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What To Expect In Black Ops - Cold War's Outbreak Zombies Mode

Season 2 of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War went live on Feb. 25, including the exciting new Outbreak Zombies mode. What can players expect when they jump into the updated game?

The addition of the Outbreak Zombies mode likely didn't come as a surprise to hardcore fans. Mid-February, the Outbreak update was leaked by prominent Call of Duty source Okami. At the time, it was reported to be a Treyarch-style co-op mode — like a sandbox with zombies. These rumors proved mostly true.


The Outbreak mode relates directly to the Dark Aether storyline. From Feb. 25 to March 4, players can experience Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War multiplayer and Outbreak for free, in addition to the new Season 2 content. This includes the new zombie enemies, Outbreak scenario, Onslaught (a two-player experience for PlayStation), multiplayer maps, the Apocalypse map, and the hotly anticipated Gun Game.

Introducing Black Ops - Cold War's Outbreak Zombies mode

What will players experience when they load into Outbreak? Outbreak is an open-world mode that can be played solo, with friends, or online. Squads will need to explore various regions of the Ural Mountains of Russia, kill zombies, and loot their territories. After each mission, players can decide whether they want to exfiltrate the area or dig a little deeper by entering a rift to another region. 


During these missions, players will encounter a new and deadly type of Dark Aether: the Phase. The Phase may affect which areas of the game are available at any given time. Released alongside Outbreak are also two new Aetherium Crystal types: Refined and Flawless. These crystals can be collected and used for upgrades in addition to the already familiar Raw Aetherium Crystals.

The official Outbreak Season Two trailer features what most players have come to expect from a zombie offering — an open world with large numbers of enemies who need to be shot, set on fire, or plowed through. As a squad-based shooter, there's still a heavy emphasis on cooperative play, but, as mentioned, it can also be enjoyed solo.


Unlike many Zombie modes, Outbreak is a sandbox

Unlike some other zombie-themed updates, Outbreak is a sandbox game. There are no set paths — players are able to take their time moving toward the objective. This provides some alternative methods of reaching goals, as players may be able to take advantage of environmental benefits, spend time gearing up, or otherwise find secrets and events. Regardless, the objective still needs to be won.


Objectives in Outbreak include Defend (keeping a device online), Escort (ensuring a rover makes it to its destination), Retrieve (finding and retrieving Aetherium canisters), Eliminate (destroying high value targets), and Holdout (just survive).

Once the objective has been met, a beacon will appear on the map. Upon reaching the beacon, players can use tools such as the Crafting Table and decide whether they want to exit or continue. Players are rewarded for successfully completing missions with XP and Aetherium Crystals.

Outbreak still has more content coming; it's likely Easter Eggs and side missions will be added in future updates. Meanwhile, Season 2 of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War has come complete with a variety of game modes, new guns, and new operators.