After forging shooter sensations with the Sniper Elite franchise, developers Rebellion have kept undead mayhem alive with a series of horror-inspired spin-off games — and Zombie Army 4: Dead War doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to the jump. to the Nintendo Switch.
Merging the hair-raising horror of the undead with weapons of all kinds should be a recipe for success, but the zombie shooter subgenre has stagnated in recent years. Genre definitions like Valve’s Left 4 Dead and Treyarch’s first attempt at undead survival in World At War fascinated players, but it feels like we’ve been doing the same old things ever since.
Rebellion’s zombie headshotting franchise builds on the solid mechanics of the Sniper Elite franchise, and the result is a spin-off that has managed to grow a loyal following. Now, after cementing the Zombie Army IP as an impressive contender with Zombie Army 4: Dead War in 2020, the experience has made its way to the Nintendo Switch, and the results don’t disappoint.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War – Key Details
- Price: $49.99 | £39.99 | €49.99
- Developer: Revolt
- Publication date: Apr 26, 2022
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, Playstation 4 | 5, Nintendo Switch
Zombie Army 4: Dead War Trailer
As mentioned before, the Zombie Army franchise starts with the basics of Sniper Elite. Zombie Army 4: Dead War doesn’t just send these crazy ghosts back to their graves, though; players are taken around the world on a quest to restore balance to the world, following Adolf Hitler’s apparent banishment to Hell in Zombie Army Trilogy. It’s 1946, just a year later, and the face of evil will return with vengeance, although this time Hitler has legions of zombies fueled by the energy of Hell itself.
This franchise is no doubt just as insane if the premise thankfully doesn’t get bogged down in some self-seriousness. Dead War’s tone is full B-movie madness, carrying the more nonsensical elements on its cover, as characters spew cheesy dialogue about the infectious bass and synth hooks that accompany your journey. If you’ve enjoyed the Wolfenstein franchise in the past, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.
Within the multiple globetrotting campaigns, you take the pain to Italy, Croatia and Sardinia as the army of the dead tries to push back the hopes that humanity still has. All locations of Dead War ooze with fear, blood and guts. Abandoned houses in Venice are incredibly haunted as Rebellion paints the environment with remains of former residents in personal belongings and SOS messages. This is accompanied by the stunning sound design of Nick Brewer and his company, as terrifying screams and screams soar into the air around you. Dead War’s campaign has been gleefully influenced by the greats of the horror film, be it the late George Romero or John Carpenter, and even the violence of Giallo pioneer Lucio Fulci. Each mission has some sort of defensive purpose, as you race to find solace in a designated safe room. This is where you stock up on ballistic goodies and a whole host of explosives.
The level design may be simplistic, but Rebellion understands the mission with Dead War and immediately gets to work on any new war zone you explore. You can play each campaign solo or backed up via online multiplayer, but Dead War never feels like you’re missing out without a team. Joining the multiplayer fun is also easy and fast, breaking down the kind of roadblocks you can find in genre rivals.
Rebellion has ensured that Dead War is filled with a wealth of versatile weapons, and each one feels different. Sure, most of Dead War’s weapons are time-appropriate, but there are some outrageous additions to use. Whether it’s a roaring chainsaw or a sniper rifle with electric bolts, it’s hard not to laugh when you’re sawing through the undead, especially in horde mode.
Fight fire with fire
Instead of encouraging the player to survive as long as possible, Horde in Dead War focuses on difficulty. Each session can be customized in regards to challenges and gear for your chosen character, and the survival mode forces players to unlock an escape zone and disappear from the map. Sounds simple right? Absolutely not. From fog-filled forests to the sewage-covered London Underground, each map is a sweat-inducing cry for safety. Weapons and ammo spawn at randomly generated points between rounds as enemy types become more aggressive and hungrier for blood. Creepy creepers and flaming generals are just the beginning of the threats that await in the darkness.
Horde mode shows how impressive Rebellion’s efforts to bring Dead War to Nintendo Switch are. There was an incredible amount of action in the console version, so it’s no surprise that it took the developers two years to bring the experience to the Switch’s more modest hardware.
The atmosphere may be a nightmare, but playing Dead War on the Nintendo Switch OLED in both docked and handheld modes was delightful. The game’s excellent art and production design are clear on the OLED screen and remain just as impressive through a monitor or TV. Still, it’s Dead War’s performance that stands out as the talking point for Rebellion’s port.
As the waves of zombies piled up and the weapons got crazier, I expected the sheer amount of particle effects and enemies chasing me to tank the framerate. And yet Dead War has allayed any concerns I had here and kept the action going with ease. Rebellion has kept the framerate at 30FPS for the Switch and in my experience it has never faltered. Sniper Elite’s signature bullet-cam and slow-motion are always satisfying as you break skulls and limbs into small pieces. If you like the franchise’s famous camera that much, you can increase its frequency in the game’s settings. Here you’ll also find a surprisingly robust photo mode, which allows you to take a few snaps between the shells falling to the floor.
The Nintendo Switch has been given a mighty title for its growing library of shooters, as Rebellion proves that Zombie Army 4: Dead War is an incredible time, even on the hybrid system. The wafer-thin story might not satisfy players seeking in-depth knowledge, but the straight-forward action, flexible weapons and B-movie charm make defeating the undead a breeze, whether playing alone or with your friends. team.
Rated on Nintendo Switch
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