Ahead of the release of Black Ops Cold War, we rank all Zombies modes from best to worst!

19:00, 18 Oct 2020

Since their debut back on Call of Duty: World At War, Zombies modes appearing on a Call of Duty game has often gone hand in hand. The co-op mode where a group of four attempts to survive endless waves of the undead has become a smash hit with the community thanks to its innovative gameplay, compelling storyline, and hours of fun that it provides.

There have been many iterations of Zombies modes throughout Call of Duty history, some being extremely popular thanks to its simplistic gameplay, and others being not so popular due to sub-standard map design and failure to capture the essence of what Zombies is all about.

With just a few weeks to go until the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and an all-new Zombies experience, we thought it would be a good idea to take a trip down memory lane and rank all Zombies modes from the worst to the best!


8. Advanced Warfare

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

The release of Advanced Warfare in 2014 sparked a huge change for the franchise. Sledgehammer Games introduced verticality to the movement mechanics, enabling players to jump twice as high and dash in any given direction.


Advanced Warfare was also the first Call of Duty title to feature a Zombies mode that wasn’t developed by Treyarch, and given the success of Black Ops Zombies, Sledgehammer had some extremely big shoes to fill.

With such innovation on display, expectations from the community was extremely high, but those expectations quickly fell short during the Advanced Warfare game cycle. The EMZ proved extremely unpopular among players thanks to their ability to disable the exo suit of players and the less said about the Burger Town map, the better.

The only real appeal of Advanced Warfare was the characters that were played by the likes of Bill Paxton and John Bernthal but other than that, Advanced Warfare Zombies was certainly disappointing.

7. World War 2

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

After the end of the advanced movement era of Call of Duty, hopes were high as Sledgehammer announced that the franchise would be returning to boots on the ground. While multiplayer was solid, the developer’s second attempt at Zombies was definitely better than its first.


The Final Reich map was plenty of fun, containing four unique “Wonder Weapons” and two Easter Eggs for players to complete. Visually, the maps on World War 2 were stunning. There were many occasions where players felt like they were playing through a horror movie thanks to the various elements that changed as a match progressed.


Despite being much better than Advanced Warfare Zombies, the World War 2 experience released after Infinite Warfare and Black Ops 3, both of which contained Zombies modes that were far superior to this particular attempt.


6. Infinite Warfare

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

Prior to Infinite Warfare’s release towards the end of 2016, Infinity Ward had never included a Zombies mode in its titles. Zombies in Spaceland was the first map that players could get their Zombies fix on and it was extremely good.

At first glance, it finally looked like that there was a contender to Treyarch Zombies, much to the delight of fans. As the game cycle went on, Infinity Ward did its best to keep the mode feeling fresh, with unique Wonder Weapons being added alongside the chaotic Super Easter Egg ending which was plenty of fun to complete.

Considering it was Infinity Ward’s first attempt at a Zombies mode, it is arguably the best iteration of Zombies that hasn’t been developed by Treyarch, very high praise indeed!

5. Black Ops 4

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

The fourth instalment in the Black Ops sub-franchise is easily the most divisive when it comes to Zombies. The game launched with two different storylines running at the same time, one which was of little interest, and one which focused on the Zombies characters fans and players had followed for nearly a decade.


The mode featured several new additions including the ability to choose perks before the game started and the ability to use variants of the standard weapons. While that all sounds positive, Treyarch opted to change the function of some fan-favourite perks including Speed Cola and Double Tap Root Beer.

Over time, players got used to these changes, but it was still a far cry from the superior Zombies modes that had been released previously.


4. Black Ops 2

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

For some, putting Black Ops 2 so far down the list is a controversial decision considering how amazing Mob of The Dead and Origins are, but there is some solid reasoning regarding its placement on the list. While Mob of The Dead and Origins are two of the best Zombies maps ever created, TranZit and Die Rise are two of the worst. 


Some new perks were also introduced into the game, but they were only available to use on specific maps as opposed to being available across the board which was slightly infuriating. There were also two new game modes which offered a completely different take on the traditional Zombies experience.

Grief and Turned involved players going against each other rather than working together towards a common goal. Although innovative, the concepts seemed rushed and failed to provide a unique alternative to the traditional mode.

3. World At War

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

Coming in at third place on our list is World at War, the very first Zombies mode seen in the Call of Duty franchise. The mode introduced everything that is still present in Zombies mode today, including the Mystery Box, Pack-A-Punch machine, perks, and those iconic characters that fans fell in love with.

All four maps were solid, despite their design being relatively simple. World at War Zombies was simple, but laid the foundations for every other Zombies experience which followed. Nowadays, the gameplay feels very slow and sluggish, but at the time, World at War Zombies was nothing short of spectacular.

2. Black Ops

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

Deciding between the final two titles was a tough decision, but we went with the first Black Ops game in second place. Available immediately on release, there were two unique maps on offer – Kino Der Toten and FIVE. Kino continued the storyline of Dempsey and company while FIVE offered a Cold War theme to Zombies for the first time. Players were able to play as historical figures including former US President John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro. The two maps have transcended the franchise as two of the most recognisable levels in gaming. 


Black Ops was also the first game to introduce fully-fledged Easter Eggs that have become staples of the mode. Some of the Easter Eggs featured some elaborate steps, but the payoff at the end was incredible. There was no better feeling when completing an Easter Egg after several hours of steps and processes!

The game was so popular, Treyarch bought out a DLC which contained all four maps from World at War, making Black Ops one of the most complete titles for Zombies.

1. Black Ops 3

All Call Of Duty Zombies Modes

Coming in at the top of our list and our pick as the very best Zombies mode of them all is Black Ops 3. First released in 2015, the game still feels as good as it did when it first released. The game released with brand-new maps Shadows of Evil and The Giant. Shadows of Evil featured a wealth of elements that had never been seen in a Zombies game before while The Giant was a full-blown remaster of iconic Zombies map Der Riese which is always a great setting to take down waves of the undead.

The maps which followed were all extremely strong, but what sets it apart from the rest is Zombies Chronicles, a DLC which contained eight remastered maps from World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2, making Black Ops 3 the most complete Zombies game ever seen.

Images via Activision

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