Confession time; I never really expected Zombie Army to become a fully realized franchise. Allow me to just say shame on me. Rebellion has a gem on their hands.
This game is made for a moment and that moment is cathartic screaming into your headset and jumping out of your couch with your friends. This is a game for fist-pumps, yelling obscenities, and sending kill-cam recordings to your teammates. It’s all the ingredients for hype moments rolled into a campy zombie experience that I wished I had more of. Zombie Army 4: Dead War was the only hands on demo at E3 that I walked out of and wanted more time with (yes even including FF7 remake). That’s probably because it was the only demo where I died multiple times, but still.
The demo begins with your character on a small team preparing to push deeper into Nazi-zombie owned territory. You’re given some time to review character build and check out some loot locations but shortly after that a zombie hoard attacks. The attack itself is brilliant campy goodness. A runaway train full to the brim with zombies crashes right in front of your hideout. Excellent. Here’s a breakdown of my demo and the things that stood out to me.
There’s a lot of doodads and what-nots that you can attach to your guns to give your play style creativity. I decided to add an electrical charge attachment to my shotgun. Any zombie caught in my shotgun spray would then transfer electrical charge to surrounding zombies. I had area damage with electricity stunning and stacking more damage. I was feeling good. I was feeling powerful. I was feeling alive. About forty seconds later I died.
MULTIPLE ENEMY ENTRY POINTS
The reason I died was stupidity. I believed I had my area cleared and concentrated all my fire on one doorway. A fairly large hoard was on my six with no warning and next thing I know my face was food. The levels in Zombie Army 4 are broken down in two basic game loops. There are areas you’re defending where the objective is simply “don’t die.” Then there are areas where your team is pushing forward, traversing and defeating bosses or demonic symbols that are gifting the zombies strength and power.
During the defending phase there were at least half a dozen entry points I counted and probably more. This phase will play perfectly in online co-op. Team strategy will be almost as important as praying to the Lord for protection. Keep your head on a swivel when playing this game.
Also, there’s a kill-cam for perfect head shots. It’s an X-Ray kill cam. Triggering the kill-cam should be very high on your priority list.
LOOTING AND HEALING
In Zombie Army 4 you’ll need to curb-stomp the fallen zombies to gain their loot and/or health packs. It’s a great mechanic but can be tedious when foraging in larger hordes of dead un-dead. To streamline the process ZA4 will show an icon with zombies who are worth stomping.
There’s deep customization in ZA4 so I’ll try to summarize here. Your character will most likely have a couple of key abilities. A bullet-time slow down that builds up over kills and a massive melee attack that can clear out large areas are two of the main examples. If you’re playing online co-op you’ll want to spend ample time with customization. Get your team set up to compliment each other and you’ll find yourself knee deep in blasted up zombie parts in a good way.
What’s a Zombie Army game without variety in enemies? As I began my push into zombie territory one of the devs casually mentioned to me. “So some of the zombies kind of remember how to hold onto weapons.” No longer had he finished speaking then several zombies with machine guns popped out of a train car. While they can’t actually “aim” per se, they’re frightening enough just by wildly spraying bullets around the environment.
The truly terrifying thing about the demo was how spongey the zombies were. They seemed to absorb huge amounts of damage. Multiple head shots are needed to zombies with helmets. Several of them required multiple close up shotgun blasts, which was the highest damage weapon I had access to.
One small point of critique. I do wish for a true couch co-op with this game. I realize that the world is heading away from this and I understand it but I can’t think of a better game for true couch co-op. I’m still buying this but hype is down 5%.
Look for Zombie Army 4 in early 2020 on PS4, XBOX1, and with the game coming to the Epic store before Steam and other PC digital outlets.
Nathan is a co-host on the Splash Damage Bro. Podcast. He’s an Aries, an Enneagram Type 7, an ENTP on the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator, and almost always tests into Gryffindor except for once in 2018 when he tested into Syltherin.