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A Co-Op Multiplayer Third-Person Shooter developed by Saber Interactive and based on the movie adaptation of the book of the same name.

The game is split into several episodes, each one focusing on different locations and situations:

  • New York: A group of survivors atop a Manhattan office building must survive the zombie-infested buildings, streets, and subways of New York to escape the city while the military attempts to take it back.
  • Jerusalem: A military squad must rescue a top scientist from the fallen city to activate a weapons system on an abandoned satellite base.
  • Moscow: Father Sergei Popov and his team must survive the zombie horde to find a secret Kremlin bunker.
  • Tokyo: Quickly responding to the global outbreak, Japan decides to evacuate the country. A volunteer search and rescue team must battle the hordes to protect the civilian population as they retreat to Tokyo harbor
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  • Marseille (added as a DLC in the Game of the Year edition): A group of survivors must make their way to a 17th-century military fort and reactivate a decommissioned missile launcher built into it to save the city from the Zeke invasion.
  • Rome (added in the Aftermath DLC): In an attempt by local survivors to clear the city, they devise a plan to lure all the zombies out with heavy noise. As the engineers responsible for the whole plan went missing, you are tasked with finding and rescuing them.
  • Kamchatka (added in the Aftermath DLC): The Japanese plan to evacuate to the Kamchatka Peninsula suffers a nasty reality check in form of a harsh winter and being stranded there on their own. Rescue Team 4 from Tokyo is on a desperate search for more fuel and other supplies, before things turn even worse.
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You are one of a Ragtag Quartet of Misfits caught in the middle of the outbreak of a deadly virus that's turning people into bloodthirsty mutants. Your objective is to make your way from one objective to another through an area infested with these murderous creatures, and finally, reach a pickup point from which to summon the cavalry to spirit you to safety. Along the way, you and your allies will meet up with different people who are willing to help you to safety.

Of course, this won't be easy. You have your three pals, and due to the Drop-In-Drop-Out Multiplayer nature of the game, there are competent AI bots standing by for when you don't have allied players. And don't worry about them hogging the kills: there are plenty of Zekes to go around. There could be a herd of several hundred zombies (which will happen often), or just one extremely powerful mutant zombie waiting around the next corner. The game's proprietary "Swarm Engine" is watching your progress and planning your next sudden encounter; play the same campaign five times and each time will be a different experience.

Fortunately, you have a giant pile of guns and six different character classes at your disposal. Whether you like More Dakka, Stuff Blowing Up, Incendiary Devices, Keeping Your Team Alive, Having Tricks Up Your Sleeve, or just Hacking Everything To Bits, there's bound to be some flavor of zombie-killing that you'll find to your liking.

Does this sound kinda familiar?

Please take a look at the character sheet to learn more about the characters.

After roughly a year of silence regarding new content, in 2021, an "Aftermath" Expansion Pack is announced, promising to wrap up the plot by adding two campaigns, as well as the addition of new features, such as a First-Person Shooter mode, a new class, and a new special "Zeke", a swarm of plague rats that developed a taste for living, human flesh.

Not to be confused with World War Z 2013 for mobile developed by Phosphor Games Studio.


World War Z provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Each class has 30 levels, with 5 ranks. That gives 150 levels per class. And there are 7 of them, for a total of 1050 levels.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Initially, only a handful of weapons could be silenced and the silencer itself came with various disadvantages to handling and damage. But after the GOTY edition patch, almost all weapons can be fitted with a silencer, with the disadvantages axed. Even such improbable ones as an anti-material gun or a double-barreled shotgun.
  • Action Bomb: Bombers! Picture a crazy survivalist who loaded up on tactical gear and had no intention of succumbing to the virus; these guys wear panoramic night-vision goggles and a bomb vest. They tend to announce themselves with a burst of garbled radio noise, followed by the beeping of their vest. Once the light on that vest turns red, there's nothing you can do to stop them from blowing up.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zigzagged as a whole. On the plus side, the Zekes in the film are completely mindless and whose only real strength comes from their speed and a frenzied urge to bite anyone healthy they see. The Zekes in the game have a reasonably high measure of intelligence and will act with a degree of self-preservation, with at least one type of infected actively cooperating with others to help overwhelm their prey. On the downside, they won’t go for the throat right off the bat like the film version and instead will attack by clawing and punching their victims.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The original novel mentioned how in the face of an out-of-control zombie outbreak, the Japanese government decided to evacuate what remained of their citizens to the Kamchatka Peninsula for safety. Unlike in the film, this game shows the rigors that the Japanese government have to go through during the evacuation phase and after they arrived in Kamchatka when they still have so much to do to contend with the zekes and miscommunication with the Russian government regarding the Japanese survivors' position in Kamchatka.
  • All There in the Manual: The backstory to every character as well as background info on each episode are within the game's menus. Additional, character-specific information is provided when successfully finishing a chapter playing as that character.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: If your health runs out in certain circumstances, you’ll begin to spasm and get back on your feet as a freshly turned Zeke, then trying to attack your former allies and most likely getting perforated.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you don't aim wisely, you'll find yourself running out of ammo very fast. Luckily for you, ammunition dumps are conveniently located at Zeke swarm points, and your melee weapon works nicely against pretty much everything... except Bulls, and that’s only if you don’t target their back.
    • The AI survivors aren't particularly smart, but they do have features that make them serviceable rather than dead weight, such as immunity to poison gas, their inability to run out of ammo and trip mines, and they won't break stealth until you do.
  • A.K.A.-47: Most if not all of the guns you find have names similar to their real-life equivalent. Kind of jarring when Tashaun calls out gunfire in NY as being from M16s, but the in-game version of the M4 carbine is still under this trope.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The New York chapter has the American team traversing the sewers to access parts of its subway system in its second act.
  • An Axe to Grind: Tashaun Burnell uses a fire ax as his melee weapon to kill Zekes that get too close to him Justified as he was a firefighter before the Zeke outbreak. The Aftermath update allows players to choose which melee weapon they want for any character.
  • Antepiece: In the first horde encounter of the New York episode, you're on a walkway overlooking the zekes, and the only way they can get to you is to pile on each other until it's high enough for them to reach where you are. It's a gentle introduction to the zombie piles mechanic, and lets you get accustomed to how they work and how to deal with them before the game later mixes them in with other situations.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • The Zekes are quite smart and are very wary of the presence of the players, thanks to the Swarm Engine. If you make a lot of noise while killing off a small cluster of Zekes, the Engine will spawn a big cluster of Zekes to charge at you once you and your team turn around a corner. However, if you quietly pick the same cluster off with your silenced pistol, the Engine will also spawn an equally small amount of Zekes at the same corner.
    • Additionally, the Zekes act like actual human crowds, climbing on top of each other to reach you and your team on higher levels. They also know how to avoid obstacles too.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Although not too horrible, the Zeke swarms can sometimes get stuck in narrow corridors, just like actual human crowds in real life.
    • If any of the survivors are controlled by a bot, it will never pick medkits, breaching charges or defenses, never use heavy weapons, never man machine guns and never use grenades (bots start as or switch to LVL 1 Gunslinger class). And if a human player was replaced by a bot, whatever equipment they were carrying is virtually lost to the rest of the team, short of killing the bot and looting it. At the very least, compared to the bots of Left 4 Dead, they have no tendencies of getting stuck.
    • During certain Hold the Line events, the bots will stop following the player and position themselves where they can best shoot at the horde. Examples of this are the first hold the line sequence of Moscow's third episode, where one survivor will always shoot from an elevated position, and in the Rome finale, where the bots split up to protect the two engineers. Where this crosses the line into stupidity is during the finale of Marseille's first episode. If the van spawns in a certain place, the bots will position themselves right where the swarm congregates, basically dooming the mission.
    • The particularly egregious case is bots' complete lack of self-preservation. A teammate being overrun and thus pinned to the ground by a running horde? A human player will continue shooting at the horde, to either stop it or thin down the crowd, knowing they have more than enough time. Or even sacrifice a team-mate, just to stop the horde and/or finish the level. A bot? Stop shooting, abandon possibly safe position and rush to their direction of the pinned down character, right in the middle of the advancing horde. Cue getting instantly overrun, too. And if more bots are present in the team, they will follow suit, pinning themselves, one by one. This can very easily advance to TPK territory.
    • If the Nemesis mutation is active, the bots won't stop attacking the golden bull even if it's incapacitated, which is a headache during horde events.
  • Attack Drone: The Dronemaster can deploy quadrocopters that are armed with a Static Stun Gun by default; they can also be upgraded with suppressed or loud firearms, the ability to attract swarms away from you, the ability to hack hostile turrets and defuse mines, to automatically seek and destroy Screamers, or a self-destruct: now you have your very own action bomb!
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: Bulls are nearly impervious to damage from the front and sides, except for their visor, which can be shattered. The much more obvious weak point is their back, which lacks body armor, allowing them to go as far as melee-kill bulls.
  • Aura Vision: Used to find teammates and highlight interactive items. On lower difficulties, it's automatic when nearby, on higher ones, only an object highlighted by a player will be visible to others and only one at a time.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Crossbow, especially before fully upgraded (and grinding it to a higher level is notoriously tedious) and learning how to properly use it. It has a small ammo capacity, slow rate of fire, each explosion comes with a delay and deals dangerous splash damage, while it's very easy to cause a friendly fire with it. If all of this wasn't enough, it eats through ammo caches like a starved pig upon refill.
    • The tunnel borer from the New York 2 finale can clear any horde swarming the train. However, it takes an eternity to wind up and you're down a person the entire time it operates. Similarly, the saw mill in the rock quarry of Marseille 2 can slice through dozens of zeke at a time. The problem is that the button is in an inconvenient position, and the swarms don't spend a lot of time in the saw mill's path. It's better to ignore both of these and focus on shooting pyramids. Unless, of course, it's Extreme or some specific weekly challenge on Hard difficulty, where the fact you can clear out half the horde event with a single button push is a godsend.
  • BFG:
    • The Payload Rifle is what happens when you mix a Barrett M82 with .50 cal BMG Incendiary rounds, the result being a hefty weapon with enough power to kill scores of Zekes with ease at the bare minimum, and anything that isn’t killed from a bullet that can deal with a tank is turned into giblets and red mist by the following detonation of said round. Fixers can obtain a skill which increases its' magazine size and damage (maximum number of Zeke killed per shot) by 50%. Oh, and they also start the match with one of those on their back.
    • The Advanced Combat Weapon, introduced with GOTY edition of the game, is a mix of Inzuki PAW-20mm grenade launcher and Gepard GM6 Lynx anti-material rifle. Unlike the Payload Rifle, it is treated as your primary weapon, carries an obscene amount of ammunition (which can be easily refilled), and, as weird as it seems, can be ultimately silenced. As long as you aren't playing some chapter set in enclosed space, it's one of the most powerful weapons, since it has a stopping power on par with Payload while carrying far more ammunition and remaining silent.
  • Back Stab: Swinging your machete or ax into an idle common from behind is an One-Hit Kill. It’s also a great way to kill idle Bulls provided they don’t see you, for if you manage to sneak up to one successfully they go down with a couple of machete slashes to the back.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: A common occurrence when a horde spawns while your team's in a wide-open area.
  • Badass Crew: All of the teams, full stop.
  • Bag of Spilling: Each chapter is considered a self-contained level. Even if you are playing them in sequence, you will always start with basic weapons, regardless of what you've ended up with the previous one. If you join mid-level, whatever weapon the bot you've replaced was carrying will be turned into a starting gun of your class, too.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: One has to assume this was the mentality behind Bombers rigging themselves up with explosive vests. Unfortunately, it seems their plan didn't work.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Angel Flores, the American team's resident Latino, will sometimes mutter Spanish curse words under his breath. Any Spanish-speaking player would understand what he's saying. Same with Ivan Dovchenko from the Russian group, that throws insults and curses in Russian. Finally, while harder to hear, the first Tokyo level has Japanese announcements blast through the area on occasion informing about the evacuation.
  • Blackout Basement: The third level of Marseille has one, where one survivor has to carry a flashlight while searching for explosives.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Played straight, to Your Head Asplode levels with common Zekes.
    • Mercilessly averted with the Bulls, who can shrug off headshots, due to their bulletproof riot helmets, although if you manage to break their mask with enough bullets, their exposed face becomes a new weak point.
    • Also averted in a Challenge Mode with a modifier called Just A Scratch, which renders all zekes immune to headshot damage. Good luck trying to kill the swarms without an obvious cure-all tactic.
  • Boring, but Practical: Certain guns are at the same time very reliable and very, very mundane:
    • Scout Rifle, by the virtue of being a starting gun of few classes and not sucking, unlike pretty much every other tier I weapon. Fully upgraded, it is comparable with tier II guns. And you can unlock a Prestige variant, which outclasses most tier II guns.
    • Classic Battle Rifle is an easy to control and accurate tier II assault rifle. Its sheer stopping power and the fact it's officially a full-auto gun (but with a relatively slow rate of fire) make it a great weapon for both crowd control and at the same time to pick off single targets at long range.
    • Gunslinger's grenades. Unlike other explosives and fire weapons, they are bog-standard grenades. And they chew through swarms of Zekes like nothing else.
    • Melee killing Bulls that are currently busy pounding someone to the ground or when they are being electrocuted by an electric grid. It's actually faster than trying to shot them, especially on higher difficulties.
    • All classes have access to a skill that restores a supply charge after performing 15 kills in quick succession. Regardless what are the two alternatives to it, the reliability of this skill allows to easily recharge supplies by simply playing the game.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Subverted in most cases. The players must reload them, while supply caches provide replenishment for your main weapons - and those become finite, too, on higher difficulties.
    • Played with in case of Fixers. When deploying their supply crate, they instantly replenish their current magazine. While it doesn't make it "bottomless", deploying the crate is almost instant, while reloading can take some significant amount of time.
    • Played straight with one of Exterminator skills, aptly named "Third Hand". Your weapon automatically reloads, without the reload animation, if you score 15 kills in a quick succession. Done right during a horde event and you can use up your entire ammo supply - which can be hundreds of rounds - without a single reload. And it goes Up to Eleven with the Paladin LMG, as it by default carries over 100 rounds in a single belt in all variants, meaning it will operate just like a stationary machine gun when combined with the Third Hand skill.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Tier 5 of any given class is pure bragging and most people openly ignore it. At least the first four tiers offer new, passive skills for that class. Tier 5 simply gives you a different icon, but you have to reset your skill tree first and then obviously grind back 30 levels for no real benefit.
    • Wakizashi, a special melee weapon, used to be this before melee weapons got overhauled, as it was pure aesthetic change from a standard machete, earned for finishing any given level on Extreme difficulty. Nowdays, it's one of the better melee weapons out there and has an actual gameplay use and unique bonuses, still earned for the same feat.
      • This did, however, serve a meta-purpose prior to the overhaul: finishing any given level on Extreme requires both personal skills and, far more importantly, being a very good team player. So if you see anyone running around with that sword, they most definitely know what they are doing.
    • Extreme version of the sniper rifle. To gain it, one has to finish each and every mission of the default four campaigns on Extreme difficulty. This is just obscenely difficulty task to perform. The prize? A fully upgraded sniper rifle with added option of using iron sights to the regular hip-fire and the scope. Oh wow! To make it worse, sniper rifle by itself is a rather mediocre gun. If you can pull this task off without a trainer running in the background, your mastery of the game reached the point you could play it blindfolded.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Certain DLCs, along with buying Game of the Year edition, give access to unique versions of various guns. Aside coming with horrendous paint jobs, they have the stats of final or at least penultimate tier of regular guns, without the grind needed to unlock them. And if someone still decides to go for the grind, it's significantly easier to do with the premium versions of that gun.
  • Call-Back: An intel from the World Collection in Kamchatka mentions Russian survivors discovering highly classified information stored inside a suitcase about Father Popov and his teammates' success in aiding the Russian Army to release a highly toxic nerve agent to clear Moscow off of zombies.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Played straight by survivors throwing grenades and reloading, but this is a vital part of communication in combat, both in-game and on meta level.
  • Challenge Run:
    • Initially, the game had "weekly challenges": any given mission, with 3 specific modifiers, and increased difficulty with Non-Indicative Difficulty ("Normal" is actually regular Hard, and "Hard" is Very Hard). Those are randomly selected and the debuffs for them too, but come with a hefty payoff of challenge coins: 100 and 400 for finishing each. However, certain missions are near-impossible to finish when a particularly bad set of debuffs is applied, especially on Hard difficulty
    • After Rome campaign was added, "daily challenges" came with it. They operate on a similar principle as weekly challenges (still present in the game), but there are few tweaks: they can have from 1 to 4 modifiers (which means you can be lucky and get a buff instead due to a specific modifier). Due to being more common and, at least in theory, easier to finish, daily challenges offer lesser pay-off, mostly in form of loads of regular coins. The name itself is also misleading - daily challenges refresh on a regular basis every two hours or when you clear all three of the current set. This game mode significantly revitalized the gameplay and player count, as there is an ever-changing objective and extra challenge, rather than just casually going through the same levels time and again.
  • Chandler's Law: The Director AI pulls this quite frequently: make too much noise and you'll get a big bunch of Zekes coming towards you. Stay too long for a single location, and you've got a swarm going in your direction.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Normally played straight, being the easiest and most ammo-efficient way of killing zekes. Subverted during challenges with "Just a scratch" modifier, as it renders zombies completely immune to headshots.
  • Climactic Elevator Ride: In the New York chapter, the American team must take an elevator down to the second floor of the office building they are located in to access the subway.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: You'll be hearing this a lot in the Jerusalem chapter.
  • Combat Resuscitation: Players who run out of health are incapacitated, becoming immobile but still able to use a pistol to help clear away infected while their friends help them up. However, a player can only be incapacitated twice, after which their screen will turn black and white, a Heartbeat Soundtrack will be heard, and if a first-aid kit is not used on them, their next incapacitation will result in their death. On Insane difficulty or above, all players can only be downed once before dying.
  • Concert Climax: How do you get the attention of every single zombie on a cruise ship? Head to the sound stage at the rear, fire up the loudspeakers, and drop the bass.
  • Convenient Escape Boat: When the New York survivors learn that the military base has already been abandoned, there just happens to be a boat nearby, and hauling it towards the pier serves as the finale.
  • Cool, but Inefficient:
    • Before a handful of patches, certain guns had clear disadvantages in their fully upgraded form, often making it a better choice to keep them at the penultimate level to not suffer from some annoying penalty. Most importantly, until the Game of the Year edition-related patch in May 2020, installing a silencer was decreasing the damage of various guns, which created all sorts of issues.
    • Snakebite SMG is a prestigious version of the regular, tier I SMG. You can empty the entire, 40-rounds magazine in one second. It's as useful and practical as you think it is, given all other stats are unchanged.
    • Rocket launcher is a single-use item. And it's outright dangerous to use at all in the majority of chapters, due to confined space.
    • Both Classic and regular Bullpup Rifles fire in burst and only in a burst. This means you have all the disadvantages of semi-auto (very slow rate of fire, unwieldy against hordes) and full-auto (massive use of ammo), without advantages of either.
    • Prestige version of the Classic Bullpup Rifle takes it a step further. Once you are down to last six rounds in your mag, it receives a massive damage and penetration bonus. But since it's a burst-fire gun, that means two shots that only with perfect aiming and favourable situation will be anything else than total overkill of two targets. And then you have to reload anyway, making the power up a complete gimmick.
    • Battle Rifle is a semi-automatic gun with a mag capacity ranging between 25 to 35. Since you have to click every single shot of it, by the end of the campaign or dozen or so of waves in Horde mode, your trigger finger will start to ache.
  • Cool Car: The armored bus in the first act of the Tokyo chapter.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Bombers. Panoramic night vision goggles? Check. Extra supplies? Check. Suicide vest to die on own terms? Check.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Bulls, especially on the higher difficulties. They have several times more health than the human survivors combined, but if you break their riot helmet or target their back, they go down easily. That said, their durability is more along the lines of a Juggernaut rather than a Cyberdemon, but during a chaotic swarm event the sudden appearance of one can suddenly tip the balance of the fight against you.
  • Deadly Gas: Gasbags release dark greenish gas unless headshot, and you have to contend with it in the NY Tunnels. The Moscow episode also sees you releasing a hot pink nerve gas - supposedly some old Cold War Soviet Superscience - to kill the undead throughout the city, and then flooding the subways with it.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: During the finale of Jerusalem's last level, the squad can open up panels in the ground, temporarily revealing giant fan blades that chop up hordes.
  • Death from Above:
    • In the first level of New York, the giant decorative stars in the shopping mall can be shot down, crushing any underneath. Which is convenient, considering that your next objective is to clear the ground floor.
    • In third chapter finale of New York, there are three radios that summon mortar shells that can help clear out swarms. Similarly, the New York finale allows you to fire flares to signal the location of mortar strikes and the episode ends with a gunship destroying the remaining zombies in the stadium.
    • Then there's Jerusalem, which closes out with the firing of an Israeli superweapon, a giant laser from the sky.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying does not mean you are forever gone from the game. You will just come back in the next act.
  • Death Is Cheap: You can just simply respawn next to your teammates in the next act. Or even checkpoint if your team is right next to one.
  • Death World: Duh, it's not called World War Z for nothing. Par for the course.
  • Defiant to the End: The JGSDF in the final act for the Tokyo chapter, up until the oil refinery's destruction.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: It takes to fully upgrade it and learn how to properly apply its splash damage, but once mastered, a crossbow is fantastic at thinning any crowd from a safe distance and temporarily slowing down Bulls for easier killing by the rest of the team.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Weapon caches and disarmed Bombers can provide ahead-of-schedule access to tier 2 or even tier 3 guns. Bar few exceptionsnote , whatever gun you get this way will be superior to your starting weapon due to the increased stopping power, but you'll probably swap it for something more appropriate the next time you get the chance. This is particularly useful prior to the first horde event of that level.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: After grueling through the tunnels, the New York survivors cleared a path for their train. The conductor pretends to leave them behind and their immediate response is to promise to kill him. He then complains that they have no sense of humor.
  • Elite Zombie: The special Zekes;
    • Bulls have heavy armor and can charge at and pin down survivors.
    • Screamers have a megaphone wired to their outfit that they use to call in swarms.
    • Gasbags create a cloud of Deadly Gas when they die unless killed by a headshot.
    • Lurkers tend to hide and can grapple anyone who approaches them.
    • Infectors have a projectile attack that can convert survivors into zombies if it's not dealt with quickly.
    • Bombers are rigged with suicide vests and must be disabled with leg shots and then defused with a melee attack before they can arm their bombs.
    • Boosters, added in a later patch, emit a gas that make nearby normal zombies tougher and more dangerous.
    • Also, freshly zombified player characters or NPCs are slightly tougher than regular zombies, though the difference is fairly small.
  • Equipment Upgrade: All of the weapons have skill trees that allow you and your team to upgrade them. Most of those vary between "higher damage and accuracy but lesser handling" or "high handling and everything else is mediocre".
  • Erudite Stoner: If you clear out all documents from Tech Support, you will find out that Dr. Greengold got caught smoking weed, much to dismay of the commanding officer. The note openly asks how someone this intelligent could also be so irresponsible, given the security clearance and all the red tape.
  • Escort Mission:
    • The Jerusalem survivors have to escort Dr. Greengold in their missions. Dr. Greengold is armed with a pistol and machete, and while you do have to protect him during certain events, he generally doesn't drag your team down with his presence. However, weekly challenges that are set in Jerusalem are widely considered the toughest, since the escort part of it can be made much harder with additional limitations or rules.
    • Moscow's equivalent is Svetlana, who's just as capable as Greengold, while there are far fewer situations where she can be swarmed and she more often plays the role of Voice with an Internet Connection, too.
    • Rescue Team 4 has to protect Anya and Dimitry in the last two chapters of Kamchatka.
  • Everyone Chasing You: Unless there's an objective on the map the Zeke are risking their unlives to destroy, you can expect the horde to go directly for you and your teammates. And even if the swarm is going for the gates you must defend, you can expect about 20% of the Zeke passing you to suddenly change directions and charge at you instead.
  • Excuse Plot: It's basically "You wake up one day, and almost everybody except you and 3 other misfits with eccentric personality quirks is a zombie. Try not to get killed while getting to the escape vehicle (New York, Jerusalem, and Tokyo), bunker (Moscow), military fort (Marseille) or a construction site (Rome)".
  • Exploding Barrels: They can be found in the Jerusalem and Tokyo chapters and can be used to slow down Zekes.
  • Expy: Each Elite has shades of those from Left 4 Dead.
    • Bulls: Tank/Charger hybrid. Stealthier than both due to simply being an angry guy in riot gear; blends into crowds much better and isn't considered by the game to be a Boss Battle like Tanks in L4D. note 
    • Lurkers: Hunters. They like to hide around corners and then pounce on you.
    • Screamer: Boomer-esque swarm summoning. Have a bad habit of standing somewhere out of your line of fire whilst they do it. And boomers from L4D were originally intended to work that way themselves.
    • Gasbags: Boomer/Spitter style area denial on death, unless headshot.
    • Bombers: Boomer-style damaging explosion on death. The Bomber is much more lethal. If disabled and disarmed, drops supplies like a Fallen Survivor.
    • Infector: Long-range spit attack, but the effects are much, much different.
  • Fetch Quest: Going through waves of Zekes for some supply crates for a crazy subway train driver in New York, some briefcases containing schematics for a Kill Sat in Jerusalem, and a radio key in Moscow.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The outcome for the survivors in Tokyo. Everyone else already starts there, knowing each other before the events of their chapters.
  • Finishing Move: You can perform one in order to kill the Infector special when it collapses and writhes on the floor, otherwise, it will revive with full health. However, it is not mandatory to do so and can also simply be shot to death, if you don't mind spending half a mag on that.
  • Flare Gun: A rare secondary option, and makes a plot appearance in the finale for the NY and Marseille campaigns. In normal gameplay, the zombies chase the flare (which will explode with a small area of effect after a few seconds), while when it is plot relevant, you use it to bring in bombardment from friendly air support or missile launcher.
  • Foil: NY team vs. Tokyo team, both at large and character-to-character. NY group is acting out of purely selfish survival drive and couldn't care less about others, while Tokyo team operates under We Help the Helpless. Both Tashaun and Sho are former rescuers, but Tashaun is incredibly selfish and self-centered (standing out even in his group), while Sho's main driving force is a desire to save as many people as he can. Angel is a Just a Gangster and proud of it, while Hiroji is a Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters that went back to Japan and then stayed behind to help civilians. Bunko used her hacking skills to prepare herself - and only herself - for the incoming apocalypse, while Kimiko uses her Olympic shooting skills for the good of many. Arnetta is a former civil servant who couldn't care less about her job, while Tatsuo is a police officer still on active duty - and one to which he volunteered.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
    • This doesn't apply to all groups but the general dynamic can be observed as such. The Optimist will show a lot of faith in the current plan and will express concern over other survivors, the Cynic thinks terrible things are going to happen and wants to prioritize the safety of their squad over anything else, the Realist stops infighting and reasons that they don't have better plans, while the Apathetic avoids confrontation.
    • This is best exemplified by the Members of Rescue Team 4. Sho wants to take detours from the mission to save more people and defends the Japanese government despite their failures. Hiroji dismisses him and insults him for doing so. Kimiko mediates fights between the two and keeps the group on track. Tatsuo doesn't interact much in these squabbles and just guns his way to safety.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Rome team doesn't snugly fit into the four philosophies because Daniela and Marco are both Cynics. Instead, Daniela is the Choleric because she's the quickest to snap at her squadmates and whoever is giving her orders. Marco is Melancholic, his depression reflects in his pessimism. Sofia is the Sanguine, being the friendliest of the bunch and the first to cheer when things go right. Giovanni is phlegmatic, being the most level-headed of the four.
  • Fragile Speedster: Every zombie type other than the Infector and Bull can be taken out with just a couple of bullets, but almost all of them are incredibly fast.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: What's left of the Japanese army defiantly stayed behind to fight back against the Zekes until the breach charges planted onto the oil refinery's columns by the survivors explode, covering the entire port in fire and presumably burning the Zekes to death alongside the soldiers.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Solanum virus is apparently highly transmissible but takes around 20 hours to kick in. In gameplay, only Infectors can "turn" players (if you fail to disinfect quickly) but do so extremely quickly. NPCs overrun by the horde will turn on death though; this is basically guaranteed to happen during the Cruise Ship section of the Japanese episode simply due to the number of enemies.
    • The game won't acknowledge anyone who died during the finale. The cutscene will play as though all survivors managed to hold out/make it to the rescue vehicle.
  • Gang Up on the Human: When playing solo, the special Zekes seem to favor targeting you over the other survivors.
  • Gasshole: The Gasbags are hazmat suit-wearing Zekes that release a poisonous gas that can impede you and your team's progress whenever it dies, unless it is a headshot.
  • Genre Savvy: Bunko Tatsumi, full stop. In her backstory, once she learned about the Solanum Virus long before the public does (after hacking into the US military's computer network), she smartly fills her entire apartment up with weapons, traps, food, water, and medications, and when the Zekes finally began knocking on her door, she simply grabs a gun and kills them all.
  • Glass Cannon: Bulls can vary between this and Lightning Bruiser depending on where you hit them. If you hit them in the front, they can take mag upon mag of bullets and even shrug off a headshot from the Payload Rifle before keeling over if you’re unlucky, but if you target their exposed back and spine, they can be brought down with something as minor as a light hosing from an assault rifle or one shotgun blast. You can even just run-up to his back while he’s unaware of you or pounding one of your teammates to pulp and hack him up a couple of times to drop him like a sack of spuds.
  • Go Among Mad People: Prior to the zombie apocalypse Stevie, the guy running the subway train in NY levels, got admitted to a psychiatric ward. The doctor heading his case figured out the whole delusion of being Captain Kidd is just a sham and he's a callous sociopath, who just got away with a second degree murder without serving prison time.
  • Griefer:
    • Being a team-based game, it is extremely easy to grief other players. Even if the griefer gets kicked, they can just join a new game and do it again to others. This also results in Heel–Face Turn because you never know who will be the first to shoot you dead when it is time to escape.
    • Eventually, anti-griefing mechanics were introduced. If any player continuously causes a friendly fire resulting in other team members being incapacitated, they are automatically removed from the match and gain zero experience or credits, regardless of anythingnote . The scripts governing this are written in such a way that accidental friendly fire leading to incapacitation is still perfectly fine. Of course, it can still ruin the game for everyone involved, but at least the kick happens automatically.
  • Gunship Rescue: The JSDF manage to scramble a helo for the Cruise Ship finale, and it arrives to provide machinegun fire via one of the door guns towards the end of the final showdown.
  • Harder Than Hard: Bordering with Nintendo Hard, Extreme difficulty is this. To start, its description is "It's the end of humanity and you're not supposed to survive" instead of a comparison to the easier difficulties. When you finally load up the level, you will notice that all of the interactable objects are no longer highlighted, meaning that you only have your memory and - rarely - an objective marker to follow. Upon your first encounter with zombies, you will notice that they take twice as much punishment unless you go for the head, hit twice as hard compared to Insane and you retain a "one down" policy. To add insult to injury, you will be lucky to find any resources, and ammo boxes that players regard as a safe haven (unless a Fixer is present) suddenly start running out of ammo as well! Left 4 Dead's Realism mode says hello.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The special Zeke Bull is clad in riot armor, enabling it to soak huge amounts of firepower unless you break its faceplate for a headshot or shoot the exposed flesh at the back.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Discussed by the survivors of the Marseille campaign. In the event that there's no one around to provide missile coverage for Marseille, one of them offers to stay behind while the others will convince them not to. It doesn't matter, because they run into The Remnant of survivors from the fort housing the missiles, who are more than grateful for being saved themselves and provide the missile barrage later.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics:
    • This is usually the best way to deal with the Bull, by pumping it full of lead while evading it. Just make sure that you're healthy enough that you can run fast, and that there's room to run.
    • Severely averted with regular Zeke swarms. Unless you're playing an Exterminator or a Slasher, attempting to do this to a horde of zombies will not only leave you with no retreat options if you fail to kill them all, but will most likely leave you crawling on the ground, yelling for assistance: due to a mechanic called "pinning", if a player is surrounded by 6 or more Zeke, he is slowed to a crawl and cannot sprint, and if surrounded by 8 - instantly incapacitated. Being a Slasher/Exterminator may remove the movement speed penalty and increase the number of Zeke required to be pinned, but only by 50% at most. Trying to One-Man Army the horde head-on is not a good idea.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Hitboxes for some pouncing Zekes move in front of them when they pounce, which makes them extraordinarily difficult to knock out of the air with even the slightest bit of lag.
  • Hold the Line: Occurs in all swarm stages, mostly to protect an important place, person, or vehicle while they are being prepared.
  • Hollywood Silencer: All of the silenced pistols that all of the survivors use as their primary handguns feature the trademark "fwip!" whenever it fires. Suppressors can also be unlocked for almost all of the weapons, except the heavies. With the GOTY update, it reached the point where even double-barrel sawn-off and an anti-material weapon can be silenced. And while they do still make a lot of ruckus in-game, zeds don't react to it at all.
  • Informed Attribute: The squad dynamics of the Rome campaign are explained in their short bios. However, this doesn't come across in-game because their quips (aside from the beginning of the round) are related to their mission and not to each other, unlike the other squads.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Vast majority of characters are modeled after their voice actors, with only a handful (Judd, Angel, Hiroji and Marco) being exceptions. This even covers for NPCs.
  • Interface Screw: Staying too long in the Gasbag's cloud will cover you in slime. When an Infector spits at you, the edges of your screen become engulfed in black vines, invoking Tainted Veins.
  • Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality:
    • On any difficulty above the two easiest ones, support classes like Fixer and Medic become the absolute must and most important members of a team. Finishing anything on Extreme flat-out expect you have at least a Fixer, or everyone is going to run out of ammo and will deal insufficient damage. At the same time, Gunslinger, a class literally designed on run-and-gun logic, is virtually useless from Hard difficulty onward, as it is entirely focused on dishing out damage, with zero crowd control or support abilities. This leads to a situation where a team of highly competent players using Gunslingers and Slashers will fail finishing missions, while the same team assisted by an incompetent Fixer and/or Medic will have an easy time.
    • Plot-wise, Svetlana was the only non-soldier in the helicopter crew. By the time you reach it, she's the only person still alive and stays like that till the end of the campaign.
  • It Can Think: Despite the mindless swarming tactics that the run-of-the-mill Zeke swarms employ against you, you often get one in the horde who has a bit more going on upstairs and will actively attempt to take cover or frequently sidestep to throw off your aim. The Creeper seems to be the smartest of the lot, crouching low on the ground to make its profile lower (and thus harder to spot and kill) and actively hiding in order to ambush survivors. Considering that most of the other Zekes gladly throw themselves into a hail of bullets with near-zero concern for their personal safety, it’s especially notable.
  • It's Raining Men: A variant. At a certain point in the New York's second level, zombies will rain from the sky in order to swarm you.
  • Japanese Politeness: Toei Bus, the company in charge of Tokyo's bus system, is politely reminding its commuters that the bus schedule is suspended and emergency one is in place, to help with the evacuation effort. Wouldn't be that weird, if not the fact it's the middle of a zombie apocalypse and yet they still keep the cordial, sorry-for-your-inconvenience tone.
  • Joke Item: A crossbow variant, unlockable by obtaining second prestige rank as a Slasher, has lower stats than its' regular incarnation in a tier 4 level upgrade. Sure, it grants a player using it a full immunity to self-inflicted explosive damage, but considering it requires to be unlocked as a mostly melee class which predominantly uses shotguns and submachine guns it isn't very useful. And the worst part? It has a magazine size of four compared to regular crossbow's five, along with its' standard reload speed. Pretty underwhelming for a weapon supposedly associated with a Slasher class...
  • Lethal Joke Item: The crossbow variant in combination with Hellraiser while carrying a potent sidearm. The added bonus of being immune to one's own explosions turns a Hellraiser into a suicide bomber without the "suicidal" part.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The appropriately-named update introduces flamethrowers that allow players to burn down big swarms of regular Zekes at a wide-angle.
    • The Exterminator class has access to both molotovs and incendiary claymores.
    • There are various red barrels leaking gasoline, which ignite when shot at. This is a plot point in Marseille, where they fill in the trenches with gasoline and set it ablaze, creating walls of fire.
    • In the finale of Rome's first chapter, there is an electrified wire that can be activated to create a wall of fire.
  • Kill Sat: The weapons system that the Israeli government had been working on prior to the Zeke outbreak is actually a satellite that can fire a huge laser blast that effortlessly vapourises the Zekes swarming the abandoned satellite base, which the Israeli team and Dr. Greengold witnessed first-hand when evacuating from the base in a helicopter.
    • Ethan Wolfe, the Israeli team's resident Brit, even commented that the laser is powerful enough to melt a freaking tank when he witnessed it being test-fired for the first time.
  • Lag Cancel: Pressing melee when the reload is halfway finished (75% for the LMG) doesn't interrupt the reload process. This is particularly useful when you find yourself swarmed and even a few milliseconds could be the difference between life and death.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Mostly applies to newbies who keep making the grievous mistake of running ahead of everyone. This usually gets them killed and are too far away to be saved in time.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Bull. Despite its heavy armor, you best be prepared to dodge unless you want to be choke-slammed. On the more subdued side is the Infector, who is capable of spitting a ball of virus-loaded vomit at you which can infect and convert a targeted individual into a Zeke within seconds if not quickly cleaned off, possesses roughly the same speed as the normal infected, and can tank a decent amount of damage before expiring.
  • Limited Loadout: A primary gun, a compact secondary (usually a pistol) gun, and a limited amount of special items of each class. Optional options include a single heavy support weapon, a single breaching charge, a single med-kit, and a single defense kit.
  • Logical Weakness: Zakes just mindlessly charge in their direction of choice. This means they will gleefully run straight into a heavy machine gun or completely ignore the player characters if they aren't on the path, allowing to mow them down by the hundreds, rather than being easily overrun.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Depending on where enemies spawn and what types they are, along with what items you find, you can either have a smooth sailing game or a nightmare of just trying to survive. In particular, an early Bomber can be very handy, providing with a random drop of tier II or even III weapon.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: You'll see this very often every time you blow up hordes of Zekes with grenades, rocket launchers, mortar shells, C4, claymore mines, grenade launchers, payload rifles and explosive crossbow bolts.
  • Machete Mayhem: All of the survivors (except Tashaun Burnell) have machetes as their default melees weapons to kill off Zekes that get too close to them and finish off the Infector.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Team 3's quest in the second level of Marseille is to secure a missile base to provide coverage for the area. They use the missiles in that level's finale to destroy openings where the zeke are coming from. In the finale, Marseille is saved when Gaspar launches a salvo of missiles, killing off a substantial amount of zed.
  • Made of Explodium: Apparently, the oil refinery in the final act of the Tokyo chapter can explode with a few well-placed blocks of C4.
  • Made of Incendium: The Zekes can be lit up by Molotov cocktails and explosive barrels. There is also a grenade launcher upgrade that packs white phosphorus rounds.
  • Made of Plasticine: It's not uncommon for the basic Zekes to be graphically dismembered by a shotgun blast, a few stray bullets, being dismembered by a few machete (or fire ax in Tashaun Burnell's case) swings, a grenade blast, or a mortar attack.
  • Magikarp Power: Certain guns fall under this trope with their upgrades.
    • The humble Scout Rifle. It starts as quite lackluster gun, with low firing speed and damage, while also inaccurate, but once fully upgraded, it's on part with tier II guns. And the Prestige variant is flat out superior to many such guns, with further bonus damage when more players are using it.
    • Similarly, the tier I shotgun, suffers initially from low ammo and magazine count, very slow rate of fire, abysmal range and no penetration. On top of that, it's one of the loudest guns in the game, almost instantly spawning a horde at you. But once fully upgraded, it can be reliably used throughout an entire level, and a silencer makes it far more viable for sneaking through it.
    • Senjata PDW is a secondary gun that starts with all the issues of the Compact SMG, while being even weaker in its default form. However, once fully upgraded, it can be easily used as a primary, being on par with tier II SMG. The grind for the upgrade is particularly tough, since the gun is quite rare to find (unless picked from one of Gunslinger's skills), and making it very discouraging to use its lower variants.
    • Crossbow. Dear God, the grind needed to fully unlock the potential of this weapon is one of the most annoying experiences in the whole game, even when using exploits. But the final tier? A weapon that's perfectly capable to wipe out entire swarms of zombies in zero time, snipe out specials at any distance and easily deal with anything thrown at you.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Screamers, one of the three base game special Zekes, unleashes ear-piercing screams that attract hordes of regular Zekes to you and your team. The only way to stop it is to kill the Screamers for good.
  • Metagame:
    • Bar Moscow and the first level of New York, where things are done differently, one of the prevailing metas is to save stationary defenses, especially automatic sentry turrets and power grids, along with at least two breaching charges until the finale of the chapter. The first horde event is usually perfectly possible to handle with just guns at hand and/or other types of stationary defenses, while you're gonna be thankful for any aid you can get during the end-level horde.
    • Due to a variety of reasons, the first level of New York is widely considered to be the easiest one to finish on Extreme difficulty: there are few easily defendable positions in it, horde events are in a kill-box set up and the finale allows to back-track to a safe position, defend in another kill-box and continue the Fetch Quest required to finish the chapter. The meta is so extensive for that level, it even includes specific roles in the team, with exact classes and skills unlocked for maximum efficiency. Said all that, it's still Extreme.
    • Similarly, due to very linear level design and how horde events are scripted, the first level of the Tokyo campaign is possible to pull on Extreme in single-player, with three bots. In fact, it's easier to finish it as a single medic with a team of bots, abusing their enhanced aim, than try to do this with the human team.
  • Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode: There are the standard Co-Op mode, which normally averts this, then there are the PVPVZ modes, where survivors are acting hilariously out of character by gunning each other for no reason. There's also how the game's not really designed for fighting characters that are shooting back.
  • More Dakka:
    • Certain guns allow to empty their magazine within seconds - and most in a controllable way.
    • During the defense preparation phase of the Zeke swarm sections, you can put up things like manned heavy machine gun turrets or automatic sentry turrets that can easily shred large numbers of Zekes at once.
    • This is the main plot of the Marseille chapter: to reactivate a decommissioned missile launcher and work together to operate it simultaneously while protecting it from the Zekes.
    • Aftermath expansion introduced Paladin LMG. It's a belt-fed gun and for all accounts, is a weaker, reloadable version of the heavy machine gun normally found as a support weapon. It goes Up to Eleven for Fixers, as deploying a supply crate allows one to instantly replenish the ammo - with explosive rounds - giving 249 rounds without the slow and lengthy reloading. Exterminator's "Third Hand" skill becomes particularly viable for the prestige version of this gun, as it gains extra penetration when continuously firing - and that skill automatically replenishes the current magazine after 15 kills in a row, so once you activate the bonus, it just never stops.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules:
    • Bot-controlled survivors don't need to pick higher-tier weapons, they unlock them automatically. However, this might be a problem if you manage to get your hands on a higher-tier gun early on and AI will be unable to take advantage of it.
    • Bots won't be affected by any mutators that drain health if certain circumstances aren't met.
  • Mythology Gag: Being loosely inspired from both the original novel and the 2013 film, these are bound to appear:
    • In the New York missions preview, we can hear a radio transmission from the United States Army that has prepared numerous amounts of artillery and other military hardware to annihilate the zombie hordes from New York and "just for the giggles". This brings up the memory of the Battle of Yonkers in the novel, where the US Army amassed a huge amount of military arsenals to defeat the New York hordes during the Great Panic, only to fail catastrophically.
    • During the first Jerusalem mission, the only way to lessen the number of zekes that are besieging Doctor Greengold's compound is by sounding an alarm near the Old City's defensive walls to attract them. Remember how Jerusalem eventually fell to the zekes in the movie?
    • At one point, Kimiko asked Hiroji how the zombie outbreak was in Los Angeles, to which he answered "a lot of guns, everyone's high and panicked". This was how the Great Panic goes in the US in the original novel.
    • The focus of the Kamchatka missions is to find a Russian nuclear submarine to use its power to provide electricity to the freezing Japanese survivors in the area. This references Xu Zhicai's interview in the novel where he and the other crews lent their nuclear submarine to be used as a power source for the survivors in the Manihi Island.
    • In the World part of the Collection menu for Tokyo, one of the documents is a declassified memo stating that like in the book, the entire population of North Korea disappeared without a trace, presumably into underground shelters.
    • Many European survivors relied on old Middle Ages-era fortresses and castles while scouring these places' surrounding villages and towns in order to survive the zombie apocalypse in the novel with varying levels of success. In the exact same way in the game, Marseille survivors manage to hold out as long as they can salvaging supplies from the Zeke-infested Marseille, along with depending on clean water well inside the forts and fishing to secure more food sources.
  • Never Bareheaded: Judd, Sho, Kimiko, Timur, Ivan, Sergei, Eloise, Daniela and Marco are never seen without a hat, even taking alternate costumes into account.
  • Never Split the Party: The game is built on this trope. Get separated or lose track of your teammates and You Are Already Dead.
    • There are also a few jarring situations in which you have passed a Point of No Return, like the entrance to the abandoned satellite base in the third act of the Jerusalem chapter, and cannot go back and help your teammates. This just reinforces the original lesson, since you are forced to soldier on short-handed.
  • No-Sell:
    • Bulls, and especially the "nemezis" variant, are near-impossible to kill in frontal assault. Short for their weakspots, they will shrug absurd amount of punishment
    • Certain classes can unlock abilities that make them all but invulnerable to damage. Most notably, a combination of few perks on Slasher and dual sickles allows to just stand and hack your way through a charging horde without taking any damage.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions:
    • Zigzagged; while explosions from grenades, rocket launchers, mortar shells, and barrels will deal lethal damage to any Zekes within range, they'll hurt survivors for maybe 5-10 damage at most if they get too close. The Hellraiser can even reduce self-inflicted explosive damaged by something like 90%.
    • Averted for the Bomber. Get too close to him and he'll suicide-bomb your entire team.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Challenge Mode has two difficulty settings, which are Normal and Hard. However, Normal Challenge is as difficult as the Hard Default, while Hard Challenge is as difficult as Insane Default.
  • Not Completely Useless: Rocket launcher is a single-shot heavy weapon that's oftentimes dangerous to use, as you might blow yourself up by accident or when not being careful, not to mention the number of enclosed spaces you will be fighting in. However, there are certain levels and set pieces where you will be glad to have it, as your targets will be tightly clustered and far away, making regular weapons and other heavies unsuitable for the task.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Fixer's supply crate exists predominately to provide explosive rounds and then extra ammunition in general. However, both deploying and picking from it instantly reloads your weapon, too. Depending on the gun, it might be simply faster to just set up the crate or pick more ammo from it, not to mention deploying it in a pinch, too.
    • Certain horde events won't stop, until you perform specific actions required to continue. The intention is clearly to force players to reach their current objective, before being overrun. However, since zombies just won't stop spawning until then, it's a free hunting season to gain exp with your current weapon - or maybe even pick up a replacement and exp that up, too.
    • Disarming Bombers provides a new gun that's at the very least tier 2. This can be useful by itself, especially early on. But at higher difficulty levels and in horde mode, where ammo is scarce and during challenges that outright prevent ammo crates from spawning, this turns into a free "reload". The same logic applies to any randomly spawned weapon. And sometimes it's faster to pick up a new gun than reload the current one.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Played straight for the characters; the zombies are referred to as Zekes in the World War Z universe. The UI has no issues with flat-out calling them zombies though.
  • Notice This: Items are highlighted, either by default or after a team member pings them. Spots to set up defenses have their market with an outline (including the direction of fire for guns) and when you're using mortars, the area affected by each shell is marked with a big, red circle.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: One of Fixer's skills provided a chance to replenish the supplies upon anyone picking up from the supply crate, including Fixer himself. Eventually one of the patches made the chance slightly higher, but only other team members can trigger it, to prevent the all common "deploy crate, pick ammo, gain supplies back" loop.
  • One-Man Army: Regardless if you’re a part of a Badass Crew or not, your foes number in the hundreds if not thousands, and you’ll have to shoot, blow up, stab and slash a path through all of them to get to your goal. It’s very easy to finish a chapter with hundreds to thousands of kills each.
  • Palette Swap: Most of the alternate skins are this trope. The more expensive variants tend to be "Palette Swap + Hat."
  • Poor Communication Kills: This will literally be your game-ender online if you or the rest of your team fail to talk or at least call for help if being pinned or swarmed by the Zekes, especially when the Bulls charge in and pin you or your teammates down. Lots of games have been lost due to people simply not speaking up.
  • The Power of Friendship: Literally. Nothing will get you killed faster than leaving your fellow survivors behind and trying to Rambo your way through the next level alone.
  • Procedural Generation: The Engine determines on the fly spawns for Zekes and items.
  • Railroading: A whole lot of things happen solely due to gameplay limitations and thus creating a level out of it, rather than any other reasons. Most notably:
    • In the first level of Moscow, you have to go through the insides of the museum, face a locked door, go deeper into the museum, triggering a bunch of alarms along the way, to finally open the door and pass through. The game makes it impossible to simply climb over a crashed truck in the opening and go around the building.
    • Second level of New York is probably the most glaring example. Half of the level is about going around the rail terminus to unlock a gate for the train to pass... rather than walking on top of the said train to reach the other end of the terminus. It is routinely derided during weekly challenges taking place in that level for ridiculous level design.
  • Raising the Steaks: The Aftermath Expansion Pack now depicts swarms of infected rats that are probably infected after feasting upon thousands and thousands of dead Zeke bodies.
  • Respawning Enemies: You can surely expect to see all the Zekes more than once. If a Screamer is present and not dealt with, you can expect unrelenting waves of zeke every 15-20 seconds until the Screamer or players die.
  • Shock and Awe: One of the items you can install as part of the defense preparation phase is electric shockers that can be connected to conveniently placed metal grilles. They can electrocute Zekes but not live humans, for some reason.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted with regular shotguns, but played straight with the sawn-off double-barrel variant. The gun is deliberately designed as close-quarters secondary and in such roll, it's perfect. Just don't expect killing anything more than 15 feet away due to the scatter.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The train conductor quotes Jabberwocky at the end of New York's first chapter.
    Jaws that bite and claws that catch. Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    • The mutation where an unstoppable juggernaut follows you throughout the whole game and will get back up when you put it down is called "Nemesis."
  • Sinister Subway: The second act of the New York chapter goes through a subway. It is filled with Zekes, blocked passages, scaffoldings, a tunnel boring machine and a crazy train driver who got on the American team's nerves really fast. You also venture through parts of the Moscow subways during the same chapter.
  • Socialization Bonus: Not only bots are generally considered incompetent and unable to perform various basic tasks, but the big part of the game is communication with other players. You are far more likely to die if you don't even use the ping option and commands, not to mention simply speaking via the mic.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist:
    • Jerusalem has Dr. Greengold, who holed up in his own place, but needs to be rescued and protected, as he's the last man alive with all the knowledge and access to activate and recalibrate Israeli Kill Sat.
    • Svetlana in Moscow is not only the last person alive from the crashed helicopter but also its scientific advisor, knowing about a Cold War-era bunker with huge quantities of neurotoxic gas that works even on zakes.
      • To a lesser degree Oksana, one of the playable characters from that campaign, also qualifies. She's the last person alive from her research team, saved by the rest of her group when she was cornered by a bunch of undead.
  • Spiritual Successor: Four survivors in an episodic campaign surviving against zombie hoards with innovative and terrifying crowd size, an AI Director that controls all the spawns, logic-defying medkits, events that cause massive spawns of hoards, and unique zombies with new powers. Sounds familiar. Not only that, but two of them are direct copies of cut Left 4 Dead zombie concepts, one is a copy of the same series’s Charger with the look of the SWAT zombies and one is straight up the Hunter. Valve may not be able to count to three, but at least there’s World War Z.
  • Standalone Episode:
    • All of the campaigns start with a team communicating with a rescuer on their radios and end with the team successfully escaping (or killing off all of the Zekes in the Russian team's case). Only Tokyo doesn't get this treatment, as the Undead Sea update adds in Cruise Control, where the Japan team has to clear out an evac cruise ship of infected.
    • Similarly, New York and Moscow received an After the End bonus fourth act as part of the Kill It with Fire update involving the American team finding new supplies and a new boat after their current one broke down in the middle of Hudson Bay while the Russian team cleans out the bunker of any surviving Zekes while waiting out the neurotoxin on the surface.
  • Stopped Caring: Downplayed. The first field report of Team 2, another rescue team from Tokyo, notes 26 confirmed zombie kills. Two days and 41 sorties later, they lost track long ago after 200 kills and just shrug, too tired to bother counting.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: To get the Zekes to leave Dr. Greengold's house alone in the Jerusalem chapter, you must activate a really loud border checkpoint siren to get the Zekes to rush towards you and your team instead.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: In the "Nemesis" mutation, an immortal, golden Bull follows you around the entire map. It can only be knocked down for a few seconds before getting back up again.
  • Super Power Lottery: As far as Zekes go, the Bulls have won this. Their heavy armor allows them to tank a lot of damage before dying unless the survivors shoot the weak point on his back, he becomes frighteningly fast when he’s charging, and has become strong enough to pound survivors into pulp easily.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Lots of breachable doors appearing suddenly? Chances are you've just reached a defense segment.
  • Take That!: The opening of "Dead in the Water" from NY campaign has the characters discussing refueling their ferry, only for Tashaun to point out there is no way they will be able to carry back the required amount, even if they will miraculously find somewhere the right fuel and containers to carry it. It's a subtle jab toward the whole premise of Left 4 Dead 2 campaign "Hard Rain", where the survivors are tasked with going to a nearby gas station and haul back 4 jerrycans of diesel for their rescue boat.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • The Bomber. Unless you incapacitate and defuse his bombs before he arms them, he'll blow himself up and kill you and your teammates.
    • Lieutenant Alexei Romanov blows himself up with a grenade as the zombie horde overtakes him. Unbeknownst to him, this breaks silence and zombies start swarming the Russian team.
  • Token Minority:
    • Everyone on the American team (Angel Flores is a Latino, Bunko Tatsumi is a Japanese-American, and Tashaun Burnell and Arnetta Larkin are African-Americans).
    • Everyone on the Israeli team except Dina Mizrahi (Judd Whitaker is American, Ethan Wolfe is British and Daniel Alahey is half-Ethiopian).
    • Ivan Dovchenko on the Russian team (He is from Kyiv, Ukraine).
    • Karim Wahid in the French team (He's from Dubai, UAE).
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Subverted when playing campaigns. Each chapter is self-contained, so whatever equipment you have, it is only for this chapter. Even if you are left with a breaching charge or a defense kit, you are almost guaranteed to use it during the finale.
    • Played painfully straight in Horde mode. Scarcity of items, combined with the fact it's an endless game until you die makes everyone reluctant to use their equipment, as chances to replenish it are few and far between, while credits spend on buying them are credits that are not spent on crucial defenses.
  • Total Party Kill:
    • If all human players are dead at the same time, it's automatic game-over, even if there might be bots in the team.
    • A misplaced explosion can wipe out the entire team by accident.
  • Utility Weapon:
    • The flare gun is used to summon artillery fire in New York's finale, and is used to signal Gaspar to fire the missiles in Marseille's finale.
    • The flamethrower is used in Kamchatka's first mission to melt the ice off of some doors.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Given that you're trying to survive as a team in a zombie apocalypse, you can either always have your team's back, even making sacrifices to save all of their lives...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: ...or you can completely ditch them and leave them at the mercy of all the ruthless Zekes, taking all the weapons and health for yourself.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • Of course, the Engine gets pissed at uncooperative play, so it'll often spawn less powerful guns and more zombies to target the cruelty-inflicting players.
    • One of the patches added a new rule - you no longer can trigger the next segment if at least one of the players is incapacitated. Previously, they were considered dead and thus allowed progression. Not anymore. Did you leave someone behind for certain death? Well, until they actually die or you rescue them, you can't progress. Hope you enjoy the horde that's spawning for the duration of the ongoing event and the possibility of a Total Party Kill.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Zig-Zagged. Depending on the chapter and exact situation, flamethrowers can be either amazing at putting a stop to a horde or laughably inefficient. Either way, they have very short range.
  • Video Game Setpiece: Horde events, usually related to manning some defense position. There are usually two in each chapter: a mid-point of the level and then its finale. Expect hundreds of zeds just piling up from all directions and you desperately trying to not be overrun.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Using a whole bottle of hydrogen peroxide on your wound is not a good idea in real life, but somehow is if you're low on health. First-aid kits, which visibly just have hydrogen peroxide bottles in them. Got shot? Use hydrogen peroxide. Got torn apart by zombies? Use hydrogen peroxide. Infections, blood loss, rest, fractures? Just pour some hydrogen peroxide on your wounds and you're good as new!
    • If you get mobbed by common Zekes, setting yourself on fire with Molotovs or blowing yourself up with a grenade launcher will usually clear your space a lot faster than trying to hack at them all with machetes or a fire ax. You'll suffer self-inflicted friendly fire damage, but that will be small compared to trying to clear out Zekes invading your space without said methods.
    • The entire Slasher class, which openly expects you to go into melee combat. Against a horde of zombies that can pin you down. In a third-person shooter. With extensive friendly fire (the last one can be alleviated by one of the skills Slasher has) mechanics.
  • The Virus: If you're... unlucky enough, you turn into a walking bag of poison gas (if you're wearing a hazmat suit after getting infected), get Sindel's shriek, or turn into the Hulk (if you're wearing a riot uniform after getting infected).
  • Weapon of Choice: While not explicitly marked in-game:
    • Gunslingers tend to favor fully automatic assault rifles and MAG5 machine gun, with the latter being improved if a Gunslinger picks the corresponding skill.
    • Fixers profit from using semi-automatic rifles, due to their high penetration (which can be bumped up with a class skill), making use of explosive ammunition they carry, and can upgrade the Barrett M82 to start on their back and be even more potent than it already is.
    • Hellraiser is for shotgun fans - multiple skills revolve around improving their potency - as using explosives at short range is face-blowing. While they can use either a rocket launcher or an M32, they always start with an M32 on their back and can improve it with a special skill.
    • Medics favor submachine guns, as reflected in multiple of their skills. Unsurprising as it is, Medics don't have a heavy weapon associated with the class.
    • Slasher tends to lean towards using their melee weapon to break through hordes of zeke, though some of their skills favor the usage of shotguns and submachine guns. Their heavy weapon of choice is either a fully automatic Assault Shotgun or a ''Forest Warrior'' chainsaw.
    • Exterminators don't favor any weapon type, but tend to use the ones that are fully automatic. Their skill tree improves all heavy weapons and stationary weapons, but - if combined properly - an Assault Shotgun goes from 50 rounds of horde slaying experience to 78 rounds of Zeke massacre. Overall, one could say that Exterminator's weapon of choice is Tower Defense.
    • Dronemasters don't really have any preferred weapon either, but they can gain bonuses with the Payload Rifle and any weapon that uses burst fire such as the Machine Pistol and Bullpup rifles.
    • Bot-controlled survivors don't pick actual guns, but simply gain them via script at a certain point of the level (unless their controlling player already equipped tier III gun and then left the game). They are scripted to always pick a full-auto gun, a semi-auto one, and a shotgun, in that order and depending on the number of bots in the team.
  • You ALL Look Familiar:
    • For all the bragging about the ability to generate countless infected zekes of varied looks, the actual variety is pretty limited. It is especially noticeable in Tokyo chapters, where you are still fighting against obviously Caucasian zombies.
    • For some unknown reason, ALL the soldiers in this game (including the American and Russian ones) are dressed in Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces uniform and armed with American-made Colt AR-15A3 Tactical Carbine (addressed as "Sporting Carbine" in-game), out of all weapons. At the very least, the US Army and JGSDF are depicted correctly by using UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopters while the Russian Army uses their standard Mil Mi-8/Mi-17 transport helicopter during certain scenes.
  • Your Head Asplode: Shots to the head of regular Zekes with pretty much any weapon leave only their neck and a Pink Mist. Even the rounds that don’t still end up doing things like removing their face or splitting their head in half.
  • Zerg Rush: Oh boy, and it is relentless! The regular Zekes can easily run really fast in swarms and can easily overwhelm you and your team if you are not prepared or packing heat.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Duh.
  • Zombie Gait: How individual Zekes walk until they see you. Then they get their running shoes on.
  • Zombie Infectee: Undead Sea adds in the Infector, which can invoke this trope. Get hit by its toxic projectiles, and you're on a timer. If you can't clean it off in time, you'll immediately be turned.
  • Zombie Puke Attack: The recently added special Zeke, Infector, can only attack survivors with this, which is a insta-kill if the covered survivor doesn't clean it quickly via button-prompt.

Alternative Title(s): World War Z

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