Why aren’t there more games like Zombie Army 4? Seriously, there aren’t enough games that are simple, balls-out, video game fun. Zombie Army 4 is such a video game and it’s all the better for it. It combines both of the medium’s classic enemies — Zombies and Nazis — ultra-violence and gore, combos, scores and collectibles. It’s pretty much the ultimate “video game.”
Now, I like a meaningful, well structured, thoughtful game as much as the next person. Something with commentary and something that has some impact. But, I also really LOVE Zombie Army 4.
It’s loud and dumb and so much fun that I’m not sure that I’ll enjoy a game as much, as purely and as easily for a long while.
Zombie Army 4 Review
It’s been a long time since Left 4 Dead was doing the rounds. Too long, in fact. Thankfully, Zombie Army 4 is here to fill that void. Set after alternate World War II, Hitler’s undead hordes are still roaming Europe and with the man himself in hell, a ragtag group of heroes sets out to discover just what the hell is going on.
Hell being the operative word.
As they travel through the war and zombie ravaged countryside of Europe, it’s clear that Hitler isn’t quite as dead as hoped. So, the heroes must fight and shoot and stomp and explode and chop and punch and destroy the undead Nazis who are tearing shit up.
Zombie Army 4 is a third-person action shooter built on the foundations of Sniper Elite but with a healthy dose of Left 4 Dead thrown in for good measure. As you play, you’ll unlock new abilities, perks, upgrades and more. By the end, you’ll be a Nazi Zombie killing machine, which is a hell of a lot of fun.
Lots of Character
While there are four characters to choose from, the differences are mostly superficial. They have slightly different stats but not really enough to make a real difference. However, the weapons you choose, perks you equip and upgrades you apply are what gives you the ability to customise the game to your liking.
Each character can choose a rifle, a secondary weapon and a pistol. Rifles play out exactly like Sniper Elite. You can ADS, slowdown time and take shots at enemies. If you pull off a particularly good shot, you’ll be rewarded with a bullet-time camera with Xray; for ultimate gore. It even happens during co-op, though it’s shortened significantly if you’re in the middle of a fight.
Secondary weapons include shotguns and assault rifles and pistols come in a few different flavours. As you play, you’ll unlock upgrade points that let you customise the weapons. You can increase their damage, add a modifier (incendiary, electric etc), improve zoom functions, increase accuracy and more.
Perks are applied similarly. As you level up — yep you have levels — by collecting XP from kills, completing levels and finding collectibles, you’ll unlock perks. Applying them to your character changes how they play. You can increase damage resistance, lengthen the combo timer, give yourself more ammo and more. There’s really too many to go into in this review. Suffice it to say, there’s a way to build your character however you like.
And it’s exciting because it lets you play the game your way. Or multiple ways.
Playing with Zombies
The actual playing of the game is just superb too. It’s rock-solid, fast, fluid and polished to perfection. Controlling your character through the levels feels great and the shooting is flawless. Whether you’re using a rifle with a scope or another weapon, shooting in Zombie Army 4 is so refined and so enjoyable that it’s hard to put the game down. And if somehow you do start to feel a little tired of the shooting, there are various grenades, mines and heavy weapons to find and use too.
Everything about Zombie Army 4 has been designed to get you to play and keep you playing. You earn XP which levels you up, which in turn unlocks new perks or item mods, which lets you play in a new way. Different weapons change how you play and upgrading them does the same again. Zombie Army 4 is purely “video game” and it’s also so gamified and so full of meta-game content that it’s hard to see ever being “finished.”
And that’s just the campaign.
So Much to Do
There’s also Horde mode. Like Call of Duty’s Zombies, Horde mode sees you face wave after wave of enemies as you gradually improve weapons and try your best to stay alive.
Of course, Zombie Army 4 features drop-in, drop-out co-op and while I enjoyed playing solo when you add friends, the chaos is even bigger and better. You’re also given plenty of control over the difficulty with Easy, Medium and Hard on offer as well as being able to select the number of zombies.
Playing on your own but still want a challenge. Choose to have four players worth of zombied to kill. You can mix and match how you like, to find the sweet spot for you.
In addition to the superb gameplay, ridiculous plot and outrageous violence, Zombie Army 4’s grindhouse aesthetic is perfect. Every new chapter has a title card that looks like it’s been pulled from a grindhouse theatre in the ’80s. The over-the-top effects, colour palette, level and enemy design are all clearly, heavily inspired by the best B-Grade horror flicks from yesteryear.
It’s joyful in its homage to that bygone style of cinema and even though you spend your time eviscerating Nazi Zombies, you can’t help but smile. Visually, Zombie Army 4 is good, not great. It’s not going to blow you away with its graphics but it’s also not trying to. The visual splendour comes from the design, not the number of polygons on screen.
On PS4 Pro it runs like an absolute dream too. With a rock-solid 60 frames per second regardless of the action on screen, I’ll take performance over photo realism any day. You don’t want a photorealistic Nazi Zombie shooter anyway.
It’s hard to come up with any real negatives for Zombie Army 4. It has so much on offer, it plays so well and it is incredible amounts of fun that if you even have a passing fancy for video games, you’ll likely have a great time.
Rebellion has developed an absolutely stellar game in Zombie Army 4 and if you’re looking for a good time, look no further.
Zombie Army 4 was reviewed on PS4 using a digital copy provided by the publisher.
Game Title: Zombie Army 4: Dead War