Thursday, April 18, 2024

World War Z

A sequel to the 2013 blockbuster was greenlit in 2017, but it was cancelled shortly thereafter due to China’s ban on feature films showcasing zombies or ghosts. Luckily, the story of humanity fighting back against pathogen-infected speed-runners has survived and made its way to video game platforms.

World War Z was the number thirteen highest grossing movie of 2013, propelled to lucrative sales and critical reviews thanks to Brad Pitt just existing on camera and a zombie story that was quite honestly anxiety-inducing. 2013 was the year when The Walking Dead was really gaining momentum and the public was eating up anything that had to do with undead brain eaters. A sequel to World War Z was inevitable, but years down the line, it became nothing more than a pipe-dream.

I was skeptical when the video game adaption was released in April 2019, mostly because I hadn’t seen any advertisements for it and my brother-in-law wasn’t planning on purchasing it; and he literally buys everything. As much as I enjoyed World War Z as a movie, I wasn’t sold on the idea of it taking a bite out of the video game market. However, when it popped up on my Microsoft Store at a 15% discounted price, I took a risk and downloaded it.

My first time booting it up was a disaster. I died very early on no matter what level I started in – Moscow, New York, Jerusalem and Tokyo – and I’ve never been a fan of shooting games, so World War Z being a four-player third-person shooter was always going to be internally difficult for me. After playing for about a day, though, everything came together like riding a bike and I haven’t put the game down since. Trust me, I never expected to be giving this game a positive review.

The truth is – World War Z isn’t nearly as difficult as other shooting games as long as you take your time. You get mauled to pieces if you split up from your group or run into a horde without a major fire-arm. If you hold steady and pick off the zombies one by one, the game runs smoother, even though I heard once you reach certain trophies and high-points, the game will automatically adapt to give you bigger hordes and less ammo. To conquer World War Z, slow and steady undoubtedly wins the race.

There are four major levels, each of them being an overrun city, and every overarching level is comprised of three or four sub-levels. Within every big level is four unique characters to play as. After you beat sub-levels with each unique character, their backstory is unlocked, providing you with cut scenes and more information that makes the game appear longer. Since Brad Pitt isn’t in the game at all, I had to turn to Judd Whitaker in the New York level for eye candy. Although, I also like playing as Dina Mizrahi, Arnetta Larkin, Bunko Tatsumi, Tashaun Burnell and Kimiko Nomura.

As an RPG’er myself, I was surprised to find that you can level up your weapons. Not only that, there are classes to play as, each with their own perks and advantages, including gunslinger, hellraiser, medic, fixer, slasher and exterminator. With these aspects available in the game, it became highly addicting and more alluring than it already was considering I’m an avid horror film fanatic, too. Of course, I still haven’t unlocked every tier in every class yet, but I’m hoping that getting medic to the top tier allows me to carry more than one medical kit at a time. Only time will tell!

Sure, the graphics are a little outdated for current XBox and PlayStation standards, but that complaint is easily remedied by simple to use controls and handling.

During its first week of release in the UK, World War Z was the top selling game in stores and online. Around the globe, World War Z has sold over two million copies in the first two months since its debut. Whether you loved the movie or not, I think you should consider buying this game at a discounted price like I did. It’s guaranteed hours of fun, as well as being a successful action-horror game with a mainstream tie-in. While it’s probably best played with a group of friends, solo players will get involved in the story too and marvel at the destruction you can cause as a single participant.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

Michael Therkelsen

[He/Him] Michael was born and raised at the Jersey Shore and he loves love horror films, video games, hiking and cooking. He auditioned for American Idol in season 6 and worked as a vet tech before finally discovering his passion for writing. He has several short stories available for purchase on e-readers, and is obsessed with UFC, American Ninja Warrior and running half-marathons. With a wide area of interests and hobbies, he's excited to help other people in the LGBT community discovery the world of gaming.