On March 19, Activision will be releasing a new map pack for Call of Duty: World at War. Three of these maps--Nightfire, Station, and Knee Deep--will be for use in the game's standard competitive multiplayer mode. But a fourth map included in this DLC pack has a bit of a lurching, undead twist to it. Yes, a new zombie map is on its way to complement Nacht Der Untoten, the one that players who've beaten the campaign have already unlocked. Known as Zombie Verruckt, this new map will also let a team of up to four players fight off hordes of the undead in a quest to survive as long as possible with brains fully intact. We recently spent some hands-on time with Verruckt to see how the gameplay will differ from the zombie-themed map that's already included with World at War.
Verruckt is based on the Asylum multiplayer map, which is a two-story building outfitted with an expansive courtyard in the middle. If you play with a team of four, your squad of survivors will be split up into two pairs, each on opposite sides of the map. The goal of the team is to reunite in the middle of the building. It's not just a desire to see their long-lost buddies that's driving this impulse--or at least not entirely--but rather a new goal-oriented feature that has been added.
In the first zombie map, players would earn money from killing zombies and repairing the barricades that the undead had torn down. The money would then be used to buy new guns and unlock doors to progress to different areas of the map. The main point of unlocking these doors was to find new equipment to use and put a little distance between you and the zombies. But in Verruckt, you'll be unlocking doors that guide you to a power generator that controls a series of conveniently placed zappers and vending machines able to deal out perk-fueled soda.
Getting to the generator won't complete the game, but adding such a goal does give the team some helpful unlockables to strive toward. In the case of these zappers, you can wait until a group of zombies comes strolling by and then let out an electrical blast that takes care of the entire bunch in one fell swoop, letting you stay safe and save precious ammo. Killing zombies like this keeps you from gaining points as you would by shooting them with guns, but given that the end goal is to survive as many rounds as possible, it helps a lot in that regard.
The other point of making it to the generator is to turn on power to the vending machines scattered throughout the map. Like the Nuke-A-Cola machines that you see scattered all throughout Fallout 3, these machines are a sort of beacon of reassuring pop culture amid a war zone, and likewise they provide benefits that extend beyond their warm, reassuring glow. Indeed, you can use the money that you've earned to buy soda from them. The delicious nectar contained within each of these machines comes with a specific perk. For example, the root beer machine will give you the Double Tap ability, whereas the other three will give you Juggernaut, Sleight of Hand, and Fast Revive. These will all last until you're knocked down by zombies.
One of the other changes to the gameplay is a collection of modifications to the zombies themselves. You'll notice them come at you from out of the ground as well as through fully preserved walls, and when they do get at you, they're a bit more vicious than before. You'll still see an assortment of both slow and fast zombies, but now you need to stay on your toes a bit more considering that you might have your back pressed against a wall that's about to be smashed through by a zombie, Kool Aid Man-style.
Call of Duty: World at War's Map Pack 1 will be released on March 19 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. PC players will be able to snag the pack at a later, unconfirmed date. The pricing on the download is also unconfirmed. You can look forward to seeing our impressions of the other three maps within the next few days.