5 Best Zombie Modes in the Call of Duty Franchise

Zombies is as much a part of Call of Duty as its core 6v6 multiplayer. Here are the five best versions of the mode we've ever seen.

Image via Activision
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Call of Duty Zombies, once a humble side project back in World at War, has since become a central draw for any game in the franchise that features the mode. Treyarch’s Black Ops series is still relevant on every platform due in large part to Zombies. Finally we’re getting a brand new, modern-day fight against the undead in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Zombies coming with Modern Warfare 3. There have been so many different iterations of the Zombies mode, it’s hard to say which are the best of them, but there are some that stand above the rest. Here’s our list of the best Zombies modes in CoD.

The Best Five Zombies Modes in Call of Duty History

It would be easy to fill this list with only Treyarch-made Zombies, as they’re the developers in charge of almost every version of the mode — including Modern Warfare 3‘s variant. There is one entry that I want to highlight as the last on my list. I think both it, and the game it’s a part of, didn’t get the love they deserved.

5. Advanced Warfare Zombies

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Believe it or not, Sledgehammer’s take on exosuit Zombies was a surprisingly high-quality entry into the mode’s history. It made good use of the advanced movement, had some really fun perks and upgrade possibilities, and somehow made AW‘s multiplayer maps all very high-quality Zombies maps. There was also a solid difficulty curve, with ramp-up happening at a good clip, especially as you got into rounds 30 and above. It wasn’t the cleanest nor the most satisfying zombies experience out there, lacking many of the flashier and science-fantasy elements, but for what it was, in the game it was, I loved it.

4. Black Ops: Cold War Zombies

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Just so you know, it’s Treyarch Zombies from here on out. Cold War’s Zombies was a new direction for the franchise, operating on more a get-in-and-get-out basis than lasting infinite rounds like previous versions. It was also great because you could level your weapons for Multiplayer if you so desired, but there was an entire progression system for Zombies, as well. The gameplay was solid, too, offering boss fights, interesting mechanics, solid if not revolutionary maps, and all without sacrificing much of what makes Zombies the time-sink we all love.

3. Black Ops Zombies

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The first Black Ops game had some of the best Zombies maps in the franchise, and some of the best perks. It had Ascension, PHD Flopper, Mob of the Dead, Kino Der Toten. The easter eggs were great fun to trigger, the Wonder Weapons absurd and absurdly powerful, and the maps were unique and varied, yet managed to feel both cohesive and familiar.

2. Black Ops 2 Zombies

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Black Ops 2 brought Zombies into the modern age, offering a higher-quality continuation of the story begun in Black Ops. Its maps were more inventive. Its easter eggs were more complicated and demanding. Most of all, the maps in Black Ops 2 were just more fun for me to play. There was a greater sense of mastery to reach the later rounds, whether solo or with a squad. There were also a ton of new and epic moments, and everything had a great sense of scale.

1. World at War

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The original World at War Zombies was pretty barebones, but not only did it contain many maps Treyarch would bring back over the years, and even its simplest laid the foundation for every Zombies map to come. I’ll also cheat a little here, but the World at War Zombies modding scene has been going strong almost as long as the game’s been around, and as a result, the sheer volume of high-quality community maps is staggering. Better yet? They’re free.

That’s it four our ranking of the best Zombies modes in Call of Duty history. For more coverage of Call of Duty, especially Modern Warfare 3, check back to our guides hub.

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.