Mar 2, 2020

Zombie Army 4: Dead War PS4 Review

There's always room for hell, yo 👿



By Paul Hunter

If there's one thing I can't get enough of, it's pop, pop, poppin' Nazi zombie brains. Rebellion's Sniper Elite spin-off Nazi Zombie Army got me addicted to it back in 2013, so, of course, I couldn't resist checking out their latest gorefest, Zombie Army 4 on PS4.

In the past couple weeks I've put more than 50 hours into the game and haven't been able to put it down. It has everything I need to keep me entertained, like exploding zombies into soupy mush, a cheesy 80's-style presentation, and zombie-busting online modes to play with friends. Lock and load, squad up and let's see what this juicy game has to offer!


der Führer yells 'Hell No!'


Zombie Army 4 doesn't actually need a story (I mean, c'mon) but for the sake it, it continues from the previous game where the resistance defeated Hitler and banished him to hell. You can't keep a good villain down, and like clockwork the Third Reich leader begins the resurrection process while also flooding Earth with hordes of the undead.

You, once again, play as elite members of the resistance called the Survivor Brigade and are tasked with destroying this new zombie threat, and in the process saving humanity. The war mostly takes place across various post-apocalyptic hot spots in Italy, along with a few, ahem, rather hellacious settings. While there's not much to the story beyond that, I gotta give props to the German-accented narrator who brings an authentic (and lighthearted) vibe to the mission briefings. His obnoxiously long rolled "r's" gets me every time, but moreover, I love how he makes all these silly zombie missions sound so dire.



Awesome, fast gameplay and cool zombies


The best reason to play Zombie Army 4 is for its fast, unrelenting, zombie-slaying gameplay. Missions have you mow down hundreds of Zs in minutes using a variety of guns, grenades and special moves—and it all feels so satisfying. Guns have a nice weight to them, gunshots fire with thunderous impact, but best of all, zombies explode into glorious bone piles and meat chunks. You really do feel like a total badass and I love it.

What's great, too, is how limb targeting makes a massive difference in your shots. Got a possessed Runner zombie coming at you? Pop off its legs with a single shotgun blast. Or, if an Engineer zombie holding a lit gas can is stumbling towards you, blow its hand off and watch the spilt liquid ignite the ground (and other zombies). In another nod to realism, you have to factor in ballistics since your bullets are affected by realistic gravity and wind effects, at least on the game's hardest difficulty setting.

While regular zombies are fairly slow, they attack in such high numbers the tension is always ratcheted up. It's not uncommon to have 30 or more swarming you at all angles, including from places you might not expect like rooftops, sewers, or even falling from hell portals in the sky. There's also a ton of special zombie types to throw you for a loop, like fast-running suicide exploders, zombie-reviving necromancers, and vicous ground crawlers that attack in packs. Plus, you got the superpowered elite zombies like the flamethrower or gattling gun brute that are massive bullet sponges and deal serious damage. With so many zombies and a near endless supply of bullets (thanks to frequent resupplies) this game is just non-stop brain-busting adrenaline.



Killer weapons and upgrades


Rebellion games are known for their incredible gunplay and that's on full display in Zombie Army 4. Out of the gate you get 10 weapons, including a mixture of sniper rifles, shotguns, ARs, and pistols. Snipers are awesome because they can trigger Sniper Elite style x-ray kill cams that follow the bullet from nozzle all the way across the battlefield and through the zombie's vital organ. You'll see brains explode, hearts rupture, and yep, you can even crush the Z's ballsack. When I say the x-ray cams are awesome, I mean it.

Zombie Army 4 fully embraces its fantasy setting with kick ass weapon mods straight outta a sci-fi war movie. Each weapon has a skill tree where you can add effects, like giving your pistol high explosive rounds or charging your sniper bullets with electricity. A few guns can be enhanced to use divine bullets, which deals double damage to zombies or heals your teammates when you shoot them. You can also upgrade other gun properties like magazine size, accuracy, or damage—turning weak starting weapons into undead killing machines.

Oh, and those super elite zombies I mentioned, you can steal their weapons after defeating them. Just wait until you see how cool it is to grab the flamethrower and light dozens of zombies on fire!



Addicting Multiplayer


I'm usually the type to play campaigns solo, but not this time. Zombie Army 4 was built with 4-player co-op in mind and from experience, it's way more fun to play online with friends or other players. The entire nine mission campaign is multiplayer (no local play, unfortunately) and by default, the game dynamically adjusts the number of attacking zombies based on your player count. You also have the option to manually adjust the zombie count, so for example, you could set the challenge to 4-players even if you're only playing with one of your buddies. That's a neat inclusion I've rarely seen in games before.

I have a blast playing online co-op and it's all because of the teamwork. With zombies constantly approaching from all directions, it's great having partners to watch your back or letting you focus shots on specific areas. The community seems friendly, too, online players generally try their best to revive me when I'm down, and likewise I return the favour. You're further incentivised to work together as your scores combine at the end of each chapter and your team's awarded either a bronze, silver, or gold medal—with gold giving each of you a valuable weapon upgrade kit. Even after beating the campaign, I've gone back to complete it several more times because the moment-to-moment co-op gameplay is just so much fun.



Endless Horde mode is great


When you want a break from the campaign, Zombie Army 4 has a 4-player online co-op Horde mode that stretches across four distinct maps. All of the maps are taken directly from segments of the campaign, so you won't visit any new places, but at least the areas are varied and present unique challenges. For instance, the starter map Into The Darkness has long, narrow sewer channels with straight sight lines, but it's easy to get overwhelmed with no place to run. On the other hand, my favourite map, The Bitter End, takes place in a moderate-sized Italian village with lots of high and low ground.

The gameplay of Horde mode is what you'd expect: you and your team fight wave after wave of increasingly challenging zombies. At wave 12 you're given the option to escape the match, which I found to be a blessing or a curse depending on your intentions. You're never sure when playing online what your teammates will do—and sometimes they'll rush to the exit while you're wanting to play more. From what I can tell, Horde mode is infinite; the highest round I got to was 127 and I only quit because I'd been playing for a couple hours. I'd love to know what the record highest round is, and since it's endless, the mode seems ripe for streamers looking for a challenge. Horde mode doesn't offer much that's new (same maps, same weapons, same zombies) but it's still a heck of a lot of fun and greatly extends the replay value.

The Verdict


I always judge games by how much fun they are to play, and in that regard Zombie Army 4 scores top marks. I've been playing the game daily since release and I'm still as excited today as I was on day one. Heck, I'm not even a big trophy hunter but I had to platinum this game, which says just how much I'm enjoying it. From the awesome gunplay, to the cool variety of zombies, to the super addicting online co-op, this is an entertaining game that I simply can't put down.


Final Score: 9/10 - Amazing

A review code for the game was provided by the publisher.