Now, as seen in my previous entry, my experience with zombies in Call of Duty overall has been great. Treyarch knows how to release zombies well and even Infinity Ward is doing a decent job with their zombies series in Infinite Warfare. But the one I did not touch on was the mess that is Exo Zombies in Advanced Warfare. I wanted to talk about Exo zombies because of my previous entry but also because Call of Duty: World War 2 info has been released recently and Sledgehammer-the same company involved with making Advanced Warfare-has announced a zombies mode in their new Call of Duty. This entry will not be about how I feel about the new Call of Duty, but how I felt about Exo zombies. Hopefully, Sledgehammer learned their mistakes from Advanced Warfare zombies, but only time will tell.
Please keep in mind that my experience with Exo zombies is limited. I have only played the first map a few times and have seen plenty of gameplay videos of the other maps. This is based off of recent video watchings and memory. But from what I have played and seen compared to all of the other zombies maps, I can say with confidence that this is the worst zombies in any Call of Duty to date.
Where to begin. I will give credit to Sledgehammer for trying out something new. Trying to stray from the rest of the zombies and try to be a new experience. The problem with the mode is that the experience of Exo zombies was bad. Even from a perspective of being new to the whole Call of Duty zombies mode, this mode was bad. Everything about was bland, full of stupid obstacles, and had some multiplayer mechanics that just spoiled the experience all-the-more. Let's start with the bland part.
A lot of Exo zombies was not exciting. Many of the other zombies maps where a lot of fun to explore. Whether it be a western town buried underneath the dirt and rock, Alcatraz prison, Shangri-La, or even the moon, most maps where colorful, creative, and unique. Not this iteration though. This one took place in such areas as an Atlas facility, a burger shop, a destroyer vessel, and another facility, but underwater. But it doesn't stop there. The game has five credible actors and actresses involved with the different characters. Such actors as John Malkovich, John Bernthal, Rose Mcgowan, Bill Paxton, and even Bruce Campbell are the characters in Exo zombies. But not only are the characters themselves boring, their voice lines are bland too. They sound like their in a recording studio, not in a zombie infested world fighting for their lives. With the other characters like Richtofen, Takeo, Dempsey, and Nikolai, you hear them get into their characters and you hear their change in attitude towards zombies as they get older. I don't hear, see, or feel that in these characters. What else was bland was the story. I didn't mind the story being straightforward. I think that the Treyarch zombies story is good, but is also a complex mess that just tangled itself up more and more as the years progressed. I even enjoy the straightforward plot of Infinite Warfare zombies. That plot is actually fun, as for some devilish, outdated director of older horror films throws the four characters into his movies to relive them. But the story in this version is just boring. I would've not even put a story into Exo zombies in the first place. The story is that their are four Atlas employees who work as their guinea pigs for their experiment that caused the outbreak. Along the way, you get picked up by other forces, and the game ends with you working with those other forces, stopping the virus, and continue fighting Atlas. I would say that this doesn't have a big impact, but it still leaves me confused in one area. Halfway through the story, Bruce Campbell's character kills John Malkoviche's character. So why is it that by the end, the rest of the crew completely trusts Campbell? Why not just shoot him when they had the chance?
The next aspect was that game was full stupid obstacles. What do I mean by that? What I mean is that the game tries to make itself harder over time, as it should, but in some very dumb ways. Some maps included a toxic gas that would fill certain rooms and deny the player entry without dying. I'm guessing the purpose of this is to get players out of their comfort zones, but ended up being an annoyance more than anything. Also in certain maps are civilians to rescue. You actually have to follow them on a direct path while fighting zombies to protect that person and yourself. Failure to do so will have small consequences. Again, just another annoyance that just adds another burden to the game. Also, some hits will get you infected. If you do get infected, you have sixty seconds to run to a detox station and get rid of that virus. Failure to do so ends with you dying. One final burden that I will say in this paragraph is the gun upgrading station. With other zombies, spending 5000 points will get you a huge upgrade to your gun that will keep the gun strong for many rounds. Sledgehammer's approach to this was making an upgrade station that only slightly upgrades your gun. So if you pick up a weapon in a late round, you will have to keep upgrading it over and over just to keep the weapon decently powerful. Just so many burdens and obstacles to deal with. Their are still many more, but I will touch on them in the next paragraph.
One final aspect that really showed Exo zombies digging a deeper whole was leaning into multiplayer mechanics. By the final map of Exo zombies, it was hard to tell if you were playing zombies or multiplayer. On the map 'Carrier,' enemies spawn into the game and plant bombs on the ship. And I'm talking about alive soldiers, not zombies. Not defusing the bomb in time(which also makes you vulnerable,) will cause the area to be gassed. Not only are their now enemy soldiers with guns in zombies, but their purpose in the map is to gas areas. The whole point of zombies is that it strayed from competitive gunplay and stuck with cooperation against the zombie hordes. On top of that, you can spawn in your own soldier squad to help fight against zombies and soldiers. Should I expect a scoreboard and a timer in the game as well? Hey, where's my double kill?! But in all seriousness, why are their guys with guns spawning in? I love zombies, but I feel it should be a different experience than the rest of Call of Duty, not the same.
Call of Duty zombies is mostly a great side mode that has soared in popularity over the years. For the most part, Call of Duty zombies has been great, but one game leaves a dark stain to that title, like a parking violation to a clean record. If you are planning on trying out Call of Duty zombies for yourself, I say great! Just turn a blind eye to Advanced Warfare when you do.