It's taken years, but Infinity Ward has finally acquiesced to developing a Zombies mode. Playable solo or with up to four friends, this year's mode launches with one map - Zombies in Spaceland - which is set in a theme park in the 1980s. The basic gist is that you're one of four aspiring actors who 'earn' their way into starring in a horror movie directed by a sadistic director. The aesthetic and sound effects are all on-point, and it's fun to blast zombies while licensed tunes of the 80s rock the airwaves.
Like other Zombies modes, you will defend an area from waves of zombies, then slowly move through Spaceland, restoring power and unlocking new areas to toy around in. Each area of the park is unique, such as the Spaceland Arcade which contains actual arcade games to play! Playing these games earn you tickets, which can be used to buy special items from kiosks around the map. Other areas include fun traps, like igniting zombies under a rocket engine, or using a yeti's breath to freeze them. I was particularly fond of my co-op partners inadvertently killing themselves in the bumper car ride.
Getting decent at the arcade games is actually fairly important. If you get killed, you're sent to an area where you have to play games to earn a respawn token, getting you back into the action. It's a fun idea that plays off the theme well. When you respawn, there's also a Lost & Found in the map, so you can retrieve your old weapons at a small cost.
While the basic loop of rolling through the map, boarding up entrances, and surviving zombie waves is pretty darn fun, it's a bit frustrating that some of the coolest bits of Zombies in Spaceland are locked behind discovering craftable Wonder Weapons or finishing the map's Easter Egg. While I'm all for cool secrets being hidden in a game, the steps seem a little too obtuse for any casual group to complete. If you have a regular crew rolling, that's a different story.
The secrets are fun to chase down, but most of the time you'll want to simply see how long you can last, and that's where it becomes necessary to master the various ways to upgrade your character. Since the zombies get stronger with each wave, the most important thing you can do is unlock the Pack-a-Punch room by restoring power to the park. Here, you can exchange any weapon you are carrying for a much more potent version.
Each section of the park has a candy machines that you can buy perks from, such as Blue Bolts, which make you shoot electricity in a radius while you reload, or the Mule Munchies, which let you carry a third weapon around. Snagging perks will end up being very important, especially since one of them allows you to revive your teammates faster.
Prior to the match, you'll also select a loadout of five Fate & Fortune Cards, which you can consume for several helpful effects. By shooting enough zombies, you'll fill a meter which allows you to select one of your cards to burn. In return, you'll get a nice temporary buff, like faster grenade recharge or making your team invisible to zombies for 20 seconds. Fate Cards are unlocked through your overall player level and can be used in every match. Fortune Cards are earned randomly in Zombie Crates that you purchase with the keys you receive from completing Zombies matches and are expended upon use.
Zombies only launched with the one map, but the Season Pass promises more content over the coming months. There's a lot to discover, so the map should keep you entertained for quite a while.
Nick’s Take On Zombies
I’ve played every CoD game’s zombie mode to date, and since World at War I’ve been sold that this mode should be a stand alone game in itself. While CoD Zombies evolved with Treyarch to it’s own side story loaded with famous actors to quip one liners, Infinity Ward’s version feels a bit more generic. I think a lot of the core ideas are available here, but Zombies in Spaceland doesn’t seem to implement the same risk vs reward type gameplay of the previous zombies modes. The wide open twisting nature of the park combined with the portals gives it more of an offensive feel, rather than defensive. Still, there’s a lot to like here and as Mike said more maps are coming via DLC - so we can see where Infinity Ward takes us.
Taken as a whole, Infinite Warfare is a fairly solid package. I personally had a great deal of fun with the single-player campaign, and I've put a lot more time into Zombies in Spaceland than I thought I was going to. If Infinity Ward can keep the new content interesting, I'll be happy to keep up. And if not? There's always Modern Warfare Remastered...
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was reviewed using a retail copy of the game provided to us by Activision.
The Co-Op Experience: ‘Zombies in Spaceland’ is a survival co-op mode separate from the main single-player only campaign. Immersing players in an all-new 1980s setting with a most excellent soundtrack from the era, Zombies in Spaceland transports fans into an original, action-packed storyline where they’ll fight as one of four classic ‘80s characters, and battle the living dead in a space-themed amusement park full of deadly zombies, fun attractions and much more.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.