Random Article


 
Must See..
 

Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army (PC) review

 
Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army logo
Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army logo
Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army logo

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC (1.05 patch reviewed)
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
7.0
7/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We liked?


  • Great satisfaction on taking down zombies, whether singly or grouped
  • Very atmospheric, especially with regard to the unsettling background sounds
  • Challenging, but not impossible to overcome

Not so much?


  • Extremely linear - there is absolutely no deviation from the set path
  • The tactics of the main series of games are lost on enemies who seem to always know where you are and have no sense of self-preservation


Final Fiendish Findings?

Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army is good, though perhaps not great. Taking the realism afforded by the Sniper Elite v2 game engine and applying it straight up to zombies will probably leave you somewhere between mildly frustrated by the WW2 equipment and satisfied at every successful headshot. However, while the series so far has encouraged stealth and tactical play, Nazi Zombie Army directly counters these by setting a strictly linear path against an enemy who always seems to know your location. That said, if you find the setting’s horror atmosphere and tension appealing – or the prospect of the co-operative multiplayer with friends – it will be worth the £10 asking price.

1
Posted May 13, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Taking truth in advertising to entirely new levels, it probably offers no plot spoilers to say that Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army is about an elite sniper fighting an army of zombified Nazis. Set towards the end of the Second World War, an irate Hitler is seen briefly during the opening scene ordering “plan Z” to be started – with the result of you becoming one of the last living being in Germany.

Released as a stand-alone expansion for Sniper Elite v2 – that is, using the same game engine but playable without the original – Nazi Zombie Army (“NZA”) takes a surprisingly un-ironic stance on the genre.

Your primary source of reassurance in the face of the advancing hordes is your rifle. Several real weapons are available, either from the pre-mission loadout selection or found mid-level, including the Lee Enfield, Kar 98k and M1 Carbine (all fine choices under the circumstances, if Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide recommendations are anything to go by). The Sniper Elite series however are very fussy in terms of physics – getting a zombie into your crosshairs is only the start, as other factors including stance, heartrate, distance and wind can all affect accuracy.
Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army
When – and it is going to be “when” rather than “if” – you find the hordes getting a bit too close, you can fall back to secondary weapons, predominantly a selection of machine guns which are usually second choice to a shotgun when they’re stumbled across. These tend to come more into their own when fighting in closed environments, going room-to-room in wrecked buildings (which does happen surprisingly often, considering the series’ selling point being long-distance combat). And if that isn’t enough, you always have a pistol as a sidearm too, likely intended as the poor cousin of the bigger guns but actually lethally accurate for headshots under pressure in a way that the machine guns spray-and-pray approach can’t match.

Of course, when you’ve got a horde descending on you you’ll want to try using something with more “uumph”. Various items to help thin the crowds are available too – grenades, land mines, dynamite and explosive-triggering tripwires all sit ready for when you have the time and need to prepare them. These also have the benefit of taking out groups if used properly, instead of popping shots at individual heads as they appear.

And on those headshots… It sounds easy in principle – line up slow moving target as it shuffles around, squeeze trigger and watch the killcam as a bullet tears through a decaying skull. In practice… not so much. Between the lurching movements of the walking dead, the various factors mentioned before, and above all else the pressure – prioritising targets as they approach, or taking a shot when threatened by others – means that making those shots can be extremely satisfying.

(As a sidenote, I’d just like to mention how context is everything. I’m not usually a fan of x-ray/kill cams – their use in games like Mortal Kombat and Sniper Elite feels more sadistic than cool. It’s one thing to acknowledge that you’ve hurt or killed someone; it’s quite another to dwell entirely on how you’ve done it, and the amount of damage you’ve been able to inflict on someone.

Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army

Straight between the eyes. However, with my aim this was pretty rare

… and then we get exactly the same technology, except with zombies. And for some reason I’m ok with that, perhaps just because it’s no longer about someone’s suffering and just about seeing your effectiveness. With the headshots – or in some cases, just regular ones ripping through multiple targets – you get the mini-cutscene, a couple of seconds as a breather, and the anticipation of “where did I hit it? How many did I get?”)

As mentioned, the game plays things pretty straight in terms of atmosphere. Beyond the title of some achievements (“Like a drunk whose lost a bet”, “I’m coming to get you Barbara!” and “Groovy!” being three, all referencing movie zombie killers), there is no attempt at making humour from the intrinsic absurdity of a plot about Hitler raising zombies. What you are left with is actually a decent horror game – eerie music, random sounds, even more random voices and the moans of the dead all keeping you company.

While horror is often less threatening the moment the hero picks up a weapon to defend themselves, here taking down mobs is never so straightforward that you can take winning for granted. Plus, that *click* of an empty gun is effective at putting chills down the spine, even moreso when there is nowhere to run…

Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army

At this stage, you know your day isn’t going to get any better…

The five-level campaign can be played solo or co-operatively, with up to four players able work together. However, this does not automatically mean things will be much easier, as the number of enemies scale accordingly – four players will face far larger waves than someone running alone.

… unless you want to face them alone, that is. Since the game’s release earlier this year, updates have added options to deal with largers numbers of foes. An update in April has given solo players the opportunity to face multiplied hordes; and another update last week (v1.05) has done the same for multiplayer – as well as adding a drop in/drop out feature.

Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army

Perfect hair is optional in the zombipocalypse

So, it has atmosphere, realism, multiplayer modes and achievement meta-goals; what doesn’t it have? Variety.

Perhaps the game’s greatest failing is its linearity. Your route throughout is a set path, with no way of using positioning or equipment to do anything beyond the set goals. If you are told to survive the assault on a building, you are stuck defending the building – no option to escape through a window and find another route if things go bad. Paths are preset along with the dead upon them, objectives are fixed, and despite the kitbag of booby traps there is little opportunity to use them creatively. Zombies see you – and they always see you, so sneaking isn’t an option – and try to swarm you, leaving no chances to try and find alternative routes or methods of dealing with them.

In conclusion

Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army is good, though perhaps not great. Taking the realism afforded by the Sniper Elite v2 game engine and applying it straight up to zombies will probably leave you somewhere between mildly frustrated by the WW2 equipment and satisfied at every successful headshot. However, while the series so far has encouraged stealth and tactical play, Nazi Zombie Army directly counters these by setting a strictly linear path against an enemy who always seems to know your location. That said, if you find the setting’s horror atmosphere and tension appealing – or the prospect of the co-operative multiplayer with friends – it will be worth the £10 asking price.


Peter

 
Peter can be described as an old, hairy gamer, a survivor of the console wars of the 1990s, and a part-time MMO addict. He has an especial fondness for retro gaming and observing the progressions in long running gaming series. When scandalously not caught gaming, he can also be found reading comics and fantasy fiction, or practising terrible photography.