The ubiquity of both Nazis and zombies as virtual enemies is without the need to describe it. Zombie Army 4: Dead War is every bit of the game series we've come to know from Rebellion (also creators of Sniper Elite). Their specialties are on display once again: sniping and World War II. And zombies considering this is the fourth game in the series. Set after Hitler's apparent defeat in the darkest version of WWII, I think I've seen; you're tasked with figuring out exactly why the undead menace won't quite fully die. It'll take you all over parts of Europe and through some very blood-soaked and war-torn locales.
There's not a ton to be said about the game's central gameplay aspect – run around Europe and kill undead Nazis. Honestly, that's a solid tagline for most games. Zombie Army 4 does an excellent job of making each location feel different (complete with some location-specific zombies), and it looks great in doing so. The game contains several collectible items in each set of levels, fun little challenges to complete, and the ability to invest upgrades into your weapons and level up for more perks (everything needs a little RPG flair now and again).
I think I've mentioned several times I'm a sucker for cooperative games, and I'm still impressed by Rebellion's handling of the cooperative gameplay. The shared pickup of collectibles, the ability to help each other out, etc. is something to be said. It makes for a great, enjoyable, and brainless experience to play with your friends. While maybe not quite as frantic as other WWII zombie shooters, it's one I can easily pick up and play with Kevin or other members of the SelectButton crew. But at the same time, I don't think it has a ton of meat. It's a great cooperative experience, but the singleplayer feels a little empty without having a buddy at my side to make sure I didn't end up as dead meat.
The game's controls follow kind of the standard expectation for third-person shooters – L1/R1 for stomping & grenades, L2/R2 for aiming and firing. Square handles reloading, circle crouching, cross is your interaction button, and triangle switches weapons out. It's also possible during aiming to toggle from a full third-person view to a scope view on your rifle – considering one of the main draws of Rebellion's sniper gameplay is the ability to stare down your enemies from behind your scope this should be a huge thing. It's also quite satisfying when you line up that shot perfectly and are rewarded with an excellent kill shot video (testicles exploding are brutal). D-Pad controls swapping between different types of explosives or for using medkits, while clicking down on the left analog stick handles sprinting, and the right stick handles melee combat. You're also able to do some fun, unique takedowns with circle or activate special abilities (depending on your weapon) with R1. Think Bullet Time or painting automatic headshots.
If I were to say there's a singular aspect of the game that actively turns me off from playing for more extended periods, it's the odd tactile feel of the movement. It's either too quick or too slow, and even after editing the sensitivity, I still found myself running into objects thinking I'd clear them or spinning and missing enemies. It was frustrating, to say the least, and I'm still miffed I couldn't find a sweet spot (if one exists).
On an unexpected side note, one of the absolute scariest parts of the game wasn't the game itself, but when I had my pause menu up while taking notes for the review. The game makes excellent use of the PS4's controller speaker throughout the game, notifying you when you pick up ammo, health, and other objects. It also, apparently, will have this ominous, raspy voice call out to you to come back and continue playing the game. In a somewhat quiet room, it caught me by surprise initially. It's a neat little addition to the game. The game also offers PlayStation 4 Pro support, with a performance mode focuses on frame-rate or a quality mode that locks the game at 30fps.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a solid if kind of empty title simultaneously. The cooperative experience is great, and I've enjoyed killing my combined favorite type of faceless enemy (Nazis AND zombies!). Still, without that co-op experience with someone else, it didn't feel as enjoyable on my own. That being said, if you and a few friends are down to shoot up some zombies and get some ridiculous kill cam shots afterward, this might be your title.Note: Zombie Army 4: Dead War was reviewed on PlayStation 4. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.