The World of The Living Dead Preview
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
With all the games centered on zombie apocalypses going around, I cannot say that I was surprised hearing about a browser game that shares the same theme. The World of The Living Dead is a free-to-play MMO browser game that puts you in charge of a group of people, helping them survive the undead horde. This is not just your average Left for Dead or Dead Rising survival mode, and it does not revolve completely around getting more ammo and shooting down lifeless brain eaters. The World of The Living Dead lets players feel the intensity of having to enter a world contaminated with zombies, where you, as an agent of NECRA (National Emergency Control and Relief Agency) must rescue survivors, while ensuring their safety.
Interesting but Confusing
After logging in for the first time, you will be prompted to do the ingame tutorial, it is a bit confusing at first, at least until you get used to the ingame interface. One thing you must know is that the whole game revolves completely around the map interface, as players must visit certain locations in order to gain new party members, gather food and pick up ammunition. I would personally advise you to fulfill these conditions as soon as possible, as they unlock various items that can aid you as you journey across the now bloody streets of LA.
The Freedom of Speech
What I really liked about this game is how players can leave graffiti messages to other players upon visiting a structure. It's really fun, considering the fact that players are most likely to read what you have written regardless of how silly or absurd it may be. Admit it, you're a closet nut when it comes to hidden messages or insider jokes within the game's environment. Cue nostalgia soundtrack here as your remember a particular box stamped with NIN that you needed in Quake for your nailguna tribute to Nine Inch Nails who did the game's soundtrack.
Following this premise, I think that the graffiti messages area particularly good idea that fits well in the genre. A game designed to awaken your survival instincts? You're a player looking for other survivors? What would be a better way to leave clues for other "unaffected" souls about your whereabouts in the environment itself. I'm pretty sure that tech support and customer service would be crappy(ier?) since, the world is in the brink of devastation. Who would care if you don't have a mobile signal anyway.
Another fun feature is the character biography. Believe it or not, players can actually provide and customize the backstory of their rescued survivors. It lets players immerse themselves into the world of the game and think of the characters that they click as actual people who have a story to tell. I think it's a great feature, as it allows players to further personalize and add more depth to a character's storyline. Whether they're just looking to make silly stories or a biographical masterpiece, it's a very unique and fun feature to have. Kudos to World of the Living Dead for featuring such a special system.
Means of Exploration
Much like any other MMO, players won't really know what lies beyond the fence until they check it out for themselves. The same could be said for the World of The Living Dead, as players will only be able to see locations like: gunshops, airports, hospitals, and other structures until their team is near it. The map of LA also prompts players about its zombie population through the density meter.
The density meter has five colors that signify the overall number of zombies in that area.
Green - Low risk. Extremely safe to go around even without weapons and ammunition
Blue- Danger. You may need clubs and baseball bats for this
Yellow - Risky. I believe 2 shots were fired while I was venturing here
Orange - Deadly. Get out while you can.
RED - SUICIDE: If your team still want to be called survivors, you'd best stay away from red-marked places, at least until you get enough ammunition to fend off the horde.
Survival Of The Fittest
The survival gameplay in this game has been executed rather well, seeing as other players can beat you to resources and food. The only way to make sure you have enough resources is to stash them, so that other players cannot loot them for themselves. Players can also scavenge structures for food and items, but the risk of being fatigued may be a bit heavy.
Since LA has become infested with brain-eating beasts, most people have decided to take everything for themselves. This means other groups of survivors are considered as hostile within the premises, and will not think twice about stealing your items, even if they have to loot it from your dead body. PVP in this game is a big choice, seeing as survivors killed during this feature can no longer be resurrected. The only way to recover from this loss is to loot their corpses and start anew. Always stack up on firepower, and make sure your survivors are fit to fight.
Even for a browser game, I think that World of The Living Dead is still lacking. The game's interface, regardless of how confusing it was at first, was definitely the game's bread and butter, tracing routes around LA was really fun, considering the fact that bloodthirsty zombies are blocking your way. So far, I would say that the game needs to add more zombie images, or at least something that will allow players to feel the presence of the undead. I was so busy tracing routes, it started to feel like Grandtheft auto. Simply calling it the World of the Living Dead is not enough to make it feel like a zombie game, especially with the lack of visuals. The system is pretty good, and the way players can level up characters and use NECRA perks is a good thing; however, the game must remember that simply putting words like "zombie" and "living dead" won't make it a zombie game. It's still in its CBT phase, so I'm expecting a lot of changes when it makes its debut.