This is an unexpectedly fun game. While the rest of the gaming media are comparing this to Left 4 Dead I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old riot simulator State Of Emergency. The number of bodies on the screen and the sheer chaos of trying to hold them back coupled with the lesser price of the game just seems to work. This could be the game that has more legs than the big-budget Days Gone.
The comparison with State of Emergency is a happy one for me. I loved the sheer anarchy of that game and often just put on a level and ran about causing chaos as a palette cleanser after a more intense game. World War Z gives you ample opportunity to do exactly the same whether playing on your own or online. Despite this the game really wants you to play It in co-op mode and in this instance, it is a ‘comp-stomp’ where you fight off hordes and hordes of enemies. It sets itself up as a lobby before you start but it is possible to play this game adequately in single player as the AI does a decent job of killing the zombies. In the first chapter, I killed 500 where the other 3 AI killed at least 300 each. This was in a 20 min chapter to give you an idea of the horde size.
Of course, any horde mode game is better with friends but there is just about enough in the game for single players to enjoy and get rid of some stress blasting zombies into pieces. If you remember the scene from the film in Jerusalem, where the zombies formed a pyramid of bodies to climb up the wall, then you will know what the set pieces of the game entail. You can find yourself facing multiple stacks of zombies with only fixed weapons or RPG’s to topple them. It is a simple case of ‘firefighting’ and dealing with whatever ‘special’ types break through the horde to target you individually. Lurkers and bull types can grab you and then you need one of your team to kill them to release you. It means success comes from sticking together as being surrounded by 100+ zombies will quickly result in death.
You have the usual athletic zombies or lurkers, exploders, in this case, ones that wear Hazmat suits and larger berserker types called the bull, all have the objective of making you take your eye off the main threat of the thousands of standard enemies making their way towards you. It is the main threat and the spectacle that you are buying this game for. Standing in the foyer of a building and seeing a sea of ai zombies tripping over themselves to attack you as you blast them with whatever you have is a sight to behold. You earn xp on weapons individually so multiple replays of the 20 or so scenarios and freeplay are encouraged.
Mechanically the gunplay is good and forgiving as you can level your sights at head level and blast away with automatic weapons that have little kickback. This isn’t designed to be a serious gun simulator and it is for the best as another 50 zombies charge towards you at speed. The graphics are more than functional if a little washed out. Zombie deformation is a feature as limbs and heads topple with little or no slowdown on my PS4 Pro.
You have your standard co-op campaign; you can build your class in offline mode and then you have competitive play where teams of 4 battle it out while the zombie horde is in there as an annoying third threat. All these modes are where you get the comparison to Left 4 Dead. The game that is sadly neglected along with most of Valve’s back catalogue. You and friends can make your way through levels slowly before the action hits a crescendo. In Left 4 Dead it was a witch or the final escape. In World War Z it is usually a 90-second gap where you prepare yourself to be besieged by the undead.
The game itself isn’t big, and some would say not clever, but it does exactly what you expect a game of World War Z to do and does it well. It is a return to a movie licensed game that scores an acceptable 7-8 out of 10. In a world where developers and others have promised the Earth and delivered very little, the devs here have just set about making a competent game that maybe didn’t need the licence of World War Z to succeed. Hopefully, it will do it no harm and the game finds a community online. For the rest of us and single players, it is nice to blow off some steam and some zombie limbs once in a while.