Have you ever played a game that was so engrossing in its moment-to-moment gameplay that it began to invade your everyday thoughts? Where the button combinations and timings required just felt so… right, that you could almost feel your hands moving to the shape of a controller when you’re sat on the bus, at a work meeting or trying to get to sleep? Zombie Army 4: Dead War, to me, is one of those games. It won’t go down in history as an example of high art, but for a silly roller coaster ride centred around shooting Nazi zombies in their faces, it ticks all the right boxes.
Right off the bat, the game smacks you in the face with personality and a sense of self-awareness, both things that were sorely missing in earlier entries: zombie hands can be found dancing about as collectibles, typewriters spout ghostly threats when touched, bucket-head zombies shamble around blindly and creepy dolls can appear in the most unexpected of places —just to give a few examples. These quick jabs of humour populate the crevices and hidden corners of levels; no single one stands out, but they’re so frequent — in the best possible way— that it’s hard not to get swept up in the ‘ghost train’ vibe of it all.
Just like any good ghost train, Zombie Army 4 is meant to be experienced both repeatedly, and with friends; as such, it’s not exactly heavy on plot. Spending too much time analysing the story here would be missing the point —a bit like picking apart the artistic merit of a maths textbook. In a delightfully absurd story, players will travel through apocalyptic Europe on a journey to destroy a series of mysterious hell towers and thwart a plan to re-resurrect zombie Hitler. Of course, expect an ocean of blood and viscera to follow the game’s four protagonists as they slash, shoot and stomp their way through hordes of the undead.
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