Rebellion Studios is without doubt one of the most original studios within the trade in the present day. In addition to final 12 months’s Strange Brigade, the Zombie Army video games, and the Sniper Elite sequence, the unbiased studio owns the rights to Judge Dredd and comedian guide sequence 2000 AD, are producing a Rogue Trooper film directed by Duncan Jones, are entering into the board sport trade with a Sniper Elite tabletop sport, and extra. The studio has fairly an in depth, eclectic checklist of tasks on the horizon and below its belt, and it’s all doable as a result of they’re a really unbiased studio.
“We’re into games and sci-fi and fantasy and all things good and geeky,” says Rebellion Head of Creative Tim Jones. “We’re trying to be custodians of all these key parts of our culture. We don’t run like big game companies. We don’t have shareholders, and we don’t have anyone pulling the strings or worrying about how the stock market is going. We’re driven by what we’re into. We get to make what we want.”
The studio’s newest contribution to horror/geek tradition is Zombie Army 4, which Den of Geek was invited to play at a preview occasion this previous fall. The sequence began as a by-product of the Sniper Elite video games, however now has a trilogy below its belt and a big fan following of its personal.
To put it merely, what I performed of Zombie Army 4 was lots of freaking enjoyable. Taking out waves of Nazi zombies alongside my teammates felt nice, and strategizing on the fly was a breeze because of the sport’s streamlined mechanics. I don’t know that the sport brings something revolutionary to the desk gameplay-wise. But the sport is so pleasurable to play that I imagine including any radical, “innovative” options or mechanics would in all probability simply spoil the pure, unadorned, arcade-style enjoyable.
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At the sport’s preview occasion in San Francisco, I performed by means of sections of each the marketing campaign and horde mode, each of which might be performed with as much as 4 gamers. There are a handful of characters to select from (with a number of further characters ready to be unlocked), and earlier than setting out on a mission, you possibly can customise your loadout and talents. At your disposal are a handful of shotguns, pistols, rifles, and machine weapons, and every character has skills which can be primarily highly effective melee assaults. After filling a gauge, you need to use takedowns, which dispatch of enemies in spectacularly gory vogue and grant you a well being increase.
There’s a development system at work right here, and it’s all extremely easy and straightforward to navigate. You can enhance your weapons, stats, and talents as you progress by means of the sport, nevertheless it’s all upgrades, with no downgrades to think about when equipping skills or perks. Balancing your character out isn’t the priority right here—the priority is making a loadout that matches your play model and lets you maximize your zombie-killing potential.
The marketing campaign demo noticed me and my two teammates (we have been quick a participant, nevertheless it didn’t negatively have an effect on our playthrough within the slightest) blast our means by means of a jungled practice yard, the place we felled wave after wave of zombies as we siphoned gasoline from deserted automobiles into canisters, which we might finally used to open an enormous steel door.
The space was chaotic. My workforce initially grew to become separated as we scrambled to seek out our bearings and survive the veritable flood of undead that was bearing down on us. Shooting indiscriminately in each course was working for us for awhile, however then a hulking new enemy sort that proceeded to swing a gatling gun at us compelled us to undertake a brand new technique and focus our hearth on his bulbous intestine. After defeating this mini-boss, we have been capable of decide up his ridiculously gigantic gun, and exquisite, bloody chaos ensued.
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Horde mode was simply as enjoyable, with me and my mates blowing up zombies in more and more tough waves. Standard stuff. But what’s notable about horde mode is how the environments steadily open up as you progress by means of the waves of enemies. In one stage, set in Venice, my companions and I started by chopping up zombies in slim pathways and a claustrophobic, three-story constructing with uncomfortably tight stairwells. But after we survived a number of waves, a ship got here down the channel, permitting us to cross into a brand new space that was extra open and outfitted with conveniently positioned traps we may set off to take out a number of baddies without delay. The movement of horde mode feels actually good, because it consistently forces you to adapt your methods to the ever-changing surroundings.
One of the sport’s coolest options by far is the inclusion of the x-ray sniper cam from the Sniper Elite sequence. When you or one in every of your teammates nails an ideal shot, everyone seems to be handled to a slow-mo, organ busting spectacle that by no means fails to elicit a gleeful, audible response from not less than one teammate. I can’t inform you what number of instances my workforce felt like we have been drowning in battle and on the point of defeat, when one participant’s wonderful x-ray kill immediately introduced us again to life once more.
Like Strange Brigade, Zombie Army 4 is supposed to be very accessible—it’s enjoyable for brand spanking new gamers to hop right into a sport as a result of the gameplay is easy, cooperative, and straightforward to select up and play. And whereas the sport isn’t precisely one of the best wanting shooter available on the market, and its total design isn’t all that authentic, I simply didn’t actually care about any of that whereas I used to be taking part in as a result of I used to be having such a great time. That’s the signal of a worthwhile sport, when it’s so enjoyable to play that its weaknesses really feel irrelevant to the expertise.
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The sport’s approachable nature is aided by its total tone and artwork model. “I find the tone of the game is believable and authentic, but it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek,” says lead stage designer Jordan Woodward. Chewing up zombies with a chainsaw and taking pictures at a zombie shark is over-the-top foolish and provides to the leisure worth of the multiplayer expertise, however make no mistake—the sport will get extremely intense as nicely.
Solo play will not be the very first thing you consider when selecting up a squad-based shooter, however for Rebellion, it was essential to make the expertise enjoyable whether or not you’re taking part in with three companions or by your self.
“Despite all of the talk about everyone being online and multiplayer being the be-all-end-all, the fact is single-player experiences are important to a huge portion of the audience,” says Jones. “I really like taking part in Zombie Army 4 on my own as a lot as I do taking part in with different folks.”
I’m undecided that there’s something about Zombie Army 4 that’s going to set the gaming world on hearth. You’ve in all probability performed co-op shooter prefer it earlier than. But what Rebellion has finished is taken a tried-and-true system and given it to us in its purest type. I had a blast with the sport, and when speaking to my fellow journalists in between classes, nobody had something dangerous to say in regards to the expertise. From the appears to be like of it, Zombie Army 4 goes to be a stable, wildly entertaining co-op shooter that received’t disappoint, notably should you’re a fan of the sequence already.
Zombie Army 4 releases on March 6 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Bernard Boo is a contract contributor. Read extra of his work right here.
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