The guys of Rebellion Developments they find, needless to say, in Sniper Elite their flagship franchise, and starting from this they created a parallel spin-off made up of zombies and Nazis (and therefore of Nazi-zombies), with the not so original name of Zombie Army. A set of standalone expansions, downloadable for Sniper Elite V2, initially composed of two chapters, which have now been collected in a version defined "Zombie Army Trilogy”And which clearly collects the three chapters of the non-canonical saga of the well-known shooter. In fact, within this trilogy we find the remastered versions of Nazi Zombie Army, initially released in February 2013, Nazi Zombie Army 2, published in October of the same year, and the last sequel published in 2015. Furthermore, just this year, we witnessed the arrival of the first real stand alone chapter of the series, Zombie Army 4.
Zombies, Nazis and sniper rifles, then. But it really is one winning combination, in the wake of what is the hugely successful Sniper Elite, this proposed by the Rebellion team? Not entirely, to tell the truth; let's see why together.
An alternative Germany: Nazi zombies of the Third Reich
Our adventure begins at the end of the Second World War, just before that Hitler can face the final defeat. Rebellion, however, has decided to revisit the story and give it an alternative, more fun and goliardic ending. In fact, instead of taking his own life, the Nazi commander chooses to implement the "Plan Z“, With a mysterious supernatural force that transforms all Nazi soldiers into a super-army of the undead. THE nazi-zombies, precisely.
In essence, the story that is offered to us follows quite one parody of old horror movies, but it remains essentially in the background, appearing only as an "excuse" to let us immerse ourselves in the fifteen missions present in the game. The main purpose therefore remains essentially the zombie hunting, their extermination, with the aim of breaking the curse that brought them back to life. A journey that winds through Germany in 1945, which will start in a village around Berlin, will cross the same and end the stronghold of Hitler hidden in the mountains.
The simplicity of the storyline in Zombie Army Trilogy, which does not have a real and deep development in terms of missions or characters, offers users a simple game in turn: one shooter (not too tactical, as it is defined by the development company) in third person. Not even the 8 protagonists - among which we point out the presence of four female soldiers of different nationalities - they have some semblance of personality or psychological depth, which means that choosing one or the other is completely irrelevant to the game.
What may vary, though not to extreme levels, is theirs use of weapons, as well as their standard equipment. Equipment that, however, can be changed during the game, both by desecrating corpses and by exploiting what some checkpoints offer us - the so-called emergency rooms. The paraphernalia offered points above all to those weapons that allow a remote approach, but there is still no shortage of machine guns, shotguns, explosives, traps and other tools that we have already seen in the titles of Sniper Elite.
Gameplay Experience: Exterminate zombies alone or in company
Zombie Army Trilogy offers the player a chance to venture out alone or together with 3 other companions (locally or online), through two types of modalities. The mode campaign is what counts the plot, and therefore develops for objectives to be completed until the final target is reached. The other, however, is the modality horde, for which the player is called to face waves of zombies gradually more and more numerous and difficult to knock down. As for the campaign, this is made up of 15 chapters which represent the sum of what the three titles collected in this edition combine. They offer the player a gaming experience that aligns about 15 hours - obviously, this also varies according to the difficulty chosen by the user.
All levels are actually very similar to each other, both in concept and design, and can be played random, without necessarily following the "chronological" order on which the background story is based. Unfortunately, also because of this, the single player gaming experience is quite repetitive and, in the long run, a bit boring. One method to keep the interest and the urge to play high is to increase the difficulty of the game, which if addressed a Sniper Elite (for example) it will count gravity, posture, wind and heart rate to affect the trajectory of the bullets.
Because in fact, as with the Sniper Elite saga, the sniper rifle is the main weapon here too. Although very often the "tactical" component of the game is lost, the title immediately forces you to a remote approach, providing you with weapons and ammunition suitable for the purpose. Reflecting, aiming and shooting, also taking advantage of the various degrees of zoom and the ability to hold your breath to be more precise, becomes the daily bread in this title.
If the shot is good enough, it will be possible to observe the heads of our zombie nazis explode, and enjoy in detail the mini videos offered by the X-Ray Kill Cam. After all, this has been one of the hallmarks of Sniper Elite since its first implementation, and certainly could not miss in the undead spin-off. A detail that will certainly appeal to lovers of gore.
All campaigns featured in the single player mode can be played in co-op, in local or in multiplayer online courses, along with 3 other players. It will be possible to choose, among other things, the difficulty of the mission or whether or not to insert friendly fire, and have fun retracing the missions in a more stimulating way. Because yes, Zombie Army Trilogy in company can be really fun. It is a title that with the cooperative mode greatly increases its longevity, and certainly allows you to make more sense also to the Horde mode.
Furthermore, since there are no real classes of characters (the choice of the protagonist is purely aesthetic) the role of all is simple: kill as many zombies as possible, as fast as possible. This makes the game suitable for even the most gamers casual, who just want to take the controller in hand and ... make fire! In the co-op mode, even more than in the single player one, the tactical component dissolves further, and although in some difficulty levels you have to be careful of the ammo that is wasted, the fact of playing together with a friendly team makes the action definitely more hectic. Good, anyway balancing hordes and zombie spawning, which adjusts appropriately according to the number of players in battle. The presence of one or more armed zombies - chainsaw, sniper rifle, machine gun, and so on - will also be balanced based on this.
How it behaves on Nintendo Switch
Unfortunately, it should be noted that the optimization is not excellent for what concerns i Joy-Con by Nintendo Switch. A sore point, to be honest, as Nintendo's innovative controllers hardly ever offer great experiences for this genre of games. What is perceived about Zombie Army Trilogy, however, beyond the suffering from drift, is that the x and y axis are not perfectly optimized. The alternative is to tinker with the settings, get used to it, rely above all on the gyroscope in the most excited moments, and / or simply switch to Pro Controller.
Pro Controller that certainly works better, despite the general lack of fluidity of the title. The two Joy-Con can also be used separated from the console body, but again, we point out the lack of comfort in facing such a title in portable mode. Interesting, however, is the fact that theHD Rumble, as well as the new Nintendo invitation system.
Graphically speakingHowever, Zombie Army Trilogy is not particularly excellent, both for settings and for polygonal models. It is a poorly finished result, with characters (and corpses) not very beautiful and cases of beams of light or various fumes with a somewhat questionable effect. Unsightly, among other things, the "fog" effect, visible in some areas in the distance as well as on the floor of some maps - but which, in these cases, is like a flat "carpet" raised from the ground by a few millimeters - and also thepop up effect of some undead who, from time to time, spawn without even any animation. Not infrequently, besides, phenomena of interpenetration between the zombies and the surrounding environment, from which the living dead never manage to disengage.
As for the battery life, in portable mode the console easily holds up to 3 hours, and does not overheat particularly. Both in handled and docked mode there are no frame drops in single player mode, however when playing in co-op they can happen (fortunately rarely) lag phenomena for which kills are scored late. A little disabling, especially when dealing with very large hordes of Nazi zombies.