Zombie Army 4: Dead War Review
It’s 1945, the end of World War II. However, in this particular fictitious history, ’twas not the Allies that emerged victorious. An evil undead Hitler has resurrected the dead, launching endless waves of zombies at the Allied forces, leaving only small cells of resistance left to fight for the survival of humanity.
Zombies, undead tanks, a Hitler horde – Zombie Army 4: Dead War steps away from the traditionally serious narrative surrounding World War II and instead promises some old-school, mindless, zombie-slaughtering fun that never takes itself too seriously.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War Review
Heavily influenced by the fantastically fun Sniper Elite games, Zombie Army 4: Dead War takes a more linear approach to level design and gameplay, providing more action-orientated combat, as opposed to Sniper Elite’s traditionally slower-paced and more tactical approach. While removing the tactical depth may appear a negative aspect, at least initially, what it removes in strategy it more than delivers in fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled zombie encounters.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War’s level design is familiar throughout, challenging players to increasingly difficult missions, running from safe room to safe room, stocking up on supplies, and heading out to take on the next mission objective. The objectives are varied and engaging, ranging from simple “stand your ground against the horde” missions to more challenging boss encounters. It’s a familiar mix, but one that changes frequently enough to keep the entire campaign (about 10-15 hours) varied and entertaining without over-complicating the process.
Much like its more serious Sniper Elite brethren, Zombie Army 4: Dead War lives and dies on the quality of combat. While the arsenal of weapons is disappointingly limited, featuring only around four in each category of Primary, Secondary, and Pistol, the way in which these weapons deployed is anything but. Sniper Elite’s bread and butter sniping gameplay takes the front of stage triumphantly in Zombie Army 4: Dead War, albeit with a little less focus on range and a little more on volume.
Approaching a small clearing to spot a group of mindless zombies stumbling around in the distance immediately gets the pulse racing. You sit back, line up the perfect shot, hold your breath, and grin in utter glee as Sniper Elite’s famous bullet camera follows your shot to the point of impact and beyond. Having killed over 5,000 zombies throughout the campaign, the first bullet camera headshot was as disturbingly satisfying as the last, never over-powering, or being so frequent to hinder the overall pace and quality of the experience. It’s fantastic, each and every time.
When long range combat isn’t viable or ammo is low, which happens a lot, you’ll resort to alternative means to taking down yet another wave of seemingly never-ending zombies. Thankfully, even with the bullet camera taking a backseat, Zombie Army 4: Dead War’s combat excels in every aspect. Laying down tripwires and mines before defending a location, launching grenades into unsuspecting clusters, shooting defensive targets that activate electrified floors or giant fans that suck in and dismember anything that approaches (including other editors, sorry Johnny), the combat is constantly fresh, exciting, immersive, and rewarding. And that’s just the variation of arsenal available to the players. Regular special zombies are introduced, providing varying degrees of threat and challenge without constantly resorting to bullet sponge tactics, as so many games do today.
A game that boasts the ability to kill undead Nazi’s and Hitler would struggle to sell any serious level of narrative, but Zombie Army 4: Dead War manages to strike a careful balance between providing a story that’s worthwhile, while also being comical and entirely insane – without relying on comedy or poor one liners to sell the experience. It would be inaccurate to say Zombie Army 4: Dead War approaches anything close to a horror-like experience, but it’s not afraid to launch a bit of creepy when it’s required.
Ghostly typewriters that spell out quotes from various horror movies (IT, Zombieland, John Carpenter’s Halloween to name a few), graffiti and documents offering insight into horrific events, incredibly disturbing dolls that seem to change pose and action as soon as you glance away. It’s a welcome slice of strange and creepy that adds an unexpected depth to the overall direction of the game.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War’s thrilling combat and enjoyable campaign is further supported by decent player progression and various game modes. Horde Mode does exactly what you would expect it to do, and weekly challenges provide twists on the campaign missions with different modifiers and difficulty changes. The progression is linear, allowing you to upgrade guns down a single path (for the most part), with Upgrade Kits that can be discovered in most levels. Furthermore, your equipment items like grenades and medkits also have different variations as you progress into the latter stages.
I do wonder if this modelling artist ever thought this request would come across the desk. Hey, can you put together a Hitler Humpty Dumpty?
Zombie Army 4: Dead War offers fun, mindless zombie slaughtering co-op excitement without pretending it’s anything else. An absolute blast with friends, it’s brutal, disturbing, and you get to kill Nazi zombies. What’s not to love?
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