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Zombie Army 4: Dead War Xbox review — Brutally satisfying zombie carnage

Zombie Army 4: Dead War takes what Rebellion learned from Strange Brigade and Zombie Army Trilogy to bring us their best Left 4 Dead-like yet.

Zombie Army 4
(Image: © Rebellion)

Zombie Army 4 is technically the fourth game in Rebellion's nazi-zombie co-op grinder series, although the first couple of entries were simply spin-off expansions of Sniper Elite.

With Zombie Army 4: Dead War, the franchise moves beyond its Sniper Elite roots and establishes itself in its own right, giving us a solid co-op shooter that fills the gaping void where Left 4 Dead 3 should be.

What you'll love about the Zombie Army 4: Dead War

Source: Windows Central | Rebellion (Image credit: Source: Windows Central | Rebellion)

Zombie Army 4: Dead War takes place in an alternate reality where Hitler (or well, Zombie Hitler) unleashes the forces of Hell in a final bid to "win" World War 2. In doing so, Hitler practically brings about the end of the world, where legions of roaming Nazi undead and all sorts of demonic entities swarm the lands.

CategorySpec
GenreThird-person shooter
Multiplayer4-player co-op (online)
PriceFrom $50
PlatformsXbox, PC, PS4
RatingPEGI 16

At its core, Zombie Army 4 is a co-op third-person shooter with obvious similarities to Left 4 Dead. The game also incorporates some satisfying "ultimate" abilities that allow you to finish zombies with stylish DOOM-style executions in order to regain some health. There are also weapon ultimate abilities that give you a combat boost in a pinch, which reward players for wracking up big combos utilizing mines, traps, and good co-ordination. The carnage is suitably infectious, and all the more fun with a friend or three.

The gunplay in Zombie Army 4 will feel familiar to anyone who has played a Sniper Elite game. Running on the same engine, Zombie Army 4 offers slick gunplay with familiar sniper x-ray kill cams, which even work in multiplayer (albeit sped up). Occasionally, the game will even show you a slow motion kill cam from one of your comrades, if the game deems it suitably stylish.

The game has a Horde mode, weekly events with modifiers, and a beefy co-op campaign comprised of nine separate missions in different environments, split apart up to four chapters. Visually, Zombie Army 4 is a cut above Sniper Elite, with environmental details that are not only atmospheric, but also rewarding to explore.

There's an impressive variety of weapons, upgrades, and other abilities to find and unlock throughout the game.

Rebellion managed to cram a fair bit of variety into proceedings, with surprisingly tough (and rewarding) puzzles here and there, clearly inspired by the work they did on Strange Brigade.

It's not often you'll play a game that features zombie sharks, undead tanks (yes, undead tanks), and various other cenobite-inspired demonic entities. While Sniper Elite remains grounded in its open-world stealth simulation, Zombie Army 4 takes the gloves off and indulges the full depths of Rebellion's diabolical creativity. And it's glorious, gift-wrapped in a nostalgic 80s b-movie vibe.

What you might dislike in Zombie Army 4: Dead War

Zombie Army 4 (Image credit: Windows Central | Rebellion)

Zombie Army 4 (Image credit: Windows Central | Rebellion)

Source: Windows Central | Rebellion

Zombie Army 4 suffers from similar issues other player-hosted co-op games suffer from. The further away your friends are, the laggier your game will be. The only reasonable way to solve that is dedicated servers, but for a non-service type game, that's not really economically reasonable. It's something worth being aware of, though.

One thing that bugs me about Zombie Army 4 is how sluggish it can feel at times. Your character goes through this ramp up time while moving, which feels odd in practice.

Source: Windows Central | Rebellion (Image credit: Source: Windows Central | Rebellion)

On the flip side, it can make combat feel more hectic, as you have to account for the wind up time while avoiding enemies, but it feels a little odd.

Some of the animations and melee interactions aren't exactly what I'd describe as top-shelf, either. Using the melee machete slash attack, it's sometimes hard to get it to actually connect with enemies. These sorts of aspects of the engine feel a bit dated, along with the physics and enemy A.I., which could certainly be better.

Should you buy Zombie Army 4: Dead War?

Source: Windows Central | Rebellion (Image credit: Source: Windows Central | Rebellion)

If you're a fan of zombie games, Zombie Army 4 is among the best Left 4 Dead-likes we've gotten in recent years, even if it doesn't do a whole lot to bring innovation to the genre.

There are some cool cinematic set pieces and truly crazy enemies scattered throughout the campaign. Even if Zombie Army 4 doesn't push the envelope too far in terms of its format, it knows what it wants to be, and achieves it unashamedly. If you bring three friends, Zombie Army 4 is a crimson-soaked blast cover to cover.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!