Zombie Army Trilogy: Zat out of hell

The very concept of Nazi zombies has become a weirdly prolific subgenre. We’ve seen plenty of zombie modes in Call Of Duty over the years, and Zombie Army Trilogy itself began life as expansions for the Sniper Elite series. But does stretching what is a series of kitschy add-ons into a dedicated title kill the joke?

Thankfully no, or at least not quite. Rebellion’s confusingly-named offering’s greatest strength is in not overstaying its welcome. It knows it’s not a groundbreaking epic, nor doesit pretend tobe. It’s unpretentious fun, making up its eponymous trilogy with remastered versions of the first two Nazi Zombie Army campaigns, plus a final one rounding out the story demonic Hitler raising the dead to overwhelm the Allies, a desperate quest to find an ancient artifact to undo the necromancy; y’know, the usual.

However, despite the undead cosplay and added flourish of gore, the Sniper Elite roots are unmistakable. Sniper rifles are the most varied weapon class in the game, and the ones with the most plentiful ammo. A score multiplier based on consecutive headshots only reinforces that the presence of secondary weapons from SMGs to shotguns, and an ever-present pistol sidearm are afterthoughts. Like the parent game, the highest difficulty setting challenges you to account for wind resistance and realistic physics. Even X-ray kill-cams for skilled shots return, though they seem less gratuitous given the bad guys are already dead. And Nazis. There’s a nice balance in the weapons on offer, with enough nuance for the hardcore shooter fan to discern the difference between loadouts but simple enough for casual players to get a handle on. Last ditch melee attacks, incendiary tools, and the ability to set traps or trigger environmental hazards also keep things lively.

While it holds up to solo play, with roughly 12-20 hours in the core campaigns, multiplayer is stronger. Missions scale according to number of players, creating some truly manic sessions, as close to a new Left 4 Dead as we’re going to get. The co-op focus is emphasised with four playable female characters and four male characters.

Diversity in the playable cast doesn’t equal diversity in gameplay though. Too often, ZAT’s structure lends itself to repetition kill this group, defend that location, rinse, repeat. A new Horde mode crystallises this with its endless waves of enemies and only so many tactics to halt their advance. In general, there’s little to differentiate it from any other shooter’s comparable modes. While there’s still fun to be had, it’s of a singular nature. No awards for innovation then, but strong group play and a tongue-in-cheek atmosphere make this worth a shot.

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