Dead Ops & Onslaught: The Unappreciated Perfection

Waiting endlessly while the game of our choice on the system of our choice matches us up with the proper lobby and team, only for no match to be found. It is something all online players have experienced. And it’s not due to some system error, slow WiFi, or any other of the reasons we give ourselves when we finally hit the cancel button and accept we will be going solo that day. Sadly, it is more often mode death, the slow fade into obscurity, where a mode is more of a decoration on the menu than an actual choice.

One such mode that has been suffering this more than others is the Call of Duty Onslaught and Dead Ops Arcade mode found in the Zombies portion of the game. Specifically, I prefer Cold War Zombies in its various forms, but the lack of players has rendered both almost devoid of life unless you arrange your own second player.

Where Firebase Z, Outbreak, and Forsaken thrive, while the others kind of lie off to the side, like an old toy hoping someone might pick it up and play with it again. This shocks me, honestly, as both are amazing and offer varied gameplay, such as Onslaught, including not one but three forms of play. Dead Ops offers both the 2D arcade we know and love and a first-person arcade which I found so exciting, and play regularly solo when the server proves fruitless. It is also worth mentioning that the Onslaught Mode features challenges and prize weapons upon completion. Granted, it takes a great deal of time for challenges to roll over to the newest ones, but it is still fun to play and a great way to flex skills you have perfected along the way or practice the still developing.

Onslaught Diminishing Light features an orb of light powered by the dark aether core at its center. In order to keep the orb active, you must kill zombies (similar to getting the power running in Firebase Z or powering the Dragon Machine in Outbreak), resulting in whatever life force moves them charging the core of your circle. Rounds are determined by both your speed in kills and if you can manage to kill enough before your circle completely dissipates. Once enough have been killed, the orb will let off a blast of dark aether, killing any remaining zombies, then relocate to another area of the map. It will stop in everything from open fields to hallways. Outside of it, you react like the gas in WarZone, slowly choking until you return to the light or die from suffocation. The zombies do not increase in their strength as quickly in the Onslaught as they do in other modes, but you also don’t make any money, instead counting on killing elite enemies for better weapons, perks, mods, and chalices/wrenches, which work as pack-a-punch or the weapon tier equipment bench. The elites get more advanced every time they appear, as do the weapons they carry, but the elites do not prevent the regular zombie wave, so the survivor must defend within the circle from all the threats present at one time. The elites function the same in all three modes. It is a rush!

Onslaught Containment allows a whole area map to be used. It does not require kills to power the dark aether core but has increased wave strengths with each level, far more than any other mode. A level 12 on containment seems to be much closer to a level 30 round on Firebase or Forsaken in terms of how many zombies appear for that wave. They increase in strength rapidly, and I find this mode is quite hard regardless of the additional space provided. The zombies also seem less prone to training, jumping from random locations, and not being restricted to the usual entrances. While fun, I much prefer the modes that limit you to the light of the orb.

The final mode is simply called Onslaught, and it is the best of both worlds. It features an orb of dark aether that does not diminish but does relocate with each level. Zombie strength increases, and much more veteran skill level is required. By far, my favorite. I often push my husband into playing this with me as the mode seems widely forgotten. Trying to find matches is an act of futility most of the time. On the few occasions of success, it seems more common that the person is new to the mode and unable to play it well. Most quit very early in the game, leaving the teammate either overrun or, even worse, booted from the lobby by someone else’s cowardice.

Dead Ops is a modern spin on old 2D shooter games, with increasing zombie waves, gems, and all the old skool nerdiness you could ask for, mixed with that little something extra that makes it so special. Players battle through various settings, each in a simple box frame reminiscent of late 80s and early 90s style. The line of fire is a simple stream of orange and yellow to signify gunfire unless one manages to grab the specialty weapons which are given often and work well. Gems spew out of the ground, with gold and silver bars signaling the end of the round and the player choosing the next room to enter. It is now offered in first-person, which is so hard and so much fun!!!!

Everyone should take a minute to try out these seemingly forgotten diamonds in the zombie arsenal! Hope to see you in-game!

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