There is a lot of good creepy atmosphere to the game. A little girl singing a nursery rhyme is heard over this moment
There are a total of five chapters in NZA and if they had split the levels in half to make 10, or even just cut a few of the chapters down to half their length, then things would feel about right. As it is the action tends to drag on a bit. In single-player you can stop and pick up at the last checkpoint in a level; in cooperative play, you’re just going to have to knock it all out in one go.
The length of these levels (paired with the inability to save your co-op campaign progression) and the lack of a drop-in/drop-out system are without a doubt the biggest drawbacks to NZA. When you start up a cooperative game, you go through the usual motions of making it a private/public match, which level and at what difficulty level you wish to play, and inviting friends to join you. Once the game starts, though, you’re locked into things – meaning if anyone drops out due to connectivity issues, you won’t be able to invite them back. Not a big deal if you could just stop the game, invite them back in, and pick up from where you left off. However, if you stop playing the current level you’re on, you have to start it all over again from the very beginning; the past 15 or 20 minutes of hard-fought progress is wiped clean. So like I said before, once you start a level, you’re pretty much in it for the long haul.
The upside to all of this is that the game truly feels like it was made with co-op play in mind. If a friend goes down in the middle of a fight, you have a minute to get to them and revive before they bleed out. If you fail, they come back at the next safe house/checkpoint. The number of zombies you face also scale impressively with the number of players. One additional player can give you and your friend a little bit of a challenge, while a full co-op crew of four will pit you against the entire population of Germany. So, your tactics for a particular encounter may change slightly when you’re playing with just one other friend as opposed to three. As an added incentive there is a scoring system in place that lets you get a friendly little competition going for who can get the highest scoring single shot or who has the highest overall score at the end. This particular aspect helps to lessen the sometimes repetitiveness of the levels.
Red glowing lights and symbols like these are usually signs for a family picnic; something must have gone wrong
Perhaps the greatest aspect of NZA’s co-op is that it captures those little “water cooler stories” that Left 4 Dead was basically built upon. When a friend goes down underneath a group of zombies, fighting through the undead horde surrounding him or her and just managing to revive him or her becomes a story you’ll share with them for some time.
During one particular survival wave, Nick had completely run out of bullets and the end was in sight. I was taking down the threats as best as I could, but I was running low on ammo, too. Then, one of the tough minigun zombies appears. Somehow, Nick found a corpse with just two bullets on it, and between those two bullets and my remaining ammo, we just managed to clear it all. We had just enough time to revel in this victory before we progressed to the next safe house, the next encounter, and the next story.
Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army is one of those games that presents an interesting conundrum. It definitely has flaws; flaws that can seem quite glaring and apparent when played for any length of time. Those same flaws, however, become less noticeable when played in short bursts, and a somewhat minor nuisance when you really get into the thick of things with your friends. There is a strong sense of cooperation that is at the core of this game, and NZA’s $15 price tag makes it worth a playthrough or two with your favorite gaming pals.
Just don’t try to do it all at once.
The Co-Op Experience: The full campaign can be played with up to 3 other players
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.