- Total Score - 8.5/108.5/10
“Zombie Army 4: Dead War’s fun coop and well designed campaign elevates the franchise beyond being a mere spin-off”
Developer – Rebellion Developments
Publisher – Rebellion Developments
Release Date – February 4, 2020
Platforms – Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
Editors Note – Rebecca recently played the Switch version, her thoughts are here and our new updated score is below!
During my original time with Zombie Army 4 I had a blast. It was full of headshots and up close shotgun destruction. The pace and secrets hidden in each stage added a ton of replay value and my only issue was the experience was too short. Thankfully, Rebellion has consistently added tons of exciting quality of life updates, levels and weapons to use. The sheer size of this game now dwarfs what it had at launch, and it’s perfectly playable on the Switch.
Two key features helped make the transition easy. Steam save transfer was excellent as it allowed me to import my progress and continue where I originally left off. The second and perhaps more significant, was the addition of gyro aiming. Flick aiming is great for general use and accessibility, and my kids have a blast using this to line up sniper shots from afar. With the imminent release of Sniper Elite 5 soon, hopefully this gyro aim is incorporated into more of the series as well.
- End of Switch specific content
Rebellion has been creating the popular Sniper Elite series for a long time now. The Zombie Army titles originally started off as stand alone DLC back when Sniper Elite 2 was out. After finding some success, they then created Zombie Army Trilogy and firmly established this as fun little spin off series.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is the latest in this series, and Rebellion finally takes this spin off and creates something worthy of it’s own name and worthy title alongside the Sniper Elite series.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War takes place one year after Hitler was defeated an sent packing.
It follows a new, original story line that will have players hopping across different European hot spots. From mundane areas like train-yards, all the way to the zombie shark infested canals of Venice.
Zombie Army 4 has a much stronger campaign than it’s predecessors. In the previous games, most of the stages felt like horde modes stretched out over a large play spaces.
Zombie Army 4 adopts a campaign format not too dissimilar from Left 4 Dead. Several acts comprised of multiple chapters will have players engaged in fun and exciting missions.
These missions do a much better job of feeling cohesive. Each act’s chapters have clear missions and will always take you on a journey from the start all the way to the end. It helps keep the game fresh, and you will rarely get bored with being forced to stand around the same spots over and over again endlessly defending an objective.
Each act also contains a multitude of challenges, secrets and collectibles. Rebellion has done a great job of filling each of these environments with tons of references to not just the Sniper Elite series, but other greats in the expanded Zombie universe.
Zombie Army does contain a horde mode, and it feels influenced by Call of duty’s zombie mode to a degree. As you survive waves of the horde, opportunities will arise that allows for the team to open up new areas, create new choke points. It helps add some variety and keeps the mode entertaining as you mow through the undead by the hundreds.
Regardless of what mode you play, the progression is account bound and carries across every mode. From replaying single chapters to bating the campaign, everything you do contributes to your overall level.
Every single weapon has numerous modification an upgrades. Even items such as med-kits or mines have some unlocks and the sheer number of perks allows for great replay value.
Zombie Army 4 also brings an idea to the table that should be replicated in every co-op title. In addition to the standard set of difficulty options, Zombie Army 4 allows you to choose the type of scaling you want the game to do.
This allows for much more control over the experience, and let’s you tailor the experience to you and your friends skill level. For example, I’ve been playing in two player co-op and scaling the missions as if we have four people. This option is great and should be the new standard going forward.
Visually Zombie Army 4 is clearly based off the newer Sniper Elite 4 and Strange Brigade engine. It’s a much nicer looking game than the previous titles, and slow motion shots right through some zombie balls has never looked better.
On the Xbox One X, they have included performance and quality modes and it runs silky smooth and loads fast on console.
Not all is well however. One issue I have is the floaty melee combat. Zombies can frequently damage you and hit you with melee attacks that always seem like they are clearly beyond their range. Some of this is mitigated because melee executions trigger health regeneration.
This is still the weakest point of the game though, and no matter how strong you get the melee combat never feels impactful.
The DLC is also a bit of an odd case. Sniper Elite has been getting more and more DLC, and this is perhaps the most intrusive it has been so far. Even at launch, the weapon selection is limited and each weapon category has numerous DLC guns that are just their reminding you to buy them.
It’s one thing to have some, but to have so much day one when the weapon selection is limited rubs me the wrong way a bit.
Despite my problems with the DLC practice and the wonky melee combat, I have really enjoyed my time with Zombie Army 4:Dead War.
The Sniper Elite series is one of my personal favorites, and it’s nice seeing them take what was a spin-off series and elevate it much more ambitious heights.