November is upon us, and that means Black Ops: Cold War is very nearly here. The new Call of Duty instalment is highly anticipated for many reasons, one of which being the return of the legendary zombies’ mode. The new game looks to be returning to the classic formula of the fabled game mode, and that means fans will be able to enjoy everything that it is famous for. The mystery box, perk machines, classic wonder weapons. It’s all coming back!
But for fans who are itching to get back into zombie action, the wait is still a long one. So, what can they do until then? Thankfully, the world of gaming is full of excellent zombie games that can satisfy even the greatest of itches for zombie killing action. Whether you can’t wait to team up with three of your pals against the horde, or you want to experience a new way of taking down waves upon waves of the undead, there is something out there for you.
So if you’re excited for Black Ops: Cold War zombies and just cannot sit still until it comes out, I’ve got you covered. In this list, you’ll find five of the best zombie games currently available that you should play before Black Ops: Cold War hits stores. My focus is mainly multiplayer experiences, so single-player campaigns such as Dead Rising, for example, will not be included. The following games offer the best experiences for you and your friends to team-up together, just like we all will soon in the new Call of Duty. So, let’s begin!
5. Warzone – Zombie Royale
Let’s start with something on the newer side of things. Zombie Royale is the latest mode within Call of Duty: Warzone, released in the game’s Haunting of Verdansk update. It is a fresh and frightening take on the battle royale formula, which lets players battle it out with both living and undead enemies. But why should this be one of the zombie gaming experiences you should cram in before Black Ops: Cold War?
Well, the new mode is one of the most interesting zombie experiences out there. Rather than simply slaughtering wave after wave of the relentless horde, there is a twist. When you die, you come back as one of the undead, and you have to collect two reviving syringes dropped by dead players to come back to life. Not only does this offer you the chance to play as one of the feasting horde (which is awesome!), but it also intensifies the experience of keeping them at bay.
Things are intense in classic zombie games, but that fast-paced, chaotic action is pushed even further when you know that the creatures hunting you are intelligent, living things. They aren’t just CPU animals, mindlessly pursuing you and your crew. Instead, they are controlled by other players, tactically trying to seek you out and destroy you. This makes surviving even more difficult and stressful, and it creates a great in-game atmosphere of tension and fear.
Such an aura is enhanced further by the excellent transformation of Verdansk. The map is shrouded in darkness and littered with creepy mysteries, such as ghosts that suddenly jump out at unsuspecting players. This spine-tingling experience is unlike anything else out there and definitely worth playing to satisfy your craving for zombie killing.
4. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare (Online)
Now, to the other end of the scale. Old but gold! Red Dead Redemption is a classic, but it’s DLC campaign Undead Nightmare is a respectable experience in itself. You may wonder why this is being recommended since I specifically said that this list would focus on multiplayer games. Well, allow me to direct you to the online add-ons brought to Red Dead Online by this spectacular DLC. Chiefly, the Undead Overrun mode.
In this online mode, players and their friends jump into a battle for survival against waves of zombified westerners. Not only is it challenging, but it balances fright and fun really well. On the fun side, players get to slay the carnivorous monsters with every weapon that Red Dead has to offer. Sawn-off shotguns, marksman rifles, rusty revolvers: every firearm from the campaign is available. And, if you want to kill with a bit more style, phosphorous bullets and holy water are available for burning or smiting the evil creatures from above.
And, when it comes to fright, this game mode holds nothing back. The Old West is a creepy enough setting as it is – with quiet plains and rickety old structures everywhere – but the mode itself injects its own element of horror into the mix. The music and zombie sound effects create an eerie sense of isolation, and the tame horde is frequently jolted into life by crawling zombies who chase and pounce on those getting a bit too comfortable.
Undead Overrun’s chill-factor and special features make it a great experience for both new and returning players alike. Those things, plus the fact that Undead Nightmare is backward compatible on current-gen consoles, definitely make it a must-play zombie experience.
3. World War Z
For many, the joy of zombie games is simple. Players mainly want to run around, blow stuff up, and fight to the bitter end with their pals. Thankfully, all these needs are met by World War Z. If you’ve never played this game, you really are missing out. Set in a zombie-filled apocalypse, it places players in different locations around the world in several exhilarating and fast-paced co-op campaigns. Sure, it sounds very familiar, but trust me. There’s more to this one…
What makes World War Z such an amazing zombie gaming experience is undoubtedly the interaction between players and the horde. The way the masses of zombies move and seek players out is like flowing water, constantly moving and very alive. It’s awesome to see them move through the streets, as well as utterly terrifying. And on the flip side of that, trying to destroy that oncoming threat delivers some spectacular results. The grenade launcher, in particular, offers some very satisfying kills, as the game’s physics caters to big explosions and sending the undead flying. It’s mesmerising to watch!
The game focuses on multiple mini-campaigns, each in a different part of the world. There’s Moscow, New York, Tokyo, Jerusalem, and now Marseille (as part of the latest DLC pack). Each location offers new and cool ways to watch and battle the zombie horde, giving the game much-needed variety. For example, New York and its skyscrapers offer players really great vantage points to watch the dead sprint through the streets. It’s horrifying and beautiful all in one!
World War Z is the complete package for any eager zombie slayer. Explosions, frights, an emphasis on cooperation to survive. And, if all of that wasn’t enough, this game is currently on Xbox Game Pass, so why not, right?
2. Left 4 Dead 2
What. A. Classic. Left 4 Dead 2 is truly one of the best zombie gaming experiences that (if you haven’t already) you need to play before Black Ops: Cold War. Of course, if you have already, you will know why. This game puts four teammates through one of the most entertaining and action-packed zombie co-op campaigns ever. Players take control of one of the members of the gang each, gear up with a weapon and med-kit, and set off into each mission, riddled with hundreds of zombies. And there’s so much to each level.
First off, the characters are terrific. They are largely the reason why this game beats its predecessor to this list. Coach, Ellis, Rochelle and Nick are a perfect team, and their catchphrases and chemistry provide real-life to the gameplay. To match this great alliance, the game throws a great set of enemies their way. There are a variety of zombie types, each with their own unique statures and abilities. Jockeys giggle and jump onto players’ heads, confusing and blinding them. Chargers sprint into your team and smash the life out of whoever is unlucky enough to get caught in their grasp. And witches, well… they are just terrifying.
As players progress, the levels get even more creative and interesting. You and your friends can be fighting through a haunting circus at one point, and later on, you might be sneaking your way past a series of weeping witches in the pouring rain. It’s diverse scenery and aesthetics never cease to offer players a good time, and Left 4 Dead 2 is infamous for its higher difficulty settings. Plus, there’s even some new DLC heading to the title, so if you’re feeling up to it, feel free to jump in. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
Of course, the inception of zombies in Call of Duty was back in World at War, but fans of the mode know that the original Black Ops really gave it the respect that it has today. The game took a brilliant foundation and made it a truly legendary mode that we are still enjoying ten years on.
The original Black Ops took the simple concept of zombies and reinvented it. It introduced an amazing ensemble of maps and weapons and gave players dynamic storylines and secrets to invest time in. Ascension, Call of the Dead, Moon. All are classics, not to mention the iconic setting of Kino Der Toten. Pack-a-Punch was introduced on every map. New perks like StaminUp and Mule Kick were brought into the mix. The barebone concept of zombie killing was given a bit of flesh, and we’ve never looked back.
Returning to this era of zombies is the best way to get ready for the new game because Cold War is looking to really take fans back to that original experience. No Black Ops since the original has truly struck the same chord with zombies, but this year’s will look to capture the essential elements like never before. The return of classic perk machines and some classic maps will be very recognisable.
Also, playing the older game might be a goodbye in some ways. The new game might make Black Ops somewhat obsolete, doing many of the same things but in a much better looking way. The old mechanics will meet modern console graphics and performance, so it’ll be hard to compete. With that being said, if you want to get the best zombie gaming experience before Black Ops: Cold War comes out, I suggest looking no further than the game that gave it its name. You never know… it could be the last time you ever do.