Review: Zombie Army 4: Dead War – A cute switch port for this Schlockiest Shooters

Rebellion has a pretty good track record when it comes to transferring its sloppy selection of shooters to the Nintendo Switch, with both Zombie Army Trilogy and Sniper Elite 4 the latest examples of how this developer manages to squeeze a whole lot of slo- mo main images, confusing zombie hordes and cooperative carnage on the small console without sacrificing too much in terms of performance or playability.

Zombie Army 4: Dead War is the studio’s latest bombastic offering, a game that has been available on other platforms since February 2020, and it’s one of the team’s hardest tasks so far in getting it up and running within restrictive memory constraints. on Switch. We are not surprised, after all, this is a great old action-packed game, and we were a little apprehensive to hear about the technical issues in the build-up to our review period. As it turns out, we did not have to worry at all, as Rebellion has continued its streak here with yet another solid gate serving a big, bloody celebration of Nazi zombie killing.

If you’re a longtime fan of Rebellion’s work, you know it Exactly what to expect here, where the game’s third-person shooter takes place across a lot of fairly linear levels, filled with enemies that you can cut down in the way you choose. You will always keep an eye on your combo counter and repel the bad guys in quick succession to keep your score up and ensure you send the dead as stylish as possible to all sorts of bonuses and multipliers. It’s about the big cool combinations with this one. The studio’s trademark slow motion killcam is also present and correct, and if you make a fancy shot from a long distance, you’ll be treated to an x-ray-inducing x-ray that does a fine job of describing exactly how a Nazi skull explodes when you penetrate it with a speed ball.

Zombie Army 4: Dead War is exactly as bloodthirsty and chaotic as we hoped and expected it to be, and its non-stop shooting game is padded with the same kind of straightforward targets that have become standard in the series, charging you ( and up). to three other players in co-op) defending points on a map against waves of enemies, assembling parts to open doors or assembling some bizarre piece of machinery like the undead attacks from all angles. There’s certainly no surprise in how the levels play out here – and Left 4 Dead is certainly not – but this is still, for our money, Rebellion’s smartest zombie effort to date and easily one of the very best shooting games they’ve ever created. .

Yes, it can be quite simplistic in terms of mission goals, but it’s also quite clear for its gun feel as well as its B-movie tone, with voice acting landing right on the right side of campy horror, a silly story , which is as fun as it once was – you’ll have to prepare for the ridiculous ending here – and some wonderfully atmospheric 1980s Synthwave deployed at just the right points as you brawl through an endless army of Nazi zombies, zombies that have been (re) animated with the kind of attention to detail that makes them a constant pleasure to tear apart.

This is really the kind of shooting game we just do not get enough of these days, the kind of shooting game where spherical enemies spewing endless XP-related numbers into the air take the back seat at more satisfactory reactive prices: where aiming and shooting at one leg it just blows off and sends your enemy directly to the floor; where by setting fire to a bunch of zombies you see them flapping around in absolute pain; and where one-shot-popping undead heads from range look and feel perfect Every time.

Not everything is in order. There’s still a persistent level of misfortune in how your avatar moves around in arenas, the game shows the same mechanical awkwardness found in previous Rebellion titles, but in its actual shooting action, when you engage with the enemy, skulls jump, shatters crowds and wades into a horde of brain-dead black shirts with a twin-race MG-42, yes, Zombie Army 4 rarely fails to raise a smile. Whether you’re playing solo or with friends, the shooting here is cross-border hypnotic at times, and planning your attacks to maximize your score levels or re-running sections to perfect your performance gives the ten-hour campaign a wealth of built-in replayability. It’s certainly not for everyone, some will want to do without the harsh edges, and it’s all completely old-fashioned and completely disposable, but if you’m a fan of this kind of mid-level shooter, you’ll find a whole lot to love with this one.

In addition to the game’s satisfying core shooting, there’s also a really nice balance in how your chosen character’s various special attacks have been worked into the process. While blasting the Führer’s undead hordes into tiny pieces, you charge a handful of abilities, including a melee attack that lets you throw burning axes, chop enemies with a machete, or hit them in the face with an electric fist, a flashy takedown that sees you regain health when you finish an opponent, and a focus attack that slows down time and adds lots of extra braking power to your balls. Choosing when to implement these attacks adds a nice little strategic wrinkle to the game’s action and encourages you to experiment while finding new ways to keep the combo counter ticking upwards.

Also levels – although they are pretty much completely linear and do not present any major surprises in terms of layout – have more than enough room to encourage you and your team to spread out and become a little strategic; to flank, take up positions on tower cannons and drop mines and stumbling blocks while the armies of the undead spew out in your direction. There are also lots of spooky little secrets and collectibles that you can go on while exploring, and we especially love the game’s collectibles that appear in a great big album for your perusal. You get your fingers in these by pulling out set targets against different enemy types, and 100% completion of this collection will take avid zombie killers a good while to look through.

The linearity of the display in terms of level layout is further evens out by how clever and fun the various settings you are sent to are. Have you ever wanted to make Venice’s canals red with blood from zombified fascists? Interested in visiting a zoo full of undead surprises or taking a blood-soaked walk up the rotten coast? Zombie Army 4: Dead War has covered you well and thoroughly, and it serves its action with a healthy dose of awful puns and shocking one-liners. It’s right up our street.

In terms of conditions, there may just be the main campaign and a fairly straightforward horde offer to jump into, but we’ve found ourselves more than happy with our party here, where we’ve blown through main missions and then returned to previous areas to pick up collectibles. , earn some more stickers or get a new PB high score. Also, we found that playing this one solo is just as much fun as it is to blow up with friends. Where this type of multiplayer-centered affair can very often turn out to be a really boring old battle if you play alone, Zombie Army 4’s campaign is smart, entertaining and fast enough that solo gunmen should discover they have a whale of a time regardless. In fact, the Zombie Army games on the whole are just amazingly pure stuff to solo you through, slowly and methodically head-shooting crowds of red enemies without the stress of keeping up with other players.

Of course, this is a game that has been out on other platforms for well over two years now, largely a known amount, so the real problem here is whether this Switch port is worth your time / money; as we mentioned above, Rebellion has once again done a very impressive job in this regard. Yes, the graphics have been screwed all the way down to their lowest settings, and the frame rate has been cut in half, but from start to finish, we barely noticed a single notch, no matter how many enemies came and tore our way. It also still looks pretty good in some places, with B-movie styling and excellent soundtrack that continues to provide plenty of atmosphere, regardless of the cuts to fidelity here and there. We noticed that the dynamic resolution shifted to keep things going in a few areas, but at no point was the image quality blurred into oblivion, where everything looked super sharp for the vast majority of the game’s run time. Good enough!

We also briefly tried co-op across a handful of campaign missions with another player and found that it was quick and easy to join or host a game where the performance was mostly rock solid, although we did notice a little bit of latency here and there as we stumbled through an entire chapter of the state of history. Overall, though, we’m very impressed with what the developer has managed to accomplish with this Switch port, given that this is such a relatively recent shooter – and one that throws quite a few enemies at you at any given time. We’ve played through this on more powerful hardware, and what you get here is more or less the same experience: a large, bloody mess of Nazi killings that looks good and plays surprisingly smoothly in both docked and handheld mode. . There’s even gyro support, HD rumble, and plenty of sensitivity settings to mess around with to sweeten the deal and ensure you make slo-mo quadruple head shots in no time.


Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a surprisingly solid Switch gateway to one of our favorite Rebellion titles so far. There’s a wealth of zombie-nazi-killing sweetness to get acquainted with here, and although the graphics have gotten a hit and the frame rate has been halved compared to other platforms, what’s here is eminently playable in both the docket and handheld mode. Whether you take on Hitler’s undead hordes alone or with a few friends in tow, this is a ton of fun B-movies that get a big thumbs up from us.