Review – Zombie Army 4: Dead War

The cooperative third person Zombie Army series begun it’s life in February 2013 as Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army. It was a standalone expansion for Sniper Elite V2 and Rebellion developed both. It went on to receive a sequel expansion in the same year, although it would not be until 2015 when the 3rd expansion and Zombie Army Trilogy is announced and released on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. These games would be similar to the Left 4 Dead series, with up to 4 players fighting their way through missions, doing specific tasks and reaching a safe house to restock on weapons, ammunition and health. These games would go on to receive mixed to average reviews, although it sold very well on Steam.

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Enter Zombie Army 4: Dead War. This continuation follows the same formula as the trilogy but feels incredibly fresh. Everything here has had a welcomed overhaul. It is bigger, louder and more bloodthirsty. Rebellion has gone with a grind house vibe, treating all the 9 missions as a separate movie with some spectacular menu movie posters. It reminds me of The House of the Dead: Overkill on the Wii. The majority of these missions are split into 4 acts, which has teams of 1 to 4 players planting charges, collecting fuel, taking boat rides, protecting objectives, saving survivors, manning turrets, setting off traps, refuelling a rocket, salvaging collectables, battling zombie tanks and using zombie sharks as traps, all while battling thousands of undead.


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The campaign is set in 1946 and is one year since the defeat of Hitler and his ‘Plan Z’ horde but he and his resurrected Nazis are not finished yet. It takes you through a number of spectacular levels, be it the opening level where you escape Milan to the Venice canals of Italy or one of my favourites in the Zombie Zoo level set in a Croatian Zoo. These locations are streaming with collectibles and Easter Eggs. From alive zombie hands, just like Evil Dead 2, to disturbing murderous dolls that pop up and do their best to give the player the creeps. There are also numerous nods to movies such as Jaws, The Sixth Sense and TV shows like Stranger Things. These Easter Eggs add to the charm of game and had me grinning ear to ear when finding new ones.


Compared to the Trilogy, Zombie Army 4 has increased the amount of enemies on screen and there are now more than 15 types of enemies. Apart from the regular shuffling zombies, the game includes the fast Suicider that explodes after charging at you. Also the super fast Creepers that stick low to the ground, Generals that can keep summoning undead, large armoured Elites where players must destroy the armour first, and large Heavies. These Heavies come in the form of a Heavy Gunner, Flamer and Butcher who wields an enormous Buzzsaw. The great thing about these heavy enemies is once they have fallen; the player can pick up their weapons to mow down the horde. Heavy weapons can also be found around the maps and you know you are about to be in for trouble when they are out in the open.


As someone who played through the original trilogy, it is the gameplay that has really captured my attention. It has continued the same formula of picking a sniper rifle, a secondary, be it a machine gun, sub machine gun or shotgun and a pistol. But what grabbed me straight away was the tightness of the shooting mechanics, having me hooked from the first mission and achieving some impressive kill combos. Within minutes I was blasting headshots, switching between my scope and traditional third person view, while switching out to my secondary when I felt overcrowded. The ease of the pick up and play gameplay can be changed through the many option modifiers, such as the strength of the aim and zoom assist. The game can also be customised with three difficulties options and the ability to choose how many zombies are in the missions. For example, a cooperative 2 player game could choose the amount of zombies for 3 players and a group of 4 could make it much easier and chose anywhere between 1 and 3 player zombie amount.


The Sniper Elite X-Ray Kill Camera returns and allows players to watch bullets and explosives rip through undead heads, organs and testicles. For me it never gets old but there is an option to turn this off for you and other players as it can get distracting, especially in a tough team situation. As for explosives, players can also carry 4 different types including grenades, such as incendiary, bait and electric, mines, trip wires and more. Furthermore, players can find mods throughout the maps and for the next 20 bullets weapons are enhanced with elemental powers such as electricity and fire.


With the amount of new and unpredictable enemies, there are a number of special abilities new to the series. At the HUD, players build up 3 weapon class abilities via combos. The abilities include slowing down time with your secondary weapons, crowd-clearing melee attachment, a charged sniper shot and an instant takedown kill that can revive health and ammo.


Working in its favour, the player has a level count. This level count works similar to the majority of other games through gaining experience. As the player levels up, they unlock a number of upgrade and cosmetics for characters and their weapons. Levelling up also unlocks perks and the player can have 5 equipped all at once, but only when they reach a certain level. The perks range from offensive to defensive and other. There are 36 perks total, 12 each under these 3 titles and each of them can be levelled up to a max of level 3. Levelling these perks can be done by meeting requirements, such as ‘Get 350 melee kills’ to further reduce melee damage or ‘Get a 100 combo’ to start with a x3 combo. These perks, along with load outs can change the play style and help accompany your teammates in battle. Finally, levelling up allows players to use mods on their items, such as auto revive if the player has a med kit in stock and increased arc range or additional arcs with the electric grenade. And this is not everything; players can earn or find weapon upgrade tokens. These tokens allow the players to add elemental damage, add larger scopes, bigger clips and boost overall stats. All this adds to the replayability to this already impressive title.

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Replayability does not stop there with a welcomed Horde mode. The maps of the Horde mode vary, just like the mission areas. From tight sewers to open vineyards, these 4 maps, with 3 more coming for free, all provide a challenge. Players face up to 12 waves (or more depending on your need or want to escape) that grow in difficulty. Instead of starting with the typical load out, all players start with a pistol and unlock new weapons as new areas open up. Airdrops also drop down weapons and equipment to assist the players. All XP earned in Horde also counts to the players’ overall level. And if you want that little more to keep you coming back, each Tuesday, Rebellion will deliver a new weekly event, which offers multiple rewards. These events have certain rules to adhere too. Such as, the first week rules were, no secondary weapons, infinite rifle ammo and increased hit chance on the Dead Ahead mission. The reward was white painted rifle skins and 2000 XP bonus. I am keen to see what week 2 brings.

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Zombie Army Trilogy was a game best played with 2 to 3 friends and the same could be said for ZA4, but unlike the Trilogy, this game is a lot more accessible for the single player. Even though there are no bots to fill in the other players, it is still a very entertaining single player game even though it can hit some difficulty spikes. In saying that, I played through the whole campaign with a 2nd player but also put in numerous hours with 3 other players and solo. The campaign can take anywhere between 11 and 13 hours and your overall time will be dependent upon the number of players, skill and difficulty.


Once in game, one of the first things you notice is the graphical upgrade since the trilogy. The Asura engine has made some great leaps with Sniper Elite 4 and I think it is even better here. It makes the game pop and while much of the game can be gloomy due to its nature, that red blood spatter is a bright scarlet when taking heads off. I had a number of people walk past the game and verbally say how impressed it looked and followed by them sitting and watching the next 20 or so minutes begging for a go. The sound design also matches the look, from the crack of a rifle, to the crunch of a bullet penetrating skulls and the squish of testicle getting disintegrated.


Without going much into it, this game is not for children. Apart from the over the top violence and horror themes, it does include a bit of coarse language. And when gaming online, pausing the game is not an option. You will have to get to a safe house to get a break and some levels can take up to 40 plus minutes.

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Even though Zombie Army 4 is a continuation of the series, it is a breath of fresh air with its arcade style fun. The updated graphics and presentation are surprisingly good. The satisfying gameplay also makes it easy to pick up and hard to put down. The levelling up, special moves, mods, upgradeable weapons, improved horde mode are all welcomed and significantly drive up the replayability. If you think 3rd person shooters and zombie games have dried up, you would be mistaken. There may be a ridiculous, non in-depth story but if a game looks good, sounds good, offers replayability and most importantly plays well, you can not go wrong picking up Zombie Army 4 Dead War.

Final Verdict

+ Gorgeous to look at
+ Easy to pick up and play
+ Sound design
+ Replayability
+ Shooting Zombie is back

– Silly story
– Better with friends

Score – 8/10

Pottsy for One More Game

*Please note that this review code was provided for review purposes. All thoughts on this title is that of the reviewer and the OMG team.

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