Unlike their relatively more mainstream counterparts the Sniper Elite games, Rebellion Developments Zombie Army titles have never really had their time in the limelight. And that’s kind of surprising when you think about it because the mix of 4 player co-op gameplay and zombie hordes featured in these games has proved to be an absolute winning formulae before.
So for a lot of people, the new Zombie Army 4: Dead War isn’t just a new entry into the franchise, it’s a fresh new starting point for a series that has long flown under their radar. And while it’s hard for me to argue that the things it does, and the gameplay it features, are truly unique or different, I will say that it is the best entry into an already highly entertaining series of zombie games.
The plot of Zombie Army 4: Dead War is absurd but fun, kind of in the same way that a lot of cheesy horror B movies are fun. The story is a continuation of the previous game in which zombie Hitler was finally banished to hell, but now his zombie hordes have been bought back once again and a team of four hardened survivors have to mow then down once more.
Now if you’ve played through any of the previous three games in the series, you’ll know what the base gameplay is like: It’s a third person shooter with an emphasis on the occasional gruesome slow motion kills. But unlike the more grounded aspects of the Sniper Elite games and their focus on sniping, Zombie Army 4 places great emphasis on a few different weapon types and the use of a number of different special abilities that can help you shred through the seemingly endless undead Nazi hordes.
You can make use of pistols, SMGs, Sniper Rifles, Shotguns and the occasional Heavy Weapons, and they all feel powerful and useful against the enemies in the game. Shotguns in particular are so satisfying to use, as your explosive shots absolutely turn zombies into mincemeat.
As you play though the levels you can acquire Weapon Upgrade Kits though a number of methods that also allow you to upgrade your selected weapon in a few different ways. These upgrades range from simple attachments life weapon scopes and larger magazines, all the way to more fantastic upgrades like Electric and Explosive rounds.
This simple yet effective upgrade system ensures that if you find a weapon that you enjoy using, you can keep upgrading it to be useful throughout the entire game. It also ensures that you have enough Upgrade Kits at your disposal that you can try out and upgrade a completely different weapon if you want even late into the game.
Each weapon class also has a special ability associated with it, such as the Sniper Rifle ability to fire incredibly powerful shots that penetrate through multiple targets, or the Pistol ability to lock-on and chain headshots. Players also have access to special melee attacks and executions that let them regain health when they brutally dismember a zombie.
On top on the regular cannon fodder zombies, there are a fair number of different enemy types for the players to confront. There are the more traditional types like explosive zombies that are strapped with explosives and rush towards you and detonate, and spitter zombies that launch projectiles at you. Then there are the heavy types that wield flamethrowers and chainguns, and my personal favorites, the occult zombies that have a variety of different abilities like controlling other zombies. I don’t want to spoil any of these because they’re among the best enemies to fight in the game, and their description already gives away a lot about them.
Level design is also a highlight in Zombie Army 4: Dead War, and the developers have made sure that each new location feels fresh and unique compared to the last. No setting ever outstays it’s welcome, and you’re constantly treated to new sights to accompany your zombie killing exploits.
That’s not to say however that missions themselves ever move beyond the typical “go there ” and “do this” objectives, but the gameplay is solid enough that you never really mind all that much. Fans know what they’re getting into with this game, and new players will also learn that the zombie killing is the real focus here..
Playing with friends is a blast as always, and the game actually makes it a point to emphasize that that’s the way to really play this game. I often found myself overwhelmed when playing alone, but with a couple of friends by my side, the game feels just right.
The score multiplier also helps to push you along, as it creates a highly competitive environment where the more kills you chain, the higher your score gets. This makes sure that you’re always trying to outdo your friends, and that’s honestly so much fun.
In conclusion, Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a great new entry into the Zombie Army series that manages to both be as entertaining as its predecessors, while also outdoing them in many regards. The gameplay is better than ever before, and the slew of upgrades and abilities at your disposal keep the combat fun all the way though to the end.
The story is delightfully cheesy but predictable, and I really don’t have to tell you who the final boss in a game about killing Nazi zombies is, and you honestly are probability expecting it.
All you should know is that this is a great zombie game that will keep you and your friends entertained from start to finish.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is out now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC. It was developed and published by Rebellion Developments. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
The review code was provided by the publisher.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War Review
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a fantastic new entry into the series with some of the best level design and combat that we have seen in the Zombie Army games to date.