World War Z: Aftermath PS4 Review– World War Z: Aftermath is an excellent addition to the three-year-old co-op shooter. Bringing two new campaigns spanning six different missions and full 4K visuals and silky smooth 60 frames per second, Aftermath also includes an entire first-person view mode, essentially making it a brand new experience.
World War Z: Aftermath Review (PS4)
Two New Campaigns Feature Bigger Locations And Unique Mechanics
When I originally reviewed World War Z, I thought it was a great spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead but also felt it could have used a few more co-op maps to show off the various locations around the world. This time around, we get to head into the streets of Rome, even exploring the catacombs that span the vast city. The other new location is Kamchatka, a Peninsula located north of Japan and the far eastern part of Russia.
Those who have seen the World War Z movie starring Brad Pitt should recognize the region as where his wife and daughters were sent to after being moved out of the Navy carrier. These two locations are great additions to the game and add some unique gameplay mechanics not found in other campaigns.
Both locations feature plenty of moments where you can choose which direction to go and feature much larger maps to explore. The areas where you must defend against hordes of zombies are much bigger this time and have forced you to spread out more and cover more ground to prepare for the zombie horde attacks.
New Mechanics Change How You Battle And Survive The Undead
One of the new mechanics featured in Rome is having to carry around ammo cases to restock a heavy MG on top of an army vehicle so it can provide as you move through the city streets. Kamchatka, on the other hand, is a whole new beast. As the freezing temperatures begin to take their toll on the survivors, players have to traverse frozen bodies of water in a brand new ship graveyard.
The freezing temperatures become their own mechanic as you have to find heaters to keep yourself warm. Otherwise, you’ll die from the cold. There are even parts where you have to carry around a flamethrower to melt the ice frozen over doors to proceed.
Randomized puzzles also appear in the form of turning on four switches in the correct order. Every time you replay the mission, the order you have to activate the switches changes, and their location moves around to make things even harder. Another one requires you to find various circuit breakers to fix and restore power that change their location with each playthrough.
Along with the new campaigns, we also get treated to a brand new enemy. It’s not a new zombie type however, but instead a pack of rats. Don’t let that fool you though: rats are absolutely the worst enemy the game throws at you. These critters come running at you in a group and are almost impossible to kill traditional weapons, instead requiring explosives or fire-based weapons to dispatch efficiently.
Annoyingly, once they attack you, your character goes down to the ground almost immediately, just like when a Lurker strikes you. This gives you no chance to defend yourself, so you had better hope your teammates can deal with them before they eat you alive.
The New Vanguard Class And Updated Melee System Makes Up Close Action That Much More Entertaining
The Aftermath add-on comes with a brand new class bringing the total number of classes to eight. The Vanguard class is a defensive tank class that I couldn’t get into, but it has great abilities to help out your team. One of the Vanguards unique skills is to use a portable shield that sees the player run through a horde of zombies, knocking them down and killing some of the easier and weaker ones.
One of my favourite things to do with the Vanguard is charging at the Bull while it’s charging at me and knocking it on its butt, giving it a piece of its own medicine. The Vanguard charge is a double-edged sword. Though it allows you to run through hordes of zombies, it also leaves you vulnerable to that same horde; as such, using this ability can leave you dead centre surrounded by zombies with almost no way out.
Melee has also gotten a nice change but not one that makes a huge difference. Before Aftermath, you swing your melee weapon hitting zombies to get them away from you. Now the melee attacks have a combo system with various effects depending on the type you use.
If you have a heavy weapon such as an axe, you’ll do AOE damage by swinging the weapon to hit all the zombies around you. In contrast, smaller weapons are primarily for taking down single zombies in quick succession.
The First Person Viewpoint Is A Fantastic Addition And Lets You Experience The Game In A Whole New Way
First Person View is the highlight of the Aftermath update. As I mentioned earlier, it’s almost like playing the game for the first time. The experience is entirely different, and seeing a horde of zombies coming at you in first person is quite terrifying. It’s also much more rewarding when you can aim at zombies’ heads and weak points of the Hazmat zombie or even the Bomber zombie.
Yes, you can still hit their weak points in third person, but you get much more precision in first person.
In addition, you also get to experience the excellent zombie body damage the game offers up close and personal and it allows you to see all the great little details the game has that you may not have noticed in third-person.
Performance-wise the game is gorgeous in 4K, and the lighting is vastly improved with light peaking in through warehouse windows, and how the lighting is positioned to showcase the zombie shadows as they move around in the environment is top-notch. The 60 FPS is a godsend in a game where hundreds of zombies appear on the screen. It’s probably one of the few games that I’ve noticed the massive difference between 30 and 60 FPS.
Some AI And Online Issues Remain Along With Incredibly Long Load Times
Unfortunately, not everything has been improved. There are still issues present from the original release that continues to haunt the game since launch. The offender is what appears to be lag when playing online. Since the launch of the game, there were times when you would be facing off against zombies, and they would stop moving for a second and then appear a few feet from their initial position.
The load times also haven’t been improved in any way and can sometimes take an entire minute if not longer to get into a single level. I wish Saber Interactive would have improved this somehow, but I’m left hoping next year’s PS5 version will address this issue.
The other issues seem to be associated with the new maps where the zombies would just kind of get stuck climbing on each other or climbing on invisible walls. There were plenty of times when zombies would be running right at me and then start climbing on invisible walls.
When they climb over each other to reach you, they get stuck in the climbing animation and never make it to the top. It’s almost as if they’re stuck on a wall-climbing treadmill that keeps them in place.
Overall, World War Z: Aftermath brings game-changing improvements to the co-op survival shooter. The FPS Mode makes it feel like a brand new game, and the two know campaigns bring some great mechanics and gimmicks to the gameplay, and you can experience it all in glorious 4K and 60 FPS.
If you’ve been holding off on playing WWZ, now is the perfect time to jump in, especially since you’ll get a free PS5 upgrade when the PS5 version launches next year.
World War Z: Aftermath is now available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 via backwards compatibility
Review copy provided by PR.