Tortured Path: A Step in the Right Direction for Call of Duty Zombies

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It's that time again. The time when Call of Duty releases another piece of DLC. Recently, DLC for CoD: WW2 came out for the other two systems. The DLC is titled United Front, and just like the rest it includes for multiplayer maps (one of which is for the war mode) and a zombie map. But something is different this time. This time, the zombies mode has been changed up. Instead of one map, there are three and instead of infinite rounds, there are only eleven for each map. Something has changed, and in my opinion, it is for the better.

Over a year ago from this writing, I wrote about my thoughts on CoD zombies. I wrote one piece about how much I loved it, and I wrote one piece about the ugly side of zombies. So by now it's no secret that I like CoD zombies. Or I did rather. As the years and the games go on, they keep coming back to zombies and they keep doing the same thing for the most part. The maps, weapons, and themes are different, but the structure is the same. Because of that, I have grown tired of zombies. Now, I only really have a passive interest in zombies. All I want to do is look at how to complete the easter egg (not because I want to try, but because I enjoy seeing how creative the steps can be), and call it at that. That is where Tortured Path comes in.

Tortured Path is the name of the zombie map (or maps rather) that make up DLC three. It released on June 26th for PS4 and July 26th for Xbox One and PC (I'm playing on PC, which is why I am talking about it now and not a month ago). Instead of playing in a single map that throws the horde at you until you crack, you play on three smaller maps. Each map consists of eleven waves. Every third wave has you completing a mission, where not completing it in time ends the game. The tenth wave is a boss fight, and not completing that in time ends the game. The final wave is extraction, where you have one minute to survive, and at the end you stand in a small zone to extract. If you win, you unlock the next map. I am not sure on this part, but you have to play the maps sequentially in a public match, but in solo or a custom match you can choose to play any map you want. That is the basic structure of all three maps, but there is so much more.

The three maps are pretty basic and small. This first one is a small village with a windmill.

The three maps are pretty basic and small. This first one is a small village with a windmill.

There is a new rank that increases damage as well as zombie unpredictability as you rank up, weapons drop from completing objectives and killing larger enemies, zombies are much more difficult (ex. round one zombies in Tortured Path are more and faster), and the map is open which means no doors. But the key ingredient to this new experience is randomness. Objectives on every third round is random, weapon wall buys are random, batteries used to charge up pack-a-punch are randomly placed, and maybe more. Long story short, Tortured Path is a more randomized objective-based set of maps compared to the endless onslaught of the other maps. 

So, why is this worth talking about? As each game and new map goes on, I start to notice the flaws of the series and start finding things I dislike about the game mode. The mode feels like a time sink, it doesn't take long to find an exact pattern that will keep you alive until you quit from boredom, and the easter egg, while interesting and fun to try, doesn't offer a great incentive or reward for the time sink. So in the end (for me), I play the map a few times, figure exactly what I have to do to survive until I get bored and leave, and then never really come back because I have no reason to. That is where Tortured Path comes in.

Instead of sinking a crazy amount of time into a map, this mode lasts about twenty minutes. Instead of knowing which gun to buy and where to be to survive until the sun burns out, the wall buys are random and random objectives happen where not doing them fails the match. Instead of gradually increasing the difficulty of zombies, you start out with a more difficult horde that ramps up more each round. And now, you are getting a rank (and you are still leveling up your normal rank too) that increases unpredictability and damage. It's the whole zombies experience squeezed into twenty minutes that throws curve balls at you to make sure you don't get too comfortable. This is the step in the right direction.

The three maps of Tortured Path.

The three maps of Tortured Path.

Not everything is perfect with this new piece of DLC though. The biggest complaint I have with it is that it isn't random enough. There are too few objective types, battery locations for pack-a-punch don't change enough, and the only time any of the maps ever change is that one of the maps have slow moving vehicles that block certain paths. Also, I don't like that you can't play map two or three in a public lobby separately. You have to play each map sequentially, and not just choose to play any one map. I get that this is probably for easter egg reasons, but I think having the ability to play any map I want publicly should also be offered. Finally, some of the missions should be balanced better. The V.I.Z. missions (which has you stopping a zombie with high health before reaching a destination) is unfair because of how short the distance is, and as for repair missions (which has you repairing radios around the map, but each repair requires some time to repair), I think you should still be able to repair while getting hit.

Am I saying this new mode is exactly what I am looking for in the zombies and should be in every map from now-on? No. I already know Black Ops 4 is going to have more normal maps, and I don't think this experience is by any means perfect. I would like to have a different mode than this one, but what that difference is I don't know. But I think Tortured Path is a good direction for the zombies game mode. I think it's time we go more towards a shorter, more randomized experience with zombies (even though I know it isn't going to come to that). I don't think the normal experience should be completely dropped, but I think mixing up the experience is best. Call of Duty is now at a time where this zombies game mode is more set-in-stone than singleplayer (think about that), which means we are going to see a LOT more zombies in the near future. So the question I ask is do you want the same thing as before, or do you want to see something new with the mode? 

What are your thoughts about the new DLC? As always, put them in the comments below. And as always, thank you all for reading.