World War Z is an immensely satisfying, and consistently surprising, runaway success, and continues to evolve with all manner of free and paid content drops. The latest major update, the long sought after Horde mode, ups the ante in meaningful and challenging ways.
You'd best prepare yourselves to eat the entire humble pie; Horde Mode Z is not for the faint of heart, and even on its normal difficulty presents a punishing, and often times overwhelming, experience. This is absolutely pitched at those players who have chewed through the existing episodic campaign, and regularly enjoy dipping a toe into the harder settings.
Although you get a minute or so between waves to scramble for supplies and spend your resources on defensive upgrades, the arrival of the next set of Zed's will hit you quickly and then it's straight back to the action.
World War Z is so intrinsically a co-operative experience. Even though you can matchmake with randoms, or fill in remaining slots with bots, the whole thing feels balanced toward gathering your squad of real world buds and taking on the masses.
Horde Mode Z doubles down on this notion; without effective communication, you'll quickly find yourself getting ruined. Resources are limited across the board, so it's worth assigning roles to every member of your team to give everyone specific things to purchase that benefit the whole crew.
There's so many permutations to consider, with a large number of tactical options like razor wire, auto turrets, and electrified panels that can be picked up from the same store as heavy weapons and equipment refills.
Optional objectives are thrown into each wave as well, which grant additional bonus doshins to spend but can increase the risk of becoming separated from your allies and bumped off with ease. Zombie damage is definitely heightened in this mode, so poor decision making can have immediate consequences.
There's a lot going on here, with randomised free drops of gear, shipping crates that can be blown open with breaching charges, and unpredictable special zombie spawning that makes each run feel different. There's a lot more depth than we expected, and it's so pleasing to see the amount of variation every time you jump back in.
Only one map is available in the current form of Horde Mode Z, which is a shame, but there will likely be additional updates in future seasons. It's a first step, and therefore tough to complain about given that it's a free giveaway. Still, we felt like it's worth noting, considering that campaign and competitive multiplayer were both pretty well fleshed out from the beginning.
That feels like the ultimate nit pick though, since Horde Mode Z has absolutely delivered the wave based experience that fans have been clamouring for. We haven't even mentioned the new Bomber special zombie, which will do everything possible to detonate itself in the midst of your team (unless you can strategically target limbs and disarm the vest within a limited window).
There's ingenuity sprinkled throughout this update, and we have every reason to believe that the good times will keep on rolling.
World War Z is available now, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Horde Mode Z is live, and free to all players.