Zombies and Star Wars have something in common. They both are seemingly slapped on to any item or extra-curricular media that exists outside their own properties. You can get Star Wars Evian water, towels, stationary and sleeping bags and Zombies pop up to adapt and alternate stories found in literature, films and games. It seems that not only does Jane Austen have her hands full with these scabby, moaning terrors but Adolf is getting mixed up with them as well.
• Developer: Rebellion
• Publisher: Rebellion
• Reviewed on: PC
• Also Available On: Xbox 360, PS3
• Release Date: Available Now
This stand-alone expansion for Sniper Elite starts off with a little scene involving an angry Hitler (when isn’t he, am I right?) and his inferior officers. Now, I’m not entirely sure why Hitler would choose to launch a diatribe in English – bearing in mind the Third Reich had a bit of a dislike for anything that wasn’t overtly Germanic; but I’m arguably missing the point if I’m already getting concerned about realism in a game about Nazi zombies.
You’re introduced to the game with the following paragraph:
“Germany is shrouded in darkness. Nazi zombies walk the earth. You are one of the few remaining living souls in Germany. You have arrived at an abandoned village, en route to Berlin, hoping to find a working vehicle.”
Imagine how the radio news reports outside of Germany would sound reporting that information. Probably something about Jerries eating human sausages and cabbage crates going off the blue end.
Unsurprisingly, Zombie Nazi Army essentially feels like Sniper Elite combined with Left 4 Dead, albeit less frantic and chaotic. Precision, aim and some forward thinking is what is needed to get through this game. So those who have already played Sniper Elite will find that there’s no dramatic departure from game play; those new to the series will have no problem realising that tactics and sniping are key to surviving.
You’ll be fighting high health enemies, with the only reliable way to down them being head shots – which, ironically and unfortunately for your undead sausage-munching adversaries, is also the only reliable way to keep your ammo full. An interesting way of collecting and sustaining your ammunition supply is to collect bullets from zombie corpses – which rather puts the current fuss about austerity into a little bit of perspective. Zombie Nazi Army also incentivises going for headshots in other ways; merely shooting a zombie to death results in them being resurrected or their body fading away after a few seconds. If you score a head shot, the body remains, and you can loot it. It truly pays in every sense of the word to aim for the head and snipe, snipe, snipe.
The game offers relief at certain times in the form of a safe room, reminiscent of Left 4 Dead. Here, you can catch a breather and replenish your weapons. Then it’s back to the ol’ grind of riddling Nazi zombies with bullets. A good tip when playing this game is to also utilise any gadgets you have, such as trip wires – after all, traps are somewhat beyond the limited cerebral capacity of the undead.
However, it’s not all dispatching stumbling, dimwitted and slow moving zombies – enemies can become possessed, imbuing them with the ability to wield weapons, making them considerably more deadly in the process. They also can fly. Well, they bounce in a flight-like manner between rooftops. When you think dealing with a rampant horde of bloodthirsty undead Nazis is gruelling, try getting past a flying sniping one.
Graphics haven’t appreciably altered from the original Sniper Elite in Zombie Nazi Army. That being said, some sections of the game look really impressive, the lighting in one particular level showcasing a fog that truly adds to the suspense, providing a wonderful visual experience as you take out each zombie as it wades through the smoky veil.
The game makes a decent effort to instill some tense moments. The first horde you encounter has only tasks you with fighting off a handful of the undead at a time, lulling you into a false sense of security. You think everything is fine; the most zombies you see are five to ten on screen at once. Then, suddenly, through a wall of greenish fog, there are dozens upon dozens, slowly meandering towards you.
There is four-player co-op, which is fun and rewarding and if you have a good squad of reliable friends with you (you know unlike those unreliable ones you avoid – c’mon, we all do it); in all honesty, the game sometimes feels like it was meant to be played by a team, more than a single adventure.
Those desperate for an excuse to return to levels after finishing them can try to track down the various stashes of Nazi gold and also try and hunt down the shiftily placed bottles of blood, but unless you’re extremely keen on finding these items, there isn’t an overwhelming incentive to replay the game. It’s more likely that you’ll find it more enjoyable to try and top the leader board score, earning more points for successful kills at longer ranges.
Overall, I found Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army to be a fun, testing add-on to the series. My only complaint would be that it could have been longer and a bit more variety in level and enemy design would have been welcomed.