Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
World War Z
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that World War Z is a horror-based third-person shooter available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. The World War Z game is set within the same zombie apocalypse world established in the Universal feature film and Max Brooks novel of the same name. Players team up and fight against swarms of zombies using a variety of firearms, explosives, and melee weapons. Violence is constant and graphic, with lots of blood and gore shown onscreen. There’s a fair amount of profanity in the dialogue, including "f--k" and "s--t," and its online multiplayer component also could expose players to offensive language from other players in online chat.
What's it about?
In WORLD WAR Z, society is on the brink of collapse after a worldwide epidemic has given rise to a true zombie apocalypse. It’s a world in which the undead outnumber the living, and each day is a struggle just to survive to see the next sunrise. Take part in the global fight against extinction as you and your fellow survivors battle against zombie armies from the streets and subways of New York and through a harsh and snowy Moscow winter. Players will help rescue and evacuate civilians from Tokyo, and work with the military in Jerusalem to activate a weapon that might raise the odds in humanity’s favor. After these locations, you can pit your skills against human opponents as you take on other players in intense four-on-four combat in online battles where the undead can break in at any time and quickly turn the tide of battle.
Is it any good?
While there are moments of absolute chaos and terror that break out on levels, there are also moments in this shooter that are mediocre and shamble along like the monsters you try to kill. World War Z recognizes that zombies have long been a terrifying staple of the horror genre, not because of their diabolical cunning or how they stealthily stalk their prey. It’s usually their sheer numbers and dogged determination that chill the spine. The game takes this to an extreme, pitting players against undead swarms that quickly flood in like a tsunami of death. Watching these masses of corpses scrambling towards you in such a fluid motion is almost hypnotizing … until you remember that these things are looking at you like a tasty snack and you should probably start running. It’s in these moments when World War Z is at its adrenaline-fueled best. Unfortunately, when it’s not at its best, the game sort of lumbers in its own zombie-like state of mediocrity.
The bulk of World War Z’s co-op campaigns involve straightforward missions, moving from point to point and collecting supplies, setting up traps to fend off the approaching hordes, escorting civilians to safety, or simply running and gunning your way to the next sanctuary. It’s relatively cut and dried, and doesn’t do much to stand out from just about the pack. While a few of the enemy zombies seem unique, there’s an odd sense of déjà vu with them, until you realize they’re carbon copies of foes from other zombie shooters. The competitive 4v4 multiplayer seems a bit more creative, courtesy of the zombie swarms’ invasions during matches. It’s actually quite a bit of fun to see a team’s best laid ambush plans fall apart unexpectedly because a wave of undead decided to crash the party. This extra factor can swing a match wildly in different directions, adding that little extra touch of the unexpected to an otherwise generic zombie shooter experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. Is the impact of the violence in World War Z affected by the fact that you're destroying hundreds of undead monsters instead of people? How does the type and style of violence in games affect people in different ways? Does the suspense of a horror with lingering threats have more or less impact than a constant swarm of creatures? Does a more grounded and realistic presentation make a bigger impact than a more cartoonish or fantasy/sci-fi setting?
While the odds of an actual zombie outbreak are slim, is your family prepared in the event of some other cataclysmic event? What are some ways to best be prepared for emergencies and what plans should you have in place for the aftermath of a disaster?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Saber Interactive
- Release date: April 16, 2019
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love action
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.