Activision has opted for an alternate marketing tactic in the run up to Escalation, Call of Duty: Black Ops' second DLC pack, thrusting its co-operative Zombies mode into the limelight.
Call of the Dead doesn't reinvent the entire Zombies gametype, but it does add a nice bit of variety to the roster - the real twist to the normal Zombies rhythm is that Call of the Dead has an undead and virtually invulnerable George Romero chasing you around.
There are also a couple of new additions, but it's a shame Treyarch doesn't employ the same individuality with its characters inside the mode as we see in a lavish introductory sequence. Players are teased a celebrity quintet cast, and scenes of Danny Trejo sporting machetes and Michael Rooker with double shotguns, before having everyone start on round 1 clutching their pistols - failing to fully incorporate the spirit of the introduction is a missed opportunity.
But while you might get lured in by the grindhouse glitz of Call of the Dead, you're more than likely to stick around for the adversarial maps. On this front Black Ops' staple multiplayer modes are bolstered with a cache of four: Hotel, Convoy, Zoo, and Stockpile.
As for the adversarial maps, well, there are still a few too many gimmicks in Escalation for my tastes - Stockpile's garage doors are very much Escalation's useless ziplines - but there's plenty of variety on offer, and the quintet of new competitive maps will slot extremely nicely into the broader rotation. Call of the Dead is an interesting addition, too, and despite not capitalising on the full potential of the cast it's still a noticeable and enjoyable change in pace from what's come before.
Virgin Media verdict:
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