‘Wait there are multiple storylines?’ – most people
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 just dropped its third DLC zombies map, and it’s a doozy.
I won’t go too far down the rabbit hole, but suffice to say it’s going to keep zombies players talking for a while.
“Alpha Omega” seeks to tie together two major storylines of the Call of Duty zombie saga. Long story short, the Chaos story kicked off with the new Kiefer Sutherland-led crew from Black Ops 4, but there’s also “Primis” and “Ultimis” versions of the original four zombie characters: Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai. Treyarch has always struggled with keeping the zombie community happy by balancing old with the new, and this BO4 zombie DLC seems like a good compromise.
Personally I’ve always favored that newness, as fresh faces like Jeff Goldblum being thrown around every few years made things interesting. That said, it is very cool that the series has been tying everything together, even tangentially, since the mode was introduced in Call of Duty: World at War in 2008. A re-imagined version of Nuketown Zombies seems like a nice way to do that, with some of the Apothicon/Shadow Man Cthulian madness we saw in the aforementioned Goldblum-verse back in Black Ops III.
Alpha Omega is pretty familiar once you zone in, but quickly evolves into the multi-layered zombie experience that’s typical of a Treyarch joint. While many are dismissive of the Call of Duty engine in any given era (fairly, it is typically behind the times), I’ve always respected how Treyarch manages to stretch them. They’ve packed in so many little details over the years, whether it’s messages scrawled on the wall or what have you, crammed into each map.
Easter eggs are once again a major focus of Alpha Omega, with an intriguing access code deciphering puzzle, Ray Gun Mark II frame customization, and a giant underground bunker to explore. I’ve said this time and time again, but ever since Treyarch added in the ability to “beat” a zombies map and unlock special endings that link future settings, the game changed. A lot of folks don’t really understand the whole draw of zombies all these years later, but that’s really it. Although many of the thousands of lore videos out there are based on pure speculation, you could fill multiple movies with the amount of info buried within each zombie map.
It’s gotten to the point where celebrity guests, Ghostbuster-esque proton pack weapons, and innocuous Americana go hand-in-hand, but the absurdity of it all is why I adore it. Here we have this massive ridiculous web of zombie lore, insane neon weaponry, and gumball power-ups that make you run faster. When juxtaposed to the often muted aesthetics of modern military shooters, it stands out: as long as you’re willing to work for it.
[These impressions are based on a retail version of the season pass provided by the publisher.]