World War Z is a third-person co-op shooter from Saber Interactive, based on a book of the same name, and is set in the same universe as the 2013 film adaptation. Games release at a break-neck pace all year round, crowding the market and demanding our attention. World War Z is no different in this regard. At the same time, I can't help but feel like this is only the "foundation" of a much larger and more grandiose game. Hear me out, this is by no means a bad game, it's just that it could have been one of the biggest hits of 2019, if not for some poor design decisions.
Jumping straight into gameplay, the Swarm Engine has to be commended on its performance and ability to render so many enemies on a single screen. Zombies stumble over each other, vault over obstacles and scamper up walls, all in the effort to reach you. They act as if "alive", for lack of a better word. The A.I. observer is another feature that enhances your experience based on your performance. When detecting your struggle with a particular mission, the A.I. observer will tone done the difficulty (including zombie spawn points, gun spawns, and zombie behavior) to give you a fighting chance, If you're progressing a little too smoothly to the A.I. observer's liking, it will ramp up the difficulty so as to prevent the gameplay from becoming lax. It really is a unique feature, one I saw in motion more than once.
In one early mission, I was tasked with escorting a doctor. While making my way to the safe locale, we were overwhelmed and the doctor met a grizzly end. Upon retrying the mission, everything was different. Fewer zombies spawned, I got an absurd amount of powerful guns, and the defensive position had more than enough utility spawns, such as voltage traps, and automated turrets. This was the A.I. observer taking pity on me.
With that said, I now have to tell you about the actual moment-to-moment gameplay. Each chapter plays out more or less the same. You pick your preferred character, select a class and start the mission (either online co-op or offline solo). Killing zombies, flipping switches, collecting parts and opening doors are essentially what you'll be doing. The only problem is, other than the physical locals, all these activities feel exactly the same. World War Z would have benefited tremendously from more variety in each chapter. A simple on-the-fly crafting system would have helped the process along, heck, even collectibles could have. The game becomes repetitive fast, but is partly helped by the progression system.
World War Z has so much potential that the current content of the game sometimes aggravated me.
These are all relatable, sympathetic character stories, it's just a shame that they are not on the forefront of the game.
Kingdom Hearts devotee, From Software fanboy and aspiring Audiophile (the good kind that believes in FLAC files). Vincent enjoys writing about games almost as much as playing them.
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Focus Home Interactive
16 April 2019
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