It is only logical that after the many PvP shooters that have come out in the last two years, we need a relaxation game with the company that will keep us in the … climate. So I rushed to deal with Zombie Army 4, the sequel to Rebellion’s Zombie Army series (Sniper Elite, Strange Brigade).
Zombie games are not particularly original in our time, but they still have a loyal audience. Zombie Army is based on the idea that, instead of committing suicide at the end of World War II, Hitler decided to open a gate to the lower world after supernatural investigations and thereby exterminate the dead in the form of zombies. Even if you haven’t played the previous ZA, at the start of the campaign the game sets you up with an introductory video. However, when Hitler (now possessed by a supernatural spirit) was sent to Hell, things did not improve for the living inhabitants of the Earth. The dead continue to walk, increasing in numbers and even becoming more powerful. So members of the rescue revolutionary organization that had inflicted a severe blow on the head of the evil are called to get the snake out of the hole again and hunt down those who appear to have replaced Hitler after his fall. As you can see, the story is not very deep and looks more like a b-movie scenario, but it does provide a good background for getting started on zombies.
The campaign consists of nine chapters which are divided into four stages (except the first and the last) and take place in various cities of Europe. The first chapter in Milan acts as an introduction to the game and plays mainly in a large train station. Beyond this introductory chapter, things get a lot more interesting and environments a lot bigger. Then you go to Vienna and later visit a zoo in Croatia to continue your journey to post-war but still dead Europe. Post-introduction levels are better designed and more interesting.
At first, your enemies may not be particularly diverse, but that improves as you progress through the game. The basic zombie set is assisted by a group of snipers, callers, and kamikaze. Then comes the heavily shielded dead with flamethrowers, machine guns, and chainsaws. Do you still find these classics? The screamers look like they’ve come out of The Last of Us and are chasing sound rather than sight. Other zombies fly away from the poisonous rain, while the creepers walk on four and are too numerous. Finally, demon-possessed vehicles add complexity and increased risk of various battles.
You use WWII weapons, which unfortunately do not have much variety. However, you can upgrade them by placing larger charges or bullets in a larger area. Arms are approximately rifles, secondaries and pistols. The pistols and rifles in their design are very simple: there are the very fast ones that are behind the damage, the ones that slow very slowly but have high damage per bullet, and the ones that are about the middle, ie medium in all. The secondaries are more versatile, with the choice between two SMGs and two carbines. During the battle you have a certain number of ammunition, so you often have to go back to refueling stations. As modern third-party shooters are used to, the pistol has no particular level and complexity, and even the PC is not able to accurately find and define the mouse’s sensitivity. So if you want 21.5 level sensitivity you have to go for either 20 or 25. This is a very serious disadvantage for PC shooters. At least despite the lack of this serious choice, there is a clean mouse in the game and no acceleration so your ability to aim is not completely destroyed if you do it for a few hours.
The game also features RPG-lite elements, with a system of upgrading heroes and weapons. Initially, each hero has his or her own advantages and disadvantages that make him stand out, such as faster base movement as opposed to reduced health regeneration. These characteristics of each hero also match his character, so we have the Shola engineer better with the traps and the sniper Carl better with the special assault rifles. So you can choose characters based on your own style of play. Character evolution is expanded by the choice of perks, that is, a special set of abilities such as second wind and the ability to manage heavy machine guns located in specific areas of each level.
To complete each level you have to perform specific missions, that is, very simple tasks like going to a point, finding an object, hitting a switch, surviving for a certain amount of time at a specific point, and of course killing at any time a big bad of the level. There are no puzzles at all. The game focuses on raw action and endless killing of enemies, rather than trying to make you think at least for a little bit more than keeping the best possible goal. Naturally scattered at each level are the so-called easter eggs and various other goodies you can find. These include skill upgrades, and of course, finding them increases the score you get at the end of the level. There are three degrees of difficulty. Many old players look unhappy with the removal of the fourth level of difficulty that existed in previous games in the series, the so-called Sniper Elite. In general, although playing at a high level of difficulty has some interest and some pressure, it has not seemed particularly difficult to me and can in no way be considered a feat if one does it alone.
Co-op is an essential part of the game and works in every mode, without the hassle of being able to connect with other players at any time. There is complete matchmaking so you don’t even have to play the campaign alone. You can search for and find a partner for each chapter if your friends can’t play with you. However, netcode is based on host technology, which means links may not be of good quality or if the host abandons the game then you lose your connection. In addition, there may be a security loophole that allows others to view your IP with what consequences it entails.
Beyond the campaign, there are two more options to enjoy: horde mode and weekly events. The horde mode is similar to what we know of other games and it is about surviving against constant waves of enemies while staying in a certain area. There are four maps for this mode, taken out of the campaign, and include the same traps and difficulties. Depending on how far you have progressed in the number of waves, new areas and boxes will be unlocked from which you get upgraded weapons. Of course, the difficulty of enemies increases accordingly. Once you have the 12th wave of enemies, you are given the option to escape, but if you feel good enough you can continue and see how far you can get. Weekly events are played at a certain level with specific multipliers in action, but they give more experience and success allows you to unlock exclusive skins for your weapons. The difficulty of these events is moderate.
Technically the game is a little interesting as it uses the same engine as the latest Sniper Elite. I can’t say it’s bad but it doesn’t compare to other recent titles. This, of course, means that the game runs at a particularly high frame rate, so if you have a 240Hz screen you can take advantage of it. The same is true for machine-level sound. However, the aesthetics and presentation are satisfying, as everything looks exactly like it should be in a WWII Europe where no one can sit still. Just the whole picture is in line with the idea that the game is inspired by b-movies.
After all, the gameplay of Zombie Army 4 is essentially a boring cycle. We could characterize the game as a mindless zombie shooter, but that’s not necessarily bad. Many times all we want to do is play with friends and Zombie Army 4 can offer this relief. Just don’t expect too much depth or innovation.