Written by Jason Nawara, @JasonNawara
Our boots splashed through the puddles of blood, water — maybe both — as we ran down one of Berlin’s many destroyed streets. The dead have risen and it’s down to me and three friends to save the world in the midst of a world war. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 is Left 4 Dead meets Indiana Jones with the long-range combat of Sniper Elite 2 and it’s really, really fun – but only under the correct circumstances.
Is this undead Nazi shooting gallery worth your time? Let’s find out!
If Indiana Jones had another sequel (shudder) and it was created using the art of Doom with the general embracing of Satanic imagery and impalement of foot soldiers, Nazi Zombie Army 2 would be that game adaptation of that movie. That’s a really long and complicated analogy, but it works.
If you followed the shallow, but fun, story-line from the first game, you had escaped Berlin and the Nazi zombie army menace, but now you need to dive once more into the fray to recover three artifacts that, when combined, will rid the word of these horrifying creatures. It’s silly, but this isn’t the type of game to be taken seriously. This is gaming’s horror equivalent of Sharknado, only with more Nazi zombies.
Traversing your way, either solo (not recommended) or with up to three friends through a hellacious representation of Germany is a greatly entertaining diversion from the tired setting so many of today’s shooters use. Yes, this is more of the same, but the foundation created by the first game has given Rebellion more creative room to step up the atmosphere and level design.
Things feel more dense and populated with the dead, reanimated or otherwise. I played the game on a high-end PC and it looks stunning if you can get it on the highest settings. The dynamic lighting, anisotropic filtering and greater variety of high-quality textures really sets this apart from the first game. The pentagrams look really good, man.
If you’re looking for any drastic changes in the way it plays, you may leave disappointed. The biggest disappointment is that the previous game’s weapon loadouts return, but the impact of that disappointment is lessened a little each time your bullet slowly enters a member of the Nazi zombie party, resulting in a satisfying explosion of bone or the bursting of one or more internal organs. It’s like Rebellion decided to put most of their work into atmosphere and level design, knowing they had their bread and butter in the combat locked down fairly tight.
It makes sense, but the lack of innovation or simple inventory expansion is still disappointing. That won’t stop you from enjoying a perfectly-aligned head shot that takes out four zombies, but it’s always there, an omnipresent feeling that this game could have been better.
Nazi Zombie Army 2 is surprisingly difficult and though it’s not as fast or frantic as Left 4 Dead or even Call of Duty’s Zombies mode, it can still get overwhelming when you move beyond the simple, shambling Nazi zombies and into the “special” and far deadlier breed of zeds. One of these includes a dynamite demon that rushes up to you like the Japanese Empire Zombies sent a memo printed using the skin of a virgin on how to kamikaze one’s enemies.
There are also ghostly, leapfrogging snipers that can jump dozens of feet in the air and the creature that quickly became the bane of my existence — a monstrous chaingun-wielding Nazi that looks like the cousin of Nemesis from Resident Evil 3. The kill cam from Sniper Elite is back and it’s as satisfying as ever to watch a zombie’s bones crumble as your bullet sends them back to hell, but it can also grow tiresome. Luckily, the frequency of these scenes playing can be adjusted in the settings, if you’d rather deal death quickly, without watching every other bullet slowly disintegrate a zombie’s insides.
This game was clearly meant to be experienced with friends. If you prefer to play your games solo, this might not be the the game for you. Having other players to cover your back will save your life, as will having a good mixture of sub machine guns, traps and sniper rifles spread out in key positions in this glorified horde mode of a game.
It’s a joy to watch the fountains of gore erupt from the necks of recently re-deceased zombies fly into the air. By myself, the game was far scarier, but it was also exponentially more frustrating. Even on the easy difficulty I was overwhelmed pretty frequently. It’s only $15 and lasts a good 4-5 hours even if you burn through it quickly — plus there’s a moderate replay factor on top of that — so the value is certainly there.
Sadly, the music is forgettable. It’s creepy and essentially comprised of the same synth-heavy tunes that play over and over again. Same with the sound effects for the zombies and weapons — they’re recycled from the previous games. It’s really a shame.
This seems like a negative review, but it’s not. Nazi Zombie Army 2 is a damn fun game to play, and particularly so if you have some friends. The squish of a head as you blow it up on the ground, before its body comes back to life is visceral, and the lighting, effects and mood of the game are top-notch. Say what you will about the lack of new features, enemies, weapons or gameplay — the game is still damn fun, and it’s a good shooter. That’s all that matters, right?
The Final Word: Nazi Zombie Army 2 is a hellaciously fun time for you and your friends if you want to take a break from the BF4’s and COD’s of the world. It’s a quick, frantic jump into a world we’ve seen before, but at the same time never before. Hell and WW2 never looked so great when mish mashed into a cooperative shooter. Just don’t expect some magical experience for only $15.