A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a first-person shooter for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs. Using guns, explosives, and traps, the players has to destroy tons of zombies, resulting in a lot of blood and gore. Players are also "rewarded" (so to speak) for completely tough shots by getting to watch a slow-motion bullet enter a zombie's body and destroy their internal organs in graphic detail (though players can turn this "reward" off). The dialog includes an occasional use of "s--t" in comments. This is also the latest chapter in the Zombie Army franchise, which itself was a spin-off from the Sniper Elite franchise.
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What's it about?
In ZOMBIE ARMY 4: DEAD WAR, the death of Hitler in Zombie Army Trilogy hasn't ended World War II or the Nazis' plans for world domination. In fact, as a last plan of retaliation against the Allies, the Nazis unleash the undead on the rest of Europe. So it's up to you, as a British resistance fighter in Italy, to destroy as many of the undead as you can, while also completing missions that will hopefully end the war. But while you do destroy them with typical WWII shooter-type guns — machine guns, pistols, etc. — you're also a trained sniper, and can take out enemies from a distance when need be. You'll need all of your skills, because you'll face off against hordes of the undead that see you as their next recruit -- or their next meal.
Is it any good?
By swapping live Nazis for undead ones, this spin-off of Sniper Elite 4 makes for a different but still exciting World War II shooter. When Zombie Army 4: Dead War begins, Hitler is still dead, but his army of the undead is still trying to kill you and everyone else that opposes the Third Reich. Good thing you're not only handy with a sniper rifle and other weapons, but open to change as well. While this is similar to Sniper Elite 4 in its controls, fighting the living isn't like fighting the living dead. For one thing, zombies may not shoot at you, or duck for cover, but they will swarm you, and some won't attack until you get close and wake them up. There are even some who are still holding their guns or other melee weapons, and while they may not be good shots, they do kind of remember what to do with them.
Because of these changes, this isn't nearly as much of a sniper game as the regular WWII games that inspired it. Yes, there are times you can use the sniper rifle to take out walkers from far away. But with hordes of zombies coming at you from multiple directions, you'll probably use your shotgun, machine gun, and pistol more. Which is a bit of a bummer, since the sniping bits are the best part of this game, especially when you can use the environment against the undead. It's also too bad the story seems so inconsequential, and that they've replaced the wide-open worlds of Sniper Elite 4 for ones that are more linear and narrower (though they do have some side areas you can explore). Still, when things do get frantic — like when you're running around the narrow canals of Venice — Zombie Army 4: Dead War is a rock solid shooter for people who enjoy occult-flavored World War II games.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Zombie Army 4: Dead War affected by the fact that you're destroying zombies instead of people? Does it matter that the zombies look like people, as opposed to looking like inhuman monsters?
In the game, you destroy zombies to stop Nazis from taking over the world, but what are some other ways you can effect political change, non-violently? And do you think they would work against an army of Nazi zombies?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Rebellion
- Release date: February 4, 2020
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language
- Last updated: October 21, 2020
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