Zombie Army Trilogy
Nazis are evil enough but give them the ability to come back from the dead, and you have a real problem on your hands. This is the dilemma faced by the characters in Zombie Army Trilogy by Rebellion. The setting is an alternate historical timeline where instead of eating a bullet when defeat seems inevitable, Hitler instead unleashes a zombie army on the world intending to overwhelm Europe. There’s something called the “Sagarmatha Relic” involved, but as far as the story is concerned, all you need to worry about is staying alive and killing zombies.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you have probably played the two titles in the Nazi Zombie Army series. These were stand-alone expansions for the Sniper Elite franchise that dropped the stealth elements and instead sent hordes of shambling zombies your way. Zombie Army Trilogy offers remastered versions of both the original game, while also throwing in a brand new third chapter. Along with the third chapter, Zombie Army Trilogy also includes a new horde mode, where the purpose is to stay alive for as long as possible on one of five different maps. There are also a couple of other new additions and improvements to the original games, which we will discuss later.
As fans of pop culture will know, the only way to permanently put down a zombie is by shooting it in the head. Thankfully, your primary weapons in Zombie Army Trilogy are sniper rifles, so combining bullets with brains isn’t too hard. The game even provides you with a nice selection to choose from, including the Gewehr 43, Karabiner 98k, Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk. III, M1 Carbine, SVT-40, and more. Of course, zombies are slow, shambling, and stupid, but they will eventually get within striking distance if you are not careful. When this happens, you can switch over to your secondary weapon to take them down. Once again, you have a decent selection to choose from, ranging from submachine guns like the MP40 and Thompson M1, to the MP44 assault rifle, and a zombie-killing favorite, the shotgun. The Colt M1911, Luger P08, and other semi-automatic pistols that are available as tertiary weapons will typically be your last resort, but should not be underestimated. Actually, your very last resort should be your kick, which comes in handy if a zombie lunges at you while you are busy reloading. Special weapons, like the “Preacher” shotgun and Panzerfaust, have very limited ammunition and take up a secondary weapon slot, but can really turn the tide if used correctly. Finally, you’ll find mounted machine guns dotted around some levels, but these are so inaccurate that they are only beneficial for clusters of zombies.
In addition to all the guns in the game, your characters also have access to explosives and traps. These can be great for clearing out rooms that are teeming with zombies or when faced with waves of zombies converging on your location. Grenades can be tossed at groups of zombies from a distance, or you put down land mines and trip mines at strategic spots to cover your back. Finally, you have bundles of dynamite that can be thrown but have to be shot or hit by another explosion before they will detonate. Fortunately for you, despite the widescale devastation around you, a lot of highly explosive barrels, drums, and fuel canisters were left unscathed. These are very useful for setting off chain reactions of explosions to thin out the zombie horde. You’ll need to use whatever is at your disposal as, depending on your chosen difficulty, ammo is not exactly plentiful. Consecutive kills build up a combo, which is great for your score, especially if you want to compete with your friends on the leaderboards.
For Zombie Army Trilogy, Rebellion has basically combined the original two games along with the new third chapter into one campaign consisting of 15 lengthy missions. The levels are all relatively linear and consist of battling waves of zombies while trying to make it to the next safehouse intact and then repeating the whole process of restocking on ammo. Levels will take you through unique locations like a village of the dead, a cathedral of resurrection, library of evil, subway to hell, the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum, Fuhrerbunker, train terminal, ominous forest, mountain castle, and many others. The game actually gets better the further you progress as you can see Rebellion becoming more ambitious with later chapters. It’s no surprise that the third chapter features some of the most creative locations and even the addition of non-player characters, something that was noticeably absent in the first two games.
Although Zombie Army Trilogy can be played solo, it is clear that the game was designed from the ground up to be a co-operative experience. The campaign can be played online with 2-4 players, and having someone around to revive a downed player before they bleed out is extremely helpful. The game makes use of a checkpoint based save system, so if the whole team is wiped out, you can expect to lose a bit of progress. Generally, it’s not too hard to stay alive, but there are a couple of enemies in the game that can pose a real problem if you are not careful. Regular zombies can quickly overwhelm players if you don’t pay attention to their whereabouts, but the real threats come from the special enemies. These range from armored skeletons, to fire demons and even snipers that can leap tall buildings in a single bound. However, the most annoying enemies by far are the gun-totting “elites” who carry guns that can cut you to shreds within seconds. Even worse, they shrug off explosions and take dozens of sniper rounds to the face before they eventually keel over. Encountering them, along with their suicide bomber buddies on the highest difficulty setting, is generally not something that the entire team can walk away from unscathed. Speaking of difficulty, your choice actually has a more significant impact than just increasing the number of zombies, which can be done separately. Instead, playing on the lowest setting means your bullets will always travel in a straight line while your aim remains steady. However, bump things up to “Sniper Elite” and you’ll not only have to deal with significantly reduced initial ammo and harder-hitting enemies but also the effect of gravity, wind, your stance, and heart rate on your bullets.
Visually Zombie Army Trilogy looks good, and everything is definitely a step up from the original games. Players can choose from 16 different characters, the four original men, four new women, as well as all eight of the characters from the Left 4 Dead series. The game is viewed in third person, so you always get a good look at your chosen character, but who you pick doesn’t influence the gameplay in any way.
The game does feature some visual effects missing from the original titles and cranking up the texture detail, shadow detail, anti-aliasing, draw distance, anisotropic filtering, supersampling and other features to the max looks great. Players can also toggle things like motion blur and ambient occlusion to their liking. Along with the new graphical effects, ZAT adds another feature that was sorely lacking from the original games, the ability to dismember zombies. If you shoot off their limbs, they will keep on coming, even if they have to drag themselves painfully across the floor to get to you. You’ll also get to experience the new visuals up close, thanks to the slow-motion camera. Seeing your bullet penetrate multiple zombie heads in glorious slow-motion rarely gets old, although you can set the frequency of these events. ZAT also embraces its’ b-movie roots with plenty of creepy shadows, nice light, and smoke effects, as well as thunder flashes that briefly make everything black and white. Some of the gory scenery, such as dismembered bodies hanging from hooks on the ceiling and pulsating organs everywhere along with showers of blood, is a little over the top, though.
The audio in ZAT is pretty good, too, and definitely fits the b-movie atmosphere of the game. Some of the synth tunes in the background would fit in nicely with any zombie-themed movie, and the gun sounds are all realistic. For the rest, you can expect plenty of zombie moans and groans along with the occasional blood-curling screams. The controls work well for the most part, but can occasionally feel a bit clunky, especially when running or when helping to revive a fellow team member. It’s not possible to jump, so you can forget about finding cover that is inaccessible to zombies. This means you need always to be aware of your surroundings or have a team member to watch your back in case something sneaks up on you while you are using your scope. You can only carry three weapons at a time, one for each of the three categories, but these can be swapped out whenever you find something else on the ground or at a safehouse.
Overall, your enjoyment of Zombie Army Trilogy is going to depend on how much you like zombies, sniper rifles, and cheap b-movie scares. Despite the different locations, you are pretty much doing the same thing over and over in the game, which can become a bit repetitive. However, playing with a group of friends and cranking up the difficulty to the highest does make things more challenging as well as enjoyable. Clearing the campaign will take a couple of hours, and along with aiming for a high score, you can also try and find all the bars of gold and bottles of blood hidden on each level for an extra challenge. Finally, there is also the horde mode to keep you busy, and you can replay any of the campaign levels if you like. While there’s nothing groundbreaking about Zombie Army Trilogy, it’s a lot of mindless fun, provided you can round up enough friends to join you.
- OS: Microsoft® Windows® Vista (Service Pack 2) or Windows® 7 or Windows® 8. Windows® XP is NOT supported.
- Processor: Dual-core CPU with SSE3 (Intel® Pentium® D 3GHz / AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4200) or better
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: Microsoft® DirectX® 10.0 compatible graphics card with 512 MB of memory (ATI Radeon™ HD 5870) or better
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 15 GB available space
- Sound Card: Microsoft® DirectX® 10.0 compatible sound card or better
- Additional Notes: Windows® XP is NOT supported. Ensure graphics and audio drivers are up to date.