Now, I'm not one to stir up hype (!), especially about a Call of Duty title (!). I also don't buy games that are scary or gory (!), and I don't play PC games (!). So now that we've gotten that out of the way, I can start my impressions post!
Obviously, my tastes have changed a little bit in the last year, and my shallow love for Call of Duty: World at War and its Nazi Zombie mode is still running strong. However...there's no denying that Treyarch has really outdone themselves and delivered more high-quality content. Even if World at War never lives up to its Modern Warfare big brother(s), the Nazi Zombie mode continues to guarantee its spot in gaming history.
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Map Pack 1 took 5-10 minutes to download, depending on the time of day and if the download was interrupted by, say, a wife who wants to make a cowboy outfit for her Avatar. Once downloaded, I took advantage of the Double XP Weekend and jumped into the "Map Pack" playlists. (Treyarch included a title update that fixed a few glitches and added five playlists for the new maps, so that you could play through them without the usual long rotation.)
The new maps are solid, and they're reminiscent of areas from the single player game that had not yet been featured in multiplayer. But enough about competitive modes! My brother (GT: domiNateN55) and I decided to try out the new Nazi Zombie map just once before I had to log off. That once turned into thrice without even blinking.
The first thing I noticed was the improved visuals. I doubt that the engine was changed at all, but the lighting and effects that were added far exceed Nacht der Untoten. Zombie Verrückt takes place in a heavily modified version of multiplayer map "Asylum". The forest surrounding the asylum perpetually burns, and the early-morning light filters into the windows to cast an fiery orange glow...which directly contrasts with Nacht der Untoten's ghostly blue. Zombies approaching from the forest have a glow about them that really shows off the detail put into this engine. Furthermore, the daytime lighting brings out the colorful effects when heads are being gibbed by bolt-action rifles and double-barrel shotguns. There are way more "ew!" moments this time around...and it's awesome.
When playing with two players, you start together in a corner cluster of rooms; altogether, there are four access points for the zombies to enter. Two of those points face the inner courtyard of the map, where you can see the generator room glowing, and you can watch the undead pull themselves from the ground. It's fairly chilling to see the gout of dirt spew up, and then watch a zombie struggle to free himself; once clear, he makes his way toward you, either shambling or running.
Don't be surprised to hear new grunts and moans - Treyarch recording all-new sound effects for the gurgling zombies, and even added dialogue to the players. Pop a headshot and you'll hear any one of a half dozen semi-humorous one-liners, including the simple exclamation, "Sweet!".
In addition to the extra detail, Zombie Verrückt is ten times more dangerous: zombies cannot come from the ground within the complex -- as we once feared -- and can only break through the walls at certain access points that can be rebuilt...which we've seen before in the HELP room on Nacht der Untoten. However, where they can come through they do with much more ferocity. For example: they will now reach through the windows and grab you if you're close enough. At the end of the third wave, we removed the couch from the stairs and made our way upstairs and closer to the generator room. Before we could activate it, however, I witnessed a zombie run up the courtyard steps and literally vault the sandbags at the top! I've seen a lot of crazy things in Left 4 Dead, but I've never seen a zombie one-hand it over an obstacle like this!
The two of us made it to wave 4 once and wave 8 twice. To say we were rattled is an understatement. Sure, it will wear off after a few more rounds, but the new sound effects and the upgraded speed and determination of the zombies made it much more harrowing. Grabbing power-ups now comes with an evil announcement that is quite distracting. Zombie Verrückt directly competes with Nacht der Untoten in terms of overall creepiness, but cranks up the speed and the close calls. Where the previous map was about sticking together and defending yourselves, you are now charged with objectives...more often than not, you will escape by the skin of your teeth.
Adding a third or fourth player separates the teams into two locations, and you'll find yourself stealing kills from the other team for points. Once the two teams meet up, though, it becomes a more decidedly co-op experience.
I highly recommend Zombie Verrückt if you're a fan of Nacht der Untoten, despite their differences. This feels like a true sequel experience to an already decent mini-game. The $10 price tag may be too hefty for some, but if you have the extra points to spend, it's well worth it.