Basic Intel: There are three co-op modes in Call of Duty: World at War: co-op campaign, competetive co-op, and Nazi Zombies (a survival mode unlocked after beating the campaign.) Call of Duty: World at War is available on 360, PS3, PC and Wii. We played the 360 version prior to this discussion. It was developed by Treyarch for Activision.
Joe: With so much to choose from, where to begin? It’s like a Vegas buffet of friendship and goodwill.
Chris: Well, I think the competitive co-op completely overshadows anything else.
Joe: It’s oxymoronic: competitive co-op, and yet it works really well.
Chris: Yeah, the game can't continue if you let your opponent die, like one of those flimsy treaties you see in modern action films. The rewards of finishing the game are exactly the same, just with a point value and added bragging rights.
Joe: I found that often I'd get put into a match with some numb-nuts who'd charge on ahead, and he'd get his ass shot off and force us all back to the last checkpoint.
Chris: Definitely a different dynamic from campaign co-op, bigger risks and rewards supersede caution and survival.
Joe: Right, so you’re forced to try to run up there and save his ass,
so really everyone should be charging blindly forward all the time.
Above: Patching up an “ally”
Chris: That's what I loved about it, you're not out to kill one another but there's still the ability to make your friend eat his balls as you get better. Once you've mastered that "technique" you've got the Death Cards for added challenge.
Joe: Did you ever find the “Jack of Balls” card?
Chris: It slows you down by burdening you with uranium infused testicles of pure patriotism.
Joe: Turning on any or all of the cards causes dramatic changes to the flow of the game, but you can only use them in private matches.
Chris: Absolutely, I saw people complain about their difficulty, but that's precisely what they're for. Playing through the straight campaign will eventually get old, so why not reanimate a Nazi, or flip on exploding headshots.
Joe: Or use them in silly combinations, like if you use the "shoot teammates for health" card with "fire rockets when you're down." I gotta say, though, the paintball cheat is lame.
Chris: Indeed, but no where near as lame as CoD4's "Super Contrast" cheat.
Joe: Yah, since when is a Photoshop filter a cheat? Survival mode is all the rage in co-op this fall so let’s talk Nazi Zombies, the survival mode where you and 3 teammates hole up in an abandoned house and fend off wave after wave of undead Hitler youth.
Above: If you’re lucky, the random weapon box will cough up a “Ray Gun”
Chris: That's right, that's an amazing mode. In theory I wish it was bigger, or more than one "map" but every time I fire it up I can't pull away for hours. I wanna say Gears 2's Horde has the edge, given it takes place over different maps. But I always find myself playing Zombie mode way more.
Joe: There is a surprising amount of strategy even though it’s just a few rooms and two staircases.
Chris: There are actually parts of the house I'm afraid to unlock.
Joe: In later waves you can kill all but one zombie, then while one person leads it around the house, the others can repair barricades, rearm, etc at their leisure. When everyone's ready, do in the last dood and you’re set for the next wave. Also, I was thrilled when I discovered I could turn and look around while repairing.
Chris: And have you noticed those zombies are quiet as undead church mice? They'll just sneak in the house unawares, and before I know it my brain is in one's mouth. They do not adhere to the "Romero groan" but then, they come before hand in the time line don't they?
Joe: I know! Before I learned the "turn around while repairing" trick I'd suddenly find a zombie clawing up my back and chewing my neck. Not in the fun sexy way either.
Chris: You should try the reverse decaying cowgirl.
Joe: But it does reach a point, around wave 10, where a cloud of lung dust from a Nazi zombie's exhale will kill you. It gets seriously hard to stay alive!
Chris: Jesus, you've made it that far?!
Joe: Yah, I think around 14 was the highest I got before I had to move on to the other games for this feature. It somehow manages to stay fun despite the fact that there is no diversity in enemies. They just get faster and stronger. I’d have to say that Gears 2’s Horde is a better and more diverse mode than Nazi Zombies, HOWEVER I think Duty's overall co-op package is better.
Above: Friends don’t let friends get skewered on bayonets
Chris: As do I. But I think Fenix is too heavy and clumsy to survive long in CoD's Zombie chateau.
Joe: Free-to-download Nazi Zombie maps would make CoD’s co-op offering complete. They don't have to be too elaborate, but a ‘lil sumthin sumthin…
Chris: That'd be great, and relatively simple. As long as it’s free you couldn't even get mad if it sucked!
Joe: I liked the vanilla campaign co-op as well. Some of those battles are absolutely frantic, and having 3 other meatbags to draw enemy fire made it go much smoother. Easier to get those achievements on the harder difficulties, dig me?
Chris: Yeah, to get through "Relentless" on the harder difficulties a buddy is usually required.
Joe: Any words in closing?
Chris: Co-op helped me rediscover the need for friends!