A bullet leaves the barrel of my Lee Enfield rifle at high velocity, twisting its way through the thick smoke filled post war air of the 1940’s. A few seconds later, it connects with an undead Nazi soldiers head with such force the helmet he is still wearing lifts into the air, ripping through muscle and bone the bullet mushrooms taking a large chunk of the skull with it as it passes through his head. It continues out the back flattened and misshapen only to crash into the face of another wandering zombie killing both instantly with a glorious flurry of blood and bone. I have not just finished reading the latest Stephen King novel, I have just played Zombie Army Trilogy on the Xbox One and that was a single shot out of thousands like it, that I thoroughly enjoyed watching in Rebellions signature X-Ray camera effect from their Sniper Elite series. This title is in fact a spin off from their successful Sniper Elite series where the first two episodes were in fact standalone DLC for Sniper Elite V2. Now we have it on our consoles not only with the two previous instalments, but a third newly released and never seen before episode, hence the trilogy part of the name, clever guys over there at Rebellion eh?
It all begins with Hitler in his personal bunker nearing the end of World War II, a gun sits on his desk as he, I am guessing, contemplates suicide, his advisors are quick to point out that all is lost and with that it is one of them that dies by the gun. Refusing to see The Father Land defeated he orders the execution of his plan. Straight afterwards the game places you in a post war hell, where the fallen soldiers of the Third Reich are raising up from the dead to carry on the fight. Your journey begins through this war torn desolate land, either alone or accompanied by three friends or allies in multiplayer. Picking from the eight available characters you will be given a full background on them before you make your final choice, four male characters and four female characters are at your disposal.You also have a wide variety of weapons and equipment to choose from in your loadout, as each character can carry three weapons, a sniper rifle, a machine gun or shotgun and a handgun all of which have different capabilities, some experimentation may be needed here to find your perfect loadout. You will of course have the chance to pick up different weapons as you go through each of the levels. Other equipment you are able to carry includes grenades, landmines, trip mines and dynamite, these will be life savers in the levels to come as you will have to defend areas and protect things in order to succeed, without the aid of these you will definitely get overrun by the undead.
Each of the three episodes in Zombie Army Trilogy has five levels for you to play through, I have to say that I found everyone of these a challenge in their own right. You can choose to start on the new Episode 3, or any level throughout the entire game if you wish, but I would recommend starting from the first level unless you have previously played the other two episodes on PC. Playing Zombie Army Trilogy will feel somewhat familiar in the control department if you have spent any time with the Sniper Elite series, where you can zoom in with your rifle and hold your breath for those hard to get headshots. However this game is not all about just using the sniper rifle, as the AI is deceivingly clever, spend too much time looking down the barrel and you are sure to be attacked from behind with zombies raising up from pentagons on the ground. You can set the level of difficulty if it proves too hard, but this the game does account for how many players are also in the lobby, which means playing a level in solo mode on normal difficulty will be totally different to playing it on the same settings with four players. Ammo will also become an issue and you will want to search the bodies of the enemies you have just killed, if you get surrounded you may be inclined to spray and pray but you can also kick your enemies to the ground and then to death so don’t be afraid to use this where possible.
Graphically I found Zombie Army Trilogy brilliantly rendered and the atmosphere each level sets for the player is spot on for the type of world the developers are trying to portray. You will find shooting off limbs and popping heads a real joy to watch, even just wounding one of the undead will have them clawing at the ground to get to you, it really is a test from beginning to end. This game is definitely made to be enjoyed in a multiplayer atmosphere where you are constantly under threat with your backs to the wall, having someone to pick you up when wounded is also a bonus in my book as I often found myself in trouble. The Nazi Undead are no ordinary zombies, they will run at you in kamikaze style attacks brandishing grenades and exploding when close to you, or they will attack with shovels, guns and knives, you will even have to deal with ghostly snipers that take a shot at you then disappear in a plume of ectoplasm only to appear on a different building for their next shot. The AI is staggeringly clever and unforgiving from beginning to end. Zombie Army Trilogy has 15 levels over the three episodes and everyone of these is cleverly laid out with plenty of checkpoints for you to start from, in the case of your death – be under no illusion you will die, and learn from the experience. The game also has five levels of a Horde Mode for those among us that just can’t get enough of killing the undead, these are a real test of how good you are and are incredible fun when played with a full party. Leaderboards are also supplied for those gamers that are super competitive, me I am just glad to survive the level nevermind reaching above my capabilities.
Zombie Army Trilogy is a game that will appeal to every gamer that likes to brandish a gun or loves to stomp some zombie butt. I found little wrong with the game in any of our sessions, it ran smooth, the parties and multiplayer games are easily set up and joyous to play. One thing that I did notice is that while you are in a multiplayer lobby you have a chat window where you can type messages to your companions if they don’t have a headset, or just for the hell of it, but this chat window will not accept Hitler as a word, funny when the game is based on the Nazi army and Hitler! We have had one great zombie game so far this year with Dying Light, now we have two, both delivering distinct experiences but both delivering on all fronts. Zombie Army Trilogy is an amazing play, one that you will return to time and time again thanks to the Horde Mode and the way it delivers in the multiplayer mode. Every shot you take at a zombie’s head you are hoping for that slow motion X-Ray kill that is exciting to watch every time, I never tire of it. Rebellion have cracked it with this title and I hope it is not the last I see of this amazing series, give me more!!!!
Now watch the first 15 minutes of gameplay from Zombie Army Trilogy taken from the Xbox One version.