Before release, World War Z was heralded as the second coming of Left 4 Dead.
A fun, silly, engaging romp in a world decimated by the undead, focusing heavily on a group of friends marauding through small sandbox levels, destroying everything in their path to reach safety.
Anyone who picks this game up on that pretense is going to be left disappointed.
World War Z looks and feels like a 2015 Xbox One title, this is despite it being advertised as Xbox One X Enhanced.
Combined with a story so thin a strong breeze could blow it away, there’s really not a great deal to be excited about.
You have a choice of player at the beginning of each level, however, each character is exactly the same in terms of ability and none of the four options seem to make any difference to the “story”.
Levelling up does provide a bit of customisation the further through the game you go, but it they all still feel very samey – with dialogue that’s repetitive to the point of frustrating.
Set in New York, Jerusalem, Tokyo and Moscow – the latter two I can only assume having given up long before I leaving Jerusalem – the game itself is more and more of the same.
Players must get from Point A to Point B, while often looking after a poorly designed NPC as you battle through the zombies.
This then repeats, over and over again.
To break up the monotony though, players can experience the swarms – which are the main driver of the whole game engine and therefore happen at the same point on every. Single. Level.
Again, even the swarms are formulaic, with players stuck in a certain position – invariably waiting for someone to fix something or something else to happen – while thousands of zombies bolt towards you, climb a fence or other obstacle and try to kill you.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re impressive. Thousands of individual characters sprinting towards you at the same time is something to behold, but the low quality visuals takes the vast majority awe away.
And given the nature of the swarms, it’s easy to determine when you’re about to be hit with one – even before the game tells you.
Has your team reached an impasse that will take between two and three minutes to rectify, usually using the specialist knowledge of the non-player character you’re sworn to protect? Zombie swarm.
Are you in an area with one very visible, and massive entrance built into the background of the level and therefore unattainable to the player? You guessed it, Swarm.
Is there a number of utterly ridiculous items such as automatic turrets or electric shock pads scattered around? Yup, another swarm.
Despite the swarms easily being the most entertaining parts of the game, their predictability takes a lot away from the player.
Clearly based on the spontaneous attacks endured by players in Left 4 Dead, where just a minor key change in the background music would indicate an incoming hoard, World War Z trips over it’s own concept.
If there was a feeling that the weapons packed a punch, and if the vast majority of the zombies you encountered didn’t just drop down dead (or more dead) after being grazed by a bullet, these swarm’s would feel a bit more frantic – instead their just another aspect of this game that fails to deliver.
Jumping online and grouping up with three other players does provide a little more excitement, and arguably the game is at it’s best when played with others – but it’s still not great.
I have to say, I adore these types of games. I’m a sucker for Left 4 Dead, I repeatedly go back to State of Decay, and highly rate Dead Island and it’s sequel. However, World War Z is a simple slap-dash clone – a game mimicking a title from 10 years ago, with nothing original, interesting or entertaining about it.
With the recent release of mega-anticipated blockbuster Days Gone for PS4, World War Z may become just a very, very boring footnote in the zombie horror genre.