First Impressions: World War Z Video Game

First impressions: World War Z on Xbox One

If there is one way to get me to play a video game, it’s throw zombies at it… well, except for Call of Duty, which is weird as it am a huge CoD fan, but not of the ‘Zombies’ part of the gameplay. Now I’ve played a fair few zombie games like Dead Rising, Dead Island, State of Decay, Zombie Army Trilogy and heaps of other games of their ilk, so,a new zombie game will always pique my interest.

Now to say I was surprised that a video had been made of World War Z, and film that is 6 years old who was based on the novel by Max Brooks from 7 years prior to that is underestimating my reaction to discovering this game.

Of course, the story (and rather than go through the intricacies of the novel or the film’s plot I’ll give a rough outline that sounds familiar) is that a virus has infected the human race that turns those infected into a zombie that moves quite fast and will do anything to continue spreading the infection… which leads to some pretty ridiculous scenes in the film of these zombies stacking on top of each other in a fervour… but the zombies won’t attack anyone who is resistant to the virus, leading adventure in this world to be finding a cure.

You know, usual zombie stuff.

This game is made for an online experience but so far I have not been able to get a game online and none of my friends play so I haven’t been able to convince any of them to get it, even though it has a budget price point of $50 (in Australia on release). Subsequently I have been playing this game offline in a local environment with bots playing as my three compatriots. This is a third-person view game and the character archetypes are all interesting and relevant to the environment they exist in ie the New York levels have a bunch of ‘New York’ looking characters, whereas the Israel levels have a more military feel. Each of these characters also have a backstory to see once you have finished any level with each of them.

Basically the game is a grinder: you have to get from Place A to Objective B, killing as many zombies as you possibly can (which swarm like bees) and once you get to B, the NPC there will say ‘we can’t do this until you do that’ which you do and then it moves onto the next level. There is a basic levelling up schedule which increases your weapon strengths and types and your character is prepared for bigger zombies like ‘screamers’ who call more zombies to your locations, and a big bruiser type who just grab and smash you.

The various locations you can play in are awesome, giving you a mixture of environments. The street/ urban look of New York, the older looking building landscape of Moscow, the more suburban/ rural environments of Israel and finally, Tokyo, it its outer lying city environments.

The missions do have a bit of variety, but it’s not SO much different than what I mentioned previously. Actually the look and the gameplay, and even the leveling up system reminds me a little of The Division… if it had a zombie mode.

All in all, my first impressions of this game are that it’s ok, not great, but a fun distraction which I am sure would be enhanced by the more online gameplay. I don’t imagine it has too much longevity though except for those who truly are a slave to the grind.

Doom – Xbox One – First Impressions

I love videogaming more than I care to share with others. I’m not very good at it, but I love everything about it: the challenges, the fun, the competitive online stuff, the art and design of it… Everything. I even entertained ideas of joining the industry and even did part of a college course to do it professionally, but the industry in Australia bottomed out and I quit the course.

Which is a shame cause MY game idea is pretty cool… well I think so.

The course did teach me a lot about game design though, and I believe I have become a more competent gamer because of it. 

My favourite games are First Person Shooters, or FPS’s and I have been playing them since Doom first came out all those years ago, and I’ve played many since on many different systems, of various degrees of entertainment value: Goldeneye 64, Lifeforce Tenka, various Halos, Fallout 3 and 4, Castle Wolfenstein, Dead Island, all the Call of Duty’s since Modern Warfare 3 and all the Battlefields’ since 2.

That’s not all of them, and yes, I don’t know why I can’t seem to get any better either.

At last year’s E3, Bethesda announced the return of Doom, and from the footage I saw, I was pretty freaking excited. I couldn’t wait to return to the world of guns and chainsaws versus demons in the Doom environment.

So yesterday I grabbed it and loaded it up, but as I’m used to Call of Duty excessive updates on release, I left it to load only to discover it loaded in no time at all, but I was doing other stuff for this very site, so I forced myself to wait until today, and climbed out of bed at 4am to kill some demons…

…and kill demons, I did!

The fighting starts immediately as killing takes place over any storyline the campaign may have to offer. There is a story about you, a person who has awoken on Mars, chained to an altar where Dr Olivia Pierce has, using bizarre rituals, appeared to have opened the gates of Hell. Will you, in your nifty Praetor suit, be able to kill all the demons and stop Hell making it’s permanent home on Mars?

Let’s home so, for Matt Damon’s sake!

So my impressions so far are this: the game itself is kickass fun and non stop: as long as an area still has demons in it, you are frantically going through the motions of killing and collecting health and ammo, but it’s never a grind like Destiny tends to be sometimes… Actually, ALL the time. The level design is beautifully done, and easy to navigate, especially with the accessible 3D map, and there so much to see that you’ll never get bored with what the devs and designers have done with the look of the game, which is ever varying tones of the dusty, sandy redness of Mars, mixed with the scaffolding and technology of mankind. It’s Richard Stanley’s Hardware with demons instead of robots!

The game is quite simple, if it is moving, shoot it or hit it or chainsaw it until it is dead, and some of the deaths, particularly the ‘Glory Kills’ (hand to hand kills that are like Mortal Kombat’s finishing moves) have to be seen to be believed… These are Evil Dead 2 styled kills!! The skill tree is also easy to navigate, and the new abilities for weapons make them… Is ‘funner’ a word?

Now for me the core to FPSing is the multiplayer experience. I dig the campaigns but executing my fellow man online is where my passion lies. I have been a regular on the Battlefield and served a couple of clans on the Call of Duty servers since Black Ops 2 and really looked forward to the online element of Doom, but alas, after waiting for 20 minutes for a game, no luck. During that time though I did modify my online dude to look to my specifications, which is always a fun element to add to an online gaming environment!

So all in all, so far I’m loving Doom, and hopefully will be able to report back on the online experience soon. If you like non-complicated FPS’s, Doom’s for you.

In 5 words or less: get your ass to Mars!

Note: I apologise for the lack of pictures of demons in this piece. The reason is two fold: one, I didn’t want to spoil some of the awesome designs of the monsters and two, the action is so frantic I didn’t get an opportunity to even think of getting a pic until the action was over!