It must be the time of year…this is my second zombie game review of the season. Like Back 4 Blood is a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, World War Z: Aftermath is the next evolution to the World War Z series – adding new content and features. But is this a straight cash grab for those already enamoured with the series?
Basically, no. I was hesitant to drop the cash on it at first, concerned I’d need the base game, that it was just a very expensive expansion pack that would leave me unable to play without ANOTHER purchase. However, World War Z: Aftermath actually includes all of the content from the base game, its Game of the Year edition upgrades and of course, it’s own new classes and content for players.
So what happens if you own the base game already? Fear not, there is an option to simply buy the content that this enhanced version brings to the table at a reduced cost – not full retail whack.
The game itself then. For those unfamiliar, World War Z follows on from the film from 2013. However, whereas that was widely regarded to be a flop, the original game released in 2019 has a wide following, one which will likely grow with this new release.
World War Z sets itself apart from a good sect of the zombie games out there today. The proprietary swarm engine they have utilised allows the hordes (or swarms) of the infected to be released on a massive and terrifying scale. This is best reflected for PC gamers of course with the right rig, but even on PS4 this is still impressive if not as massive.
As a player, you will play predominantly cooperatively against the AI zombie hordes using one of the seven classes available. This allows for you to pick a playstyle suitable for yourself, be that focussing on a shoot ‘em up Gunslinger, an explosive Hellraiser or the supportive Medic class (beware, you’ll be simultaneously the most loved and hated player in this option). There is a degree of PvPvZ (Player v Player v Zombie) play as well but it is less ‘story’ driven.
As the game is online-based, there is little room for character development – and of course, being based off the film as a source instead of the superior book, there is only so far the game can take the source material. Compared to Back 4 Blood, you feel less in touch with your character, instead feeling closer to a weaponry choice like in Call of Duty games.
Instead of simply an airport, a shopping centre, or farm in similar entries, World War Z will plunge you into whole cities, such as Jerusalem, Tokyo – or even Rome and the Vatican in this new expansion. This allows for genuine massive ‘world’ scale fights that makes the survival feel much grander.
Having briefly been introduced to the series before picking up Aftermath, this reviewer found the melee to be lacking. This is something Left 4 Dead happily addressed in their second outing several years prior, so why did it take this long to sort out? It IS better than it was, but still doesn’t feel as visceral or impressive as competitor Back 4 Blood.
The introduction of a first person mode seems to be targeted to bring you closer to the action and the players – however it can feel jarring at times and I found myself defaulting back to third person view – despite preferring the first person feel that Left 4 Dead and its successors include in their series.
The soundtrack makes it feel like more of an action series rather than the typical horror setting that zombies tend to, and in this reviewers’ opinion, SHOULD occupy.
If your preference is more to wage war against the horde with impressive arsenals of weapons, with a larger team of survivors as opposed to a rag-tag bunch of misfits thrown together by circumstance and grit, you will probably prefer this game to the other offerings. However, gameplay feels less fresh and more repetitive than similar games, and although entertaining and feeling very big, doesn’t have as much replay value – particularly with very little zombie variety to spice things up.
Author: Tom, Cardiff store