Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army Reviews

The Horror Network
The Horror Network
TSA Score for this game: 97
Posted on 27 June 17 at 02:14
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Rebellion are a company that've brought us some pretty great games over the years such as Alien versus Predator 2000, Rogue Trooper, and the Sniper Elite series; we'll just forget that Rogue Warrior ever happened, that chip also falls on Bethesda's shoulders. For those unaware, the Sniper Elite games are World War II based, hyper-realistic first-person shooter titles that, surprise, revolve around sniping. Played on the right difficulty, the player is tasked with aiming with such precision that a mere slight whisper of wind can put their bullet trajectory off. In 2013, Rebellion decided to cash in on the zombie craze, and in doing so they brought us the first installment of Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army.

If there's anything that Wolfenstein has taught the gaming community over the last two decades, it's that killing Nazis in any form is just thoroughly satisfying. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army has stepped in and managed to make mangling hordes of undead fascists all the more delightful with the series' signature bullet cam, which is triggered randomly upon landing a bullet in an enemy. Seeing Nazi skulls and eye sockets shatter in close up, slo-mo is not only just enjoyable when it's against a "living" AI, but it's all the more gruesomely fun when it's against a zombie AI.

So what's going on here is that it's the end of World War II, and Hitler is realizing that he's losing the war. Determined to completely destroy the world, he unleashes "Plan Z", which as it turns out is the resurrection of all Wehrmacht's fallen soldiers. That's pretty much as far as the story goes in this release, though it is further elaborated on in the Zombie Army Trilogy. Nevertheless, OSS operative and sniper Karl Faireburne, veteran Red Army infantryman Boris Medvedev, Wehrmacht Captain Hermann Wolff, and German occultist Efram Schwaiger are here to save the day. Although if you're playing the single player campaign, you're forced to only play as Karl.

The game is spread out across five chapters, each that last about an hour a piece depending on your skill. Every map shows a war-torn Germany in the throes of Nazi warfare. Propaganda litters the walls, Nazi banners are present everywhere. There are also dismembered bodies hanging from street lamps, obvious suicides huddled into corners, blood-drawn pentagrams and swastikas everywhere, and tons of blood and gore splatter all over the place. Most levels also feature fog effects, whether it be low to the ground or encompassing the map. The lighting looks absolutely phenomenal, and it really causes the visuals to pop out and be exceptionally striking. Accompanying the aesthetics is a slightly out of place soundtrack that is reminiscent of the 1980's, and while it doesn't suit the time period of the game, it's a decent listen.

Now, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army is one intense game. It's extremely easy to get overrun by zombies if you don't have patience or take your time; rushing into any part of the map is an incredibly bad idea. You will constantly be questioning yourself, and discovering new tactics to take on the small amount of different enemy types. Should you use your sniper rifle here? What about your pistol there? Should you stick to the beaten path, or do you want to explore to try and find Nazi gold and bottles of blood? Venturing off the trail almost always results in more enemies appearing, do you have enough ammo for that? You're constantly thinking tactically, as ammo conservation is pretty concerning; if you run out, you're dead as weapon and ammo pick ups outside of safe-houses is rare.

Your enjoyment of this title will rely very heavily on how good and consistent you are with headshots. Unlike many other zombie shooter games, this one keeps Sniper Elite's signature realism, and in doing so you must aim for the head. If you hit a zombie in the body, it will fall down for a few moments and resurrect, costing you precious ammo to strike it down again. With that said, the enemies can die without headshots, but you will find yourself both starved for ammunition and almost always overrun if that route is taken. Headshots can be very tricky, due to the exaggerated shambling of the foes; their heads are constantly moving, and if you're on stairs you might as well forget about it.

As far as mechanics go, pretty much everything from the main Sniper Elite games make an appearance. You can carry three guns with you, one sniper rifle, one shotgun OR automatic weapon, and one pistol. At any time you can also have up to two of each throwable, such as a landmine, dynamite, and grenades. You don't have a health bar, but more than a handful of hits on even the easiest difficulty and you're back to your last checkpoint; which thankfully are placed in generous locations. You can even make your character hold his breath while aiming with a sniper rifle in order to slightly slow down time, though it can only be done if his heart rate is low enough.

Much like Left 4 Dead, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army is truly built for co-op play with up to three other people. Though the game is still a blast during the solo campaign, it doesn't have a big replay factor unless you have some buddies that you can play with. Sadly, online play is dead now, so I can only suggest purchasing this iteration of the game if you want to experience the original solo game; even then I say to consider waiting for at least a 75% discount, especially given the age of the title. There are also a handful of problems that cause the game to feel a little clunky at times; the reach of the enemies is just a little too long for their models, grenades are practically useless due to being unable to control their throw distance, to loot bodies you have to stop and press a key, and the bodies disappear quicker than you can loot them.

Despite its very few grievous flaws, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army is a breathtaking experience. I found myself holding my breath at times, when I was aiming down the scope of my sniper rifle trying to land an important shot. I even uttered the words "oh no, please, no" when a bulky, gun-toting Nazi soldier came into play. The game is incredibly immersive, and even though it's tough at the beginning, once you get your headshots down and learn how to deal with each of the five or six enemy types, it becomes a little bit easier. It does take a lot of inspiration from Left 4 Dead, such as safe-houses and siege moments, but it's a much more exhilarating, gore-soaked event. If you have friends to play with, or don't mind a single player experience, grab this one on a 75% discount. Otherwise, look into grabbing Zombie Army Trilogy instead.

Rating: 4.0/5.0 - Excellent, highly worth playing.
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