Truth be told, upon learning last year that a video game was being developed based on the movie World War Z, it piqued my interest initially. That is, until I realized that it would be a multiplayer co-op game. I instantly lost interest thinking it would be similar to other multiplayer cooperative live services that currently plague the market.
However, now that I’ve had firsthand experience playing this game, and not just the original, but a fuller, more enhanced copy, I have to admit how wrong I was. World War Z excellently captures what’s interesting about the book and subsequent movie. That basically boils down to the characters, and most importantly, the zombies. And as a bonus, it also adds wonderfully entertaining gameplay and surprisingly sleek visuals into the mix.
To those unfamiliar with the game, World War Z is a multiplayer third-person cooperative shooter that includes a campaign and competitive modes as well. The former being divided into four distinct and unrelated cooperative narratives in linear locations that serve as episodes in the game. These locations, namely New York, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Tokyo, each include four playable characters you can choose from. Now with the Game of the Year edition, there’s the inclusion of the recent DLC pack Marseilles, adding another playable episode, as well as four more characters to its roster.
A feature of the game I especially appreciated was the ability to unlock story videos of the characters so long as you are able to complete at least one mission with them. These videos, while short, allows for a bit of depth to the characters. I enjoyed playing with the new characters included in the new Marseilles episode DLC the most. They’re funny and wildly entertaining to listen to, feeling more like a team than the others.
Each episode contains several missions where you’ll mostly struggle for survival amidst waves and hordes of zombies in fast-paced combat. And when I say fast-paced combat, I really mean it. The game will push you from one objective to the next with little reprieve in between. You’ll have to juggle dealing with waves and waves of zombies as well as take on each task to progress the levels.
Whether it’s protecting a train from a horde of zombies, protecting some civilians, or getting on a boat before being overtaken by the swarms of the undead, the game will keep you busy each time. And speaking of zombies, World War Z surprised me with the amount of detail it puts in the zombies. So much so that when a massive horde gathers, it’s both visually outstanding as well as horrifying to witness.
It’s quite surprising how I never ran into any technical or graphical issues whatsoever during my whole time with the game. This is especially impressive, as they’ll be hundreds, maybe even thousands of zombies on-screen at a time. This is why it’s all the more satisfying once you use your trusty explosives and firearms to topple the hills and thin the hordes of zombies.
Besides firearms and explosives, each mission provides a section where you’ll have to defend yourself prior to an incoming horde. To do this, you’ll be given some time as well as tools such as barbed wire, electric floor panels, or turrets for your preparation. Communication in a team is vital, especially in these moments.
Another useful inclusion in combat is character classes such as Gunslinger, Hellraiser, Slasher, Medic, Fixer, and Exterminator. However, these classes aren’t that detailed and only affect the type of special weapons you’ll find in the levels. For example, a Gunslinger can use a semi-automatic turret as a special weapon, whereas a Medic is able to find a special syringe used to boost everyone’s health. Naturally, you can level up these classes by playing as them. The cool thing is that any character can choose any class they want, which is great.
Asides the co-op campaign mode, players also have several multiplayer modes to choose from. King of the Hill has two teams fight to take over and maintain control over a hill. Vaccine Hunt pits teams against one another over a vaccine. The team that holds onto it for the longest gets the most points toward victory. Perhaps the most frantic mode, Scavenge Raid, will task players with earning points by scavenging resources. You’ll kill and be killed frequently, having to scavenge as many supplies as you can before time runs out. Then there’s Swarm Domination, where players will need to capture zones around the map to earn points. Finally my favorite of the bunch, Swarm Deathmatch provides a no-nonsense fight to the death between two teams.
All these modes are incredibly fun as long as you have a good team to work with. I should also note that each mode includes zombies that’ll always be there to ruin your fun. My only issue with World War Z is the constant disconnect and server issues I faced. While this was a minimal issue that has greatly improved since launch, it was still enough to be noticeable.
Overall though, World War Z is a visually impressive, technically stable, and incredibly fun game that quite frankly surprised me. The Game of the Year Edition adds all the previously free and paid DLCs, including a fun new episode into one reasonably priced bundle. It’s also a game I’ll definitely be going back to even after writing this review.
Second Opinion Score: 8 out of 10
A review code was provided to GotGame by Saber Interactive for review purposes. This review represents a second opinion for a game that launched with an updated edition. If you like our reviews, check us out on OpenCritic!