You’re looking a little tense, Call of Duty. Like you’re sitting on a secret of some kind. I think I can guess the nature of that secret. Oh, your close-cropped scalp and rifle-mounted PDA scream “military shooter”, but is that a touch of gangrene I notice hanging off your ear? A peppering of large intestine around your mouth? And what’s this pressing, inescapable stench of decay and pestilence? Come to think of it, why are you eating my leg?
Treyarch’s Black Ops 2 is a welcome refresh for all sorts of reasons. The new multiplayer Wildcards, for instance, are designed to play havoc with the class system handed down from Infinity Ward. The presence of bonkers-sounding real-time strategy missions, meanwhile, should make for a more replayable campaign. But it’s the new, improved Zombies Mode which promises to really blow the competition out of the water, smearing sizzling hot undead action across an apocalyptic open world. Here’s some more info to chew on.
1. The bus is your fortress
Black Ops 2 Zombie Mode’s centrepiece is Tranzit, the aforesaid open world mash-up. It breaks down into five maps – a bus terminal, a roadside diner, a farm, a power plant and a city – linked by roads which can be traversed on foot (if you’re feeling adventurous in a suicidal kind of way) or by way of a roaring great rust-covered bus, bristling with makeshift defences. I’m not sure you’ll be able to drive the bus, but you sure as hell can defend it – zombies will clamber up the sides, break through the windows and even stand on the roof. The hope is that you’ll be able to customise the vehicle, spending cash on things like barricades, as you would a Black Ops map.
2. You don’t have to be where the action is (but you probably will be)
We’re told that players will be able to roam freely across the world of Tranzit, regardless of what their comrades are doing. Splitting up could be to your team’s advantage at times, as it’s suggested that returning map fixtures like the weapon-randomising Mystery Boxes will move around, even jumping between areas.
3. Building for a better tomorrow
There comes a time in any post-apocalyptic scenario – a time to declare an end to all the shooting and stabbing and melting, a time to rebuild. If it helps, you’ll be able to shoot/stab/melt things by building in Black Ops 2’s Zombies Mode. Treyarch has expanded the map unlock system of prior Zombies Modes into what smells strongly like a Dead-Island-esque crafting system. You can rip the doors off cars, for instance, strap them to a frame and use the results as a riot shield (by the looks of the video below, the services of a workbench of some description will be required). Some of these “buildables” will be portable, some won’t, some are for zombie-bopping and some aren’t. It’s all pleasantly mysterious.
4. Tranzit shares maps with Survival Mode
In a sneaky bit of cost-cutting, Treyarch has adapted areas from Tranzit to serve as maps in old-style Survival mode. They’re not one and the same map, mind – in the words of lead designer Jimmy Zielinski (via G4) “the play spaces… have been retooled with new layouts and features sets that create a unique experience from the story mode.”
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