The various World War Z adaptations have been staggered just right, so that general interest has almost totally subsided each time a new property is released. The novel World War Z was released in 2006; seven years later the film adaptation came out, and after another six years the game adaptation World War Z has been released.
The game World War Z is a co-op zombie shooter, very similar to Left 4 Dead, in which a team of four allies progress through a level killing every zombie in sight and collection supplies like health kits and different weapons on the way. There are different classes to choose from, and you can level them up depending on your success in levels, same as you can the weapons you find and use through the levels, providing some form of meta-game.
On a technical level, World War Z is a fine game - you run around and shoot zombies, and the moving and shooting works smoothly. But ‘technically fine game’ is a lot different than ‘fun game’, and World War Z is definitely not that - it has a pretty huge flaw that permeates every part of the game, and ruins most of the fun of the play.
World War Z is just too easy to be any fun. It’s a problem is born from a collection of design decisions that together turn the game from a tense zombie shooter, to a walking tour of various dilapidated settings.
One of the most important parts of a shooter is the shooting, and in a game like this most of the tension is created by the ebb and flow of combat, be it from a deficit of weapons and ammunition or an overabundance of enemies - but World War Z arms the character far too well for there to be any drama.
On every corner and in every room you can find piles of weapons and ammo to use, and since most enemies barely take any damage to kill, it takes no effort or skill to beat back the hordes both when travelling through the level, and in certain set piece moments when hordes of zombies spawn and you must defend a position.
It’d be easy enough to go without the guns though - when you play in solo mode your other three team-mates are NPCs, crack shots who can keep the zombies at bay without you needing to do anything.
Alternatively, you could do away with the guns and rely on melee, an attack which one-hit kills most enemies and can be chained to wipe through hordes.
The levels - of which there are only twelve - are completely linear, and they become rather repetitive fairly quickly with a predictable rhythm of travelling and fighting hordes - it’s the kind of rhythm that can lull you to sleep if there’s no tension, and suffice to say there isn’t.
When a game is too easy, and lacks any kind of tension, it just becomes boring to play - and that’s the case with World War Z.
There are a few other problems with the game too - namely, what you hear as you play. Characters repeat a few lines over and over again, and certain lines are recorded in shockingly poor quality, so you can hear them distort - this isn’t a criticism you’d normally hear about a game, but it’s such a noticeable and jarring issue that it jolts you out of the game to hear it.
That doesn’t mean World War Z is terrible - as previously stated, the game plays fine on a technical level, and for those who care, it seems to authentically cohabitate the same same world as the novel and/or film. Locations seem inspired by the property, like several in Jerusalem that see you collecting research about some kind of superweapon - though there isn’t really any kind of narrative to speak of either,
But the lack of difficulty brings boredom, which makes it harder and harder to motivate yourself to play - that’s a damning indictment of a game that isn’t broken, but needs to be fixed.