One thing in video games that just never gets old to me is killing hordes and hordes of zombies. I’ve played through countless games putting these undead things down whether it be in Call of Duty, Resident Evil, World War Z and so on. Now developer Rebellion is back once again with their fourth entry in their zombie franchise, Zombie Army 4: Dead War. While Dead War doesn’t bring much new to the table that I hadn’t experienced before it still can be a deadly good time especially with some friends along.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a third-person shooter that you can play solo or in online co-op with up to four people. The story in the game picks up from the events of the past games where zombie Hitler has been defeated and cast into hell and now you are left to fight off the remaining zombies in the world in what is known as the Dead War. During the campaign you’ll meet up with different people who have some things to say but honestly I didn’t find a lot of it very interesting or memorable. I mean I’m just here to kill zombies mostly.
The game offers you a few different modes to jump into when you start it up. You can dive into the campaign which consists of nine missions each of which is divided up into multiple chapters. You can play on easy, medium, or hard difficulties as well as set the zombie count you’ll be up against. This basically means you can leave it at default which will set depending on how many players there are or you can set it yourself to a certain count. So if you are playing solo you could set it to throw the amount of enemies at you that it would if you were playing with four people. Every mission in the campaign has a title and picture designed as if they were old 80’s movies which I really liked. Things like Death Canal, Rotten Coast, Hell Base, and more.
The game gives you four different characters you can play as each of which has their own dialog and certain exclusive perks. Karl uses less stamina to use the empty lung when shooting but his health regeneration is slower. Jun moves faster than other characters but has weaker melee attacks. These things don’t make a huge difference while playing but they are worth keeping in mind depending on how you might want to play. There are a couple other characters too but they are locked behind DLC which is a tad bit disappointing. There is some light character customization in the game too where you can unlock and equip different hats, emotes, and taunts. It’s pretty light options overall and it would’ve been cool to see some deeper customization options to help set yourself apart more.
While the campaign mode is pretty long it doesn’t do a lot different from what I’ve done in other games. Every mission consists of you blasting zombies apart and completing certain objectives such as filling up and delivering gas tanks, defending a point for a certain amount of time and so on. The level variety is great though as you travel to a diverse set of locations throughout the campaign including a zoo, canals where you go on a boat ride, volcanic areas and more. The ever changing locations really helped keep things fresh even when the objectives weren’t so much. Every mission is also full of hidden collectibles to find such as zombie hands, comic pages, documents, and people to save all of which encourages you to fully explore your surroundings.
The zombies you fight consist of more than just the weaponless variety you might see in other games. There are the normal ones of course but then there are suicide zombies who you’ll have to shoot the explosives on their body before they reach you. There are snipers who dash from different vantage points and necromancers who will revive zombies that you’ve already killed. Then there are the much bigger types of zombies such as ones who come in with a flamethrower or machine gun and a butcher like zombie that comes running at you with a saw blade. Then there is another one who will send out this thing along the ground where if it touches you you’ll end up getting sucked into the ground and teleported to wherever that zombie is while taking damage. Suffice to say there is plenty of enemy types to keep you on your toes and you really have to focus on taking out the stronger ones first in order to make it through.
Shooting mechanics in the game work well and if you’ve played any of Rebellion’s prior games such as Sniper Elite then you’ll feel right at home here. Sniping zombie heads or blowing off other parts of their bodies was satisfying and there are different things in the environment that you can shoot too such as explosive barrels and planks in the air that you can shoot and drop on the zombies. You of course have the trademark Rebellion slow-mo x-ray camera as well that will trigger at times. This is one of my favorite things about their games as you get to see the bullet travel from your barrel all the way through the undead’s body. Seeing their undead jaws rip apart and zombie balls explode never gets old. When playing in co-op you even get to see the shots your teammates make. As you kill zombies you build up a multiplier on the screen that earns you a bigger score. Competing with your friends to see who can get the highest score at the end of a mission is fun and can encourage replayability.
The weapon variety in the game is decent but could’ve been better. It mainly consists of a few different rifles, SMGs, shotguns, and pistols. You can carry one main weapon like a rifle, a secondary such as a SMG or shotgun, and one pistol with you at a time. When you reach the safehouse at the end of every chapter you can change up your loadout or upgrade the weapons with upgrade kits you’ve found along the way. You can also customize them with different skins or charms that you’ve unlocked from leveling up. When you take down one of the heavy zombie types you can pick up their weapon and use it such as the flamethrower, buzzsaw, and machine gun. These were really fun to use but their ammo doesn’t last long so the joy of using them runs out quick.
When you finish the campaign up you can jump into the Horde mode or the Weekly Event. The Weekly Event has you play through a mission under certain conditions and rewards you with things like bonus XP or special customization items for completing it. It’s a nice little extra mode that could encourage you and your buddies to come back every week to see what you could earn. The Horde mode is something I particularly enjoyed playing with friends. You pick one of the four maps and try to at least survive 12 waves of enemies. Every map puts you in a small area at first but new parts of them slowly open up as you clear waves. Once you clear wave 12 you can opt to escape or push on to see how many waves you can clear. My record right now is 22 waves. Horde mode is a lot of fun but I do wish there was more than four maps so hopefully more get added in future updates.
The graphics in the game won’t blow you away but everything looked pretty good to me. Playing on the PS4 Pro you have two different options to use. You can opt for better graphics and have the framerate run at 30fps or opt for worse graphics in exchange for a 60fps experience. Either way the game ran smoothly to me and I mostly played on the better graphics setting. There is also a photo mode included that really lets you admire all the details on the zombies and in the environment. Music, voice work, and sound effects were all solid with no complaints. The game does have some annoying bugs though which need to be patched. When completing a Horde match and returning to the menu I was constantly a lower level than I ended the match at forcing me to have to gain those levels back. There was also a time where the zombie who sucks you into the ground caused me to get stuck in the ground and have to leave the match. It’s nothing that can’t be patched but losing leveling progress is never a good feeling. As for the trophy list the game has 52 trophies in total and is a pretty achievable list overall. You’ll have to clear a bunch of horde waves, beat the campaign with four players, get all the collectables, and do a variety of other things as well.
While Zombie Army 4: Dead War doesn’t do a lot different from other similar games I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been having a good time with it. It has solid shooting mechanics, lots of environment variety in the campaign, tons of different zombie types to send packing, and some fun extra modes to partake in. Some things can be improved like the bugs and amount of horde maps but overall this one is worth dying for.
*Zombie Army 4: Dead War is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War$49.99
- Lengthy campaign mode with lots of location variety
- Really fun when playing with multiple people
- Horde mode is fun and chaotic
- Solid shooting mechanics & slow-mo x-ray camera is a joy as always
- Photo mode lets you really admire the details in the world
- Doesn't do much that hasn't been done before
- Some annoying bugs and glitches
- Only four horde maps currently