Steam Cleaning #9: Zombie Army Trilogy

I kneel in an alley, surrounded by mist and dead men. Eye to the scope, I hesitate, then squeeze off a powerful sniper round. The gun kicks in my hand, and suddenly I am following the bullet, time frozen as it barrels toward my foe. The shot enters my undead foe through the eye socket, then exits his skull as a spinning bent-up chunk of metal. Another foe lies in its path, and the remnants of my bullet shatter its jaw. Returning to myself, I turn to face a skeleton as it flails its way toward me, exposed heart throbbing with cursed magic…

Zombie Army Trilogy is both as generic as it sounds and a startlingly well-made experience. Yes, it is a Nazi zombie third-person shooter, with a ‘horde mode’ to boot. The player snipes and bombs his way through Berlin in any of three campaigns. In my time with the game, however, I came to appreciate the little things.

The combo meter that rewards the player for headshots, pushing for perfect performance. The satisfying kick of a pistol. The enemy variety that slowly introduces itself over time, from basic corpses bearing shovels to sniper Nazis that leap from building to building. The fun of Zombie Army Trilogy is found in the weeds, when you’re bottled up in a back corner with five bullets and a prayer or backpedaling across town square, hoping not to back into a suicide bomber. The experience is fine-tuned, precise, atmospheric, and extremely graphic.

I did only play an hour of this game because like it or not, there isn’t much of a story here. Hitler unleashed zombies. Survive them! That was never the point of this game. Like Left 4 Dead, the game seems built for co-op. Unlike Left 4 Dead, this game doesn’t still have a very active player base. If I had friends to play with, or even easy access to online strangers, this game could make for a fun playthrough. As it is, I enjoyed my time with it, but am not sure how often I will return to Berlin.

Verdict: One hour played, may go back for more!

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