Review: Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Zombie Army 4: Dead War
I think the majority of people would agree there are two things they would most like to avoid during a walk in the park. Zombies and Nazis! Throw in a World War 2 setting, a ton of guns, a plot involving Hitler raising an army of the dead to conquer the world, and you have one of the best cooperative multiplayer experiences of 2020!
I feel I am in a unique position to review Zombie Army 4: Dead War, as I have just completed Zombie Army Trilogy with my friends @tat_sun_ and @jetsetdiddy. We had an absolute blast playing through all three games, and it was interesting to see how the series has evolved over the years. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the core concept with each game. They are enjoyable, fun, and don’t take themselves too seriously.
The Zombie Army games initially started out as a spin off project from Sniper Elite V2. The first Zombie game was so successful, it was inevitable there would be more to come.
Zombie Army 4 is a third person action game where the goal is simple: get from A to B without dying. Okay, so there is a little more to it than that, but you get the idea. You start in a relatively safe area making your way across war torn streets. Regular zombies shuffle towards you blocking your path. As these are traditional zombies, they don’t pose much of a problem, as long as you keep them spread out. This makes it much easier to pick them off at a distance. The trouble starts when they grow in numbers, and begin to surround you or your team.
There are a wide range of other enemies which take more punishment, or hinder you enough to make the regular zombies more of a threat. One of the many things I enjoy about the series is the way the game creates dynamic tension. This is especially the case when a chainsaw wielding monster, or machine gun toting heavy appears as you run around a corner! Add zombie snipers, exploding suicide zombies, summoners who can bring back previously killed zombies and fire enemies, and you are definitely going to have your hands full. There are a whole host of new enemies as well, but I won’t give away what they do, as that would ruin the surprise.
When you reach a certain point in the level, you usually have to defend and survive an attacking horde. This adds additional pressure, so it is vital you set up your defences to withstand the enemies.
To help you do this, you are armed with a selection of sniper rifles, shotgun (or machine guns), and pistols. There are different types of real-life weapons, and it is up to you to decide which load out suits your playstyle. You can also hold a small number of explosives including trip wires, mines, dynamite and grenades. Occasionally you can find special weapons including a rocket launcher, or hugely powerful shotgun called The Preacher.
If you’ve ever played Sniper Elite or Zombie Army game, you will know X-ray kill cams are a staple and hugely enjoyable feature. If you’ve never seen one of these, basically time slows down as you see a bullet fly through the air. Just as it hits the target, you are treated to a visual feast of the bullet entering a particular part of the body blowing it to smithereens! Yes, you can shoot people in the balls if you were wondering! Zombie Army 4, now boasts added dismemberment, meaning killing zombies has never been so much gruesome fun!
If you play the game with friends (and I highly recommend you do so) then individual scores are added to create a slightly competitive edge to each level. But the main objective is to work together, or you won’t get very far.
Some of the new improvements including in Zombie Army 4, are the ability to level up your character and upgrade your weapons. This gives the player even more choice how they want to play the game. You can also gain an advantage by adding explosive and electric ammo to your weapons.
There are different characters to choose from, and each one has strengths and weaknesses attached to their attributes. One of the things missing from Zombie Army Trilogy was voice acting. This has now been rectified, which helps to give your character a bit of additional depth.
Melee attacks have now been updated, and include special takedowns which increase your health. There is also a new slow-mo attack which temporarily slows down time. It’s similar to the Dead Eye mode in Red Dead Redemption, and is very useful if you find yourself surrounded by zombies.
Zombie Army 3 started to dabble with traps, and Zombie Army 4 now builds on this. There are plenty of innovative and genuinely funny traps, which you can use to your advantage. Trust me when I say, you will need all of them to help you survive.
The graphics have improved massively compared to Zombie Army Trilogy, and everything looks really shiny and polished. I was playing the game on PC at 60 FPS in 4K, and it ran like a dream.
Probably the main reason I love the Zombie games so much is the general tone and atmosphere. Everything, from the music and presentation feels like an 80’s schlocky VHS video nasty. The makers at Rebellion are clearly horror fans, taking inspiration from such horror legends as Dario Argento, and George Romero. In fact, you can add any number of horror movies to that list, including Evil Dead and Brain Dead. Being of a certain age, and a big fan of all of the above, I totally get the vibe they are going for.
As well as the various hidden collectibles, there are also lots of Easter eggs dotted about the levels. I chuckled when I spotted a nod to Stranger Things. I really appreciated these small details, as they made a big difference to my overall enjoyment of the game.
Zombie Army 4, has more content than previous games, as there are now nine levels (rather than 5) divided into 4 chapters. It seems like Zombie Army 4 is going to receive a lot of support to provide players with many more hours of fun. As well as the single player campaign, there is a horde mode, and special weekly events. Also available now, (or coming soon) are new campaign levels, horde mode maps, skins, characters and weapons.
Rebellion are quietly becoming the masters of making on-line cooperative multiplayer games. Zombie Army, Strange Brigade and Sniper Elite are a wonderful family of games, which are intrinsically linked, but also strong enough to stand on their own feet.
If you were already a fan of the Zombie Army games, you will definitely not be disappointed with the latest instalment. There are a huge number of improvements, which help to make Zombie Army 4 feel fresh and exciting. Zombie Army 4: Dead War is the perfect pick up and play game. Yes, you can play it on your own, but I genuinely think it is best experienced with friends. Highly recommended.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is available now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Review by Chris.