Okay, I know what you’re thinking, it’s not fair that PS4, Xbox One and PC get a fancy new entry in the Zombie Army series while the Switch just gets a port of the previous trilogy. But you know what? You shouldn’t be disappointed, as it’s bloody good.
It’s been about four years since I last played Zombie Army Trilogy. In the world of video games that’s quite a long time, and so in my mind I held the notion that it would be dated upon returning to it. Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that it still actually looks rather nice and plays very well. In fact, I was so impressed with what I was playing on Switch that I had to boot up the Xbox One version again to compare.
The result? Zombie Army Trilogy on Switch very nearly looks as good as it does on the more powerful PS4 and Xbox One, and performance is just as good, too. It’s not aged as much as I thought it had, either. They’re not exactly cutting edge, but character models are still decent, and so too are the environments. When playing in handheld mode you can’t help but be impressed, and even when playing docked Zombie Army Trilogy is one of the better-looking Switch games.
“Zombie Army Trilogy on Switch very nearly looks as good as it does on the more powerful PS4 and Xbox One”
Of course, the fact that it’s Zombie Army Trilogy means that some features of the newer game are absent. There’s no upgrading your weapons, for example, and there aren’t swathes of customisation options to unlock for your characters, including perks and cosmetic items. Zombie Army Trilogy is pared back in comparison. This was released in a time before such superfluous niceties really took a hold on the gaming industry. It does mean, however, that you can just get stuck into the job at hand: killing Nazi zombies.
Fifteen missions are available, spread across three episodes. In each, it’s your job to make your way to a number of safe rooms as you aim to complete your primary task. Ultimately though you’re just killing zombies, with a few brief areas of respite in between to stock up and re-supply. Thankfully, there’s a decent variety to the zombies you’re combating, and the breadth of environments you visit throw up their own unique challenges. Zombie Army Trilogy can feel a tad too repetitive at times, but it does its best to keep you interested.
From skeletons that quickly try to crowd you to suicide bombers with sticks of dynamite strapped to their bodies, shambling zombies are the least of your worries. There are also powerful elite enemies, who require more skilful play to take down effectively. A handful of well-placed shots to the head usually do the trick, or baiting them to a nearby explodable such as an abandoned car before lighting it up. You also have helpful traps such as landmines and tripwires at your disposal. There’s a pleasing number of combat options, and usually plenty of space to employ them.
“This is a game made with co-op play in mind”
As fun as it is to play Zombie Army Trilogy solo, it’s much better when played with friends. You can work together taking into account each others’ strengths, form strategies, and have a laugh while popping zombie skulls. This is a game made with co-op play in mind. To that end you’ll be pleased to find that you can quickly join matches, specifying the episode or even the mission you want to play. You can create public or private lobbies, too, if you want to define the difficulty level and enemy numbers. And if you have friends close by that also own a Switch and a copy of the game, local wireless co-op is also supported.
Completing Zombie Army Trilogy‘s campaign is like to take anywhere between 10 and 15 hours, and some players might return to tackle harder difficulties or search for collectables they missed. Further fun can also be eked out of the title thanks to Horde mode, which challenges players to take down waves of enemies. Five Horde maps are included, and again, you can play solo or in co-op. There are no fancy frills but it’s entertaining nonetheless, and also rather challenging.
Exclusive to Switch are motion controls and HD Rumble. They’re nice things to have, but don’t transform the experience. And of course, if you’re planning on playing the game on a Switch Lite you’ll have access to neither. I should probably mention that it’s recommended you play with a Pro Controller as well – the analogue sticks on the Joy-Cons just aren’t all that great to use for extended periods of time.
“This is a great game, not compromised in any way, now playable absolutely anywhere. There’s little better than that”
It’s a pleasant surprise returning to Zombie Army Trilogy, though it’s probably helped by the fact that this Switch port is so good. It lacks the bells and whistles of its follow-up, but it doesn’t do much to hurt the experience.
The core gameplay loop of managing your resources, making good use of space and putting down Nazi zombies left, right and centre is as good here as ever. And thanks to the X-Ray Kill Cam, your most impressive shots always feel rewarding.
If you’ve never played Zombie Army Trilogy before and are wanting to pop some undead skulls, you should seriously consider picking this up. Especially if you have like-minded friends to play it with. Hell, even those who have already played it before might get some kicks out of it too. Let’s face it, how often do you get to shoot a zombified Hitler in the face while sitting on the loo? This is a great game, not compromised in any way, now playable absolutely anywhere. There’s little better than that.
Zombie Army Trilogy is available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC. We reviewed the Switch version with code provided by the game’s publisher.
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