‘Zombies in Spaceland’
At the Call of Duty XP event, one fixture stands out the most — Zombies in Spaceland.
Not only does it house demo stations for the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare minigame, but a full-on laser tag arena as well. It’s almost like…Activision knows that its zombie mode is huge or something.
Since Actvision shut down any requests to capture footage for Zombies in Spaceland, you’re going to have to deal with good old fashioned writeups for a little while outside of the reveal trailer above — which you should totally watch for context. Done? Well, somehow this is even wackier than putting Jeff Goldblum into a Cthulhuian world, as David Hasselhoff and Paul Reubens serve as the hosts of sorts, with Seth Green, Ike Barinholtz, Jay Pharoah, and Asheer Zamata in the role of the four playable characters.
Spaceland is doubling down on the weirdness, starting up with a “Let’s all go to the Lobby” cartoon playing during the ready-up screen and culminating in a ton of that classic esoteric Easter egg goodness that usually plagues the zombie mode these days. One thing that really stands out though is the atmosphere. The demonic theme was a pretty steadfast trope from World at War on, but this is the first time it truly feels different. It’s not just the neon signs or the dialogue, but everything inside and out, from the soundtrack that plays songs like Run DMCs “King of Rock” to the new melee animations (including a punch or a slap instead of the knife), to the substitution of clowns instead of dogs as minibosses.
The addition of supers is fun too (initiated by pressing L1+R1 on PS4), as several of them impact your team directly, like a Team Fortress 2 style beam that protects players you’re in close proximity too. They aren’t just boring one-off abilities either, as they’re tied directly into a deck of cards that you can mix and match, or pay cash in-game during a round to re-shuffle. I thankfully had time to play several matches, and managed to discover new things each time. One of the standout activities is the roller coaster, which you can embark upon with other teammates, shooting other targets and enemy zombies while riding.
I didn’t really connect with any of the characters outside of Seth Green’s over-the-top “geek” archetype (he’s the one with the slap melee), but Paul Ruebens does an excellent job as the host (probably the best so far), and The Hoff, well, he’s The Hoff, and plays some kicking tunes, so he’s cool too. It’s a minor complaint, but since the enemies were so much brighter (which is generally great) I did have some issues identifying my teammates at times.
Don’t get it twisted though — Zombies in Spaceland is still zombies. Infinity Ward didn’t exactly re-invent the wheel, they just took Treyarch’s tires and fastened them on their own vehicle, but it works. There still seem to be a ton of secrets to find, and even with my roughly hour long play session (which consisted of several rounds on a timer for a special demo build) I was still locating new mechanics like basketball carnival games to play and tokens and tickets to turn in for new items.
I just really hope that Infinity Ward continues the adventures of this gang with future DLC, and doesn’t go the route of Black Ops III, introducing an awesome new Hollywood cast and subsequently going back to the same World at War crew we’ve seen since 2008.
[Disclaimer: Travel was provided to the event by Activision.]