Nazi zombies return to little fanfare in Rebellion’s port.
One feels a certain endearment towards the Sniper Elite franchise. There aren’t many games that emphasize careful patience and slow-motion brutality over twitch shooting but Sniper Elite manages to fill that gap nicely…even though at times, it’s incredibly lacking in variety, pacing and overall mission design. The Nazi Zombie Army spin-offs take that approach and turn it into a shooting gallery, with hordes of zombies serving themselves up to your rifle. The Zombie Army Trilogy brings those shooting galleries to the Xbox One and PS4, and honestly, even with the lack of variety in the overall franchise, there’s nothing here to keep you engaged for the long haul.
Zombie Army Trilogy takes place during World War II and sees Hitler raising the dead in a last ditch attempt to conquer the Allied forces. Germany is thus a teeming nation of the undead and you – along with seven other players – will need to band together and wipe them out. Pretty straightforward and dull but then again, zombie horde shooters have never been known for their deep plot. There are eight different characters to choose from here with four new females being added to the cast. Differences are sparse between each character, functioning as little more than a unique skin for your custom load-out.
"Unfortunately, the overall twitch nature of Zombie Army Trilogy doesn't afford much opportunity to measure your shots. You'll be swarmed most times and just try to hit as many headshots as possible before the zombies get close."
With regards to weapon variety, you won’t find much to feed your Call of Duty-esque craving for bloodshed. Machines like the MP40 are relatively inaccurate and offer low damage output even when aiming for the head, causing you to rely more on handguns and rifles to down the dead. Weapons like the Preacher, the good ol’ double barreled shotgun, and the Panzerfaust let you explore a little outside of those confines though. There are also explosives like trip mine grenades, dynamite and landmines that can aid you but for the most part, the sniper rifles which will lead you to victory.
Gameplay in Zombie Army Trilogy is very simple like Left4Dead. You’ll progress from one checkpoint to the next and often times have to hold down a particular point while slaughtering waves of the undead. There will be safe-rooms to reload your ammo and change weapons. One advantage over the Left4Dead franchise is that you can properly customize your load-out before the game begins, opting for whichever rifle, handgun, machine gun and shotgun you choose. I found the M1 Garand to be exceptional in mid-range battles while the Springfield disappointed with its low ammo capacity. Only hardcore Sniper Elite players will find any real differences between the various rifles in terms of wind velocity and gravity. The rest will just see one rifle as holding more bullets or being less stable than the other.
Unfortunately, the overall twitch nature of Zombie Army Trilogy doesn’t afford much opportunity to measure your shots. You’ll be outnumbered most times and just try to hit as many headshots as possible before the zombies get too close. While this could have been a somewhat harrowing experience, it’s mitigated by the fact that character movement feels awkward and you can employ a simple kick to knock zombies down. This kind of kills the gimmick of handguns and machine guns – why line up headshots in close range when you can just knock the zombie down and bash its head? On a side note, slow motion sniper shots piercing through multiple zombie craniums is fairly entertaining.
"Rebellion did up-res all the games into 1080p though the frame rate sees some drops every now and then. The screen-tearing on the Xbox One version can also be irritating and though it doesn't pop up all the time, it's still plenty noticeable when it does."
There will be times later in the campaign where zombie snipers and heavy machine-gunners come into play. The former is especially annoying since the zombie will leap from one building to the next after taking potshots. It doesn’t really imbue the games with any sense of the franchise’s strengths. After gunning down hordes of the undead, these snipers will be little more than a nuisance and an excuse to stop, drop and snipe them into oblivion. Heavy enemies are also borderline rage-inducing since they shrug off multiple explosions, rockets and grenades.
Zombie Army Trilogy does have a few new additions. As mentioned above, eight player co-op is now possible and you can also play the third, unreleased iteration of Nazi Zombie Army. There’s no doubt that the game would be much more fun with eight players all running and screaming and having a good time. One only managed a single-player romp however and can confirm that things are very dull without a few friends. Other new content includes the spiffy Horde mode in case you want to skip the boring story and get straight to killing zombies.
Rebellion did up-res all the games into 1080p though the frame rate sees some drops every now and then. The screen-tearing on the Xbox One version can also be irritating and though it doesn’t pop up all the time, it’s still plenty noticeable when it does. Though there are undoubtedly marked improvements over the PS3 and Xbox 360, Zombie Army Trilogy doesn’t really show off what the current generation hardware is capable of. Art direction is fairly typical for a game like this with smoggy towns, dank torn-down churches and hellfire-infested landscapes. Nothing memorable but it serves its purpose.
Zombie Army Trilogy is tough to recommend without friends and even then, it won’t take long for you and your buddies to tire of the typical zombie slaying. With various multiplayer titles featuring more interesting twists – like Evolve and Battlefield: Hardline – one has to wonder how much appeal this port compilation will have for the average fan. Regardless, even if you’re in the mood for some zombie-cide, you’re better off replaying Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode, Left4Dead or even Black Ops 2 Zombies than investing in Zombie Army Trilogy.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
Intriguing twist on standard zombie horde mechanics with sniper rifles. Can be fun with eight players, obviously. No major glitches per se.
Very repetitive. Ho-hum campaign with by-the-numbers pacing. Not much to do across all three games. Trademark sniper rifle play doesn't really fit horde-like mechanics. Boring visuals, with Xbox One version suffering from screen tearing.
If a real zombie apocalypse was as dull as Zombie Army Trilogy, then Hitler would have won the war through boredom alone. Play the regular Sniper Elite games for long range action or revisit Black Ops 2 for zombies.