Call of Duty has been synonymous with its Zombies mode since they first added it in World At War. Zombies has become an expected mode with every entry in the series, and it’s been hit or miss. Obviously, players have liked to have doors that they can unlock and open spaces mixed between, but it’s the fact that these give them the sense of progression that they love. Every new space opens a new challenge and a new reward of a possible weapon.
We’d love to see a game that took all of the different Call of Duty Zombies maps and remastered every one in one package, including every DLC map. This could make a very long game, and if they added a few extra maps to it, it would most likely sell well enough to fund a series. Activision wouldn’t want to saturate the market with zombie modes since they’re as much of a selling point as multiplayer, so we will most likely not see that.
It has caused fans to argue over which entry had the best Zombie mode since Call of Duty has put care and love into its zombie mode. If you put them side by side, it’s easy to tell which are the best and worst. Below is every Call of Duty Zombies mode, ranked.
All Call of Duty Zombies modes, ranked
10) Call of Duty: Vanguard
Unfortunately, Vanguard didn’t add the things that made zombies mode so fun. The best part of playing Zombies was starting from one spot and buying new areas slowly. Buying new areas increased the challenge and gave players a sense of progression while also opening up ways to get ammo and new weapons. Instead of wall buys and Easter Eggs, players got a hub world that would teleport them to areas with a limited amount of zombies. Since the world reset, many players realized they could exploit the leveling system and just repeatedly bring up specific weapons or their overall levels.
This took away any feeling of urgency or the dire situation you were supposed to be in. As opposed to feeling like a soldier trapped in a world of zombies, you felt like you were playing a zombie game. The zombies weren’t as powerful as they once were, and you didn’t feel as human and vulnerable as you used to.
It basically took the fun out.
9) Call of Duty: World War II
Call of Duty WWII was as safe as a game could be. The polished, tactile mode with zombies that looked like Nazis was exactly what fans expected, and it was a safe bet. Unfortunately, safe doesn’t always mean fun, which hurts the game as a whole. Because it did not try anything new, Zombies mode took a big hit. It was almost just a reskinned version of the Black Ops Zombie mode with different levels.
Interestingly, this mode, which is too much like every other Zombies mode, was made by Sledgehammer Games. Sledgehammer also made Vanguard, which was too much unlike every other Zombies mode. Until they can find a middle ground, fans will assume they’re not ready to make Call of Duty games since Vanguard and WWII were so unliked.
8) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
When the Call of Duty games started getting away from Black Ops, they stopped doing as well. While it’s nowhere near as bad as Vanguard‘s Zombies mode, Advanced Warfare still was underwhelming.
Advanced Warfare tried to tie its new Advanced Movement system into the Zombies mode, which was the first part of the problem because every map needed to allow for the new movement. Since the new movement and maps changed the gameplay drastically, the developers tried to use the new zombie types to counteract the new advanced movement. Although it looks good on paper, it’s not enjoyable to play. It was a lot to try out, which really hurt the game.
The Infection map from Advanced Warfare is still remembered as one of the worst zombie maps in the series.
7) Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
It is really hard to knock Infinity Ward for their take on Zombies mode. Zombies in Spaceland had a big theme park reminiscent of old carnivals with bright lights and neon signs. It had the Easter Eggs that fans loved, which showed they tried harder than Vanguard. There were two downsides to this: the new knife mechanics, which were not brought back in future games, and a final map that was not of the same quality as the others. Otherwise, you could say that this was welcome.
Zombies in Spaceland was a fresh take on Zombies that didn’t try and change everything. As a result, Infinity Ward took what worked and gave fans a new theme that other Call of Duty developers might consider trying.
6) Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 split the fanbase down the middle. There were two storylines in the Zombies Mode, which were as loved as they were hated. We can say that the Chaos maps were incredibly fun, even if the Aether maps lacked in personality and felt stiff. The Zombies mode would have done better if there had been a real focus on one mode instead of two, but we wouldn’t have had two choices. The developers of Black Ops 4 Zombies tried something new, and it succeeded for many players, so it’s not the worst on the list, but some players really hate it.
We’ll keep it in the middle because if you liked it, you’d rate it higher, but if you didn’t, you’d rate it lower.
5) Call of Duty: World at War
You can thank Call of Duty: World At War for the Zombies mode everyone has loved. After you beat the campaign, the game informed you that you unlocked Nazi Zombies mode, which was immediately praised. Boarding up windows, opening doors, and earning currency gave you more weapons and places to move in this game. The mode was so popular that it got DLC specifically for map packs and has been in every game since.
The most popular map from Nazi Zombies was Nacht der Untoten, which is German for Night of the Living Dead. This map was remastered for the Hardened and Prestige Editions of Call of Duty: Black Ops. There’s no doubt that players would love it if it were remastered again with an even harder difficulty.
4) Call of Duty: Black Ops
Call of Duty: Black Ops took the idea that World At War started and moved the ball forward. It brought the mode into a Cold War setting with a tongue-in-cheek way to pull the political leaders from the time into the game. It was the best comedy the series had done in a very long time, and the allusion to Nixon’s Watergate Scandal was terrific. The actor who played John F. Kennedy made him an easy choice for players.
The rooms were tight enough for players to feel secure, but there was enough space for Zombies to feel overwhelmed if they weren’t killed quickly.
3) Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Call of Duty: Black Ops III took everything the previous games had done and improved it. The only thing that separates this from the previous entry is the maps. Black Ops III maps were lacking, and there aren’t many that are as memorable as Black Ops II. That doesn’t take away from the fast past action and zombie types that Black Ops III offered, however. Many players would consider these last three entries the best in the series, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Black Ops III appealed to the fan base well but is only beaten out by the superior maps of the game that came before.
2) Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War appealed to a newer generation of players like the original Call of Duty: Black Ops appealed to the former generation. Many players will say it’s not as good as Call of Duty: Black Ops II because of the maps, but it has better graphics and weapons, and the studios have taken what has worked from previous entries and packed it on in Black Ops Cold War. Adding new maps to the series did arguably more for the series than any other Zombies mode, but it took a while to reach that point.
Season Two really improved Black Ops Cold War‘s Zombie mode, but comparing how it released to how our top pick puts this in second place.
1) Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Call of Duty: Black Ops II is probably the strongest entry in the series when it comes to Zombies Mode. It took the formula that had been working and amped it up. Whereas Black Ops III only improved on what worked, Black Ops II tried new things and even gave fans better maps, like Mob of the Dead and Origins. We haven’t seen better maps than those shown in Black Ops II, and we probably won’t for some time since it requires making better maps.