There are some things in life I can’t escape from.
Work, paying tax and an insatiable love for all things related to zombies.
When The Walking Dead was released, I was all over it. When Resident Evil was released, I was all over it. When the film World War Z was released, I was all over it.
In fact, I’ve not just seen World War Z once, I’ve seen it so many times that I have dreams of Brad Pitt’s beautiful blonde locks blowing in the wind as he runs through the streets carrying a sniper rifle embedded in my memory like a beautiful dream that haunts me every night.
Now, with the upcoming release of Days Gone, it’s fairly easy for people to have missed that the game version of World War Z was released. After all, there wasn’t exactly a great deal of hype surrounding the game and it kind of slipped in unnoticed save for a few adverts and some releases of the gameplay footage – but there was something about it that got me excited.
OK, it was the footage of the undead climbing on top of each other like an ant colony working together to swarm the living in numbers reaching the hundreds.
When the game was released, I was there, pre-ordered and ready to rock and make the undead…erm, re-dead?
On first take, the game is akin to a remake of Left 4 Dead and it’s probably the closest game that you could draw comparisons with since Left 4 Dead was released.
The game, much like Left 4 Dead, features linear missions which are designed to be a simple get from point-A to point-B without being killed by the hoards of undead that are actively trying to chomp on you. These linear missions are set across four different maps and the mission is divided into mini sub-missions.
The 4 different scenarios see you going to New York, Jerusalem, Moscow and Tokyo and inside each location there are different environments and tasks that you must complete before the mission is finished.
For example, in New York you find yourself trapped inside a shopping mall with wave after wave of zombie hoards looking to ruin your day and prevent you from making your way to the underground metro. Once you arrive at the metro station, you then have different missions which involve grabbing supplies along different stops of the metro until you reach the end of the metro line and then the mission is complete.
Each stop gets more difficult, as you’d imagine as you do have hundreds of skin eating zombies trying to halt your progress.
Another example of the similarity with Left 4 Dead is the variations that you get in the different types of zombies you can encounter. While you have the standard zombies, there are also tougher opponents such as the “screamers” which make loud noises to alert the zombie hoard of your whereabouts and the “Bull” which is basically a huge tank of a zombie wearing combat gear who storms into your location and repeatedly rock bottoms you until one of your team mates helps you out by killing him.
Having the variation in enemies makes the game more exciting and gives it more of a creepy element as well as you can be running through a seemingly quiet point in the map and then a cretinous screamer will spear you to the ground and beat on you until your teammates help you out.
This is also one point that makes you realise than in order to survive, especially on the harder missions, you’ll need to work as a team.
With this in mind, it’s worth pointing out that the standard zombies aren’t difficult to kill. In fact, a swing of a machete or a couple of bullets is enough to put one of them down but this doesn’t make the game simple or easy. Sure if there are one or two zombies you won’t even break sweat, but the point of the game is that things escalate quickly and that one or two soon becomes one or two hundred and then that’s where the fun really begins.
Whilst running through the missions, I couldn’t help but feel that 2019’s answer for Left 4 Dead had also taken certain elements from popular looter shooter, The Division, as well. By that I mean that the game also has elements of scavenging for guns, ammo and health packs as well – albeit on a much smaller scale. This means that you have the change to upgrade and improve upon the basic weapons that you’re given at the start of the game if you’re prepared to keep a watchful eye out for the crates that are located on the map.
The weapons that you get on the game are pretty basic, but again this isn’t a bad thing. During the mission you get to find upgrades to your primary and secondary weapon and you can also find “heavy weapons”, such as a grenade launcher. This adds to The Division feel and it makes scavenging worthwhile as you get to pick up better weapons.
While the prospect of facing down 5,000 zombies might seem to much for some, there is something satisfying about finding a corner so you can’t get attacked from behind, aiming forward and then unleashing hell on any zombie who is unfortunate enough to think they can bring you down. Likewise, walking through a hoard of them swinging your machete around like there’s no tomorrow is equally satisfying.
Come to think of it, using the machete provides more fun than it should. Seeing body parts go flying across the screen in different directions as you’re slashing your way through a corridor provides you with your fill of blood and gore as well as providing some laughs as well.
While mentioning the blood and gore, it’s good to point out that while the graphics are good, they’re not particularly groundbreaking but once the mission gets fully underway, the gameplay more than makes up for it.
If you’re looking for a game with a good narrative and interesting storyline, this isn’t the game for you. If you’ve read the book or watched the movie, you’re probably expecting something similar but you won’t find it in the game and that’s OK.
The game doesn’t promise a storyline and instead offers you the chance to take out your frustrations on hundreds, nay thousands, of zombies and this provides a sort of relaxing satisfaction that only popping heads and severing limbs can provide.
World War Z is fun, it’s exciting, it’s fast-paced, it’s overwhelming.
So far I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent on the game. Would I say it goes up there with the best, most in-depth games I’ve ever played? No. However, it sits perfectly alongside fan favourite zombie games such as Left 4 Dead and that’s perfectly fine with me, in fact, it’s something that’s been missing from my games cabinet for a while now