After unleashing armies of zombies on players in the past, British developer Rebellion are back once again with Zombie Army 4: Dead War. Now I know what you might be thinking: zombies in video games, super original. However, there’s something about Zombie Army 4: Dead War that just makes it so fun to play, with the simple yet satisfying mechanics, the absurd enemies and set pieces, and the varied level design making for a jolly zombie-killing experience that’s a blast to play with friends.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War’s concept is simple: Hitler is dead but still causing havoc from hell with his zombie army, so it’s up to you to stop him by embarking on a globetrotting escapade that sees you gunning down his undead soldiers. The clue is in the title, really.
This all makes for a frantically-fun third-person shooting experience, with the World War II-like setting offering a ton of classic weapons to use (as well as more creative creations) as you blast your way through zombies. There are plenty of clever environmental traps that can be used too – there’s nothing quite like electrocuting a bunch of incoming zombies to stop them in their track or see zombies get chopped to pieces in gloriously destructive propellers. Basically, if you’ve played a third-person shooter before, you’ll feel right at home with Zombie Army 4: Dead War… just expect a bit more gore.
It might be easy to consider some of the zombies of Zombie Army 4: Dead War not all that threatening, especially since they’ll often just slog their way towards you at a nice pace that’s easy to deal with – sure, there’s always threat in numbers, but they don’t feel like the most intimidating of zombies at first. However, you’re dealing with a ‘zombie army’ here and this is one well-equipped army, meaning you can expect to face the likes of zombies with sniper rifles to blast you from afar, a powerful flamethrower to cook your corpse up ready for eating, or even explosives to sacrifice themselves to take you out.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War does have a few out of the ordinary surprises up its sleeve too. I mean, in one level you encounter a zombie shark, so it certainly isn’t afraid to go a bit in zany in places. It all adds to the fun and gives the game that bit of extra personality though, ensuring that it has plenty of uniquely enjoyable set-pieces to blast through and is more than ‘just another zombie shooter’.
The bulk of your time in Zombie Army 4: Dead War will be spent with the campaign, where you’ll work across a myriad of levels that span Europe as you bring an end to the zombie threat. Admittedly, these levels follow the same sort of basic objectives that you would have seen before, so from a gameplay perspective there’s nothing too original. However, it’s the variety of the levels themselves that really shine, with Zombie Army 4: Dead War certainly going all-out with the environments and locales it’ll have you working across. A zombie Zoo was the highlight for me, but there are plenty of deadly delights to be encountered elsewhere. Add to that those aforementioned set-pieces and it’s easy to see that Zombie Army 4: Dead War’s campaign is a lot of fun to work through – especially in co-op with friends.
Those who like to fine-tune their experience will be glad to see it’s possible to upgrade your weapons, unlock additional perks, and level up your rank. There are multiple characters to play as too, and whilst they don’t necessarily offer huge differences, it’s easy to find a favourite to choose. There are different challenges to work toward within the game with different weapons and so on, and it’s neat to be able to keep track of everything that you’ve achieved so far.
For those that want to keep playing the game after finishing the campaign, there are weekly challenges on offer as well as a Horde Mode that pits you against hordes of zombies in ever-changing action. It’s a hell of a lot of fun to play in multiplayer and I’ve found myself coming back for more and more over the last few days – I’ve got a bit of a zombie-killing group together right now, and honestly, co-ordinating with each other and working together to take down our enemies feels both stylish and satisfying.
It should probably be noted that there isn’t a whole lot to work for post-completion though. You can continue to work towards mastering each of the available weapons if you like and there is still levelling up to do, but there isn’t really elusive loot or some valuable collectibles to work for. Zombie Army 4: Dead War’s longevity comes with how fun it is, but even I’ll admit that I’ll probably be moving onto another multiplayer shooter after a few weeks.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Zombie Army 4: Dead War, with the silly zombie-killing action not only proving to be a lot of fun but full of zany charm. Don’t get me wrong, it’s probably not the kind of game that’ll keep you playing for weeks on end and there’s not a lot of depth to its mechanics either – it certainly doesn’t offer anything you wouldn’t have seen before from a gameplay perspective.
However, there’s plenty of fun to be had across its varied and action-packed campaign, and if you can get a few friends together to blast through the zombies with, you’re guaranteed to have a hell of a good time. Zombie Army 4: Dead War might not be the most original co-op shooter out there, but it’s definitely one of the most satisfying (and gruesome) to play.
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC