Zombie Army 4: Dead War Review

Richard Walker

You don't always want the best gourmet meal. Sometimes you just need a big greasy lump of junk food, and that's exactly what Zombie Army 4: Dead War is – a delicious slab of gelatinous gloop, filled with additives, preservatives, and all that good stuff. It's the video game equivalent of a Big Mac (other burgers are available): a meaty, tasty thing that's a wonderful guilty pleasure. The difference, I'd argue, is that Zombie Army 4 is very good for you, especially if a diet of squished zombie heads is something you find particularly nourishing. And frankly, why wouldn't you?

Zombie Army 4 is quite possibly the biggest and most accomplished game Sniper Elite developer Rebellion has ever made. The campaign is ferociously good fun, the shooter mechanics have been honed so that they feel immediate and gratifying amid an unending assault of undead. While the game has clearly been designed primarily with co-op play in mind, ZA4 remains a joy when played solo, the level of challenge perfectly pitched to ensure you're always outnumbered but never outgunned.

With resurrected zombie Hitler back up to his old tricks, Dead War revolves around four survivors (including Sniper Elite protagonist Karl Fairburne) fighting to stem the tide of Nazi zombies, which is just about all there is you need to know about the game's story. Simply, it serves as the perfect excuse to decapitate and dismember putrid, rotten, walking flesh creatures that can be dispatched in the most ludicrously entertaining ways imaginable.

Your arsenal of weaponry is positively brimming with potential, simple rifles and sidearms awaiting the sweet embrace of weapon upgrade kits that can be used to transform them into explosive tools of destruction. The moment you fit a shotgun with crackling, arcing electricity or imbue your trusty sniper rifle with explosive rounds, the already very high ante is upped instantaneously. Even a lowly handgun can become an indispensable weapon with the right upgrades, be it ally-healing divine rounds or increased damage-dealing that you opt for. Pick your poison.

Zombie Army 4 has all manner of options to play with, weapons and upgrades being but the tip of the iceberg. Perks that augment your survivability give you something else to consider – rank up sufficiently and you can equip up to five of them at any one time, proving exceptionally valuable during the game's trickier challenges. And, at certain junctures, Rebellion really pours it on, backing you right up against the wall as grasping hands and yellowed decaying teeth strive to feast upon your living flesh.

Dead War leans heavily into B-movie influences, pulp comic books, and the occult, and as such it's brilliantly, knowingly silly. It's all part of the charm, never stopping for a single beat to question whether it's pushing things a little too far over the top. Falling in love with Zombie Army 4's sheer exuberance is impossible to resist – a little one-dimensional it might be, but you'll be too busy revelling in a wall-to-wall undead bloodbath to give a shit.

Unfolding across Italy, Zombie Army 4 takes in a diverse campaign that freewheels from abandoned train stations to misty forests, an active volcano, and a completely mad showdown with the Führer himself in his towering 'Hell Machine'. Rebellion pulls no punches when it comes to providing oodles of gore, the returning X-ray kill cam still an unbridled pleasure, giving you a regular payoff of shattering skull fragments, punctured, exploding offal, and bursting testicles in almost pornographic slow-motion.

Recalling Left 4 Dead, with its 4-player co-op and safe rooms, Zombie Army 4's campaign is a blast from beginning to end, but it's Horde where you'll find the most replay value. Again, it's a mode best played with friends, as you work together to hold back an unrelenting tide of enemies by any means necessary. Like the campaign, things are spiced up with different zombie types, such as flamethrower and machine gun wielding heavies, buzzsaw-brandishing Butchers, and blind but deadly Screamers. Oh, and also zombie tanks, lest we forget.

There's nothing particularly unique or special about Dead War's take on Horde mode – other than being able to escape after 12 waves or choose to stick around and try your luck at completing as many waves as you dare to – but the quality of the minute-to-minute gameplay is such that you'll keep on coming back for more. Zombie Army 4 is an exceptionally solid shooter that's not only well-paced, but made with a clear intention to ensure you're constantly having fun.

And that's really why Zombie Army 4: Dead War is such an easy recommendation. It has no other motivation beyond providing pure and unadulterated entertainment, with some of the most satisfyingly squishy headshots since Gears of War, more than a modicum of depth in its upgrades and various special character abilities, and shooting mechanics that simply feel right. Also, you get to kill zombie Hitler again. If that's not reason enough for you to pick this up immediately, then we don't know what is.

Zombie Army 4: Dead War

One of Rebellion's best games, Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a thrilling and utterly relentless jaunt that will see you blasting Nazi zombies for months on end.

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Atmospheric John Carpenter-esque horror synth perfectly complements Dead War's neat B-movie style, while chatter from your chosen character adds a little bit of colour to proceedings.


Persistent gloom shouldn't be appealing, but it is. A diversity of environments help keep things interesting, although there are some occasional, minor bugs that crop up, like letterbox borders from kill cams and cut-scenes sometimes remaining during gameplay, obscuring the game's UI. Zombies are lavished in suitably grim detail.


Incredibly moreish, Zombie Army 4 is a deliriously fun co-op shooter that you'll keep on returning to. Both the campaign and Horde mode provide a stiff challenge, but one that's consistently enjoyable.


Nine hefty campaign levels mean Zombie Army 4 could have outstayed its welcome, but thanks to polished gunplay, you'll have a grand time. Four Horde maps will also keep you occupied. Teeny weeny bugs do little to spoil the party.


A nice and varied list with plenty of breadth across everything that Zombie Army 4 has to offer. Its objectives will give you a gentle nudge in the right direction, ensuring you immerse yourself in both the campaign and Horde.

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