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World War Z

World War Z

We've killed thousands of zombies in Saber Interactive's game adaptation of the Max Brooks novel and we got a thirst for blood.

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The last game in the Left 4 Dead franchise, Left 4 Dead 2, released way back in 2009, even if it doesn't feel like that long ago. With fans waiting close to a decade for the third installment, developer Saber Interactive has taken the idea of what made Valve's zombie-slashing classic great and brought it, along with its own take on various aspects, to 2019 and our current-day formats.

With the already released World War Z, based on the Max Brooks novel of the same name, or maybe, technically more based on the movie adaptation starring Brad Pitt, players get to experience some crazy companion banter, brutal zombie annihilation, fun but stressful objectives and co-operative play, all of which were building blocks of the Left 4 Dead experience but there's some innovation in this gem of a game as well. The main focus of the game is, of course, the co-op story mode and the impressively massive zombie horde that's roaming around.

The co-operative mode is divided into four different story episodes with all but one having three scenarios or "chapters" if you will (the last episode, Tokyo, has two). These episodes differ greatly from one another, both in setting, character choices and objectives, making for plenty of variation. Before every mission, you get to choose a chapter, one of five difficulty levels, a class, and one of four episode-specific characters. Picking a character, mind you, isn't final in multiplayer but instead has you opt for your preferred character. These don't differ though, so if you don't get to play as your favourite there's not much more to lose other than the visual and audio aspects. The classes for the story mode are Gunslinger (firearms-focused), Hellraiser (explosive-focused), Medic (healing-focused), Fixer (all-rounder with special pickups and passives), Slasher (melee-focused) and Exterminator (crowd control-focused), all of which have different skill trees that you can choose to upgrade. Levelling up your skill trees is, however, tactical in the sense that you can only upgrade the classes you level up in, so it's best to look through the different ones and look for the skills you think would suit your playstyle the best early on. Each class caps at level 30 so it can take a while to go through the entirety of it, and noticing that you've picked the wrong class can happen too late if you don't scan the skill tree ahead of time. The skills one can unlock cover everything from extra health from health kits, new and fancy starting weapons and gear, and increased ammunition capacity to general buffs, stamina boosts and damage increases.

The last thing to check out before heading into battle is your weapon customisation tab. Here you'll be able to customise your arsenal with cosmetic items (if you have them, we were granted with some skins with the specific version of the game we tested) and all-around combat stat boosters like adding a scope, a larger mag or a silencer, for example. The different unlockables will be triggered once you've used that specific weapon enough. The changes you make here will be added to your starter weapons, all of which depend on your class and unlocked skills and its starter arsenal, as well as the weapons you pick up along the way.

World War Z

Moving on to the different chapters and their objectives, the premise is simple. Work together (or alone with AI) to deal with the zombie horde, special undead, military traps, and chapter objectives to get out of the danger zone (which is basically the entire world at this point). To use an early level as a reference as to what they hold - the first, in fact - Descent tasks the player with a tough task: getting out of New York City. The sole objective is to persuade a shady character in charge of a subway train to let him on the train and drive the team out of town by collecting five supply crates for his people, as the horde swarms your location as well as the train. That's not the only objective that the map offers, however, in fact, there are plenty. You'll be faced with an objective early on in the chapter where you need to fight off the horde as you wait for an elevator. Before every encounter, all of which are timed in some way, you'll get to stock up with new weapons, health packs, grenades and ammunition from some conveniently placed supply crates and then, when prompted, the horde you'll have to fend off comes at you in full force.

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