. Headshots naturally cause extra damage which is crucial on tougher difficulty settings. Although a heavy auto aim makes targeting not so easy making moments more like point and shoot until they all drop. During the levels players procure health packs, grenades, ammo and special weaponry. A slight stealth element exists where the starting pistol offers silenced shooting, but this doesn’t mean players can easily stealth it through the scripted missions.
In terms of visuals World War Z is functional across its four themed areas. The main onus rests on the zombies attacking in large swarms which the game handles well performance wise. Unfortunately, none of the expected spookiness exists as a result. It’s all rather predictable which is a shame really. Players simply mow down the onslaught and move on to the exit of each level. Audio again is functional with quips from the 16 characters, but with nothing else really standing out here.
In terms of longevity, players can dive into the game solo with three bot characters in tow. Sadly, they won’t help with some of the required tasks making them pretty useless at times other than providing shooting support and additional targets for the zombies to eat. No healing or placing of defensive positions and very limited following of commands – although they will come to your aid if you’re attacked by one of the special zombies. The real meat of the game is in online co-op with human friends. More tactics and camaraderie here. Players unlock character bios, weapons mods and class perks by earning points for taking part, that’s the same on or offline. If a mission fails, which sometimes it will somewhat unfairly, then at least players don’t go home empty handed.
A multiplayer offering includes standard PVP modes such as Team Deathmatch, but with the twist of having zombies throw spanners in the works for extra edge. So whilst the campaign won’t take too long to beat, the extra class unlocks, the PVP and just general having fun leveling up your participation is reason enough to keep coming back for more.
World War Z does have its moments of fun despite offering a fairly basic game overall. The zombie hordes look good in their numbers as they climb over each other to eat your team’s brains. Additional special zombie types could spice things up a little more though which is where Sabre could add a dose of originality. As it stands though, it’s a basic zombie shooter with competent gameplay which presents itself. Definitely fun in shorter doses especially with others online, but not an essential purchase.