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The War Z

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By Merc11-01-2013
Bis18marck70 (editor)
NeonAnderson (editor)
The War Z

The Defence

Developer:
Hammerpoint Interactive
Publisher:
Arktos Entertainment
Genre:
Shooter, MMO, Horror
Release Date:
17-12-2012

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce GTX 570
AMD equivalent
RAM:
4 GB
HDD:
2 GB
DirectX:
9.0c

The Case

 

The War Z has followed in the footsteps of the popular Day Z mod for ARMA 2. It thrusts the player in an open environment that is filled with zombies and other players that can be both allies or foes. As there is no story, the only task is to survive the random insanity that occurs between players and the zombie horde. For some gamers it may be the most refreshing idea in gaming, while others may shrug their shoulders. If you have been living under a rock you may be unaware of the surrounding controversy of The War Z. Well what about the actual game, is it any good?

The Trial

 

What would you do if you had to survive the zombie apocalypse? It is a fun idea to think about and many gamers have pondered on this idea with their friends. In the War Z you will get to test some of your plans and also see yourself die because they have failed. There is no story in The War Z at all. Instead, the players create their own stories. You create a character, and are dropped randomly into the world with nothing substantial to survive. Death will come swift the first few times. You can play the normal mode and revive your character in an hour, or play hardcore. You can guess that in hardcore, when you die, it is game over for good. You will not mind that much because the character creator lets you make some of the weirdest looking avatars in any game. There is no real attachment to your character and they feel as uninspired as the rest of the game.

I think this is grass.

I think this is grass.

You are not alone in this world and other players can be a worse threat than the zombie hordes. All you do in the game is survive, and you need to find food, drink and weapons to achieve it. The world is large with many places to explore, but as you are provided with a map, navigation is easy at all times. It is tense and fun to scout out a town, then try to slowly plod through it finding resources. If you see another human be wary or you may be dead within minutes. With the cool concepts the game has, it is sad that almost everything around it are fumbled so spectacularly.

Walking through a town or other places where humans have been can be fun but it is difficult to do because of the game’s broken mechanics. There are meters to let you know how much sound you are making, or how easily the zombies can see you. Sometimes they work, other times they do not. You can be crawling on the ground past five zombies and none will know you exist. The sixth zombie though has better senses and somehow will spot you even though the others did not. It is frustrating to slowly make your way into a town and then get seen for no logical reason. The zombies themselves seem broken, once they see you it is time to run...or die. Be aware you will now have 20 zombies chasing you. You could jump up onto something and they stop immediately, other times they can still chase you. There is just no logic to how they work, thus it becomes more about random luck rather than player skill, which is just no fun at all.

Boxes are zombie repellent.

Boxes are zombie repellent.

Since there are zombies and other players that want to see you in an early grave, weapons are essential. Good luck trying to defend yourself in War Z. You will be fighting the broken mechanics more than zombies or other players. The shooting feels average and other players (yourself included) die very quickly. It is sad that most players will shoot you on sight even if you just spawned into the world. If the zombies were more of a threat then perhaps players would be more inclined to work together to survive. As of now, other players are more of a threat than the zombies. It was clear that teaming up with others was not really an option, so shooting on sight became standard for most players. Fighting zombies is even worse than fighting players because of the horrible collision detection of the melee weapons. And shooting them will attract even more brain eaters. Melee combat is the best way to go cause it is silent, but it is still terrible. Hitting zombies with a baseball bat feels like you are hitting them with a plastic toy; there is just no feeling of any kind of impact. Sometimes you can kill a zombie in three hits, other times in five or more. Again there seems to be no logic behind any of it.

The game takes place in a fictional Colorado. While it looks good sometimes, most of the time it is a muddy mess. There are missing textures in places, they are not frequent but still noticeable. When running around a town or city you will see dozens upon dozens of zombies, while human players are not as frequent. It is impressive with the amount of zombies on screen at any given time but the towns and cities themselves are uninspiring. The animations in the game will literally make you laugh out loud and it also seems like there are some animations that are not even in the game yet. Zombies are not scary because they look ridiculous when chasing you or just shuffling around in the world. While after you dozens will give chase with the same boring animation, all making the same sounds. They do not even move their arms, just slowly charge after you until you lose them in the forest or randomly break their line of sight . Overall the game looks like it was released five or six years ago and it would have looked bad even then. The sound design is also laughable, the nature sounds feel like they came off a generic CD found in a Wal-Mart bin. The consistency of the sound design is flawed because your character will sound the same on concrete as they do on dirt. At least the gun sounds are not the worst part of the sound design but are nothing to be impressed with either.

I suck!

I suck!

It is sad that The War Z was not in development longer because it could have been a fun game even if it was not a triple A title. Even with the bad graphics, weak sound design and bug ridden gameplay, the game has a lot of potential from the interesting ideas it has. But there are so many missing features it is astonishing. There is no friends list yet, no clans, no server rental, and many other features are missing. When you kill a zombie in the game you get XP, but there are no skill trees or any other way to use it! Bottom line, do not buy this game as it is. Maybe Hammerpoint can pull it together, but so far The War Z is unplayable. The developers can call it whatever they want, but the game is not done.

The Verdict

 

Not much can be said about The War Z that is positive because it is fundamentally broken. It looks bad, it plays bad, it sounds bad, and is frustrating to play. The way that this game has been handled should be a warning that developers need to make a game with care, even if you have good intentions. Intentions and ideas do not make a final game, as a result gamers are going to have to look somewhere else for this type of game. This type of survival zombie game is a great concept, but The War Z is not the way to experience it. Stay away.

Case Review

  • God Help Me: Tense world to travel through, there is no predicting what can happen.
  • My Eyes Hurt: The game looks bad: from terrible textures, to awful animations.
  • I Need Earplugs: The sounds in The War Z are uninspired and generic. 
  • What Do I Do: There are a variety of missing features. There are no skill trees, but you gain experience for nothing.
  • I Wanna Be Friends: Most people will kill you on sight, so shoot first. It is sad there is no teamwork.
  • You're Scary?: Zombies are dumb, also not really fun to fight. They are completely uninspired.
1
Score: 1/5
This type of survival zombie game is a great concept, but The War Z is not the way to go
Comments (4)
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Posts: 1317

Why did you even bother reviewing it? This game doesn't deserve this much publicity. It deserves to go away and die. :P

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Posts: 241

Completely agree with the score, an awful game.

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Posts: 351

Yeah its really bad. Cannot wait for Day z though!

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Posts: 596

A scam game made by a bunch of professional con-artists... I am surprised they haven't been sued yet... a bunch...