Review – World War Z Aftermath
2019 saw the original release of Saber Interactive’s third person survival shooter World War Z which has remarkably been played by an impressive 15 million players. Using their Swarm Engine, Saber Interactive was able to keep their title as close to possible to the 2013 big screen movie counterpart with its extreme in number and speed zombie hordes, creating an intense but anxious cooperative thrill ride. At the time of OMG review, we were impressed with a solid 8/10 and it was wrapped up with the blurb below.
“World War Z is an entertaining surprise that has players having a better time than they might expect. It’s extremely enjoyable that also gives the Left 4 Dead nostalgic feels, while also providing a refreshing experience. With three mates and raising the difficulty, Saber Interactive’s title and their Swarm Engine provides some of the finest, panicky and anxious cooperative multiplayer moments ever, creating a blast of fun. If that is what your gaming sessions is about, then I would say check this title out.”
Two and a half years on World War Z returns, not as a fully-fledged sequel but as a $30AU Aftermath add on for current owners of the original game or a $60AU full new game for those picking it up for the first time. Aftermath brings with it new missions, a new class, a first-person perspective, improved weapons, new melee system, solid 60FPS frame rate and promise of more to come for the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.
This review is focused on the new Aftermath edition. The brief premise of World War Z is that the player and up to three friends must complete episodic story missions in different cities around the world. Missions mostly require getting from point A to point B, while doing small fetch quests and wave-based defensive sections on the way to point B. Throughout missions, players will battle thousands of undead while finding better equipment and weaponry to make the job easier. The undead also vary, with specialised zombie units that have different abilities such as those that explode into deadly gas clouds or stalk and pounce on the player. Finally, it is the different player classes, constant earning experience and upgrading these classes and weapons that pushes players to try and take on the much harder difficulty levels. For an in-depth look at the original 2019 World War Z game you can see our review here.
The main focus for Aftermath for returning players will be its two new campaign missions of Rome in the Vatican City and Russia’s bitterly cold Kamchatka. Rome is more of the same formula, but I certainly enjoyed the opening foggy sections where keeping quiet is key and also the escorting of an APC through the Roman streets. This final section has an immense number of undead and is spectacular.
Kamchatka brings something new to the table with its blistering winter storms that forces players to find shelter and turn on heaters while the cold chips away at their health. It also ends in another epic showpiece. This is also the only mission that has returning characters, with our original Tokyo protagonists leaving their frozen over cruise liner they left on at the end of the Tokyo missions.
If players are new to World War Z or never picked up the WWZ season pass or the past DLC, players will also receive the Marseille missions. This takes the players to the French Riviera right through to the missile command centre where the team must close four tunnels with missiles. The extra 3 chapters definitely add more for the player’s buck if they have not picked this up.
The other main focus for returning fans and one that might entice new fans is the addition of a First-Person mode. The positive is that is does allow a new way to play and offers a new experience, although it does have its fallbacks. Shooting and moving feels different between both the third and first-person modes. Movement in first-person feels faster, with running and gunning with picking off multiple undead with head shots being easier. While feeling faster, movement is so smooth I felt like I was gliding rather than running but the biggest drawback here is there is no iron sight view. The LT/L2 buttons do zoom in but it is a zoomed-in view just like in the third-person mode. While for some, like me, this won’t be an issue but not being able to use the scopes and sights on the decked-out weaponry is a little disappointing.
Sadly, changing perspectives cannot be changed on the fly with a simple button press, it is done by a quick options press and change but is hard to do in the thick of battle. Each mission for this review I changed between the two perspectives, and I must say as I continue from here, the first-person mode will be my go-to, as even with its set back, it just felt more and more like Left 4 Dead the longer I played, which is not a bad thing.
The Aftermath unique player classes have been risen by one to make eight. The new Vanguard is armed with an electrified shield that can be used for offensive and defensive purposes. Use it to charge through zombies or the opposite, to deploy and block paths with electrified cover. Just like all classes, the longer the class is used and levelled up, the more offensive and defensive options become available, and just like the core game, are needed to even attempt higher difficulties.
Along with the new class for the player to utilise comes a new type of special zombie in the form of a pack of rats. These man-eating rats swarm the player and are significantly dangerous and take down a team rapidly if they are not quickly disposed of. The perfect method to take them down is fire, either via a flamethrower or Molotov. These more that compliment the enemies already on offer and add another dimension into the swarming chaos that are WWZ zombies.
The melee system has been reworked and now players can choose from a dual wielding but quick striking light weapons, a medium sized one-handed weapon and the heavier with longer reach but slower two-handed weapons. Players can now perform combos ending with a signature strike to get themselves out of tight situations, and while each weapon usage drains stamina, players recover quickly.
World War Z still looks great and playing it on both a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the hard 60 FPS make the intimidating hordes look glorious as they throw themselves off buildings and form zombie pyramids to get at players. Sadly, for those with new generation consoles players will need to wait for the free post-launch update for the new-gen enhancements. The sound design is still great with the quieter tense times to the havoc of the swarming hordes, all with communication between the player’s avatars and a blood pumping soundtrack.
This game is online co-op and cannot be paused and for those gaming parents, Aftermath is a violent with zombies being easily dismembered, making it a title not one to played with young ones around. Finding online players become much easier with Cross Play being introduced between consoles and PC, and games can easily be set up between mates. Unfortunately for those eager to play the new Horde XL mode, players will need to wait for a free update coming early next year.
Pottsy for One More Game
8 – Great – this is a standout game where some minor changes would make it amazing. You could easily justify your purchase of this game.
Please click the link here for a full rundown of our rating scale.
This game was reviewed on an Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 and is also available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Review code was provided for the purpose of this review. All thoughts on this title is that of the reviewer and the OMG team.