Much to the usual dismay of my cohorts, I love the sniper class in pretty much any game. Nothing fills me with as much glee as watching the heads of my enemies pop in glorious over-the-top fashion through the scope of a high powered rifle. In much a similar way to Zer0 or Mordecai from Borderlands, I even quip to myself “That’s gotta hurt” or “Ooh, nasty” in such a way that would make Treguard from Knightmare proud. For that reason alone, Zombie Army Trilogy is already right up my street, but does the third entry in the series add much more to the franchise?
Zombie Army Trilogy is a culmination of the first two Sniper Elite Nazi zombie addons; Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army and Nazi Zombie Army 2 along with a campaign that is new for this release. Along with that, there’s now eight playable characters (including four new female characters - a first for this series), the usual cooperative mode and an all new horde mode as a part of the deal.
For the most part, the gameplay is the same as it was in the previous outings, having you take control of one of the eight characters, choosing your weapons loadout and sending you out on your way to kill zombies by the shed load. Given that it’s a World War II period shooter, there’s not really any new weapons they can add to the game at this point (but then, we’ve got Nazi zombies, so... yeah); so you're sticking with the same weapons that were already present in parts one and two. Give me a Mosin Nagant and some Stielhandgranaten and I’ll be on my way...
Of particular delight is the inclusion of the new “Dismemberment” feature, which allows you to pick apart the enemies limb by limb so that you may watch them crawl toward you with their remaining extremities (undoubtedly for a last ditch attempt at possibly chewing through the tasty flesh in your leg). It’s a lot bloodier than the previous games too, not being shy to shower the playing field in the crimson flowing from the skulls and limbs of the Nazi zombies that are lucky enough to be on the wrong end of your rifle. It feels a bit more polished too as Rebellion have been able to fine-tune the game through the first two outings all the way to the release of the trilogy. It’s nice to see that the older content has been brought along for the ride so that you can experience it in the best engine that the series has to offer. Even if you’ve already played the old content to death and back, the newer engine behind it all gives it a small breath of fresh air.
The addition of horde mode is more than welcome, and seemed to be annoyingly absent from the first two games given the nature of the title. It’s your standard horde affair, which you’ll be more than familiar with if you’ve played any of the zombie additions to the Call of Duty series or the horde mode in Gears of War. Waves of enemies are sent toward your group in ever increasing difficulty and numbers, with more and more of the heavier enemies being sent your way as you progress up the ranks. There’s a great level, where you’re placed into a long alleyway with zombies coming in from the opposite end and over the walls of the alley. It’s a great way to start building up teamwork, without worrying about whether any one of the members of the group are too far away.
X-Ray cam is back too, so when you score a particularly good hit, you are rewarded with a slow motion ‘replay’ of the bullet travelling to its target, then watching it shatter the bones of the zombie who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sadly, in multiplayer it doesn’t seem to trigger as often as it did in the previous games, even with the setting changed to ‘frequent’ - which is a shame as it’s one of the defining aspects of the game.
Overall, the game looks stunning, with uprated visuals from the previous games making it feel more colourful and vibrant throughout. The level design hasn’t changed much, if at all where the first two campaigns are concerned and the sound of bullets whizzing through the air along with the concerto of gunshots from various rifles really set the game off.
But there’s a couple of glaring omissions; firstly, there’s no scope-toggle that could be had with the first two games and I’m not exactly sure I can find a reason as to why it’s been removed. If this is just a continuation of the same engine then surely it wouldn’t have been that difficult to keep it in place? Having to hold down the scope button to aim in a game where it’s the primary weapon means that your scope button is going to be getting some lengthy use. It also appears that the ability to take cover behind an object or wall has also gone, though less of an issue, it’s still something that’s been removed for one reason or another that was there in the previous games.
In all, Zombie Army Trilogy adds a new campaign for those looking for a bit more longevity out of the series, and it does so with some nice new features out of the gate. However, for those looking for something different out of the series, unless you’re really really wanting to play horde mode or a new to the series, you might be best looking elsewhere.
Zombie Army Trilogy (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
A new campaign for those looking for a bit more longevity out of the series, with some nice new features. However, for those looking for something largely different out of the series, you might be best looking elsewhere.