It is a game that should have been ridiculed for jumping on the bandwagon on initial release. A standalone DLC for Sniper Elite v2, Nazi Zombie Army just seemed to be trying to get on the popularity of the undead and saw some of the attention Call of Duty was getting. It eventually led to the release of Zombie Army Trilogy.
So as a bit of a background. Zombie Army Trilogy was originally released in 2015 but rather than just being the third in the series on its own, it included remastered returns of Nazi Zombie Army and Nazi Zombie Army 2.
I played the original releases at the time of release and thoroughly enjoyed them. They took the features from the excellent Sniper Elite series and ramped up the action. In theory it is something that shouldn’t have worked, but somehow not only did it work, for me it was a better experience than the main game.
It may not be an opinion that is shared by everyone, but whilst the slower pace of Sniper Elite has a place, this was something that allowed you to let lose in a way you could never really do in the mainline series.
You still get the little touches that make Sniper Elite such a fine game, but what you get with Zombie Army Trilogy is the feeling of panic as you get swarmed by hordes of the undead. Whereas most games will ease you into the action this instead throws things at you from the very start.
It isn’t that the game is difficult, nor is it confusing. You know what to do and how to do it, but there just seems to be no let up in the action. The stealthy, open nature of Sniper Elite is replaced with a more linear experience as you are pushed toward each objective marker.
There are familiarities though, with the X-Ray cam still heavily involved and it is still great watching those Oh so satisfying. You also get many of the weapons and tools from the mainline series. Which makes it very easy to pick and transition to.
The only issue really is it can be a little overwhelming at first, especially with the ramped up action. It actually took me a few tries to get through the opening level and get to grips with everything. This was true when I played it in 2015 and it was the same on the recent Nintendo Switch port.
Zombie Army Trilogy is a game that has a quirky premise, within an alternate version of World War II and plays off the Nazi obsession with the occult. It is a concept that has been done many times before on popular culture, so there is nothing new here and yes, there are encounters with Hitler throughout. It is almost a trope with games set in that period.
I do like a zombie game and despite it feeling like over-saturation of the market at one point, there is always something fun about killing the undead. I find it to be the stress-ball of the video game world. Being able to load up and take out some frustrations and get a release.
Because this is based on the Sniper Elite mechanics, you’ll find your best approach is to take zombies out from distance, using a sniper rifle. However you get a good array of other weapons and explosives that don’t punish you for going more close quarters. It would have taken out a lot of the fun to do that.
The zombies themselves are a mix of the slow meandering George A. Romero style to the more hast paced infected you see in something like 28 Days Later. The balance is struck well throughout and keeps you on your toes, because as we all know, you never want to relax during a zombie outbreak.
I’ve generally only played these games solo and have managed to have a great time, but I must admit Zombie Army Trilogy really comes alive when played in co-op. You can have upto 4 players in any one session and whilst it never quite hits the heights of a Left 4 Dead, it does come very close.
As a group you feel a lot better equipped than running solo, as you have each other’s backs and communication in a party can make many levels feel a lot easier than they do solo.
Another thing I really liked about this was the length. Across the three titles there around around 15 or so missions with each lasting just the right amount of time, so that you never feel like things are dragging, nor over way too quick. There is also a good balance, with the game mixing up linear paths with more arena style areas that will need clearing before moving on. We aren’t talking tons of variety here, but just enough to keep it interesting.
My main worry with Zombie Army Trilogy was that a port to the Switch had happened too late and it may have been left in the past. However going back to what I consider a very under-appreciated series brought back all the fun I had first time around.
At £30 it offers a lot of game for your money and seems the right price for a port. Especially one that still plays and looks as good as it does on Nintendo’s system.