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E3 2019

Zombie Army 4 Continues the Fun of the Series, But Could Get Repetitive for Single Players

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The first Sniper Elite spin-off, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, debuted in 2013. By 2015, Rebellion had released three games for the franchise. Now, four years later, the developer has decided to revisit the franchise with Zombie Army 4: Dead War.

OnlySP had a chance to check out the game’s E3 2019 demo build. The demo was played in a single-player setting.

The demo opened a selection screen where various guns, perks, and other selectable item screen were present. Players are able to outfit their character how they desire; from the outfits and skins on weapons to the specific guns and perks taken into the game.

The weapon select screen had three different categories for a player to pick from. The three gun types included a rifle, submachine gun, and pistol class. Within the gun selection were different options in the class: upgrades that can be made to the weapon, skins, charms, and reticle options.

Zombie Army 4 gameplay screenshot 3

After selecting and upgrading weapons, the demo opens with the player in a safe room where additional ammo and equipment can be obtained before heading out in the mission area where the majority of the action takes place.

Objectives are what pushes the player forward in a linear direction, but they must decide how to get there. After venturing for enough away from the safe room, zombie hordes proceed to swarm the army aiming to kill the player as soon as possible.

As the zombies begin closing in, the combat begins. Traps and bullets fly in a frantic pace as the player pushes towards the objective. Along the way, zombies are mowed down into high combos that provided the opportunity to try out the new takedown mechanic in the game.

Zombie Army 4 gameplay screenshot 2

In taking down a zombie, the player regains a bit of health while causing the surrounding zombies to flinch giving a bit of breathing room. This extra health offers a risk/reward proposition.

In practice, this mechanic yielded neutral results. Every attempt to takedown a zombie was followed with being immediately attacked, making the health gains inconsequential. Running right after a takedown or stringing together a chain of them was the best attempt to maximize the amount of health gained.

Though the takedown mechanic was hit-or-miss, the gunplay was satisfying. The guns felt distinguishable from each other while not getting in the way of eliminating the hordes of zombies. The shotgun was a favorite to use mostly because of the special ammo that zombies dropped to help manage the crowd.

Zombie Army 4 gameplay screenshot 4

This special ammo type was electronic ammo. The pellets stunned the enemies around the hit zombie. This brief pause allows the player with the option of utilizing a take down, running away, or reloading in order to prepare for the next wave to swarm in. For solo play, the ammo felt absolutely necessary to stay alive and complete the objective at hand.

In regards to the visuals, players should not expect anything too special. The game does not look bad, but it does not do anything special to make it stand out.

Overall, Zombie Army 4: Dead War has the makings to be just a solid game like others that came before it. The act of mowing down zombies from one safe room to another seems like it could provide endless fun. However, this rinse-and-repeat formula seems like it can grow stale for those that wish to play through the campaign entirely solo.

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E3 2019

Biomutant is Vibrant, Unique, and a Hell of a Lot of Fun

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biomutant

THQ Nordic had a bevy of games available to play on the show floor at this year’s E3. While some attendees eagerly lined up to play Darksiders Genesis (as our own Michael Cripe did), others sought to finally get their hands on Experiment 101’s highly unique Biomutant for a hands-on, 30-minute demo. Thankfully, Biomutant’s E3 demo is more than enough proof that the will end up being something truly special.

After selecting their preferred language, players were given the option to recode their mutant’s DNA, serving as Biomutant’s version of a character customizer. The customization options were satisfying. A circle graph appears on the screen with five key skills the player must find their preferred balance between: strength, agility, intellect, charisma, and vitality. A sixth skill, luck, was also present, but it was not one that the player could influence from the circle graph. This graph not only influences the player’s mutant’s skills but it also directly changes the mutant’s appearance.

Other customization options included determining the mutant’s fur length and primary and secondary colors. Once these options were set, the demo thrusts the player into a mission that begins with riding a hot air balloon  while the narrator speaks of the excitement of an adventure. Enemies begin firing to bring down the hot air balloon and the player is dropped into the action.

Biomutant

The world of Biomutant immediately pops, as the colors were sharp and invoked thoughts of Ratchet &Clank with a slightly more comic-book style. The visuals reflected the conditions of the area, too, with vibrant reds representing intense heat being a memorable example. The first thing that stood out about this sequence was how great the combat felt. Similarly to Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Rocksteady’s Arkham series, sliding through an enemy’s legs while kicking, punching, and shooting felt tight and familiar. In some instances, the game slowed down when a knockout blow was dealt, which was a nice cinematic touch.

Progressing forward saw the player in an area with additional enemies with a larger, more intimidating foe acting as the main objective. This section introduced the Super Wushu attack, which varies depending on the equipped weapon. The most rewarding of these attacks was with the Klonk Fist which was obtained later in the demo. The Klonk Fist offered huge gauntlets that could pummel multiple enemies by mashing the action button.

The key to unlocking the Super Wushu attack involves stringing together combos which felt fairly easy to do. I do not recall ever losing my combo to an enemy attack, as I obtained the special attack fairly often. The combat allowed for those who wished to mash the melee or firing button but also rewards the players who are more tactical in their combos while mixing in shooting with melee attacks.

Biomutant

With the tutorial for the demo out the way, the game continues by having the player go to a different part of the planet. This new area showcased the vibrant greens and life that contrasted the overheated reds from the previous area. After some platforming, the demo descends the player down into the world where Gizmo the Greasemonkey resides.

Biomutant NPC dialogue is spoken by the narrator from the beginning of the demo while the player’s character makes vague sounds during the conversation. This exchange felt a bit underwhelming for the action-RPG as options did not hold any consequences for how the next section plays out and can be skipped without missing out on much of the story or mission objective.

After descending down and exiting an elevator shaft, the player enters a dark, oil-spilt area. The color palette here reflected the same pop to its visuals as the other sections. A mech suit, which was required to clean up the oil, controlled fine, though combat definitely felt better out of the mech suit than in it.

A final enemy awaited which served as the boss fight for the mission. This fight contained three phases with the enemy adding a new attack method from in the second. The third phase, however, took place inside the creature. After taking him down from the inside, the planet’s Tree of Life becomes more alive as indicating a reversal of destitute for the planet.

The demo confirmed the anticipation OnlySP had for Biomutant. The combat felt great and the visuals really popped. THQ Nordic and Experiment 101 may something special on their hands if the rest of the game plays as the demo did.

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