Today we’re doing something we haven’t done before in our Premature Evaluation series by analyzing a mode within a game. Unless you count the horrors of futuristic warfare, Call of Duty: Black Ops II isn’t a horror game. I prefer Treyarch’s half of the Call of Duty series for a number of reasons, the biggest being the fantastic Zombies modes. In World At War, it was a neat little bonus, something to keep you entertained after you finished the main story. Then Black Ops came along and nearly turned it into its own game — something I really think they should consider doing — and with Black Ops II, Treyarch is proving once again they aren’t out of ideas.
Head past the break for TJ and my evaluation of the mode, if you dare.
Adam: Visually, I can’t say I’m too excited about the game. The problem is, even though the Call of Duty franchise has never been a slouch in the visuals department, the games have been using the same engine since Modern Warfare, back in 2007.
TJ: Yeah I think it’s unfuckingbelievable they haven’t stepped up visually. I mean look at some of the games now and the engines they run on. I don’t want to feel like I’m playing an original Xbox game. The Call Of Duty franchise has made money than any other game in history, and they can’t ramp up the graphics? Theoretically every new Call Of Duty game should visually make me want to cry. Well, I still cry, but because I’m so saddened by the graphics.
Adam: I honestly thought they would have by now, though really, it’s not that surprising they haven’t. The games sell tens of millions of copies, and each installment has managed to consistently outsell the last. To Activision, this probably translates to “Obviously the gamers don’t care that our games look aged, so why should we spend the extra cash to develop a new engine?”
TJ: I totally see that point of view. I would however look at it as “Why wouldn’t I want to make the most beautiful looking games out there?” They apparently are only looking at it from a money standpoint. Which they have no shortage of.
TJ: I felt like the gunplay in the original game didn’t feel right. Going from the regular game to zombies mode felt like a total downgrade. I’m almost curious if they did that on purpose to make you feel more threatened, and to make it feel more survival horror’esque. When I would play zombies I would wish it was easier to get headshots and kill zombies. And while I did wish that, if it was made easier in Black Ops 2 would it not feel the same?
Adam: I didn’t have the same problem with the shooting — it still feels polished and finely tuned like a Call of Duty game should, but at the same time it felt like they made it just a wee bit more difficult to fight. I like that. I think if you were able to mow down the undead hordes, it’d be less scary when you’re surrounded with now means of escape. I’m also a big fan of the weapon caches you need to interact with to get your new weapons. The element of unpredictability in not knowing what gun is going to come out is fun. You could get an awful, useless weapon, or one of the best weapons in the game.
Then, of course, there’s the new Custom Games feature, where you can create your own matches and tailor them to how you like to play. You can set it so only headshots kill, turn off special items — the possibilities are practically endless.
TJ: I like the idea of customizing your games, but I also hate it. I’m leaning way more towards keeping it completely out of the game. Take Halo’s Firefight Mode for example. In Halo 3: ODST you couldn’t really customize anything but what map you were on and the difficulty. But in Halo: Reach you could customize the shit out of it. Go online, play with a bunch of assholes who don’t care about working together. I hated it. I never wanted to play Firefight anymore. Whereas in ODST my friends and I played the hell out of Firefight. I think the addition may hurt my experience, so I’m not into it.
Adam: That’s why I only either play Firefight with friends or in the multiplayer playlist where it can’t be customized by the trolls that lurk over Xbox Live.
I don’t think letting us customize our experiences is going to hurt the game in any way. It’s just another way to make it our own, to play with it and have fun with the tools Treyarch has provided. Sure, there are going to be people who abuse it, but I won’t be anywhere near them, so I don’t care.
TJ: That’s true, maybe I’ll just keep it close. Friends only.
Adam: Now this is where it’s at. Call of Duty is all about the multiplayer, and the Zombies mode is no different. The classic and insanely addicting four-player cooperative Survival mode is back, but this time around Treyarch has added a brand spanking new Grief mode that adds an element of competition. In Grief, two teams of four fight to survive against the undead hordes with the sole mission of outlasting the other team. To do this, you’ll be able to grief the other players (you can’t shoot them, so you’ll have to get creative). Treyarch’s been mum on the details, but it sounds incredible.
TJ: Grief Mode sounds incredible. That’s something I feel a lot of multiplayers are lacking. Not Grief Mode in particular, but spicy new modes in general. But yes, I totally agree the regular multiplayer definitely shines above most others especially in Zombies Mode. I played quite a bit of Zombies by myself and god damn it it was a nightmare. It almost seems without all 4 players working ever so diligently together, you’re absolutely fudged.
Adam: I love fudge and I can appreciate a spicy multiplayer mode.
The last new mode is called Tranzit, and like Survival, it’s all about the co-op. In it, you and up to three comrades will try to clear the biggest zombie-infested world Treyarch has crafted for the Zombies mode so far. It sounds similar to Left 4 Dead, in that you’re working together to clear an area of monsters, and sprinkled about the maps are various defense points that must be cleared before your team can progress to the next level.
TJ: That sounds AWESOME. Sounds very tactical, almost how I would picture the FPS Walking Dead video game playing out. Which I am also very excited for.
Adam: I enjoyed the Zombie offerings from the previous two games, so I’m guaranteed to love this outing. With a campaign, the co-op Survival mode that I love, and the new competitive mode — Black Ops II’s Zombie mode is destined to be the greatest one yet. But seriously, Treyarch, hurry up and turn this into a standalone game.
TJ: Yeah enough messing around with REAL Call Of Duty games. Give us what we really want. I would gladly pay 60 bones for a full on crazy wicked awesome balls out Black Ops Zombies game. Almost every aspect of Zombies mode sounds good. So long as they stick someone to the track they have already been on, this should be incredible.
Missed a day? Check out the rest of the 13 Days of Horror:
Day 1: The 12 Best Weapons In Horror Games, Part 1
Day 2: The 12 Best Weapons In Horror Games, Part 2
Day 4: Why 2012 Has Been The Best (And Worst) Year For Horror
Day 5: 12 Horror Games To Look Forward To Next Year, Part 1
Day 6: 12 Horror Games To Look Forward To Next Year, Part 2
Day 7: Eight Games You Should Play This Halloween
Day 8: Dear Capcom, This Is What I Want In Resident Evil 7
Day 9: 12 Upcoming Zombie Games To Be Excited About, Part 1
Day 10: 12 Upcoming Zombie Games To Be Excited About, Part 2
Day 11: Why We Love Zombie Games
Day 11: Why We Love Zombie Games
Day 12: Comment To Win A Copy Of Resident Evil 6 And Other Awesome Swag
Day 13: Don’t Be Scared, It’s Just A Dead Pixels Halloween Podcast