I love Zombies. I love WW2 shooters and I love games with horde modes. We get all 3 with Rebellion’s re-release and expansion of their previous 2 Nazi Zombie games.
This is a sweet little package. You get all the content from the first two games which have received a lovely new lick of paint. There’s the new blood and gore system which has some fantastic dismemberment effects going on. You can shoot off arms, heads, legs or just gib the Nazi scum in a shower of gloop and red mist. There’s tons of post process effects going on as well such as; better fog, particles, smoke, higher resolution textures and new animations.
Rebellion’s now infamous “X-ray kill cam” is back and this time the viscera and gore are upped. In single player, when you score a critical snipe, the slow motion kicks in and the sappy victim’s body is shown in x-ray vision. In this mode you get to witness the rotting flesh, bones and organs being ripped to pieces, it’s really a sight be behold. I’m still very fond of the “Nazi Nut Shot” – try it, it’s a hoot!
The x-ray cam is also functional in multiplayer, however the effect is shortened for obvious reasons. You can tweak how often the event is triggered, which is a welcome addition.
There’s a brand new horde mode which enables solo play or up to four players to fight as a team against an army of undead. It’s magnificent fun although the net code can at times be a little choppy. We’re all sporting decent PC’s with good Internet but sometimes we’d de-sync or shots would lag out. It’s not a game breaker but the person hosting definitely has the better experience. Hopefully this will be addressed in a future update.
There’s also a 3rd chapter (hence the name “Trilogy”) which is far more in depth than the previous two. There are more characters to interact with and a slew of Easter Eggs to find. You also have the task of saving survivors this time around. It’s a neat little twist and adds a lot to the formula.
Performance-wise, Rebellion has revised their existing Asura Engine that enables more enemies on screen at once while maintaining a solid framerate. We had very few issues running the game at 1080p with framerates greater than 60 FPS. It just shows how engine optimisation can work wonders. I recall the first two games would chug in certain areas when the action was at its most intense. These areas are now littered with the undead and the game is butter smooth while looking glorious.
There’s an updated player character roster now, you get to pick 4 new female characters. Their backstories are fairly thin and don’t add a massive amount to the game. Animations are shared and upon closer scrutiny, it looks as though the devs have made a few shortcuts such as simply creating the female’s head and plopping them onto the existing male model bodies. You’ll likely notice a lack of “lumps” on the front of these ladies and notice how broad and stocky they look. It’s a tad lazy seeing as so much love was given to the rest of the title. Not a deal breaker but quite noticeable none the less.
The gameplay is simple. In campaign, follow the directives, rescue survivors and snipe Nazi Zombies in style. In Horde Mode, kill and survive. There are plenty of authentic WW2 weapons to choose from, ranging from the Springfield rifle, Colt 1911 handgun to the immensely overpowered Webley six shooting handcannon. There have been some questionable changes made here. The shotgun, which is now a loadout weapon is little more than a peashooter compared to the previous games. The Webley handgun is an absolute one-shot beast at close to medium range. But the most powerful weapon of all has to be your kick. It’s a dominating force, it has a life of its own and cannot be stopped. You can kick the undead to the ground and stomp their brains out. It’s verging on the ridiculous when you can spam the kick button and launch a zombie 3 feet into the air like Johnny Wilkinson kicking a drop goal.
Speaking of weapons. There are a metric ton of gadgets you can use to despatch the undead. It’s fun thinking up ways to kill things. Do I use the tripwire and conveniently placed gas cannister to rig up a massive explosive booby-trap or do I slap down a block of dynamite, wait for the crowd to gather and snipe it? I think my favourite is lobbing a couple of landmines and watching the meat showers erupt. It’s rather satisfying and always brings a smile to my face and at times a rather loud laugh, depending on the size of the explosion.
The audio is generally good apart from some weak sounding guns (the Preacher double barrelled shotgun is beast though). The zombie hordes sound really menacing as do the ambient effects that envelope the environment. Special mention has to go to the music. Cheesy 80’s horror flick lovers will be right at home here, eat your heart out, John Carpenter.
To sweeten the deal, owners of the previous 2 games are given a hefty discount of 66% (making the £29.99 price shrink to a modest £11.99). Check out the Steam Store here. Hurry though, the offer expires on the 3rd April 2015.
In closing, if you’re looking for an excuse to kill more zombies of the Nazi variety with your buddies or just solo-ing the campaign then you should definitely check this out. The visuals are slick in their current gen upgrade. The 3rd campaign is a nice addition with tons of new enemies to mince up. Horde mode is another new addition which is much fun with friends. Happy hunting!