Initial Release Date: March 6, 2015
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Yes, it’s yet another zombie game on the market. How many slow motion headshots does it take before the novelty wears off? Not many really. The existence of this title only really stands to reason because of the popularity of the Sniper Elite series, which is essentially what you’re playing when you load this up. Zombie Army Trilogy IS basically Sniper Elite, but with zombies rather than soldiers as the enemies, and whilst the concept worked for the Call of Duty franchise to keep the series fresh in terms of having a nice mini game to play, having it serve as the main attraction was a gamble at best, and a money spinner by the publisher. Had it been an unlockable mode in the mainstay games, or even just an expansion, I probably wouldn’t have looked twice at it, but since it’s a standalone title that costs the same as any of the Sniper Elite titles, I had to check it out.
The main reason that I’m so down on this game is that it’s not a game that you can really play through as a solo player. The entire game is based around you having teammates covering you so that you can set up perimeters, watch each others backs whilst maintaining a head shot count that would make FPS Doug quake in his boots. Attempting the solo campaign in single player is basically suicide, even on the easier settings. As I’ve said, the game is balanced purely and simply for multiplayer purposes, and doesn’t serve as a game you could make a good go of without convincing your friends to cough up the cash also. Sure, a lot of great co-op games work this way, such as Left for Dead, but in Left for Dead; you have AI companions that will help you get through each stage, and whilst they are arguably less helpful than a human ally, they do make a good go of it, for the most part. In Sniper Elite…I mean, Zombie Army Trilogy, it’s just you. No backup, no AI support, just you. And playing it solo becomes monotonous, since you never upgrade, never level up, never do anything that alters gameplay in any way during the course of the campaign. In fact, once you hit a safe room on the first map, you have access to most of the weapons available in the game, which really does just go to show that very little effort was put in for those wishing to attempt the game as a lone wolf. Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s beyond time consuming (45 minutes into the first map. still fighting hordes) and no-one likes wasting their time.
Now, playing the game with friends offers a completely different experience, and one that I hold to be one of the better co-op experiences I’ve had to date. The only real problem with having teammates present, in the horde mode especially (not campaign), is that the number of enemies scales up, which is fine, but it also means that there is little to no room for error. If you so much as have one player who just isn’t up to the task just yet, maybe they saw the game on sale and installed it and just ended up in your game – call it quits, because a single player having to carry in this game does not work. There is no room for error whatsoever, you miss your mark – you’ll probably be killed or downed, resulting in a team wipe because they now have to move from their positions, break formations to assist the player in need.
Ammo is in ample supply, but it’s usually located all in one area, so trying to navigate your way to ammo piles during a wave, will most likely end up with your death. The game works on the basis that 2-3 hits and you are down. I guess what I’m meandering to is that the difficulty of this game is definitely very high, and offers no respite for those looking for a casual game with their friends, and since the community is mostly Sniper Elite pros, those new to the franchise will not be welcomed with open arms as they ruin a headshot streak for the umpteenth time in a single match.
Zombie Army Trilogy CAN be a great experience, and often is when you are playing with friends, with headsets and can all communicate to each other in good old fashioned team hoo-rah style, but if you’re looking to join random games and don’t know how to play – expect to be kicked, frequently. So often is the case where my team reaches a decent round in the wave-based horde mode, and a random player who has just freshly installed the game enters the game, choosing the incorrect weapons for the stage, gets killed within the first minute of the round starting whilst everyone else has to pick up the slack and deal with the additional enemies that will spawn because a new player joined the game. I know it sounds elitist, but I urge players who are new to ANY game to first grasp what the controls are before hopping into an online game. We were all new to a game at some point or another, but practice makes perfect, and practice is what new gamers need to do before trying this one online.
One of the best touches was the voice that whispers to you from the controller in the PS4 version of this game; which again, I like the variety of enemies that you actually face, some are just there as fodder, whilst the big burly nazi’s with guns makes you re-think your strategy…I find this game is a mixed bag, on one hand there are things I REALLY like about it, but for the most part, I feel like I’m playing against the clock, without much incentive to keep me playing, or returning. The only part of this game I could really recommend is the co-op side of things since the single player just feels shoehorned in.
Do I recommend Zombie Army Trilogy? Not unless you and three other friends are planning on buying it. Why? Because it offers almost no replay value, doesn’t meet the same standards as previous Sniper Elite games and is clearly a way for the franchise to literally money spin with new skins on the enemies, and little else added in. This game shouldn’t be a stand-alone game, or at least shouldn’t cost as much.