World War Z’s structure is very similar to Left 4 Dead, although so straightforward it barely counts as copying. In each city you’re essentially just trying to escape, so when you’re not fighting the horde you’re taking part in escort missions, solving simple puzzle sections, and dealing with some of the specialised zombie types.
These, predictably, are also just like Left 4 Dead, with the tank-like Bull, the lurker-like Reaper, and the Screamer that alerts other zombies to your location. But not only are these special infected copying Left 4 Dead they’re also almost identical to enemy types in Days Gone as well – where the Screamer one is even called a Screamer.
Whether or not Saber Interactive realise how similar their game is to Sony’s we’re not sure but we’re willing to believe a lot of it is just coincidence and speaks to how generic and obvious these ideas have become. The same can certainly be said of the character classes and weapon upgrade system, whose mix of medics, explosive experts, and engineers you can probably guess at without being told a thing.
You can play the whole game on your own but, like Left 4 Dead, it’s a rather dull and depressing experience. With friends though it can be a lot of fun, despite the generic design, and the competitive multiplayer – the part Saber Interactive were trying to pitch to Sony – is surprisingly just as good. The ability for zombies to swarm into the map at certain points is one of the few times when the game tries to do something new and it works really well, since for once it doesn’t feel like any other game around.
Unfortunately, ‘works really well’ is not something you can say of World War Z in general, as it’s filled with bugs and glitches, including frequent crashes and dropped connections, that have made playing it near launch a real endurance test. But while we’d give only a very guarded recommendation of the game at the moment, we are interested in seeing whether it will evolve further and make the best of its more interesting features. Left 4 Dead may be a living dead franchise but this will do to keep the concept alive for now.
World War Z
In Short: A curate’s egg of zombie clichés and surprisingly solid multiplayer, with the movie’s undead hordes replicated in impressive fashion.
Pros: The zombie hordes are handled very well, in both co-op and competitive multiplayer – adding some unique twists to the otherwise generic gameplay.
Cons: Extremely derivative of Left 4 Dead (and Days Gone) and everything outside the horde sequences and multiplayer tends to be very dull. Lots of bugs and stability issues.
Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive and Mad Dogs
Developer: Saber Interactive
Release Date: 16th April 2019
Age Rating: 18
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