They are ugly, moody, snappy, have limited brain functions, smell strong and are only driven by the urge to destroy all who are not like themselves – of course we are talking about Nazis. If these then emerge again as zombies, the world faces a major problem. The same goes for the protagonists of Zombie Army 4: (buy now for € 44.99) Dead War, the new spin-off of the Sniper Elite series. Zombie Hitler was sent to hell in the final installment, but his moderating followers rise again in this distorted version of World War II, and there are even signs that the undead Adolf is back. That all sounds like a lot of nonsense, but works amazingly well as a co-op shooter with a lot of splatter effects and B-movie flair and doesn't take itself seriously at all.
Source: PC games
To face the undead army of Zombie Hitler, you first choose one of four playable characters. You can choose from the sniper elite veteran Karl, the engineer Shola, the spy Shun and the bitter Russian Boris. The characters differ in how much damage they can take, how fast or how powerful they are. In the game itself, however, you don't notice any major differences. Nevertheless, you can switch characters at any time before you start the campaign, hord mode or a co-op session. Since you only gradually upgrade your weapons with skill points, you will not lose any abilities if you switch, because all characters have the same limited weapon selection.
So if you have upgraded the M1 Garand with Karl, for example, and then choose Shola, she has the same character level, the same perks are selected and your M1 is at exactly the same level as that of Karl before. That's nice, because it eliminates unnecessary grind and over time you unlock perks that allow you to revive yourself with a medi-kit, for example, or you equip your weapons with electrical amplifiers that energize the zombies. This also applies to all modes.
Source: PC games
If you have played the campaign alone for a while and then switch to online co-op mode with up to three other players, your progress will be adopted. If you play solo, you unlock the next levels chronologically with your progress, whereas in co-op mode all nine campaign missions including their respective chapters can be selected directly. So if your buddy in the campaign is further than you, you can still host a game.
In the submenus you can also set the level of difficulty and the enemy line-up as well as available player slots if you don't want an unknown person to join your party. Game creation and entry are simple and comfortable. In addition, the servers were stable during our test, so that there were no lags or connection failures. Only the loading times of Zombie Army 4: Dead War partially tore our patience.
In addition to the approximately ten-hour campaign, you can also try out weekly events to unlock special rewards or venture into Horde mode on your own or cooperatively. There you will find four maps on which you have to fight back wave attacks. After each wave, the map opens further and more Nazi zombies want you on the leather. With all modes, however, it is a pity that there is no split-screen mode. You can only play online in co-op.
Source: PC games
All game modes can also be played relatively easily without problems, but together with up to three other players, Zombie Army 4 makes more fun. In contrast to other cooperative third-person shooters like Gears 5, you don't scurry from cover to cover, but are mostly surrounded by zombies without much protection. Alone or in pairs, it is often a bit hectic, but with a party of three or four people you can better coordinate and distribute tasks. If you are alone or in pairs busy running back and forth to repel the zombies from one direction, sometimes from the other, you can also position one or two people as snipers in a larger team.
The gameplay in the undead spin-off of Sniper Elite is a little different than in the main series. Because while an elite sniper usually has a target that needs to be eliminated and you move through the enemy ranks as elegantly as possible, with Zombie Army you come to an area and either have to get to a target and all on the way there Murder the undead or keep them until you can activate an object or escape through a door. This repeats itself over and over again.
Source: PC games
Variety really only comes in through the pretty and atmospheric scenes. For example, you struggle through the waterways of Venice, where you are attacked by zombified gondoliers, you walk through an eerie forest, pay a visit to a zombie zoo, you get to secret research stations or enter cathedrals where the Nazi zombies perform dark rituals.
The battlefields are quite extensive, but in itself Zombie Army 4 is very linear. On the way to the mission goals, you should occasionally explore the area to find upgrade kits that can be used to upgrade your weapons, but otherwise you don't actually come across hidden things. Nevertheless, the game always shines with humor, for example when you enter a sports hall and find two boxing zombies in the ring.
Although Zombie Army 4: Dead War is not very innovative and the mission design is not very original, the shooter is still fun. This is not only due to the humor already mentioned and the atmospheric levels, but above all to the rabid action that makes the heart of every splatter fan beat faster. As morally questionable as that may sound, the hit feedback is quite satisfactory. The zombies' heads and torsos burst, limbs fly through the air and the blood flows and splashes in streams.
Of course there is also the kill cam, which is activated when the kills are particularly impressive. Here the game then tracks your fired bullet in slow motion to the point of impact and even shows in an X-ray view which bone or which organ of your target is being torn to pieces. As you can see, Zombie Army 4 is completely uncut. By the way, there is no special German version, so swastikas are emblazoned on the helmets and uniforms of the Nazi zombies and everywhere in the area. However, we have decided not to depict anti-constitutional symbols. We do not use anti-constitutional symbols for our screenshots in this test.
Source: PC games
But in addition to the splatter factor, Zombie Army 4 can also convince. The gunplay is neat and the weapons feel bulky. In addition, you can use perks to get yourself back into the game, for example, by killing another zombie with your last breaths. This is especially helpful when you are surrounded by zombies and your teammates cannot get through to heal you.
It is also nice that the weapons have different abilities that you can load with successful kills. If you activate the ability with the right shoulder button, you can shoot faster with less recoil, for example, or you can fire the M1 with a very focused and guaranteed fatal shot. You even get various special melee attacks with different abilities. For example, you can box the undead away with an electrically charged blow and cause them to burst, or you can hit the divine hammer on the ground and regain some life energy.
Source: PC games
Speaking of life energy: your character does not heal automatically, but has to use medi-kits for it. These are available at the start of a mission and you can only carry one of them with you. You rarely find any in the levels. You can only bag them in some places if you crush the body of a zombie beforehand. But there are takedowns. If you have finally sent enough undead to the hereafter, you can go into close combat and kill an opponent with just one button and even get a little bit of life energy. This even brings a little tactic into play. Especially since the takedowns can also be carried out on the heavy opponents, who otherwise eat several magazines before they go down.
Correctly read, you are not only dealing with normal shuffle zombies, but also with some even nastier creatures. For example, you will encounter thick chunks with a flame thrower, gatling gun or circular saw. Particularly nice: once you have defeated the villains, you can pick up their heavy weapons. Especially with the saw, you can have a lot of morbid fun. But there are also other standard opponents who can do a little more.
Among other things, grenadiers, snipers, suicide bombers, necromancers, armored giants and even zombified tanks stand in your way. Since many of the opponents have different weak points, of course, you have to react quickly to them in battle to avoid being overrun. It's all pretty good, but we would have liked to see some real boss opponents instead of just getting bigger and heavier waves of zombie on our necks.
Source: PC games
Graphically, Zombie Army 4 can't keep up with current Triple-A productions, but it still looks pretty chic. The models of the heroes and zombies are detailed, some lighting effects are pretty and the levels are atmospheric. In addition, the game runs absolutely smoothly even with the largest number of opponents. However, the collision query annoyed us a little in some places when we wanted to sprint through between zombies, but were stuck to them because we lightly touched their arms.
In addition, the general staging could have used a little more shine. The few cutscenes are presented very coolly and exude B-Movie charm, but in the game itself the dialogues with NPCs are a bit wooden and the few heroes' sayings are repeated over and over again. PC gamers might also be annoyed that Zombie Army 4 is only available in the Epic Games Store for a whole year, although the developers spoke out against exclusivity last year.
"Crazy splatter action with B-movie charm."
Zombie Army 4: Dead War certainly won't be game of the year. In many places, the title is simply too flat – both narrative and playful. The gunplay and in-game missions are not very varied in the long run. The levels are tubular and colorless. You shouldn't expect a sophisticated story anyway. In the rather dreary 2020 game year, the co-op shooter is still one of the highlights – also because a game does not always have to be particularly substantial to be entertaining. Simply shooting bluntly on hordes of undead Nazis, bursting zombie sharks and tanks and sending Hitler back to hell is also a nice pastime. Especially when you go through the shooting gallery with a few friends, Zombie Army 4 offers some fun hours of crazy splatter action with B-movie charm. If you like Iron Sky and Left 4 Dead, you can do it here.
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