As part of Season Two, Treyarch released the new “Outbreak” mode to complement “Die Maschine” and “Firebase Z,” the latter of which released earlier in February. Here are my thoughts on “Outbreak” so far.
Right off the bat, “Outbreak” is best played with a group of friends or randoms who you’re very comfortable playing with. Of the games I’ve played, very rarely has the entire team stayed to completion or a high-enough level in order to get a decent set of rewards post game.
Because of the free-roaming nature of “Outbreak,” all four players can realistically do whatever they want and then converge onto the main objective – which I will touch on later – in order to get to the next area and level. Due to the fact that I’m essentially the lone player in my friend group to play Zombies consistently, this usually leaves me and a group of three random players to do our own thing and then come together to complete the main objective so that we can progress in the mode.
That said, it’s very rare that we even get to that point, as once players level up their weapons or their character enough, they will just leave. More often than not, it’ll just be me and one other player by the time we finish the first stage, which just is not fun, especially since the mode gets increasingly more difficult every time players finish the main objective and teleport to one of the other maps.
The map also has an immense size – at least, compared to “Die Maschine” and “Firebase Z” – and different utilities such as the Arsenal, Pack-a-Punch machine and Wunderfizz are spread apart in multiple areas. Though I understand this was done for the sake of difficulty, it makes later rounds incredibly difficult as the Zombies get harder, better, faster and stronger.
In that same vein, the difficulty is tied to how many teleportations take place. However, the difficulty seemingly spikes by five or more.
What that means is when the player starts the game on round one, the Zombies will be easy to kill. Once players teleport to the next area to start the next round, the Zombies’ health and attack damage will be similar to if the player reached round five or 10 in a regular Zombies game. By the time players reach round five or six in “Outbreak,” the Zombies will be nigh-impossible to kill without a fully-upgraded weapon and all the perks active.
For players to reach those higher levels, they will have to complete the main objective of the current level they are on, which can range from taking a canister from point A to point B or taking out a high-value target (HVT). These objectives scale in difficulty as the rounds progress so if taking out the HVT was difficult at round two or three, it will get incredibly difficult by round seven or eight.
There are also a handful of optional objectives and loot boxes scattered throughout a specific map, allowing players to get more powerful weapons and salvage. Apart from those, there are small hordes of Zombies players can kill to get more points and salvage, though because of the number of Zombies on the map at any given time, they are worth less (35 points) than a regular Zombies game (115 points).
Because of how vast “Outbreak” is, typically a few Elite Zombies – the Megaton and the Krasny Soldat – and Special Zombies – the Mimics, Manglers and Tempests – will spawn with the hordes. Along with that, hellhounds and plague hounds can also spawn, making the game that much more difficult.
Overall, I think “Outbreak” is extremely similar to Destiny’s “Patrol” mode: both have similar premises except Destiny allows players to team up with other players in the world to complete various objectives spread throughout the map. With that mind, “Outbreak” just seems very empty if not played with friends.
It is an enjoyable experience if randoms are able to hop on and stay for the duration of the game. But it is incredibly difficult to find a group of players willing to stay and, if they do, chances are a variety of glitches can cause them to drop or end the game outright.
In all, I applaud Treyarch for trying something new with “Outbreak.” I just wish there were more things to do in an actual open-world Zombies map where players can freely join other players without being tethered to a single host.
That way, if a solo or group of players play “Outbreak,” they can join other squads to take on Zombies. That would be my dream scenario, and if there is any merit to the rumored standalone Zombies game, this is an idea the developer should definitely think about.
In the meantime, I will be sticking to “Firebase Z” and leveling up my weapons that way.