WORLD WAR Z
Watch your back.


REVIEW
By JAY TEE
03/05/19

Nailing the basics is World War Z’s greatest strength, and thankfully that includes the shooting mechanics. Nice one!

The soundtrack is fairly forgettable, but weapon sound effects, the onslaught of the horde, and voice acting are all great.

Launch day issues aside, World War Z offers uncomplicated, challenging gameplay that works best with friends.

Kind of… odd. Character models are detailed and the lighting design is lovely, but some of the horde textures are proper jank.

THE LAST WORD

World War Z is a memorable, challenging shooter that makes co-op feel important again.

THE FINAL SCORE

4/5

REVIEW POLICY

We use a simple “out of 5” rating criteria for all reviews.

4 out of 5 is GREAT.

A positive, varied experience, with plenty of reasons to invest. Even if it’s just shy of perfection.

*Reviewed on a PS4 Pro, with a retail copy purchased by The Cantina Club*


The MAYORAL ELECTION badge is for a game filled with high pressure moments that put your skills to the test.  

The BOND THEME badge is for a game that makes you feel like a badass.

The HAVOK PHYSICS badge is for a game where enemies visibly react to weapon hits.

The MARSHALL LAW badge is for a game that lets you fight back against an overwhelming force.  

The SEA OF THIEVES badge is for a co-op game that is truly memorable.

The SAVE MY BACON badge is earned for a game that lets you revive your co-op and / or multiplayer team mates.   

The BEST WITH FRIENDS badge is earned if a game is significantly more fun playing with people you know, either in campaign or online.

IS IT FUN?

*Yes, but you’re forced to rely on randos.*

The basic (and important) stuff has been nailed; weapons feel useful and sound delightful, while the zeds reaction animations are satisfying and varied. You feel capable in combat, but it doesn’t take more than a couple extra notches on the difficulty scale to find yourself quickly overwhelmed. Offline solo runs are included, with A.I. stepping in to the open character slots, but online play with your best buddies is really where the magic happens. Coordinating fire, planning defences, and mad dashes to the finish define the fun. Be aware that any open slots are filled by random folks jumping into matchmaking, which can leave you flipping a coin hoping for someone who doesn’t suck. Selfish med pack theft or a frustrating lack of assistance usually follows, but if you get lucky, or you’ve got three mates ready to hop in together, World War Z is up there with the best co-op experiences available.

The best thing about World War Z: it does stuff right that bigger budget titles often get wrong. A simple party system, that carries you across co-op and multiplayer? Check. Well designed menu’s that make upgrades and class modification a breeze? Present and accounted for. It remembers the golden rule; despite carrying the weight of a big name license, there still needs to be a solid foundation of fun. Otherwise, it could so easily fall flat under the weight of advertising hype and fan expectation. Developer Sabre Interactive have also done a marvellous job owning the inevitable comparisons to another well known co-op zombie shooter. By opting to refine the underlying tech (in this case, a bespoke engine appropriately titled ‘The Swarm’) and by doubling down on set piece moments, they’ve created a game that, while in need of some serious bug fixing, is able to stand apart.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS?

*Yes, and it’s often when things go wrong.*

When I’m playing with my regular crew, it’s often their reactions that turn an in game scripted moment into something unintentionally hilarious. Take the ascension through the sewers during the second New York episode, where zeds start piling in from above. They’re literally raining on our parade, and hearing the panic of my friends as the chaos unfolded on screen was definitely a highlight. The horde tech effectively delivers overwhelming, memorable moments, although the occasional player animation stickiness, particularly evident when vaulting, did sour things slightly. Regardless, every episode is filled with unique stuff that goes beyond the ‘fetch this, go here’ structure. From knocking out the bottom of a clambering horde and watching them tumble down, to accidentally discovering slapstick environmental kills, you’re encouraged to mess around within the linearity of each level.

While texture work ranges from brilliant to Rainbow Six Vegas, the swarms are impressive.

ANNOYING STUFF?

*Yes, and it’s all so solvable!*  

Launch day was a piping hot mess, with crumbling servers entirely removing the option of online play. I don’t think demand was fully anticipated (especially since the game has now sold over a million copies in a week), but those crucial first hours were dreadful. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out Sabre Interactive’s open and honest responses on social media, delivering almost hourly updates and keeping everyone in the loop. Individual devs from the team were jumping into replies on Twitter, offering constant reassurance, hot fix patches, and a plan of attack. This is a team who genuinely cares, and in fairness to them, delivered working servers by the start of Day 2. The game itself definitely needs a bug pass, with crashes the number one priority. The default controls aren’t ideal either, so fully customisable button mapping certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

NEXT STEPS?

*Zap those bugs, and add more episodes.*

The structure of the game lends itself well to downloadable expansion, with additional locations and episodes a must at this point. The already promised free third mission in the Tokyo campaign is a decent start, but if Sabre wants to retain this healthy player base and keep people talking, they need to get cracking on a DLC road map. Some kind of objective based horde mode would be a good fit, and there’s plenty of scope to expand gadgetry and class specific buffs. Personally, I’d love to see some kind of tower defence style mode, which could build on the existing fortification mechanic by freeing up where they can be placed. The competitive multiplayer is surprisingly enjoyable, with randomly spawning hordes throwing an interesting spanner in the works. Free multiplayer maps, alongside premium campaign expansions, could be a winning combination.

THE BASICS - Third person shooter, telling a new story within the popular novel / film series.

PLATFORMS - PS4, XB1, and PC

MAX PLAYERS - Offline - 1, Online - 8

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - The single player campaign supports up to four players in co-op, alongside eight player competitive multiplayer. With zombies!

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - A third free mission in the Tokyo campaign has been announced, along with additional content, both free and premium.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

Set phasers to HORDE.

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