Platform(s): PC (Steam)
Release Date: February 28, 2013
Last year’s Sniper Elite V2 was a gem in a genre overflowing with derivative and uninspired titles. It steered away from convoluted shooter tropes like button prompts and handholding and strictly focused on its superb gameplay. While it didn’t have the aesthetic pizzazz of COD or Battlefield, it carried its own weight with the blissfully brutal X-Ray cam. It was simple, sometimes even silly, but undeniably fun. If you’re like me and are still eagerly anticipating an announcement for the next installment, the guys at Rebellion have the perfect fix: Nazi Zombie Army. Before you sigh at the though of just another zombie-inspired DLC slapped onto a franchise, take a look at the screenshot below. Yea, that’s right…the acclaimed X-Ray cam in combination with zombies is a match made in heaven.
Nazi Zombie Army is a standalone expansion and doesn’t require the original Sniper Elite V2. However, you’d be really missing out on the true sniping experience if you were to skip V2. Take a look at my original review to understand why. Zombie Army can be played either single-player or via 4-player co-op. I tried going solo on my first playthrough and the difficulty was nightmarish. Even on casual, you feel overwhelmed and underpowered. There was a heavier emphasis on stealth in V2, but Zombie Army takes a Left 4 Dead approach and amps up the challenge to the nth degree. The difficulty is a bit oddly balanced and forces cooperative gameplay. There’s no one to revive you when mauled down playing solo, so replaying massive sections over and over becomes frustrating. Having a partner by your side is imperative to overcoming some of the later challenges and it's in the teamwork that the gameplay really shines. There's also a greater sense of urgency this time around. You can still maintain a distance (for the most part) when sniping, but the pacing is hastier as you spend less time crouching and more time running.
The game revolves around sniper Karl Fairburne who’s trying to take out a legion of undead super soldiers unleashed by Hitler in a desperate attempt to reclaim Europe. The narrative is as nonexistent as in previous titles and merely serves to catapult you straight into the action. The levels are long, linear, and packed with hordes of the undead. The first few minutes feel like a breeze as you kick back 100+ meters away landing effortless headshots. A few blocks later and shit hits the fan. Zombies burst out of the ground right in front of and flank you from every angle. Although sniping is still at the game’s core, there’s a heavier reliance on side arms for close quarter combat. The third person shooting was my major gripe with V2 as it felt loose and imprecise. The good news is that it feels slightly tighter now, although the lack of precision is still an issue. But considering that you’re spiting bullets at dense groups of zombies, it’s not much cause for concern.
The real hero is once again the X-Ray cam. Seeing zombie testicles explode in matrix-like slow motion just never gets old. The death animations are stupendously varied and give the levels nearly unlimited replayability. There might not be much gameplay diversity per se and some might call it repetitive…but then again, so is Tetris. This is the type of game that’s easy to pick up and get lost in for hours.
|Final Score||“An Absolute Must Have"||8.5|
The environments haven't changed much since Sniper Elite V2, but they still look authentic and atmospheric. The lighting is superb and the X-Ray cam is real eye candy.
Rebellion continues to offer the best sniping experience on the market. The addition of zombies makes the kills a million times more enjoyable. The third person shooting is still a bit wonky, but luckily you'll be using your sniper rifle for the most part.
It's only 15$ and it has that Left 4 Dead kind of replayability. I've already played through the campaign several times and I'm looking forward to doing it again.
It's quiet and atmospheric, but when the bullets whizz and bones shatter, you'll get shivers down your spine.
Review by Tin Salamunic
Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator by night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Artciles by Tin.