Title: Zombie Army 4: Dead War
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Publisher: Rebellion Developments
Genre: Tactical shooter, survival horror
Official Site: Zombie Army.com
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Version Tested: Xbox One
In an alternate universe where Hitler’s dark forces are actually rooted in dark magic, the Nazis have forged a horde of zombies to do their bidding. Because of this, those same Nazis just about took over the world. Then fighters like the ones you’ll take over in Zombie Army 4 were able to fight back the forces of evil. They were able to kill Hitler and turn the tide of war. Now, the final battles have begun, and it is up to you and as many as three of your friends to fight off the walking dead and win the war once and for all.
Take out the Hitler references and Zombie Army 4 sounds quite a bit like any or all of the multiplayer zombie shooters that have come out in the last few years. In fact, there were more than a few times where I found myself wondering if I had somehow managed to load up the wrong game and was actually playing World War Z.
That isn’t necessarily even a negative. We at Nerdstash really liked World War Z. There are worse games to kind of pattern yourself after. The issue is that if this is a game that wanted to set itself apart, it didn’t do that. If it wanted to improve on various aspects of this kind of game, I’m not sure it did that. If it just wanted to copy and rehash things that made games like Left 4 Dead played over and over and over … it probably did that.
Enter At Your Own Risk
One of the things that makes a game like World War Z that much better than something like Left 4 Dead is that the zombies in the former feel like they are actually adjusting to your tactics. One way in which Zombie Army 4 does set itself apart from other zombie shooters is there is a way to thin out the herd. There are scenes where you can take out the whole bunch of them and find yourself relatively safe.
There are also scenes where you will find your back against a wall and suddenly realize all the zombies in the entire level are flooding towards you. Because you are limited in both ammo and how many shots you have before you need to reload, you will be overrun if you do indeed put yourself in a situation where a wall is at your back, and the zombies are all in front of you. Even if you are playing the game with three of your friends, you are going to find yourself quickly overwhelmed.
The zombies in this game also differ from other titles because they aren’t entirely just zombies. These have magically risen who it appears can think at least a little bit. Sometimes that means they can shoot at or near you. Sometimes they will wrap dynamite around themselves. Sometimes they’ll even strap some seriously heavy weapons to their back and come after you relentlessly. While there are times the crowd of zombies looks like their brainless killers, they behave a bit differently than other games. That doesn’t mean they’re ever really impossible to fight off or get away from for a short period of time, but because you’re boxed in for most of the game, you need to be smart about how you play a level. You can run and duck to some degree, but the zombies will get you eventually.
Story Is Lacking
There’s a reason Zombie Army 4 gets so many comparisons to the other popular shooters of this genre, and it’s not necessarily a good thing. While there is a campaign and a story to follow along, it isn’t a campaign that is going to stand out and be memorable. Playing the game with the sound off, you aren’t going to lose many details, you aren’t going to miss a plot twist. If you’re not paying attention, you might miss a clue as to what direction you’re supposed to travel, but that’s about it.
Because the campaign is basically running from one spot to another, gunning down as many undead as possible, it begs the question of why the horde mode exists at all. Other than the fact that the other mode literally has you in one spot instead of moving around, it doesn’t set itself apart as a mode in the game. It would have been great to see something else offered considering the campaign itself is just a matter of working through waves of zombies in order to win, just on more maps.
Verdict: Zombie Army 4: Dead War is not a game that is redefining the genre for the most part. The makers of Sniper Elite did find a way to make shooting things just a little more fun by zooming in every once in awhile, but even that seems to be uneven. Sometimes you headshot a zombie and get to see the bullet go through its brain. Other times, you’re merely shooting from a long way away. There is also the rather rampant monetization. The game is asking you to buy weapons and seasons right off the bat. It would have been nice to play the game for a little while before being hit up for cash. Bottom line is this is a fun game to play, that could have been better if the goal had been to forge a new path, rather than tread on familiar ground.
- Lots of different zombie enemies to take on
- Watching a bullet rip through the undead is plenty of fun
- Not a ton that hasn't been seen in similar games
- The story is almost completely pointless