Watch in slow-motion a Zombie’s vital organs get ripped apart by a bullet.
I don’t know what it is that is so fascinating about combining Nazis with the undead in videogames, but it is a theme that is pretty much over-used. Still, that hasn’t stopped Rebellion, developers of the entertaining Sniper Elite V2, from creating a PC-only spin-off of their Sniping game involving waves of Zombies. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army may not have any surprises up it’s rotted sleeve, but that doesn’t mean the game can’t be good, clean, Zombie gut covered fun, does it?
Not wanting to waste any time developing a story of any sort, the game begins with Hitler unleashing “Plan Z”. Do you want to guess what that involves? You got it, Nazi soldiers rising from the dead. And thus begins what is a very generic experience…
The game basically presents the player with waves of Zombies, triggered by reaching certain places in the game. You move your sniper rifle wielding hero from one area to the next, take down any of the shambling masses that happen to be in your way, and then move onto the next area. It’s all pretty straight-forward stuff.
The mechanics are sound, having been taken from Sniper Elite V2. The players primary weapon is their sniper rifle and there is a certain amount of encouragement to find the ideal sniping position and then clear the way forward. Zombies are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, so getting into a good, safe position is easier than it might have been in Sniper Elite V2.
Unfortunately, the “shooting fish in a barrel” gameplay, which could have been mildly entertaining, is only a small part of the game. A large amount of time will be spent taking down the undead with secondary weapons. Whilst they are faithfully recreated from the period, they lack a sense of power and are not especially effective. There is a lot of running backwards as the Zombies shuffle in your direction, shooting frantically and hoping that not too many of them spring back into life. There is an almost “Serious Sam” feel to this gameplay which I am sure the developers were not aiming for.
A variety of different Zombies, including both sniper and explosive types, gives the player something different to worry about, and some collectibles (Nazi gold anyone?) will motivate players to continue. There are only a few chapters, but the inclusion of different difficulty levels means there is a good reason to play through more than once if Nazi Zombie Army ticks your boxes.
There is also the return of the highly enjoyable x-ray bullet cam, allowing players to enjoy watching in slow motion a bullet ripping through a Zombie’s internal organs. It may be a gimmick that gets old quick, but it is undoubtedly entertaining for at least the first few times. I am not going to get into the whole “why are the organs not as rotted as the rest of the Zombie” or “Would a Zombie really miss a kidney if it exploded?” argument. Let’s just enjoy it for what it is – gruesome.
As I am sure you can tell, there is not a huge amount to get excited about with Nazi Zombie Army. It has all been done before, and what made Sniper Elite V2 as good as it was has pretty much been removed. However, there is a saving grace for the game, and that is co-op.
Playing the game alone is a thankless experience, but once you add in up to three like-minded buddies, things are much better. It is still not original, but taking down the waves of Zombies with friends, moving from safe house to safe house and having someone watch your back, the game becomes much more entertaining. The missions are a bit on the long side to keep four players together, but the mindless action is satisfying nonetheless.
Whilst Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army can be played alone, it is simply not advised. Force some friends to get the game and a dull experience can quickly become an afternoon of brainless fun.