Saber Interactive and Focus Home Interactive’s upcoming co-op zombie shooter World War Z has caught our attention with the number of trailers released for the game, like a release date announcement trailer and a multiplayer trailer. The zombie shooter genre has been slowly but surely coming back from the dead, more specifically, multiplayer zombie shooters have been coming out more lately.
While Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us showed gamers that a zombie shooter can tell a compelling story, there really hasn’t been a multiplayer game in the genre that has particularly made as huge of an impact as Valve’s Left 4 Dead series — with the last entry in the series, Left 4 Dead 2 releasing way back in 2009. However, after jumping right into World War Z’s PvE and PvP offerings at GDC 2019, we think we’ve found a new multiplayer zombie shooter that fans of the genre should definitely not miss out on when it releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games store on April 16.
When you look at the game’s title, you may think of either the book or movie of the same name and wonder if the game is related in some shape or form. Trust me, I was wondering the same thing. In an interview with Saber Interactive’s creative director who’s part of the World War Z development team, I found out that the game is actually more in-line with Paramount’s World War Z film, and this is definitely clear when I played through the game a bit as I realized just how cinematic and intense it is. However, the game is also going to be similar to that of the World War Z book since it’ll take a more narrative approach that’ll have different perspectives of the survivors in the game.
With all that said, players shouldn’t expect to find a linear, hand-holding experience in World War Z, especially with its multiplayer modes. The PvE mode will have four players take on four story-driven co-op episodes and each episode will have four survivors with their own distinct storylines. Also, each episode will take place in a different area, such as Jerusalem and New York. For the episode I played, I took on a mission in Jerusalem that had me and my team, which were folks from Saber Interactive, on the search for much-needed technology that could be used to increase our chances of survival.
Right at the start of the mission, I was immediately impressed with just how beautifully crafted the world around me was. Screenshots and trailers for the game are good and all, but really, you need to literally play the game to witness how magnificently detailed it is. Looking around and seeing rubble, dead zombies, and of course, 500 still alive and insane zombies scattered about give the impression that the world of World War Z is one messed up and terrifying place to be in. The game’s look, as a whole, is absolutely stunning, and I particularly liked the character designs as each design makes each character unique.
Sure, how the game looks is a plus, but how it plays is even more important — and I’m happy to share that World War Z’s gameplay is an insane adrenaline rush that’ll keep players coming back for more. At the start, players have to choose from six distinct classes (Gunslinger, Hellraiser, Slasher, Medic, Fixer, and Exterminator) that each has its own unique perks and play styles. The PvE mode was specifically designed to be played with a team of four so you’re always part of a team, even during solo play or when you just have a friend or two to back you up. Thankfully for me, my teammates were pretty badass, especially since, well, they developed the game so they knew exactly the best ways to play. However, even though I had a gung-ho team, that doesn’t mean that completing our mission would be a cakewalk — and let me tell you, it definitely wasn’t. My teammates and I were constantly at the edge of our seats, sharing (more like shouting) updates with each other, grabbing weapons and equipment whenever we had the chance.
Taking down a horde of 500 zombies is no simple task in World War Z, and it’s important to stay together to survive. While the game has more of an arcade, action style to it, since instead of the usual “scavenge and survive or die” gameplay mechanics found in plenty of zombie shooters, World War Z instead gives players an arsenal of deadly weapons, like assault rifles, shotguns, heavy weapons, and more. Weapons actually level up the more you use them, so you don’t have to worry about managing stat points or anything like that, which I think allows players to focus more on experiencing the bloody good action of World War Z.
What really stood out to me in the game’s PvE mode were the massive, movie-like moments that occurred numerous times. For instance, there was one moment where there were this huge dam and my teammates and I was on the outskirts of it. Then, all of a sudden, one of my teammates recommended, “you should get ready for what’s to come”, and shortly after, a swarm of zombies came rushing in and piled up one another to make this insane zombie pyramid, ladder sort of thing. All of the zombies were not messing around, and this moment, in particular, is just one of the many moments that’ll have you shaking with excitement and absolute fear. Blasting every single zombie down, regardless of whether it’s with a handy dandy pistol or an epic rocket launcher, is simply just lots of fun and I could see myself never getting tired of playing through missions.
In addition to the PvE mode, we were able to briefly play the PvP mode, which is actually dubbed as “Players vs. Players vs. Zombie mode” or “PvPvZ” for short, since players not only have to take down one another, but they also need to watch out for brain-thirsty AI zombies. This little twist for PvP is a nice touch and it actually made matches even more challenging. World War Z’s PvP offering has a number of different modes that we all know and love like a deathmatch mode and a King of the Hill mode. For me, I ended up liking World War Z’s PvE more, but I’m sure that more competitive players will find PvP to be enjoyable.
After playing a good chunk of World War Z, it’s clear that it’s not just another lifeless zombie shooter that we’ve all played before. With its drop-dead gorgeous look and nail-biting, exciting action gameplay, it’s safe to say that World War Z is going to end up being a must-play zombie shooter.
World War Z will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store on April 16.
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