Zombie Army 4: Dead War – GAME REVIEW
Made by the makers of the Sniper Elite series, Rebellion Developments, Zombie Army 4 is third person arcade shooter gaming at its finest. Zombie Army 4 is like a cross between Max Payne and Doom. There’s Nazis, mini-guns, flamethrowers, sniper rifles, shotguns, landmines, grenades, and so much more.
As an offshoot of the Sniper Elite series (where you snipe Nazis), the signature for Zombie Army games is the slow motion x-ray kill sequences that can happen. Line up a couple of zombie heads and if you time the shot perfectly, you get a sequence that shows your bullet shattering skulls, jaws, arms, organs, and yes…testicles. Needless to say, whether it makes sense or not, when you do so, the zombie is down for good. Otherwise, with most other weapons you use in the game, the only surefire way to take a zombie down is with a headshot. As you play through the 8 hour campaign of Zombie Army 4, you will certainly score quite a bit of these gory glorified slo-mo kills.
Speaking of the campaign, coming into this game without having played the rest of the series (or the Sniper Elite games) isn’t much of a problem story wise. While there probably is an over arching story that connects each of the Zombie Army games, there isn’t too much you need to understand. Someone is raising a hellish Nazi zombie army just after World War 2 and you are there to pick up the pieces and save the world! For a shooter like this, though,jumping into the action and not having to sit through tons of cut-scenes is definitely welcome. Equipped with a sniper rifle, either a machine gun or a shotgun, and a pistol, your soldier is quickly thrown into the hellfire to take down as many zombies as possible.
As you play through the game, there are quite a bit of easter eggs for horror film lovers. You’ll see homages to Stranger Things, The Shining, and more as you explore secret rooms and such on each level. Finding these little secrets also provide a boost to your character as well. These boosts come in the form of upgrade kits for your weapons, xp boosts, and so forth. With the RPG elements and slight nudges to explore each level fully, Zombie Army 4 really makes for a satisfying shooter.
Zombie Army 4’s levels are well crafted as well. At times you will push through bunches of zombies in close quarters. Other times you’ll focus on sniping. There are bosses with heavy weaponry and magic that mix things up as well. You will defend a position with traps and boat loads of bullets as well as use environmental traps to squish and explode the hellish hordes. All the while, you will be treated to some pretty creepy and satisfying environments. With the large character models for both your character and the zombies, every satisfying stomp and blast will be seen and felt throughout the adventure.
All the while, you are constantly reminded that this is an arcade shooter by the ever changing combo meter on the right hand side of the screen. As you string together headshots and kills, the combos track higher and higher. These allow you to reach scores that are eventually graded at the end of each level. Reach a high enough score and you may get bonuses that allow you to upgrade your character even more. This provides incentive to replay missions as your character and the weapons you carry become more powerful. Doing so allows you to unlock skins for both the character and the weapons as well to further show off the fantastic graphical quality of the game.
To keep the party going, Rebellion has also added 4 player online coop and a horde mode to increase replay ability. Co-op games are tons of fun when done well and Zombie Army 4 certainly falls in that category. In the coop mode, you and a number of friends can tackle the story with one of the various characters (each with different special abilities) featured in the game. In horde mode, the chaos ramps up quickly as scores of zombies attack you mixed in with lots of bosses. Given that ammo can be scarce if you don’t stomp on enough foes, this mode also does a great job of showing off how difficult the game can become.
With that said, the game isn’t perfect. While the game is based on the action from the Sniper Elite series, you aren’t going to be wow’d by the supremely tight controls. Some melee strikes won’t hit when you thought they would. Some headshots you lineup will inexplicably miss. Other times the maneuvering about parts of the map just won’t happen as quickly or smoothly as the action may require. Oftentimes this becomes apparent when lots of zombies get in close and you have to punch your way free or try to run away. Still, any gripe found when playing does not take away from the fun though.
Besides– Who knew you could kill zombies by shooting their testicles!