If you’re expecting Zombie Army 4 to alter the series as you know it, well…why would it? After all, the previously released Zombie Army Trilogy proved that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to kill zombies. Or, for that matter, zombie Nazis, which sweetens the deal. But what it lacks in innovation, the fourth chapter in the series more than makes up for with wonton blood-letting and crazy destruction. And you can double that fun if you bring a few friends along for the ride.
The game’s plot is a bit on the thin side, but sets the pace for the action. Hitler, having succumbed to defeat at the hands of the Allied forces, opts to try to revive the undead to help him along. He succeeds, but perhaps a little too well; and now a group of soldiers must fight back, using whatever weapons and secondary items they can get their hands on.
The game takes you across a number of locations during your journey, including places like France and Italy, which would normally be tourist-friendly if it wasn’t for all the undead. Along the way, you’ll power up your character in a number of ways, including new items in their loadout. These can range from a cool electrical charger to soup up your bullet fire to explosive items that can make a mess with the right shot. Of course, you have to use these sparingly until you start leveling up within the game.
There are some different loadouts to play around with, and a few of the weapons do get creative when you use them often enough. But there’s something for everyone here, from sniper rifles that let you perform clean headshots with ease to shotguns that can throw someone for a loop with a shot from the barrel. The different approaches keep things fresh, even if most of the weapons are standard issue.
You’ll also face some unique challenges, such as super-powered zombies that require a little strategy. Never mind how one managed to get their hands on a flamethrower, because you’ve got a gas tank to decimate. And you’ll also be rewarded in some spots, including Rebellion’s signature X-ray kill, which lets you shatter a zombie in stylish slow motion.
Zombie Army 4’s biggest setback is that it doesn’t really pick things up in terms of shaking off its repetitiveness. Sure, there’s a lot to shoot, and some of the weapons can make a difference; but there’s not too much in the way of variety, save for some variations of enemies. It’s not everyday you face off against a zombie tank. Or, for that matter, a zombie shark. What is this, SyFy?!
This also stands out for single player, as it can be a bit too much trying to get things done on your own. Fortunately, a game like Zombie Army 4 manages to thrive with its co-op. Up to four people can jump into a campaign, and it’s really something when they do. That makes it more of a party, with a little bit of competition on the side. It’ll also lend a hand in Horde mode, where you face wave after wave of enemies while trying to stay in one piece.
As for the gameplay, it’s good. Again, there are times that you feel like you’re doing the same old thing, but it’s engaging and fun once you get past that little setback. And if you feel things are getting too mundane, you can change your loadout and shake things up.
The presentation is also pretty good. There are times that things can be a bit murky for their own good, but it runs at a pretty steady frame rate; and the carnage is a sight to see, especially on groups of enemies being caught by an exploder. The audio’s all right, with decent music cues and voice acting, but it doesn’t go too far over the top.
If you’re a Zombie Army fan, you’ll probably feel right at home with the fourth chapter in the series. It’s not bad, but it just feels like it can run through the numbers at times. Fortunately, co-op goes a long way to retaining that crazy zombie-slaying spirit; and the weapon modifications and upgrades can be a bit of fun depending what you’re looking for.
Left 4 Dead it isn’t, but Zombie Army 4 has enough kick in its body to keep things interesting.
Zombie Army 4 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC. This review is based on the Xbox One version.
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