Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s exo zombies reanimate a familiar format

By Dave Cook, Wednesday, 28 January 2015 14:00 GMT

Advanced Warfare’s exo suits manage to bring an undead format back to life. Dave Cook welcomes zombies back to Call of Duty.

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“The challenges start to spike early so seasoned zombie slayers needn’t worry about being coddled.”

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s first DLC went live this week, dropping four very solid maps for multiplayer skirmishes. But that’s not all. Sledgehammer has taken a leaf out of Treyarch’s book and included an all-new zombies mode.

The first chapter is called Outbreak, and it stars John Malkovich, Rose McGowan, Bill Paxton and The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal. It’s set in an Atlas facility that has been overrun by brain-munchers, and unfortunately for you, many of them are wearing exo suits.

Like Black Ops Zombies, Outbreak supports up to four players in co-op, and you’ll need to work together to overcome the horrors of the Atlas labs. This mode ditches the ability to block zombie spawn zones with wooden planks, and it creates a more immediate pace where the enemies just keep coming with a short breather between rounds.

Credits are earned by harming and killing zombies, and you’ll need to rack up a decent tally to buy new guns, upgrade existing loadouts and power generators to unlock more of the map. Your team doesn’t even start off with exo suits, and instead, must progress far enough to obtain them.

There’s still a great deal of trial and error at play here, because it won’t be immediately apparent what order you should be doing things in, or indeed what all of the unlockables do. For example, a decontamination zone will go unused for a few rounds, but as you near the tenth wave you’ll encounter exo zombies surrounded by a thick green haze.

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Linger near these too long and you’ll become infected. The only way to shrug off the virus in time is to visit the decontamination zone and pay 250 credits to heal yourself, or anyone else standing in the area. This adds another welcome layer of urgency and chaos to the mix.

The zombies themselves are fast, and the exo variety can boost jump to higher ground. This means you’re never truly safe, and keeps the cat and mouse nature of the mode running nicely. You’ll also encounter electric zombies that exo slam into the ground to cause big damage, and those forever-annoying zombie dogs that can easily swarm in numbers.

It’s a great mode that benefits from some classic Black Ops power ups like hyper-damage, which enables one-shot kills, score multipliers, reload tokens, and the occasional care package drop from Atlas. There’s a great level of bonuses being doled out at a solid speed to keep you hooked, and the challenges start to spike early so seasoned zombie slayers needn’t worry about being coddled.

The banter between all four characters can be fun, but the way your character pitches into the conversation even when you’re far from your squadmates and unable to hear what they’re saying can prove jarring. However, there are some funny moments in there that usually come from Malkovich – a paranoid janitor who seems very fond of conspiracy theories.

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If you’ve played Black Ops Zombies before then you already know what to expect in Outbreak, but the addition of exo suits on both sides shakes up the format enough to keep it fresh. Gun upgrades also make for some killer weaponry once you hit higher levels – try levelling the Bulldog shotgun for some real power, and the challenge gets brutal past level ten.

It’ll be interesting to see where the story progresses from here, because while we won’t spoil things for you, there’s definitely something bigger going on behind the outbreak.

To read Dave’s impressions of the new multiplayer Havoc maps, click here

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