Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Left 4 World War Z

After I wrote the previous blog about the upcoming World War Z game I felt that perhaps I was being too hard on the game. Perhaps I hadn't seen enough of  what they planned to do, to be making judgement on what they planned to create. Perhaps my comparison to Left 4 Dead was unfounded, and perhaps Saber Interactive actually has a new, fresh, and imaginative take on the zombie shooter. Except, that nah, it's basically a refresh of Left 4 Dead while taking advantage of World War Z's fame.....several years too late.

First, the game isn't 100% like Left 4 Dead. World War Z is supposed to allow players to set up defense points with the use of traps, and machine gun placements. Left 4 Dead did have some levels where machine guns emplacements were fixed in place, usually when a scripted hoard was about to occur, but you weren't allowed to set up your own strategic locations. This makes sense in the context of the game, a group of survivors trying to haul ass to the end of the stage.

Second,  Left 4 Dead is first person, while the World War Z game is third point of view.

Is this enough to make World War Z stand out as this ground breaking new game with something to offer? No.

Watch this video from IGN

At about twenty seconds into the video, Oliver Hollis-Leick of Saber talks about how the first thing they watched was the film, and how the hordes in that movie were "iconic". This is the first issue, when dealing with the World War Z franchise the first thing they should have looked at was the novel, not the fucking movie. The problem with the movie is that it deviates too far from the book, to the point where it basically misses everything that made the book great. It focuses entirely on action, as opposed to the whole "nation rebuilding, humanity adapting" aspect of the book. They also seem to miss the fact that the movie got an unimpressive 63% on Metacritic, which may be a mostly favorable score, but is an overall failing grade. He is literally talking about basing this game on the worst iteration of the franchise, and it's going to show.
Hordes were already a thing guys!

Skip to the fifty second mark where Oliver then literally states that the hordes of the "main" features of the game. If the hordes are the main feature then we have a problem. Left 4 Dead had it's fast paced action directed by its AI director that adjusted the difficulty based on your teams progression. If you did too well Left 4 Dead upped it's difficulty, if you started suffering too much, it eased it a little. The AI director was not the only feature of the game, but one of many combined to work together to create an experience. The inclusion of special infected types also opened up the opportunity for extremely competitive versus modes. If the main feature of this game is the "hordes" then I am doubtful about what else the game has to offer. World War Z's hordes look cool, but it hardly sets the game apart from anything have seen in the past.

Watching the video it is funny how the developer tries so hard to distinguish this game from Left 4 Dead, but it's funny watching as players go down and seeing their body outlined by a glow just like in Left 4 Dead. In fact, it's funny watching at the four minute mark where Oliver brags about how the game reacts based on the players progression. He talks about this reactive feature as if though it's something new, and although Saber's system may be different in its own right, one can't help but draw a comparison to the AI director of the Left 4 Dead games. Again, we see nothing to set this game apart from the game which it is obviously taking influence from.

It's hard not to see the similarities when there is even a strong resemblance in the settings of the levels shown in the trailers for World War Z to those seen in Left 4 Dead 2.

At the 5:47 mark they begin talking about "special infected" and their roles in zombie games, where Oliver then begins to list the special infected which may be found in the game, from the "Big Heavy", "Sneaky Stealth Zombie" "Toxic Zombies with Stink Cloud" and "Screamer which attracts more zombies". I wonder where we have seen such special infected before? This is Left 4 Dead, down to the special infected types.
What's that about a "super heavy" zombie?

At this point in time this game doesn't seem to offer anything new, instead it offers old features and play styles with new coats of paint. That's not enough to make me want to buy it, and it shouldn't be enough to make you want to buy it either. It's not new, it's not refreshing, it's lazy. On top of being lazy, it capitalizes off the success of a great novel, while the same time missing everything that made the novel great in the first place, like the movie it is just another bastardization of the World War Z series, this time in the form of a Left 4 Dead clone. We'll see how it goes when the game is finally released though.

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