In a gaming world with increasing technologies, perks and gimmicks on the front of lacklustre games aimed at fans of snazzy stuff, me included, to gain sales, it sometimes brings relief a game which at its core has excellent mechanics and fun gameplay. Zombie Army Trilogy falls in the latter category, and while the zombie formula has been recycled to the point of stagnation, it still brings new elements to the table.
Zombie Army Trilogy tells the real story, no wait, a fictitious post-war story in the aftermath of the second world war in the remains of Germany. The game started as a spin-off of Rebellion’s Sniper Elite, spawning the Nazi Zombie Army expansion which, as the title states, puts players against the undead Nazis. Following a successful sequel, Rebellion now have released a third full game dedicated to murdering these zombies, with two main modes, quite a number of maps and a hell of a lot of fun. These modes consist of the classic Campaign mode, being the normal progression based story missions, and Horde mode, a test of resistance for those willing enough to lock themselves up in some remote place awaiting these zombies to come for them.
Being born from a game called Sniper Elite, it is quite normal to find that the game features a compulsory sniper in each loadout, but having a range of scoped rifles to choose from it still feels that there is some variety in the primary weapon selection since each one feels somewhat different to the other. As what concerns the secondary weapon, there one finds a wide selection of arms, from shotguns to assault rifles and sub machineguns. Pistols also feature in the game as a third weapon, and like sniper rifles it is a compulsory slot, but there is a number of pistols to choose from. Being a World War II game there will not be modern weapons but there are the classic ones such as the German Kar98k, the American Springfield sniper or the British sub machinegun Thompson just to name a few. Explosives are also part of the loadout, and the player can select a combination of up to five items between steilhandgrenades, trip mines, land mines and dynamite. The player can also select the character going into the mission, which although it does not affect gameplay becomes a method of trying to put player and soldier closer together.
Zombie Army Trilogy’s two modes can be played solo or co-op, with parties having a maximum of 4 players massacring the undead at once. The game is set to spawn enemies which match the number of players currently playing, but this can be tweaked to one’s liking, for example setting the Zombie spawns as for three players while being just two to have an increased level of difficulty in the game, or conversely toning the spawn number down to be on the safe side. The number of zombies makes quite an impact on Horde mode, where one only has a small area from the map where to stay and thus crowding it with zombies will put you with your back against the wall much more than campaign, where players can run quite freely except for set pieces where players are closed by a thick fog into an area until they clear all the enemies. This is also the majority of what players will be doing in each campaign mission, divided by replenishing ammo or changing weapons in safe houses, of which there are a couple in each level. Some levels, such as the third chapter in the first episode, have special elements such as needing to pick up fuel tanks in order to supply a truck for your exit, and these little sub missions are very entertaining. Obviously they become easier in co-op where players may split up searching for the cans to retrieve them faster, but it is perfectly doable while playing alone. These sub missions are what makes campaign mode quite enjoyable, since missions which just feature killing moving and killing are fun but become a bit of a drag especially lengthy missions. Horde mode, as described above, features you against wave upon wave of zombies, which become harder and harder to take down the more you progress, naturally. Horde mode maps are very varied, which means that although there are only five to choose from, they will feel a brand new experience each time.
The game features solid mechanics, and if you thought you were a good aimer you should be careful, as I probably missed quite a huge number of shots due to being overconfident from other games. Hitboxes in this game are very accurate, which means that taking time to land a shot is almost encouraged by the game. Coupled by the fact that a shot to a vital organ will result in a slow motion camera following the bullet all the way to pierce the enemy, which is unbelievably cool and must be seen to be understood, will make you think twice before pulling the trigger each single time. Slow motion is only fully featured in single player, since online the game will not stop with the shot, and could result in your death while you watch your shot in awe. Instead the shot is still shown up close but the speed is normal so that your game is not disrupted. Campaign missions also feature collectibles in the form of gold bars, which are collected when found, and blood bottles, which have to be shot after they are spotted. Shooting the bottles will result in the slow motion scene of the bullet. Shoutout to Josh who scared the hell out of me when I did not have an idea of what was happening when he shot a bottle, but now I am accustomed to this even though these bottles are very hard to spot.
Graphically the game embraces a very dark style, while textures and animations are very well done. Spending so much time in dark levels will blind you a little when light comes in the game, especially when fog appears in the area. The game features a lot of explosions, if you use the equipment of course, and these animations are very neatly carried out in the game, and fire is also animated in a very lifelike manner. Zombie Army Trilogy also features a neat soundtrack, with music which puts the game into its appropriate mood setting. Talking of sound, the game also has an awesome yet somewhat disturbing feature on the Playstation 4. Pausing the game and leaving it a little will result in hearing what could be presumed to be the zombies whispering things at you, things such as “I miss you”, which spooked me out at first.
On the negative side, the game has a little flaw which could probably be a bug where some zombie does not appear or is stuck somewhere out of the map. Usually this happens in bits where a horde comes at you from everywhere, most of the times when they have to jump over a fence or fall directly from the sky. In two instances we found the ones bugged out, where one was running aimlessly at the edge of the map, and in another level he was under a set of stairs, while one time we could not find the zombie at all and had to restart the checkpoint. While not gamebreaking it may be annoying to have to restart, especially because one can only notice these bugs after clearing all the enemies in the level and not being able to progress.
As mentioned before, Zombie Army Trilogy is a solid game, and its mechanics are its strong point, and small tricks like the slow motion shots add quite a lot to its appeal. Playing solo is fine and all but co-op is where the game shines, thus playing with a friend is the best way to go into the game to ensure you have a blast.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.