A proficient Switch port of the 2015 title, Zombie Army Trilogy is best played with cooperative partners, online or off.
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Release date: March 31st, 2020
Availability: $34.99 via digital download from the eShop
While the Allied opposition of Nazi Germany lasted four fateful years, gamers have been fighting Adolf’s undead legions for even longer. In 2013, Rebellion Developments’ Nazi Zombie Army offered a B-movie remix of Sniper Elite V2 that replaced the third reich’s dexterous military with battalions of decaying shamblers. Marching through derelict warzones, rupturing zed heads proved to be an entertaining recreation. The game’s success spurred a sequel eight months later. In 2015, Zombie Army Trilogy bundled remastered versions of these two titles and added a previously unreleased third installment.
Now, a half-decade later, the game has pivoted from PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, to the portability of the Nintendo Switch. Although the leap from bulky hardware to a handheld unit can often cause apprehension, Rebellion’s done an amazingly adept job here. Sure, the title begs for play with a few fellow humans. But given relatively seamless online functionality, netizens can fill in for local acquaintances. Just like the original release, Zombie Army Trilogy can be a bit tedious and frustrating for individualists.
Leaving the (Sniper’s) Nest
Sniper Elite favored the sporadic trek up to an elevated position, where you could harness the precision and power of your M1903 Springfield rifle. From your isolated perch, you could pick off enemies, witnessing the sporadic slow motion shot of a bullet perforating vital organs. But habitually, Zombie Army Trilogy early chapter puts you on the ground.
Instead of the intensity of foes potentially identifying your position, tension stems from the slow shuffle of an undead throng. When a group comes lumbering toward you, you’ll have to make every shot count. Miss and you’ll be forced to switch to a short-range weapon with limited ammo, retreat, or incur perilous damage. Gratifyingly, it’s every bit as taut, especially when you’re forced to quickly loot corpses for ammo, putting you in precarious positions.
Eight Playable Characters Vs. the Re-Animated
The fifteen-chapter storyline comes with a pleasing payoff as well. The content from the first two Nazi Zombie Army games is entertaining, with set pieces between each pentagram-marked waypoint. Here, a multitude of enemies will try to break your team’s mettle, using everything from suicide bombers to chainsaw-wielding elites, and even fire demons who can summon blazing baddies.
But the final five missions are were Rebellion lets loose, breaking away from the linearity of the previous stages along with a persistent blitzkrieg of adversaries. Here, the game can feel like a deadly fun house filled with hidden walkers, explosive that can be detonated, and even a few traps about. Mercifully, Zombie Army Trilogy doesn’t require you to work your way there. Beyond a trio of difficulty settings and enemy spawn rates, you can also start from any episode. But tackling the campaign in sequential order is recommended. You don’t want to miss any of the meticulously designed stages, each offering a different ominous setting for the action.
Multiplayer Comes Alive
Confront Hitler’s lumbering masses alone and you’re more likely to notice the game’s minor issue. Boss battles are tougher when playing solo. Although squad members can rescue a downed ally, the lack of any teammates means that death will send you back to the previous checkpoint. Occasionally, you can adjust play style, laying down zombie massacring mines or trip wires, but sporadically, undead throngs in tight spaces will wear down your patience. Another incentive to play cooperatively is found in Horde Mode. Here, you’ll sacrifice the cinematics that detail das führer’s last-ditch effort for reanimated regiments. Instead, you and up to three partners will battle waves of increasingly numerous and resilient foes, distilling the game down to its fundamentals.
Another victorious quality is the quality of Zombie Army Trilogy’s port. In handheld mode, the game runs at 720p while docked provides 1080p fidelity. Regardless of play mode, the runs at a rock solid 30 frames-per-second. Sure, a few negligible visual sacrifices where made, and purists just might notice reduced shadow quality or the absence of anti-aliasing. But fundamentally, this is a meticulous adaptation, offering all the content and refinement of the previous versions. One addition for Switch owners is the inclusion of optional gyroscopic aiming. Giving the tendency for zombies to shudder about, this appendage should make headshot hunters quite happy.
Zombie Army Trilogy might lack the mischievous mass electrocution-inducing perks and explosive ammo that made Dead War so gratifying. But even without the over-the-top weaponry, Trilogy is a lot of fun. With a local or online group, the game delivers a pulpy mix of bullets, blood, and scrambled zombie brains, goading acquaintances into working as a tight-knit team. Individual play is enjoyable for reprieves between these sessions but shouldn’t be the sole reason for enlisting to fight this undead army.
Zombie Army Trilogy was played on Switch with review code provided by the publisher.