So, when you think about a fun pickup & play co-op game what comes to mind? I’m sure the genre varies depending on your preferred preferences but I’m certain many if not all include the same requirements which are attention grabbing, fast-paced and offers replayability. World War Z: Aftermath not only checks those requirements, but it also solidifies itself as one of the best co-op zombie shooters available. When I reviewed World War Z back in 2019, I called it “An Exhilarating Zombie Co-op Shooter Experience”. World War Z: Aftermath literally builds upon the first game by making the necessary enhancements and improvements requested by the over 15 million players in the WWZ community.
When released, I noticed some confusion with those not familiar with the series, with the main question asked if this is a sequel or DLC to the original? WWZ: Aftermath is an expansion to those who own WWZ and available as a full standalone game that includes the original. All your progress from WWZ will carry over into Aftermath. On that note, we now have 2 additional episodes along with 1 new mode
- Rome, Vatican City
- Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula.
- Horde Mode XL (coming in 2022)
Like the original base game episodes, these new additions have 3 levels / save points. It’s also worth mentioning WWZ: Aftermath comes with all the WWZ: GOTY goodies which included a new episode Marseille, horde mode, all character skin packs and weapon skin packs. So, if you only owned the base version, you will be in for additional treats.
One key new feature is the ability to play in first-person mode. At any point during the game, you can go into the settings and see the option to switch first-person on or off. It would have been nice to have a quick button option to perform this function instead of going into settings. The first-person mode does pull you into the game in the way a traditional FPS would, however it’s not perfect. Holding down your platform of choice sights button will zoom / focus a bit but will not actually aim down your weapons sight or scope. So, if you pick up an assault rifle with a scope and press down your sight button you will not see through the scope. This would be more frustrating if not for the large crosshairs already provided for pretty much every weapon. With that said, there are a good variety of new weapons such as and electrified chainsaw, meat cleavers and sickles to name a few. Another new feature is the ability to dual wield melee weapons so you can channel that bill the butcher moment from the film Gangs of New York in which he was swinging around 2 meat cleavers in a massive gang fight.
What truly made WWZ a standout in the zombie shooter genre in 2019 and today in 2021 is the number of onscreen zombies running at you at full speed. There are few moments in gaming that still amaze me and seeing what appears to be hundreds of zombies sprinting toward my group is always nerve wrecking. While in Kamchatka on a cruise ship we were told to hold our position. Off in the distance you could see hundreds of zombies falling from the upper levels like a WATERFALL in an effort to tear us to shreds. I had a first time WWZ player in my group and his reaction that consisted of shock and panic was priceless. WWZ: Aftermath also includes a new enemy. No its not a zombie variant or new tank zombie…its rats!!! Packs of rats! These rats like the zombies are relentless and do not scatter when shot at. They will inflict a large amount of damage or even cause death if not dealt with quickly. Don’t try to out run them because you can’t, they will just keep coming so tip, if you see rats have everyone in your group take aim and unleash a bullet storm.
If I was to find one major flaw with WWZ: Aftermath it would be the lack of a real story. We have missions to obtain items, rescue key personnel etc. which are fine but nothing really substantial or memorable. Honestly, I don’t play zombie shooters for the story. I play them for the thrill of running around with some friends in dilapidated environments mowing down swarms of the undead with badass weapons. In the process, we create our own side adventure as I go wondering off looking for supplies and get lost from the group. So now it’s a search & rescue mission for my teammates. I’ve talked plenty about the co-op aspect, but WWZ: Aftermath can also be played solo with 3 AI teammates. The character class system also received a new edition which is called Vanguard. I personally use the slasher since I’m more of a melee fighter. Each of the 8 character classes offer a unique play style with its own set of perks and skills that can be improved as you play.
World War Z: Aftermath achieves its goal which is to provide a rollercoaster thrill ride of a zombie shooter.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of World War Z: Aftermath for the PS5 provided by Saber Interactive.