Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Zombies Hands-On Preview

Ned Jordan
In Short
Hands-on time with Zombies in Spaceland at Call of Duty XP.

Zombies mode is returning in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and attendees at Call of Duty XP were given the opportunity to take the mode for a test drive. If you played Zombies in Black Ops III, then you'll be at home the moment that you jump into the Infinite Warfare version, at least in terms of the basic gameplay. The setting is completely new in Infinite Warfare; the gritty urban cityscape has given way to an amusement park and the clock has been rolled forward to the 1980s. The amusement park is dubbed Spaceland in a nod to Infinite Warfare's off-world focus, but it's strictly an Earth-bound, space-themed amusement park right out of the latter half of the 20th Century. The colors are brighter than those of the dimly lit streets in Black Ops III's zombie mode, but the blue, pink, and purple palette avoids crossing over into the neon end of the spectrum. The zombies look like they were recruited at an open casting call for 80s stereotypical characters, so you'll be facing everything from day-glow 80s fashionistas to Mohawk-sporting punk rockers. Completing the 80s atmosphere is a soundtrack drawn from some of the touchstone pop hits of the era.

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When you start a new game of Zombies your first directive is to restore power to the park, and, of course, the game doesn't give you any direction on how to go about doing that. The opening area of Zombies in Spaceland is larger than it was in Black Ops III, so it doesn't have that claustrophobic feel to it that the narrow alleyway in the previous game did. As we opened new areas it quickly became apparent that Spaceland is a good-sized amusement park with different areas that had their own sub-themes and specialty rides. The environments were a mix of open areas and tight pedestrian trails, so you'll be challenged to adjust your team's tactics as you traverse the park.

Power-ups are still available and zombies will drop items on occasion, so you'll still have the satisfaction of saving the team from certain doom with a life-saving nuke. Since you're in an amusement park, you'll be able to collect prize tickets that can be exchanged for more powerful weapons and arcade tokens that can be dropped into vending machines. There's also a card system in the game that lets you select a card from your hand to play when powered-up. The cards have different effects like giving you limited use of a special weapon with infinite ammo or causing zombies to burst into flames when you take them out. There were also hints of mysteries to solve beyond restoring power to the park ' we ran into a robot in need of a head, but unfortunately weren't able to find his noggin in the limited time we had with the game.

To keep players moving through the demo area, the difficulty level of Zombies in Spaceland at Call of Duty XP was set pretty low and my team had no trouble staying alive until the demo timer expired, so my time with the game was more of a way to preview the setting and environment than it was to get a good feel as to how it would play when the game ships. It also seemed that the cost of the weapons was discounted for the demo, as we were quickly able to get our hands on some of the powerful futuristic weapons found in the game's multiplayer mode. I suspect things will become a lot more challenging in the final version that is released. Overall, though, it was an intriguing peek into the next entry in the Zombie mode series and I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time in Spaceland.

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Transmitted: 12/14/2018 5:53:35 PM