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First Impressions: Zombie Army 4

by on June 19, 2019
 

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Rebellion development team.  They have made some of my favorite games like Strange Brigade and the Sniper Elite series.  One series that I have never played is the Zombie Army series (which, thankfully, is on Xbox Game Pass).  Without hesitation, I jumped on the demo at E3 2019.  I can honestly say it was one of my favorite demos that I played this year!

The Zombie Army series tells a tale set in an alternate reality.  In World War II, Hitler set Plan Z in motion, where he used occult rituals to bring the dead to life.  Despite sending Hitler to hell in the previous games, the army of the dead is still causing problems in Zombie Army 4.  The game, set in 1946, continues your mission to save Europe and the world from the Zombie infestation.

The E3 demo let me choose from 3 characters.  I chose Karl Fairburne, of course, because of my love for him in Sniper Elite…and for his rugged good looks if I’m being honest.  The demo began at a base of operations.  At the base, I had access to a weapons bench and a kit that I could use to upgrade my primary weapon.  With my kit, I upgraded Karl’s rifle to allow it to shoot electricity at the undead.  I also switched around some of his secondary weapons, grabbed ammo, and ran to the exit of the base.

As I opened the door, a cutscene triggered that showed a runaway train crashing near the front of the base.   Of course, the train was covered with Zombies.  When I regained control of Karl, I thought I had this first part of the demo in hand.  The area of the crash featured one ramp leading to the door, so I assumed I could use it as a choke point and take out the undead.  Boy was I wrong.

You see, the “army” in Zombie Army 4 is exactly that.  This first part of the demo had countless zombies attacking from the front.  They also managed to get into the base from other areas and attack me from behind.  I lost count after a while, but I swear I fought off over a hundred zombies in that one segment.  It was an exciting battle and featured one of my favorite gaming features, the x-ray kill cam from Sniper Elite!

After this first chaotic battle, I made my way through the wreckage, fighting off more zombies and covering more ground.  The zombies in the area were varied, including zombies that held melee weapons and guns.  These aren’t your normal, everyday zombies, so I had to rethink how often I use melee attacks versus my guns.  A few environmental traps helped clear out areas of zombies as well.  My favorite zombie type was the dynamite zombie.  These guys are strapped to the teeth with dynamite and run at you like a suicide bomber.  The blast radius from detonated zombies helps clear out enemies as well.  The gameplay was really clean and looked amazing in all its bloody glory.

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Besides upgradable weapons, your character has abilities that are extremely helpful when it comes to tackling the undead.  Karl has a super punch ability, which is a supercharged melee attack that does some significant damage.  Karl also had the ability to briefly slow down time, which allowed me to get some good headshots in and conserve ammo.  I wasn’t able to try the other characters, so I don’t know their special abilities.  But no matter who you use, you will need everything at your disposal to clear out wave after wave of the undead.

The only downside to my demo was the fact that I have to wait until early 2020 to play the full game!  It was a lot of fun playing single player, but I think the real winner will be the co-op mode.  I can imagine the number of zombies increasing dramatically if you play 4 player co-op.  Zombie Army 4 had a ton of stuff that I look for in a game – fun, engaging gameplay, varied enemy types, tons of upgrades, and great action.  If the demo is a hint of what’s to come, then I think Zombie Army 4 will be a roaring good time when it launches next year.

If you saw the trailer, or played the demo at E3, let us know what you think in the comments below!

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