Cooperative zombie games seem impossible to beat. Gathering friends to take on hordes of the undead makes for a fun task while blowing away the hundreds of bodies that charge you to eat your flesh. World War Z is another in that genre, but instead of being outstanding like other titles, the game delivered is a generic shooter with a lot of elements that fall flat.
Rather than basing itself off of the excellent book by Max Brooks, the studio decided to take after the horrendous movie with Brad Pitt. Yes, the film that had the zombies run together like water to pile on any victims that get in the way. The game goes further towards a style similar to other titles like it by having special infected enemies. Think of the average chargers and hunter-like undead from Left 4 Dead, just fewer types.
The only similarity to the novel is that each campaign takes place in a different location on Earth with new protagonists. Each of the four stories has three chapters, except for Japan which will get added at a later date. A variety of tasks from defending points and escorting survivors carry through each section until the next phase, or escape occurs. The missions become repetitive, but with a few friends, it becomes a lot more enjoyable.
The voice acting and writing for the narrative is not only useless, but it is also painful to endure. While most of the game is average, this aspect truly is atrocious. The voice acting ranges from terrible to bearable, while the writing is consistently poor. The tone does not do the narrative any justice since the drama is not compelling and the comedy is embarrassing and out of place.
Before loading into a campaign, first, each of the four players can choose a character and class. The classes seem to not make a massive difference besides their starting loadout of weapons and equipment, but leveling them up for new skills is empowering while requiring currency that is earned after each chapter. Oddly enough, when selecting a character, you can steal other people’s role chosen. If someone is picked, you can snag that character, and the game swaps the two, so you now have your friend’s chosen person.
Combat feels bland, especially with the guns. However, shooting a massive horde of flesh-eaters never gets old, only when there are a lot of them. The explosions feel like firecrackers besides using the rocket launcher. Other than that nothing feels satisfying when shooting or blowing up.
Guns can get leveled up like classes do as each weapon gets more use. The upgrades consist of classes of each firearm. Take a basic assault rifle, with enough experience, a new variation with upgrades stats and attachments unlocks for purchase. Rather than customizing, the gun will have a preset that can be bought. While I wish for personalizing my weapons, this system is easy and rewarding.
PVP is an option, full of the typical game types you find on any other shooter like deathmatch and king of the hill. Every mode pits two teams against one another with zombies in the mix, minus the special infected. Different classes with new loadouts can be selected that differ from the story mode. Other than some differences, this is something I dived into for a taste then went back with friends to play through any of the campaigns.
Updates will benefit the experience since private matches need to be added for parties under four players. Patching up the potholes and placing more content on top of the filled gaps. In a year, this could be much better, I am rooting for the developers to turn it around.
Saber Interactive’s World War Z is a generic option for people needing to scratch that itch for a cooperative zombie adventure that costs less than the average $60 title. While it has plenty of issues, it is easy to pick up and makes up for its flaws with its teamwork based gameplay. Turn on a harder difficulty and grab some friends to have the right amount of relaxation and strategy. If you don’t have friends to play with, then pass on this one.
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