World War Z (Review) Playstation 4

World War Z (Review) Playstation 4
Review Score:

There’s nothing more invigorating than running-and-gunning through a zombie infested, post-apocalyptic world assisted by friends or random players online. Games like Killing Floor and Left4Dead transitioned the survival horror genre into bloody, heart-pounding, run-and-gun excursions that require nerves of steel; a steady aim; and impeccable team work from all involved. World War Z by developer Saber Interactive boldly mimics the aforementioned games, while also borrowing the events and locations seen in the 2013 film.

Before the game can even start, the player has to ‘build’ a survivor by choosing from the following six classes: Gunslinger, Medic, Fixer, Slasher and Hellraiser. Each class levels independently while also providing their own unique skills. The load-outs for these classes start out relatively skimpy, consisting of an SMG, a handgun and medkit. This is only temporary, though, as the game provides ways to beef up a character’s arsenal by way of weapon caches (found during gameplay) and the all-important Skill Tree system, which is accessible before and after matches (more on this in a moment). 

Building a survivor involves choosing a Skill Tree (i.e. Gunslinger,  Medic, Fixer, etc) and sticking with it throughout the course of the game. Like Left4Dead, the game doesn’t concern the player with the appearance of their survivor (they change based on the ‘chapter’ being played). As the player levels, they can replace their survivor’s starter gear with better equipment (i.e. additional grenades, better firepower, etc.), but only if they unlock these features via the game’s Skill Tree/Weapon system(s).

Gameplay is based on a series of mission objectives that must be completed before the player can progress any further. For example: in the Tokyo scenario, the initial objective of searching for survivors quickly switches to escorting a bus full of people through a underground tunnel infested by the undead. The first half of the mission is spent helping the bus navigate through accident debris, while preventing the undead from attacking the bus. As the zombie hordes increase in number, the player encounters a barricade that prevents the bus from progressing. At this point in the mission, the player has to locate the level’s ammo box to restock; find gun turrets locked away in boxes and place them strategically down the tunnel; and then find the lever that will close the barrier blocking the bus from moving. After the aforementioned tasks have been completed, the player must face a horde of zombies that quite easily mimics the movie. (This happens throughout the entire game.)

Since the game requires teamwork, it’s best to tackle these missions online with other players. The Tokyo tunnel incident is absolutely brutal, as it sends a literal ‘sea’ of undead monsters from the back of the tunnel to attack the bus, the player, and their team.  Using a gun turret will help slow down the advancing horde, but sticking together with fellow teammates – and providing offensive firepower to protect the bus – becomes paramount. It’s also important to save any team members who become overwhelmed by the undead, especially during a scenario like Tokyo. Losing one person during any given scenario can lead to disaster. 

Combat feels consistent and silky-smooth throughout the entire game. Holding the L2 button aims the weapon that is currently equipped, and pressing and holding R2 will fire. The player can easily toggle between their weapons by pressing L1. Fighting the hordes of undead requires quick reflexes and thinking, even before a horde appears. The Zeds (as they’re called in-game) move at different speeds, and the faster ones should always be eliminated first. 

World War Z has its fair share of Left4Dead zombie equivalents, including Screamers (i.e The. Witch) armor-cladded Bulls (i.e. The Tank) and Hazmats (i.e. The Boomer), among many others. The Zeds seem like close relatives to the zombies found in Left4Dead, right down to their attacks and behaviors. For example: Screamers like to keep their distance and ‘scream’ to alert nearby Zeds, while Bulls will target a specific team member and slam them into the ground repeatedly. Hazmats, as the name implies, are Zeds dressed in Hazmat suits. Shooting these zombies releases a noxious gas that can harm (and even kill) the player and their teammates. 

Aesthetics aside, the zombies in WWZ lack the  unpredictability of their Left4Dead counterparts. There are times when zombies will appear out of nowhere (especially from behind), even after the player has verified their back was ‘covered’. This is not only frustrating, but it heightens the game’s arduously ‘grindy’ progression system.  

As the game progresses and the player levels their class, they are awarded Gold coins for their efforts. These coins can be used to purchase new skills or weapon upgrades for firearms found in the field. Depending on the class selected, skills such as ‘Ammo Capacity’, ‘Reload Speed’ and ‘Personal Health’ can be unlocked, to name just a few. More specifically, the Medic Class (for example) has skills that – when unlocked – allows the player to administer medkits faster; offer health buffs to teammates; and provide strong firepower via SMG weaponry.

Where online is concerned, World War Z seems to perform quite well, even when a horde of zombies attack. There are times when the game will dip to (or even below) 30FPS, but it’s not often enough to ruin the experience. The same can also be said about the controls, which feel rock-solid throughout the entire game. In fact, there’s never a moment when the controls feel floaty or unresponsive during pivotal moments in the gameplay. 

Graphically, World War Z is on par with most games in its genre – the environments are filthy, gritty depictions of society’s decline into chaos. Roadways are inundated with abandoned vehicles; fallen debris ;and the remnants of a military force who failed to stave off the advancing zombie hordes. The entire game is bathed in horrific, post-apocalyptic scenery, which adds to the game’s tension-filled atmosphere.

At its core, World War Z is a standard third-person shooter that mimics some of the best games in its respective genre. What helps WWZ stand out from the crowd are the zombie hordes that populate its  levels. (They literally come pouring into the playfield like a ravenous plague, intent on wiping out the player and their teammates.) While the game itself isn’t original, it does a fantastic job of keeping the gamer entertained from start to finish. At the end if the day, this is all that really matters (especially if you’re a fan of zombie-based, third-person shooters).

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 4
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Mad Dog
ESRB: M (Mature)
Price: $39.99

World War Z Official Website:

Review Score
Graphically, World War Z is on par with most games in its genre.
Great voice acting and sound effects,
Knuckle-whitening action and plenty of gore.
World War Z is a standard third-person shooter that mimics some of the best games in its respective genre.
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