Co-op survival modes are very much My Sort of Thing. Since Gears of War 2 introduced the original* Horde mode in 2008, and the unprecedented, avante-garde concept of playing nice with others, a game’s inclusion of a co-op survival mode of some kind is almost a prerequisite feature for me – and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s revamped Zombies mode is so much more more than a feature, it could even be its own game. And with the franchise dumping its single-player campaign to focus on multiplayer content, maybe next time it should be.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 includes three Zombies maps, plus an extra map with the game’s season pass which I don’t have so that sucks, but whatever – the unconventional and extravagantly pulp-campy IX map has been keeping me so busy, I’ve hardly even played the other two.

The setup is absurd. While investigating the disappearance of her eccentric dad, protagonist Scarlett and her co-protagonists Diego, Bruno, and Shaw find themselves magically transported into… a Roman gladiator coliseum crammed with undead brainsuckers and demonic tigers. I mean, this is compelling historical drama stuff.

“I stared into the abyss,” she says. “And the abyss gave me a gun.”

And it’s a strap-on scorpion that shoots lightning bolts.

The in-game script is hilarious, with characters frequently commenting on the silliness of everything going on around them, one of them even complaining with snobby, public school disdain about how stupid he looks dressed up like a “Celtic barbarian”, like that’s the worst thing about this. Zombies has completely embraced its inherent comedy, and I love it. More like this, please.

Every map has its own premise and idiosyncratic mechanics, but the objectives – besides not getting killed, obviously – are not immediately apparent. Or ever apparent, for that matter. Although opening up new locations provides access to upgraded gear, there’s much more to get if you know how. But how can you even know? This shit is complicated, so using a guide is totally not cheating.

* Okay, so it wasn’t technically the first ever co-op survival mode – preceded by similar custom modes in games like AVP and Unreal Tournament 2004 – but it was the first one to become super popular, which is more or less exactly the same thing.

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