Where were you when you first were hurriedly attempting to construct a barricade against the undead horde? Do you remember your first time realizing that there was no hope for survival against the zombies tide? Did it click in your head that you could do this forever?
A lot of you did, apparently – because what started off as a fun side-diversion in COD game has become an absolute staple in the franchise – commanding more attention for some than even the standard variant of multiplayer. How exactly did that happen?
For those of you that don’t remember, COD’s zombie’s mode was first included in World at War – and has been attached to nearly every subsequent release since. Of course, with every subsequent release comes iteration after iteration – and improvement after improvement.
The Zombies of today bears a strong resemblance to the formula that was first crafted, but still somehow manages to offer up something new and exciting.
It’s no wonder that Treyarch opted to eschew a campaign this time around. If running repeatable content is the name of the game, then they’ve scrawled it over every wall possible. Launching with four Zombies maps, it’s evident that Treyarch isn’t about to let their beloved game mode play second fiddle to anyone – not even the new-fangled Blackout.
It’s one thing for the mantra of Zombies to line-up with Activision’s push to keep players playing for as long as possible, but it’s quite another that the undead game mode has already been doing that for ages. The design is downright brilliant, as it ensures that anyone who’s ever had a modicum of exposure to pop culture will know what to do.
See a ravenous zombie shambling toward you? You don’t need to be told what to do – grab a gun and take its head off. Where the true brilliance lies, however, is in the marriage of the self-evident and the perpetually obscured.
Although the premise of the survival mode sounds simple enough, truly mastering it takes time, patience, and more than a small amount of gumption. For although the run-of-the-mill gameplay is simple, everything that happens after the first wave has the potential to wipe you and your squadmates flat on your asses.
Victory in the modern Zombies requires correct timing, sleuthing, and ample mixes of offensive and defensive pushes.
Assembling all the pieces of whatever occult artifact you happen to be working on while managing your point economy, optimizing avenues of ingress and egress, AND ensuring that you don’t get 1-shot by some of the bigger baddies out there is no easy task. Once the heat starts up it doesn’t let up. And that’s not even Rush mode.
Throw Rush into the mix and you’ve got the hell-bent intensity of higher rounds of Zombies right from the get-go. With doors unlocking outside of your control, your sole objective becomes to outlive the rest of the squad and gather the most points before you inevitably succumb to defeat.
Although certainly less complex than the standard Zombies mode, Rush is nothing to scoff at. Hell, given Treyarch’s reputation with fleshing out side-projects, God only knows where Rush might be headed.
Zombies may have graced our screens as a fun little diversion, but its staying power, influence, and prominence in the FPS world can never be doubted. Now if only we could get some more Kevin Smith cameos.