I’m sure that most are well aware of the blockbuster movie of the same name that was released way back in 2013 starring a certain Brad Pitt. Well, eventually released is the game based on that very same movie. I for one have been waiting a very long time for this one to drop since it was announced quite some time ago. We here at AIR Entertainment have tried to keep everyone updated with PR releases as the game has been getting closer to its final release, but they were rather sporadic.
Not only based on the movie, it is also based on the novel and sees players globetrotting around the world pumping more lead into zombies than is humanly possible; and boy is it fun! It’s one of those games that the world has been crying out for for quite some time now.
Travelling through 5 locations around the world the game does follow a vague storyline with a campaign that can be played with your friends, random strange people that you meet online or with bots. Now don’t let the idea of the bots put you off. Each level is attacked with 4 players and if you do wish to stick to offline play then the other 3 player spaces are taken up by good old AI and in all honesty, they work really well. I played quite a few games with other players and they were useless. Running off thinking that they could take on the hordes of zombies alone leaving you to die as they were so self absorbed it was worrying. The bots do stick by you and if you do end up bleeding out they will run to your aid every time.
Within each area of the world there is a small storyline to follow, but its not really an overall story within the game. The basic idea after all is to get from point A to B and kill as many zombies which stand in your way as possible. That being said, the environments are beautiful and each totally different from the last, the differences between Japan and Russia for example are beautiful on the eyes. I wish the same could be said for any of the characters you can play as. They may as well be zombies themselves as there is very little emotion to them what-so-ever which makes it hard to find any attachment to them and feel their own plights. Once you have completed a countries 3 stage level then you move on to the next part of the world and take control over another 4 new characters (I guess its better than running all over the world with Brad Pitt).
My other main issue with the story is that you can jump to any part of the world and any stage within that part of the world right from the start. I would have much preferred it if you could only unlock those levels after completing the previous one; but there lies another issue for me. Once you have completed a stage, there is nothing to say that you have actually done it and if you get called away from your console as I did, once you go back to your game it is hard to remember exactly where you were. I ended up replaying levels due to this.
So as far as I can remember, that’s the bad parts out of the way (knowing me I will stumble across something else). If you have ever watched the movie, you will be aware of the mass hordes of zombies, all climbing over one another to reach higher places..
..I’m pleased to say that this has been captured in the game and to amazing effect. There are frequent times when you will face off against hordes of zombies all climbing over one another to get to you and then they will start to climb. You will always know when you are about to face off against these hordes however as you get a minute or so to set up some defences, be-it barbed wire barricades, a sentry gun or electrified flooring. Then all hell breaks loose and you need to survive. If you are on an elevated position the hordes will climb. You can stop this by throwing a couple of grenades at the base of their pyramid or simply plow as many bullets in to them as possible before they start to collapse on one another. The defenses you build also have limited effectiveness. Barbed wire for instance is great at first, watching the zombies stumble into it and thrash about trying to get free, eventually dying, but the more zombies that get tangled up, the more zombies will then start to climb over them and the defence become useless. Sentry guns also have limited ammunition and you will need to restock them if they run out. The first time I encountered a horde, I will admit I ended up dying, but that was more down to my jaw being on the floor at the sheer amazement of each individual zombie’s movements and the horde as a whole.
As I said above, the campaign can be played alone or online and I am glad to say that the online handles not only the player connections well, but the frame rates within the game as well. There is so much happening on screen a lot of the time that I would expect a few frame drops or slowing of pace, but I didn’t spot any and that is rather impressive with everything that’s going on and connecting 4 different players into the action as well.
Aside from the campaign there is also multiplayer which offers a few styles of game. You battle against other teams as you would in pretty much every other multiplayer, but throw into the mix hordes of zombies coming in to the battlefield and you have some serious fun ahead of you.
Saber Interactive have used a ‘swarm engine’ to bring us the mass hordes of zombies attacking at once and looking closely at them, they are all individual zombies, yes, a few follow the same path to attack but each individual zombie is unique in movement all aiming to kill you. Its something that is simply amazing to behold. It captures the effects used within the movie perfectly especially when you get a swarm of them running toward you down a narrow corridor all falling over each other to get to their prey, but that’s not all thats working behind the scenes. The zombies adapt to the players style. By that I simply mean that if your play style is to go in all guns blazing, the zombies will attack in greater numbers. If your style is to be a little more stealthy in approach then the numbers are thinned as well as them ignoring you a little more than they would otherwise. Basically thanks to the engine, these zombies are intelligent.
Obviously you will also face various types of zombies; there are your standard zombies which you can mow down until your hearts content, but in the shadows hide Lurkers ready to pounce as well as gasbags which emit a toxic cloud of gas if they get too close or when you kill them hurting your life meter. The earlier of the two certainly give some nice jump scares within the game as they are designed to stay hidden until the last minute although your teammates will drop hints that there’s one around.
There is a definite sense of repetitiveness in the game. The more you achieve with a character in a city, the more you will unlock for that character, but throughout the entire game, each city has a choice of 4 players to choose from. You are awarded with points at the end of the stage which you can put into upgrading weapons or player abilities and these can be carried over to the online multiplayer parts of the game. The awards from multiplayer are not quite as great as the campaign, so there is a large amount of grinding the levels with all characters to level them all up as best you can. You don’t really need to do it if you just want to concentrate on the campaign, but for those who want to kick some ass online get ready to play the levels over and over again.
I truly did love the game; yes, there are a few issues in there which I would like to see fixed at some point, but it doesn’t take anything away from the immense fun of slaughtering thousands of the undead. 8/10 on this game for me.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were kindly supplied with a review copy of the game, this has not influenced my views on the game as per our Review Policy**