Zombie Army 4: Dead War isn’t new to me. I’ve already logged around 40 hours into the co-op zombie shooter over on Sony’s PS4. So why play it again, then?
Because it’s fucking awesome.
Zombie Army 4 is a great get for Stadia, and I’m happy to say that, at least under my network conditions, the game ran like a dream. Now, first things first – I don’t own a Stadia controller or the Chromecast Ultra required for TV play. Will I get one? Maybe, but there’s no rush. See, for me, playing Zombie Army 4 again on a different platform only makes sense if it’s going to be a different experience. While the game is the same as on PS4, albeit with a higher refresh rate, playing it on my phone is what makes it a worthwhile endeavour.
I’ve put around five hours into Zombie Army 4 using my desktop computer, while the rest of my time has been on my Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with an Xbox One Bluetooth gamepad. It’s perfectly playable on PC using the traditional PC desktop controls of mouse and keyboard, but I’m a console player at heart, and a controller just feels more natural. Besides, it’s the only option I have if I want to play on my phone.
The overall streaming experience was, minor a couple of hiccups, exemplary. Playing Zombie Army 4 on my phone was fantastic, as was desktop play. I’m on a really fast internet provider with 100MB download speed and 25MB upload, though I typically get around 85-90MB, and it was more than enough to stream the game using the Stadia Pro-exclusive features.
Controls were never an issue, and given that I’ve already played the game to death on PS4, I was instantly familiar with the controls, even on an Xbox One pad. The real testament to the streaming capabilities of Stadia is in the actual sniping gameplay. With the focus being on such a minute part of the screen, any delay would be amplified, but I genuinely never had an issue that caused my game to suffer. I did have a couple of hitches over my 15 hours of play, but again, there was nothing to detract from my zombie-slaying antics.
So, the game itself. At the time of writing this review Zombie Army 4: Dead War is free to play for Stadia Pro subscribers, otherwise it’s a full-priced release. As a Stadia Pro subscriber, I’ve taken advantage of the offer and you can bet I’ll be playing it daily.
If you’ve played the Zombie Army games before, you’ll be familiar with what Zombie Army 4 brings to the table. I’m actually one of those weirdos who hasn’t played a Zombie Army game before, so my first experience was with Zombie Army 4 on PS4. I had played the Sniper Elite games, mind you, but they’re a completely different entity at this point.
Zombie Army 4 takes place in an alternate timeline where Hitler and his evil mates have executed ‘Plan Z’ and awoken the dead to fight for the Nazis. It’s campy, it’s ridiculous, and that’s exactly what I love. The story is silly nonsense but interesting enough for an outsider like me to enjoy, but it’s not really the focus. You get a decent campaign filled with outrageously gory zombie killing, and that’s it. You just go through the missions killing everything in your way. Sometimes you’ll have to do a couple of objectives to push the story forward, but for the most part, you’re lining up sweet headshots and hoping for a double-bollock-whammy, as I like to call it, where the bullet-cam kicks in and traces your deadly shot right up until it hits a pair of zombie bollocks, exploding them on impact. Hey, the way I see it, I’m just making sure there’s no viable matter left to create zombie babies. You’re welcome.
The real staying power in Zombie Army 4 is in its multiplayer. It’s not often that I’ll actually play online games, but Zombie Army 4 has won me over with its Horde mode. Horde mode can be played single-player, mind you, but it’s far more fun with others, even if they are all a bunch of randos.
Horde mode is exactly what you would expect. You and up to three other players have to survive waves of zombies. There’s a touch more depth to it than just “kill all sonsabitches!”
Zombie Army 4 employs an arcade-style scoring system. The more kills you chain together, the more points you get. The bigger the explosion, the more points you get, and so on. These points translate into your experience, and you’ll level up naturally as you play. Levelling up gives you access to perks, and not just in multiplayer. You can play through the game’s story and level up as much as you like before going into Horde mode. This is the path I would recommend, as the single-player campaign is great in its own right, and you’ll come out the other side of with a decent amount of perks and skills to help you keep going for longer in Horde mode. Trust me, your fellow online zombie killers will appreciate it.
The campaign can also be played in co-op, though I didn’t utilise this feature all that much. It’s nice to have it, though, and it’s something I wish more games included, even if it’s an online-only co-op, it’s better than nothing at all.
Graphically, I’m impressed with Zombie Army 4. Comparing it to PS4, I can’t see any noticeable differences. The biggest difference is in how the game runs. On Stadia you get 60 frames per second, while on base PS4 you’re limited to 30. On PS4 Pro you can get it closer to 60, but it never stays there as reliably as it does on Google’s Stadia.
If you’ve got a Stadia Pro subscription, why are you even bothering with this review? You can play the game for no extra cost, so go and play! For those who want to buy for keeps, I’m kind of split. On one hand, Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a fantastic game. On the other hand, I know that it can be had for a lot less on other platforms. What I’d say is that if you value playing your way – whether it be on your phone in the bath, or at your desk at work – the Stadia version is the way to go. It’s a pricey product, sure, but it’s worth it, depending on what you value.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War Stadia Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8/10
Zombie Amry 4: Dead War is another fantastic addition to the Stadia’s library, and it’s a great game full stop. The single-player campaign is lengthy enough with all the thrills and kills of a Hollywood B-movie. The multiplayer holds the staying power, however, as striving to survive with a group of players never seems to get old, at least not yet, and hopefully not for a long while.
- Looks, plays, and performs beautifully on Stadia.
- Silly campaign that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but fun enough to play through at least once.
- Co-op campaign.
- Awesome multiplayer suite and lots of unlockables.
- The grind can get annoying once you reach the higher levels
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a version of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read the Pure Stadia Review Policy.