Sunday, October 13, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 105 - World War Z

Kicking off 19 days of horror games as part of Eric Vs. 365 - and day 105 overall - is World War Z. This co-op zombie shooter is sort of a bootleg Left 4 Dead, but is fun enough for fans looking to kill some zambos with their friends. Plus, it's on Game Pass so there's no reason not to give it a try. Click to read more and watch gameplay.

The World War Z game was in kind of a tough spot right from the start. The "World War Z" movie didn't exactly set the world on fire, so most peoples' reaction to the game announcement was a resounding "meh". It didn't help that the game was announced and released several years after the movie, so hype and interest levels were pretty much DOA. This game just needed to come out, like, 5-years ago.

When you first start World War Z the similarities to Left 4 Dead are immediately apparent. It is pretty much exactly the same game right down to having different special classes of extra-dangerous zombies. The main differences are WWZ is third-person, has unique classes that play differently, and it's biggest feature is the massive swarms of hundreds of zombies that pour into the levels as you desperately try to defend sensitive areas. The swarms are truly impressive and amazing.

The problem, however, is that World War Z has none of the charm of Left 4 Dead's levels or protagonists, and also none of the finely tuned gameplay balance. World War Z has big budget presentation and production, for the most part, but bottom tier gameplay and balancing. The zombies are almost all one shot kills, regardless of where you actually hit them, so you just sort of spray bullets into the wall of zombies coming at you and they all die. It's boring. The danger comes from getting overwhelmed, and at this point the balance swings the other way with you getting bitch-slapped by a hundred zombies and downed before you can even react. Because of the sheer numbers of enemies you also are constantly out of ammo, which kind of blows. It's probably more fun, and better balanced in co-op, but playing with the A.I. partners kind of sucks.

The lack of charm is the bigger issue, though. Left 4 Dead's levels were smartly designed to not only feel real and lived in, but they were all also distinct in your objectives and progression. World War Z's levels feel remarkably sterile - despite the piles of bodies freaking everywhere - and missions are repetitive and, frankly, boring. The characters likewise are all serious and dry and bland. They forgot to put any fun in this game. 

With all that said, though, it's on Xbox Game Pass so I'd still recommend you play it yourself.