World War Z is what some players may look at and think of as a last-generation co-op shooter.
And although it lands on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in a world where Anthem, Destiny, and Fortnite dominate, it has a distinctly memorable and engaging set of core mechanics to lean on.
Based in the universe of the Brad Pitt film of the same name – and the book that came before – World War Z drops players into different locations of a zombie-ravaged world, with the task of getting from point A to point B.
Framed in an extremely similar manner to Valve’s Left 4 Dead franchise, World War Z allows players to choose their character, and wield a variety of primary, secondary, and “heavy” weapons to take on the endless hordes of undead.
One of the main differences between this game and Left 4 Dead is the option to play as one of six classes.
The player chooses between: Gunslinger, Medic, Hellraiser, Slasher, Exterminator, Fixer – each of which have their own perks and strengths.
Although the classes add a much-needed extra flavour to the gameplay, they can be ultimately forgotten during the hectic battles that occur during each level.
Each of the six classes can be levelled up after spending a considerable amount of time playing them, and their unlockable perks range from health increases to more damage and ammo bonuses.
Despite the attempt to differentiate each class with a different feel or play style, each run eventually goes the same way – running down a hallway of zombies – and extra ammo pickup or slightly bigger damage from grenades don’t change up much of the status quo.
The beauty of World War Z is found largely in its incredible environments.
Players are plunged into one of four scenarios that play out like a four-episode TV show – all of which are based in different locations.
Fans of the franchise will recognise that one of the defining parts of World War Z is its world-building in various cities around the world – and the game doesn’t shy away from that.
The four acts are based in: New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Tokyo, and follow four different characters in each setting.
Although the stories in each zone are entirely forgettable, their packaging is incredibly good looking.
From the tightly-packed corridors and streets of New York to the wastelands of Moscow, each country feels entirely different, and doesn’t allow the player to get bored through the winding paths.
This said, each of the gameplay mechanics will begin to feel overused in the hours and hours required to max-out each of the classes.
Whether the quartet are required to press a button sounding an alarm to kill a horde of zombies, protect an NPC, or run to a doorway before a timer runs out, each mechanic has been seen before in similar games.
All of the tasks are fairly simple, and barely present a challenge once the harder difficulties have been mastered.
Fortunately, this is where the introduction of special infected mixes things up.
Similar to Left 4 Dead, a selection of special zombies also make an appearance throughout the campaign, and break up the monotony of shooting into a (well constructed) horde of zombies.
It would, however, have been nice to see a few more types of special infected with unique abilities.
World War Z takes all of the best parts of the co-op shooters that have come before it and expands on them for 2019.
With four incredibly detailed environments and 16 interesting and well-designed characters, World War Z sets itself apart from other similar shooters.
Although the gameplay mechanics can feel a little overused after some extended play, the character classes, varied levels and zombie hordes keep things engaging.
World War Z is available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One now.
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