Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War – Zombies Mode’ Review
Platform: PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X/S, PC
Release Date: November 13, 2020 (PS4/5, XB1/X/S, PC)
Genre: First Person Shooter
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Zombies have been a staple in the Call of Duty Franchise since 2008’s World At War. It’s fitting that this entry in the franchise, also developed by Treyarch, sees us return to the first-ever Zombie location. Truth be told, upon loading up the map it didn’t quite click for me. It wasn’t until I opened the first door that I realized where I was. Nacht Der Untoten, now called Die Maschine, has always been a fan-favorite map, even if only for nostalgia. It even got a remake in Black Ops 3 several years ago. This is the third time that we’ve been given the chance to fight zombies on this map and it is by far the best foray into this beloved classic. The familiar burst of nostalgia combined with all of the new things leaves a fun, fast, tense mode that constantly rewards you. If you’re brave you can even tackle the new easter egg as well, which further develops the Zombie storyline.
So, let’s get this out of the way now. Black Ops: Cold War is by far the best looking Call of Duty game to date. The series has always had excellent visuals but Cold War really takes it to the next level. It doesn’t hurt that I was playing on a Playstation 5 with a 4K TV. Everything is extremely crisp, and for the most part, the experience was smooth as butter. I’m not sure the exact framerate the game was running on but it dipped very rarely. Even when there were dozens and dozens of zombies after me I barely ever noticed the game dipping in the frame rate department. Each gun is lovingly crafted and the attachments you put on your guns do, in fact, change their appearance. There are also numerous skins for each gun if you want to be a little more colorful.
It’s not just the graphics that impress, but the sound design as well. The guns feel heavy and powerful in your hands. Each gun sounds amazing, with the sounds of bullets and carnage echoing around you. Zombies sound similarly good with grunting and groaning intact. As if all of that weren’t enough the PS5’s DualSense controller really kicks the realism up a notch. I was not prepared for that first shot I fired in this game. When I felt the trigger fight me I was shocked. Then I realized I was in for a very special experience. Every single gun is tuned to use the adaptive triggers differently, which means each gun feels different when you fire it. Never before have you actually been able to feel like you’re actually firing the gun. Throw on your Headset and between that and the controller it is easy to lose yourself in the gore of Cold War’s zombies.
But all the beautiful visuals and gnarly sounds wouldn’t mean anything if the mode wasn’t fun and woo boy let me tell you it’s a great way to kill time. Cold War’s zombie mode delivers fun in spades. For those who don’t know, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t’, CoD zombies is a wave-based survival mode. Basically, you’re dropped on a map and fight wave after wave of zombies. Not just regular zombies, you’ll also encounter dogs and big radioactive behemoths too. Each wave grows increasingly difficult and in games past you just went on until death but now you can actually end zombies if you so choose. Once round 10 hits you can actually call a chopper, and provided you complete a little challenge you can actually escape and end the mode. Perfect for those who don’t want to just throw themselves into the horde and be devoured.
Unlike previous zombie experiences, you also get to pick your starting gun now. Of course, you can still find guns on the walls and there’s still the mystery box but it’s kind of nice to be able to create a class for Zombies. That isn’t necessarily completely new, I believe this was possible in BO4 as well, but I could be wrong. It’s still a neat feature though because it lets you play however you want. Your weapons will level up as you play, unlocking all manner of attachments and skins. This XP is actually shared with Multiplayer, which is incredible because you’re always being rewarded in Cold War, no matter what you’re doing.
Zombies can easily keep you occupied for hundreds of hours. You have weapons to level up, skills to improve, and even challenges to complete. If all of that wasn’t enough, as usual, there’s a huge easter egg to hunt for. The easter eggs are multi-step objectives you complete in order to learn about the map’s story. They’re incredibly challenging if you’re not experienced players and people literally race to be the first ones to discover the secrets to unlocking them. They’re for much braver players than myself, as I’ve only been able to complete a few Easter Eggs during all my years playing Call of Duty’s zombies.
The most fun you’ll have with this mode, though, is if you bring a friend (or three) and slay the undead together.
Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War’s zombie mode is definitely one of the game’s highlights. It provides the fast, fun, and tense gameplay that CoD fans expect, but changes it up enough that it feels like a fresh experience too. This is just one of several modes released with Cold War and it has enough content that it could almost be considered a stand-alone game. There are hundreds of levels to acquire, tons of collectibles and challenges, and one incredibly well-hidden easter egg to unlock. In addition to all that it’s pretty freakin’ awesome to see players return to the map that started the mode back in 2008. It’s safe to say Treyarch knows what they are doing since they’ve delivered one of the best Zombie experiences in years. I can’t wait to see what they do next with this mode. I can only hope the next map, whatever it may be, is even half as fun as this one.
A huge thank you to our partners at Activison Blizzard and R&C PMK for providing us with a review code for this game. You can grab Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War for $79.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC or for 89.99 on Xbox Series X and Playstation 5!