Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Zombie Army 4 Dead War, a Conflicting Addition

Zombie Army 4 Dead War is the fourth addition to the amazing Nazi Zombie Army Trilogy and is on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Epic Games store. It came out February 4th, 2020, and this was surprising because I heard next to nothing about this game until I stumbled upon it. And what is the most interesting thing to me is how this game makes me feel very unsure of what I think about it.

Since this game is new, here is your warning, the next section will contain spoilers.

Zombie Army 4 beginning
The start of Zombie Army 4.

Starting Zombie Army 4

Zombie Army 4 opens up with your survivor(s) getting out of their vehicle to get back to their established base in Milan, Italy. You proceed to the base with little issue and they give you the setup for the story once you are inside. Hitler was killed and for a while the Zombies got weaker and came in fewer numbers but never stopped. That was until recently, because the zombies returned and have gotten stronger, wiping out most other bases in Italy and your base is evacuating.

You gather your stuff and prepare to get on the train for evacuation but before you can, a runaway train slams into the station carrying zombies and summoning more to spill into your once safe Sanctuary. From here you fight through the station towards another train so you can still evacuate. But your journey wont end there because you are a part of their elite patrol unit and you must find a safe relocation spot for the survivors and wipe out as many zombies while doing it.

Zombie Army 4 has that familiar movement of sniper elite, the unique aiming, and most importantly the signature bullet cam. All of this is pretty in line with the rest of the games and I was very excited to play a new game with these functions.

The train with zombies pouring out.

Onto the next

Now that you have the gist of Zombie Army 4, its time to bump up what you can do a bit. And there are some really interesting things in this game, more than any of the previous games.

You can mod your guns with more damage, faster reload, larger magazine, better zoom, and new special attachments that will add extra power and modifiers. I will get deeper into these attachments later. But these can greatly change how your gun functions and it’s capabilities in combat. My favorite gun, the M1 Garand, can increase it’s clip size, can up it’s damage, and even get the ability to reload before you fire all of the rounds inside.

There’s also plenty of collectibles in Zombie Army 4 like comics, zombie hands, and Heroic events for you to find. Zombie hands crawl around hidden areas for you to find and shoot them. A lot of these can be really hard to find so make sure to explore and do so carefully. Heroic actions are survivors in danger that you can save by killing the nearby zombies in time, and sometimes it happens quick. Doing these will unlock stuff for you, like perks. These will modify your character and their abilities during play.

Zombie Army 4 also has entirely new enemies, characters to play as, and new gear to make your fight against the undead horde go a bit smoother. Including a bait grenade to gather zombies into a kill zone, a divine grenade that can heal people in the blast, and incendiary trip mines for incredible clearing power.

My likes

There is a lot to like about Zombie Army 4, it’s incredibly fun, it has some great level design, there are tons of collectibles for you to find even some Easter Eggs to popular media. There is a typewriter on one level that whenever you interact it, it types a phrase from Jaws, the shining, and other famous movies. And there are even some creepy dolls that appear in the maps, giving cool little things to find and some pretty unsettling moments from time to time like the first time you see them.

The level design is absolutely stunning, they have this fairly open space that makes it feel more natural without you feeling lost, yet tight enough that the zombies are still a threat. Each map looks amazing and interesting in it’s own right and each is very distinct. I never felt lost, but I never felt too constrained in a level, even in the underground parts. This was definitely one of the strongest parts of the whole game.

Gun play felt really smooth and each shot felt powerful, even the SMGs felt strong and felt like they were just as viable as a shotgun. Every single gun in Zombie Army 4 feels useful and strong and ammo is plentiful so tear those zombies a new one.

Overlooking Zombies as one fires it’s gun.

Why am I Conflicted?

Up until this point I have only said positive things about Zombie Army 4, but while I enjoy this game it has disappointed me. I have played through every Nazi Zombie Army game and am a decently big fan of the series and I love them immensely. And when a game comes out in a series, people expect the game to be like the other games in said series but pumped up.

And I don’t think Zombie Army 4 is like any of the other games in that series. Like I said before, there were attachments that make your guns crazy good, like my M1 Garand has a permanent upgrade where the first shot after a period of time is incendiary, burning all enemies near the zombie I shoot as well as that one. Or the russian PPSh which is a DLC gun that has the electric mod that works like my Garand’s incendiary, but it instantly kills the first zombie I shoot and tases the other nearby zombies.

Now, these are immense fun and are really cool, but they are ridiculously strong and turn combat into a cinch. I never once felt threatened by even the armored zombies with machine guns because not only are these indestructible, but there are attachments that are 15 bullet use only that you will find really easily, I once ran out of ammo before I needed another attachment because of how often these were handed to me.

There are many things like the attachments that make this game easy. A single zombie will likely give you pretty much all the ammo you could ever need just by stomping his fresh corpse. Every single bullet shreds, the Thompson for example, in the original trilogy the gun felt pretty ineffective due to it’s inaccuracy but it was still good if you aimed well with it. Compare this to Zombie Army 4, the Thompson will melt 10 zombies easy with only body shots, no reloading required.

Why even use your primary outside of those niche moments of long range defense? Just grab any gun and shred the next 50 waves. Mix this with the fact that the zombies are so paper mache thin that one shot to the chest with a primary kills 90% of the zombies even without upgrades, it is a cakewalk.

I know the goal of Zombie Army 4 was to make a more arcadey, approachable game for more people, but I feel that it really loses the soul of the Nazi Zombie Army series. A series that can be tough but with good aim and a plan, you can fight back the undead hordes and take back the world. Now it just feels like Killing Floor except all rounds are round 1 and 2 and killing only clots is really draining.

Now one of the things that I enjoyed about the Nazi Zombie Army Trilogy was all of the guns, and all of the characters. There were around 20 characters just from opening the game, and all of the guns you know and love were all there for you to pick and choose from. Now the amount of characters was pretty massive and they didn’t really change much of anything in the games but it was really nice to be able to be a french survivor or a strong Russian woman. But now you are limited to 4 in the base game and 5 are DLC.

Zombies pouring out of the walls near the fountain.

Conclusion

So what do I think of Zombie Army 4? Well this is a tough question for me on whether I like it or dislike it, there are things I love about the game, but there are things that bug me about it whenever I play it.

Would I recommend this game to people who played the Nazi Zombie Army Trilogy and want more of it? Not in the slightest, its way too easy, has some weird sci-fi stuff that doesn’t really seem to fit, and just doesn’t have the soul of Sniper Elite in it that really drew me into the originals.

But would I recommend Zombie Army 4 to someone who just wants a really fun Co-op zombie shooter? Absolutely, without a doubt. I think this group of players will love this game to bits.

Zombie Army 4 isn’t a bad game, it has amazing characters, the level design is fantastic, the enemies are very well designed, and most of all it is fun. I was just lead to believe this would play like the Nazi Zombie Army Trilogy and it didn’t deliver that promise, but it gave me a game that I enjoyed.

Nathan Lambias
Amateur Writer and Reviewer. I enjoy a wide variety of game genres but my favorites are First Person Shooters, Role-playing games, and occasionally Puzzle games.

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