Sniper Elite V2 had two popular DLC standalone additions, titled Nazi Zombie Army. These DLCs flipped the rather serious military shooter on its head and allowed players to snipe their way through the hordes of the Nazi Undead. Since I had played Sniper Elite V2 on consoles, I never had the chance to play any of the Zombie Army games. Well, Rebellion Developments has remastered the Nazi Zombie games for next-gen consoles, finished and polished the unreleased third episode, releasing it as a the Zombie Army Trilogy (ZAT). Comprised of DLC and a few new additions, is there enough to warrant the $39.99 price tag? Oh God, yes.
ZAT has a fast and loose plot about Hitler, seeing the tides of war changing against him, seeking out an ancient relic that can raise the dead and unleashimg it upon the Allied armies. Unfortunately, it also turns most of Germany into a zombie-ravaged apocalypse. The Allies turn to expert sniper Karl Faireburne (and his optional, multi-national team of Badasses) to enter Germany and retrieve the relic, effectively ending the war and saving the world. Although the plot doesn’t remain that simple for long, it never tries to overreach its grasp. Fairburne and Co. repeatedly fight their way into Berlin, struggling against MG42-wielding Elites, armored Panzerzombies, and even Super Zombie Hitler. I’m not usually one to excuse a bad plot (or lack of plot) for the sake of being it being a dumb action game/movie, but ZAT seems to sneak right into that category. It certainly features a plot, told through side characters, voice recordings, and strange gestures from the unusually silent main characters, but this takes a backseat to the supremely satisfying gameplay and co-op fun.
For those of you who have already played the original games, Rebellion has packed in quite a bit of new content to lure you back. Naturally, there are the five new chapters from the third episode of the game to play, five maps with Horde modes to play, and four new female characters to play as, which is a nice contrast to the male-dominated roster of the original games. The three campaigns each feature five missions, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on difficulty. Having had time to fully explore the game, play through the campaign twice, and get my ass kicked on the Horde mode maps, I can say that there is certainly enough content to keep your average gamer happy. It will probably take a good 40+ hours to exhaust every feature and bit of fun out of ZAT; when movie tickets cost $10 for 90 minutes of fun, I think $40 is a fair price for nearly 50 hours of entertainment.
The gameplay closely resembles the core gameplay of Sniper Elite V2, with a few spooky tweaks and changes. You have a large variety of rifles, sub-machine guns, and pistols to choose from, including a few specialty weapons. The bulk of your time will be looking downscope at the approaching hordes of zombies, scattering brains all over the streets of Berlin. You would think that sniping zombies would eventually lose its luster, but the variety of enemies and settings keep you on your toes. You have to approach certain enemies in different ways, such as aiming for the heart of skeletons, instead of the head. There is a large variety of boss-types to defeat, most of which are powerful enough to wipe out an entire team of rookies. Luckily, the challenging gameplay is entertaining enough to ward off discouragement for new players.
The remastered graphics hold up surprisingly well, with detailed textures and solid character models. The glistening blood and crunching bones make dismembering the dead even more gratifying. What caught me off guard is the extremely disturbing rendition of Germany Rebellion created. I’ve been playing games for my entire life, starting with DOOM at the ripe old age of five, but I have to say that ZAT has created a frighteningly gruesome picture of the zombie apocalypse. Forests filled with hanging corpses, mutilated bodies mounted on spikes, and nurseries filled with tiny bones are some of the delights that ZAT has in store. Fortunately, the mood is kept relatively light by the soundtrack. The music featured in ZAT is a mix of piano pieces and retro 80’s synth-horror beats. The combination of the two gives the game a delightful campy atmosphere that harkens back to classic 80’s horror movies.
Zombie Army Trilogy is a relatively easy game for those on the hunt for Achievements and Trophies. According to my Xbone, I’ve played about 32 hours and earned 800/1,000 Gamerscore. To be totally honest, those hours flew by and the achievements came with little to no extra effort. The list rewards you for high-scoring shots, killing certain amounts of enemies, completing levels and Horde maps, and (unfortunately) collectibles. While I cannot stand collectible achievements and generally don’t bother with them, I’ll likely complete the list for this game and do another playthrough to mop up the hidden items. With co-op campaign, mission select making the collectibles relatively painless, and all of the Achievement/Trophy names being quotes from classic horror/action movies, ZAT is a great game to have a blast while giving a nice boost to your pile of Achievements.
Zombie Army Trilogy came completely out of left-field for me. Being a console peasant, I’d only seen the Zombie Army DLC and thought it was a mod of some kind. Little did I know that Rebellion had created one of the best co-op experiences in the shooter genre. With a huge variety of characters, weapons, enemies, and levels, ZAT keeps you happily sniping the undead legions of Hell for hours and hours. A lot of budget titles feel like a gamble and, much like real life, the House wins. Thankfully, Zombie Army Trilogy was an uncertain purchase that struck gold. For anyone not burned out on our society’s zombie-craze, Zombie Army Trilogy is an absolute delight.
Zombie Army Trilogy