Game Review: The War Z

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Zombie shooters seem to be commonplace these days, but an up-and-coming open world zombie shooter called The War Z brings the genre to a new level. Not yet an official release, the game remains in its testing stage, but is already quite playable. Players can buy the game for as little as $25. One thing to remember if you find yourself in this post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland: do not trust anyone. It is the internet after all.

The zombie apocalypse should be about frenzied survival, and in this aspect The War Z delivers quite well. Large open world servers can hold up to 40 people at a time, but this number could increase by the projected time of release of Winter 2012. Instead of the standard zombie game experience where guns, ammo, and supplies are readily available, players in The War Z start with no guns and limited amounts of food.

The goal is to survive as long as possible, but there are numerous pitfalls. A player must manage their health, hunger, and thirst through the acquisition of medical supplies, food, and beverages. To find these essential supplies, players find themselves scavenging for food in cities. Cities attract other players, potentially the most dangerous and unpredictable element in the game. Zombies in The War Z are slow, and can be outmaneuvered when in small groups. It is best to avoid zombies to limit the risk of losing health or wasting ammo.

Players generally consider other players as walking caches for supplies, and kill each other for supplies any chance they get. It is advisable to remain hidden in a town and scope out areas extensively before entering. Sprinting around is asking to be seen, so save this ability for times of need. After a decent amount of scavenging, the player’s backpack can get full, so finding a backpack with a larger carrying capacity is always a good idea. Guns are even better than a backpack. Even though there is a wide variety of weaponry in the game, guns are hard to come by. They can be used to kill zombies, other players, or merely intimidate others. Either way, conserving ammo is key.

If a player finds himself with a decent sized backpack, ample supplies, and a weapon, he should be extra careful. Dying in The War Z causes the player to lose everything they collected in that life, unless they get to a safe zone. Being well equipped requires a long session of searching and foraging, which is not terribly exciting. However, these low intensity moments and the paranoia of being hunted by both people and zombies lead to even more exciting moments when things begin to go wrong.

Although some of the bugs and need for changes are still prevalent, the developers have been active in their updates and community support so far. Many additions are forthcoming, such as vehicles and extended character customization. Unforgettable moments can be found in every corner of the many cities on the map (conveniently named Colorado), which establishes this game as a zombie classic. The game is like a social experiment, as players are tested to see how they would react in a dire situation while struggling for survival. For $25 the game is more than worth it. The War Z is playable only for PC at this time, but the game has low system requirements that make it playable on almost any machine. The poor graphics on a sub-par rig do not matter when the gameplay is this fun.



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