The first set of DLC maps (Havoc) were released for Advanced Warfare yesterday, and along with them came the first zombie map. As an avid zombie fan, I was of course biting at the bit to give the map a go. I spent most of yesterday evening playing the game-mode, so here are my thoughts so far.
The Call of Duty Zombie mode is usually Treyarch’s joint, so I was interested to see how Sledgehammer have put their own swing on things. In the event, it turns out that Sledgehammer have done very little to shake things up. Although that is a little mean, because there are one or two changes that I’ll spend the next few hundred words mentioning.
First off, the way that you use the ‘perks’ is slightly different. The old perk machines like ‘Juggernog’, for instance, no longer exist. Instead, you have to upgrade your exo-suit with different sounding perks, but they pretty much do the same as they always did. These are still based in a sort of machine that you need to pay to use. Basically, rather than drinking a special drink that makes you faster at reloading, or slightly more resistant to damage, you upgrade your exo-suit to the same effect. However, you don’t actually start the game with an exo-suit, so you need to work your way towards where the exo-suits are based to put one on, before you can upgrade them. Makes sense, but when you die you not only lose the perks, you also lose your exo-suit. I won’t lie, it’s fucking annoying. Particularly if you re-spawn during an ‘infected’ wave, because if you get infected you have to go scrub down in a decontamination chamber. Without any weapons or an exo-suit, you don’t stand much of a chance and you quite quickly become dead weight for the team.
The way you play it is a little different, but that’s mainly because there’s a lack of ‘choke-points’ and, much like the online-multiplayer, the game is incredibly fast. In the old zombie maps, there was always one area that was good to hold off, to funnel the zombies through and survive the waves. That’s not really possible in Advanced Warfare, mainly because there’s nowhere to hide. That means that you’ll be spending most of the waves jumping, double-jumping, dashing, dodging and slamming your way around the map whilst trying not to get downed. It’s a fast paced way to play, but it’s pretty damn fun. On the old zombie games, me and my buddies were able to get to wave 30+, so far the best we’ve achieved is wave 13 – but we’re getting there.
The main thing that I’ve noticed is that everything’s a lot more ‘jumpy’. By wave 8, you start getting zombies with exo-suits mixed in with the other zombies. Some of these are even able to disable your exo-suit with a mini EMP blast. But, just like you, they’re able to jump, dash and dart around the map. Sure, they’re not quite as quick, but it does make the game a lot more of a ball-ache when you have to worry about the zombies dodging your bullets like undead crickets.
But, despite these slight changes, the main crux of the game is the same, it just has different names. Let me elaborate. The ‘Pack-a-Punch’ has been replaced with a number of upgrade stations placed on various walls, the ‘Mystery Box’ has been replaced with a 3D printer which prints a random weapon for you, the old “kaboom” bomb has been replaced with a ‘toxic-bomb’ and the ‘max-reload’ has been replaced with ‘full-reload’. I’m sure you get the picture. In essence, it’s the exact same game mode. The main difference is that Sledgehammer encourages the player to play the zombie mode like they would the online multiplayer – by keeping the game fast-paced, and by utilising the exo-suits.
Overall, the zombie mode is fun and I certainly enjoyed playing it. Will I enjoy it as much as the original zombie mode introduced in World at War? No. But I’ve not enjoyed any of the subsequent zombie maps as much as I did the original few on WaW. They’re definitely better than the most recent offerings, and I can see a lot of potential for the mode when combining the refreshed combat style of Advanced Warfare with what has become a staple of the Call of Duty games in the past few years. It’s no Der Riese, but it’s a good start.