December 10, 2022

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Review: Zombie Army 4: Dead War (Nintendo Switch)

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You might take one look at Zombie Army 4: Dead War and think that it’s your run-of-the-mill zombie shooter. What if I told you it might be one of the most ambitious games on Nintendo Switch? Surprised? I know, I was too. I went into Zombie Army 4 thinking I was going to get a fairly average zombie shooter, similar to how Zombie Army Trilogy had initially felt on Switch. To my great surprise, I found a zombie shooter game that was campy, silly, fun, and impressive all rolled into one. While it still has its typical “coming to Switch“ downgrades, Zombie Army 4 is a fun, technical achievement you should totally check out.

Let’s be completely clear to start, Zombie Army 4 is not a game to be taken seriously. It knows it’s campy and tries to be campy. The story involves you having to stop a zombie-fied Hitler and his zombie army, and in typical B-movie horror fashion, there’s a level of ridiculousness to everything from that point on.

In terms of gameplay, if you’ve ever played the Sniper Elite series then you’ll be instantly familiar with Zombie Army 4. Both series play exactly the same, with the bloody, gory x-ray shots intact. Whereas something like Sniper Elite wants you to focus on long-range stealth and sniping, Zombie Army 4 encourages you to use assault and bomb weapons to take out hordes of enemies. 

Surprisingly, the game feels as fun to play by yourself as it does with friends. The absolute insanity of setting off bombs and taking out large hordes of enemies becomes something of a hilarious fight with your friends. You can’t help but laugh hysterically as you explode bombs around your one friend who decided to get in close to shotgun enemies, where they are then frantically panicking to get away. Some people might see this as a small thing, but it actually made the game even more fun when these moments happened.

Unlike the Sniper Elite series, which is taking a more open-world approach in its newest entries, Zombie Army 4 takes a more linear approach. While you do find yourself in open courtyards or a large foyer, you’re still forced down very direct paths the entire game. This is not necessarily negative, as there’s plenty of places to hide and run from the giant zombie hordes coming after you. That said, it does constantly feel like you’re being tunneled along for hours on end.

What makes Zombie Army 4 such a technically impressive Switch port is how well it runs at all times. Yes, the game does feature your typical visual downgrades in order for it to fit onto Switch. However, the developers clearly took their time to ensure it runs  at a consistent frame rate no matter what. Whether there are hundreds of zombies on screen or if you choose to play online with friends, the game runs steadily. This is impressive when compared to other zombie shooters on Nintendo Switch, which tend to suffer from frame-rate issues when too much is happening on screen at once.

My only major criticism is the character movement. Just like the Sniper Elite series, Zombie Army 4 makes the characters feel too janky for their own good. Your character moves but not in the way that feels even remotely good when you play. Imagine a tank that can’t really move extremely well. Did you imagine it? That’s how it feels to control your character. It’s not a game-breaking issue but even after playing through the campaign, I still never felt like I quite got the character movement down to a point where I was comfortable with it.

Is Zombie Army 4 worth playing on Nintendo Switch? Absolutely! It might be one of the most technically impressive games to come to Nintendo Switch in quite some time. With all the action on screen, the game manages to maintain a smooth and consistent experience regardless of how many enemies or online players are present. It’s a goofy, campy title that knows it’s goofy and steers into that goofiness throughout your adventure. It’s also unique in that it’s as much fun to play by yourself as it is to play with friends, although I have to admit playing with friends makes the experience a little more hysterical. While the character movement is too janky for its own good, this doesn’t ruin the experience at all. Put simply, if you’re looking for a good zombie shooter to play by yourself or with friends, then Zombie Army 4 must absolutely be at the top of your list.

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