Call of Duty Zombies Map Tier List (Every Map Ever)
Call of Duty Zombies has been around for over a decade now, with the game mode breaking out from being a Treyarch exclusive. Every developer tries their hand at bringing the Zombies experience to their titles. With so many Call of Duty Zombies maps to choose from, which are the best? And which are the ones you should probably stay away from?
The Zombies Map Tier List
While many maps span through Call of Duty’s history, I want to focus on the ones from mainline titles. For example, Call of Duty Online Zombies maps are inaccessible to players outside of China, while Call of Duty Mobile maps are removed.
This Call of Duty Zombies maps tier list will focus on every map made both in and outside of mainline titles developed from Treyarch and are purely based on my opinion of playing hundreds of hours in every Call of Duty since World War II.
These Call of Duty maps on this tier list either don’t hold the soul of the Zombies formula or change too far from it and make it difficult to enjoy on a casual playthrough. A good Zombies map should be a map that’s not only fun and challenging but also a map where players can hang out and shoot some Zombies for fun without being burdened by completing too many mandatory objectives to set up the game.
The Tortured Path
Game: Call of Duty: WWII
This map is three maps, none of them survival maps unless players complete the tortured path public playlist at the time. The maps are small but have linear objectives, and each map contains an Easter egg to be completed. While this sounds good on paper, the prospect of needing to complete three linear objectives for the ability to return to the same maps to play casually isn’t what makes a good Zombies map. Failing the maps means you have to complete them all over again.
The Frozen Dawn
Game: Call of Duty WWII
While not as bad as The Tortured Path, The Frozen Dawn is a map that’s more situated to doing the main quest rather than a balance of casual and hardcore play. While it may not be that bad by comparison, map wise it’s derivative of previous maps before it. However, its saving grace is the story that follows the characters from beginning to end. The stakes for the characters and the world they live in make the map feel more epic in scope. However, it’s sadly held back by multiple issues and problems with the design and gameplay of the map. Putting it at one of the lowest of the low, if you’re in WWII for the story, you’ll have to play this map to complete the final part of the main cast’s journey.
Game: Black Ops 4
A massive disappointment for Zombies fans in the Black Ops 4 season, with the ending of the Chaos story, a return to the Aether story had fans hoping for a new map. Instead, all players received was a remake of one of the smallest maps in the franchise: Nuketown. It’s one of my favorite maps in Black Ops 2. What makes Alpha Omega drop the ball on so many occasions is the forced complexity of a map that shouldn’t be that complex; following the same trend of Blood of the Dead and making a reimagined version of the map sounds fine on paper.
Unfortunately, the promise of the Chaos story continuing through the Black Ops 4 season was completely undermined by the abrupt change to the DLC season midway through the life cycle of the game. Not to mention the fact that while players entered the bunker of Nuketown. It held extremely glaring similarities to the bunker under Nuketown used in the battle royale mode of Black Ops 4 Blackout. It’s something that many players wanted to know what the inside of looked like.
To some, it felt not only cheap but completely disingenuous from Treyarch. Rather than making a wholly new map as they had promised, they opted to reuse assets and make a reimagining of a map that had no reason to be remade any more than what it was before. Nothing about Alpha Omega felt interesting or new, including the Wonder Weapon that failed to meet expectations. It was four different versions of a previous weapon from Black Ops 2, being the Raygun Mark 2. The story also failed to stay interesting. It focused on calling back to previous loose ends in the storyline rather than organically including them within the lore for the map. Alpha Omega also promised a possible next map that would have made up for the mistakes given by Treyarch since Black Ops 3.
Game: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
This is a seemingly offensive map that took place inside a town. What brought this map down was the constant escort missions that needed to be complete, or else a casual playthrough became all the more frustrating, continued by the fact that multiple emp enemies spawned. It kept the Exo out of Exo-Zombies most of the time. Aside from that, Infection was a considerably forgettable map. Unless players aim for an Easter egg marathon in advanced warfare, it should be skipped.
While not downright awful in scope, the Call of Duty Zombies maps included in this tier list proved to lack one or more crucial things that keep them from being just average. Whether that’s a difficult setup, a hard-to-follow Easter egg quest, or just aren’t suited for replayability, these maps are inoffensive and could even be a guilty pleasure of some fans.
Game: Call of Duty: WWII
This is a prologue and tutorial map for WWII Zombies. While small and reminiscent of Nacht der Untoten, the map is relatively fun, yet its size and the requirement to complete the tutorial to play the map hold it back. Even so, the outdoor sections of the map are locked upon a survival playthrough.
The Darkest Shore
Game: Call of Duty: WWII
The second DLC map for WWII’s Zombie mode retains the fresh and interesting take on Zombies. It focuses more on horror-centric gameplay, is easy to set up and play casually, but is held back by the fog mechanic, which wasn’t as well explained as it could have been, which makes playing with friends who aren’t familiar a pain sometimes. The quest also keeps escort missions, which can become stale after a while.
The Shadowed Throne
Game: Call of Duty: WWII
While not as bad as the other maps in the game, the third DLC map for WWII takes away the horror element for tight corridors and an urban landscape. The tight passageways make the game feel a little frustrating when underpowered and become a pain when playing with others. The quest and special Zombies are some of the standouts on the map, but the constant talking from the characters in the game holds it back. I suggest playing as a special character if you have them unlocked.
Tag der Toten
Game: Black Ops 4
The final DLC and the end to the decade-long Aether story, this Call of Duty Zombies map is bad, but it’s not F tier. The design is alright, but it’s Call of the Dead from Black Ops 1, with an extra room at the top of the mountain. The weapons are fine and the map is solid. Players can enjoy Call of the Dead with more than what was there before and without the fog or George Romero chasing them around. However, the thing that makes this map worse than Call of the Dead is its abhorrent Easter egg and ending to a 10-year long series. It has our crew playing as Victis, which is the TranZit crew from Black Ops 2. They should have played a bigger hand in the story and were important to the series published before Black Ops 4. They shouldn’t have been the last characters the players get to play, especially with the ending of Alpha Omega hinting at the return of “The Great War,” which was the Black Ops 2 map origins.
With Alpha Omega also introducing the ability to play as Ultimis and Primis, theories spread as to what the hypothetical final map could have been. In some fans’ minds, it’s a 12-player Zombies map with Ultimis, Primis, and Victis teaming up on the original vision of origins, which could have been bigger in scope than the original map pushing the limits of the Xbox 360 and PS3. But, instead, players got a remade version of Call of the Dead, with a couple of new areas and the worst ending to a 10-year story possible.
Audio logs are also strewn across the map and made for the sole purpose of trying to tie up every single loose end this 10-year story had going for it. They were even bringing back a character mentioned in passing to include him as part of the Easter egg for no reason. The wildest thing about the ending of this game is that while it had what some would call a bittersweet ending, the game doesn’t have us play as the main cast in their final moments, as they’re killed off-screen because of how the story is written.
There is no final battle nor big boss fight. Instead, whatever became of the 10-year story was shrunk down and turned into something else entirely because of time and budget constraints. This, coupled with the fact that any mystery the game had was now thrown out the window, as well as the poor engine of Black Ops 4 and their massive change to core gameplay mechanics, holds this map down as far as it could go. While the map is fine design and atmosphere-wise, everything around the map holds it down and puts it at an E Tier on our Call of Duty Zombies maps tier list. The only thing preventing it from being an F is that the map’s design makes it slightly better than the original Call of the Dead.
Dead of the Night
Game: Black Ops 4
The first DLC map in the Black Ops 4 Zombies season continues to give players the chance to play as a star-studded cast. However, the map’s setup and gameplay are largely forgettable, aside from the atmosphere and locale design. Set in a mansion, the players find themselves fighting against hordes of the undead, as well as vampires and werewolves, a perfect Halloween-styled map. This includes the night setting, mad science laboratory, crafting recipe to make actual silver bullets for all weapons, and its haunted forest. The only thing missing from the map is ghosts and skeletons. However, the map also suffers from its poor chronological place in the DLC season of Black Ops 4, with it being the canonical first map in the new Chaos story. Its lackluster design and its many setup steps make the map feel like a slog.
Voyage of Despair
Game: Black Ops 4
One of the first disc maps for Black Ops 4, this close-quarters map taking place on the Titanic is a heck of a cool map visually. However, it drops the ball on being too close quarters in the map without changing it up enough to give it something to stand out about. I can understand the want to make it look historically accurate to the Titanic. That is what the story is going for, and honestly, one of the highlights of the Black Ops Zombies season and having the characters watch it crash into the iceberg. While it’s also big, another point that holds this map in the E spot is its abundance of fast travels.
This makes traversing the map easier, rather than forcing the player to shuffle through the corridors just to get to the other side of the ship. However, while this is a good start to the beginning of the Chaos story, the map suffers from being the first map and most likely scaring away potential fans if this is the first map they decide to play.
D tier maps are just average. Whether it feels bland, they have mechanics that cause inconvenience or are just poorly designed. These Call of Duty Zombies maps on this tier list aren’t the best. One or two things hold them back from becoming part of the gold standard of Zombies maps.
Game: Advanced Warfare
While not the best out of the Advanced Warfare lineup, Carrier puts our characters on a ship to fight off the outbreak. This proves to be a pretty good spot for a Zombies map. However, its stale art direction and previous problems that plagued the AW’s zombies mode hold it back from being one of the better maps in the game.
Zetsubou No Shima
Game: Black Ops 3
Part of the Black Ops DLC season, Zetsubou No Shima places our main cast in the dense jungles of Japan at a facility that’s experimenting on plant life. While that seems like a decent idea for a map, its setup is one of the many mechanics that hold it back from being a good map, in general, with spiders, watering plants, and various other tasks to get the Wonder Weapon and open the Pack-a-Punch machine. In addition, the setup and constant enemies that slow down the gameplay make it hard to enjoy outside of completing the Easter egg.
Beast From Beyond
Game: Infinite Warfare
The finale to the Infinite Warfare Zombies storyline places our characters in a sci-fi film that brings back the aliens from Infinite Warfare’s previous PvE escapade: Extinction. The game also includes the characters escaping from their film prison back into the real world as Zombies from all previous Call of Duty maps invade the movie theater the characters reside in. While this seems like a good idea on paper, sadly, it’s not. It makes for many confusing and almost downright awful moments that make the player blame the game for their shortcomings. However, the map can be considered the best final boss in any Zombies map so far, pitting the characters against the devil himself. The reward for completing all the Easter eggs in the game is also a fantastic addition to the series. Players who complete quests are given the ability to start the game with a surplus of money and every perk permanently right from the get-go. Of course, this can be turned off for players who want to experience the maps vanilla. Regardless, the poor map design and reoccurring enemies from previous maps ruin the flow of the overall experience.
Blood of the Dead
Game: Black Ops 4
A “reimagining” of the fan-favorite map Mob of the Dead, which includes area Treyarch had made, had to remove due to console limitations. The map sees our cast going into Alcatraz for a part of a greater plan, but things go awry. They have to fight for their lives to escape. While it’s a big change and a welcome return to the location people had been clamoring for, it’s held back by the awful Black Ops 4 Zombies engine. The change in mechanics and a horrid Easter egg quest will bring the gameplay to a screeching halt just for the player to complete a trial and error puzzle. That included with poor pinpointing of a roaming pack, a punch, and locations only used for one specific section, makes the map a total flop, in my opinion.
This is a good Zombies map that many remember fondly. It brings itself to be the gold standard for Call of Duty Zombies maps on our tier list. Whether it’s adding something that doesn’t infuriate the player or something that enriches the experience and provides a balanced challenge, these maps are must-plays for people who want to be introduced to Zombies.
Nacht der Untoten
Game: World at War, Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3
This original Zombies map started it all. Originally a chunk of the campaign and multiplayer, this map was repurposed as a free reward for completing the campaign and giving the player who stumbled upon it a good scare. It laid down the Zombies mode and mechanics foundation, with wall buys, mystery box, powerups, and rebuilding barricades. Many people have fond memories of playing only this map, seeing if they could make it farther than their friends and sharing stories of a Zombie Hitler that would end the game when you defeated it at Round 50. With the remaster of this map in Black Ops 3, including the Wunderfizz and GobbleGums high rounds, this map became even more plausible as players could give themselves perks and weapons to fend off high rounds. Even though it’s the granddaddy of all Call of Duty Zombies maps on this tier list, there’s plenty of better maps to play and experience nowadays.
Game: World at War, Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3
This is where zombies continued to expand upon what was once thought to be just an extra mode for players to enjoy. This new map brought on multiple staples of the franchise, including half of the team starting in different areas, perks, a moving mystery box, and the power to activate traps to fry any zombie who walked through a doorway. While just as good as Nacht, this map served to up the scare factor by taking place in an asylum, with horrific imagery and secret sound effects that sent chills up a player’s spine. A classic, but with the huge number of Call of Duty Zombies maps on this tier list, I find myself only craving this map on certain days if I’m looking for a challenge.
Game: Black Ops 1
This is the reward for beating the campaign in the original Black Ops. Set in the pentagon, this map sees four players take down armies of the undead as John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Fidel Castro, and Richard Nixon as zombies invade the pentagon. The intro cutscene is some of the corniest and most entertaining intros to a Zombies map, with JFK pushing a button, revealing a massive amount of weapons. Aside from politicians and dictators shouting one-liners while shooting shotguns, the map is well designed. While it has its tiny corridors and other misfortunes that can put the player in a bad spot, it’s a solid map that can showcase how wild zombies can be, even if a scientist shows up and steals the weapons away from the player at times.
Game: Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3
Putting itself right in the middle to end of the Black Ops 1 DLC season, this map features lush jungles and new types for players to discover, as well as a minecart and a waterslide for players to slide down. This map also includes a Wonder Weapon that lets players shrink zombies into tiny dolls with big heads that you can kick around to your heart’s content. While it’s a fine Zombies map, its problems lie within its small corridors and plentiful traps that can’t be evaded without intense knowledge of the map prior. Aside from that, the main quest must be completed with four players and a lot of teamwork. And for people who want a chill Zombies map, they’re going to have a hard time bringing themselves to play this map as it’s not as forgiving as other maps out there.
Game: Black Ops 2
The on-disc map for Black Ops 2, once called “the biggest map in Zombies ever,” TranZit had four characters ride a bus around destroyed Earth, from the bus stop to power station to farm, and into the city. Players had to stay on their toes or be left behind when the bus peeled out.
Originally conceived as having two versions of the map based on whether players completed the Moon Easter egg in Black Ops 1, TranZit ended up being held back by the console’s limitations. It included fog and other hazards on the road to dissuade characters from traveling from location to location on foot.
This, however, was a massive detriment to the map. Locations were too far apart to travel. If a player wanted to go back to a previous location, they’d have to take the bus around the rotation to make it to the spot they wanted to be 10 minutes ago had the game allowed them to walk instead.
Regardless, TranZit wasn’t a massive change to Zombies gameplay-wise and could’ve been one of the best Call of Duty maps had the Xbox 360 and PS3 limitations been removed. But unfortunately, TranZit suffered because of it, and for some zombies players, it has been called the worst map of all time. Despite the positive change and good design that shines through. Regardless, TranZit was split into smaller sections for casual survival play, which redeems its shortcomings.
Game: Advanced Warfare
This is the first Exo Zombies map in Advanced Warfare. As part of the first DLC pack, This version of Zombies was different from Treyarch’s usual foray into the mode, with Sledgehammer giving the formula a try of their own. This disables the perk limit to allow players to upgrade their guns up to 25 times, including the Exo suit as part of the end of map journey with the power. In addition to rounds that made the characters sick and forced them to find a cure pad somewhere in the map, or else their character would join the zombie masses during the next round.
This laid out the groundwork for Exo Zombies’ other Call of Duty maps and tried to make itself stand out without being a clone of the previous titles. As for if it did, I believe it did its job fine with the inclusion of new powerups, types of zombies, and the enhanced movement of the Exo suit allowing for more types of play.
Game: Advanced Warfare
This is where Sledgehammer came into its own with Exo Zombies. The game had a fun map design, taking place underwater and the intuitive choice of ditching one of the characters to play the antagonist in the final map. With the inclusion of more vertical gameplay elements centered around the Exo suit and the fun and exciting weapons added to the box, such as the blunderbuss, Exo Zombies brought itself into the fun embraced the weird assortment of new and old ideas it had created.
However, the map was held back by its forced integration with the final boss, which replaced its ammo rounds with a tiny boss fight against the main antagonist, halting the game’s pace every so often. While not seen as an issue by myself and other players, it became increasingly annoying when attempting to go for high rounds. Zombie spawns were still somewhat of an issue proved to be the shackles holding the Exo Zombies experience back from being a turn for the better in the broader scope of Call of Duty Zombie modes.
Game: Black Ops 3
The penultimate Zombies map in Black Ops 3’s story, which sees our characters head to Stalingrad to recover the soul of protagonist Nikolai for Richtofen’s better tomorrow, featuring many of the new mechanics added by Treyarch through its development.
While many consider the map to be one of the best in the series, I believe it’s held back not only in the scope of its gameplay but in its story. With the map being a mix of half-open areas and confusing close quarter encounters, the map feels claustrophobic even in a ruinous city-type landscape. The map also features dragons, which I find to be silly by comparison to all the crazy sci-fi stuff. Since its inception, Treyarch’s take on Zombies has always been aliens and human experimentation which I felt was the soul of the Zombies mode. When fantastical beasts and dimension-hopping were introduced, I felt that it was ridiculous, especially with the inclusion of Dr. Monty, who was a catch-all answer to any sort of loose end the game had perks. Dr. Monty put the idea in the perk maker’s heads with powerups conjured by Monty to help the players. Gorod Krovi’s Easter egg has been notoriously bugged until years ago when someone threatened to sue Treyarch for making an incomplete product, and only then was it finally patched, aside from being notoriously hard. While decent to play, this map fell through on so many points and suffered because of that.
Game: Black Ops 3
In the climactic finale of Black Ops 3’s Zombie mode, the players find themselves in space, and surrounding them are previous locations of Call of Duty Zombies maps, remastered for them to run around in. While including an all-new starting room, the assets reused in Revelations include Kino Der Toten, Shangri-La, Verrukt, Der Eisendrache, Nacht der Untoten, Mob of the Dead, and Origins. The map’s Easter egg is notoriously difficult, not for its intuitiveness, but for its pure lack of a cohesive thread connecting the steps, involving plenty of guesswork and trial and error.
On top of this, the final boss was reminiscent of a boss from a previous map and its ending considered a cop out. With this in mind, the map is still rather fun and a good trip down memory lane, also serving as an advertisement for the Zombies Chronicles DLC, which remastered many of the maps included in Revelations, save Mob of the Dead. Another major issue that holds Revelations back is the introduction of Dr. Monty as a character rather than a voice like in Gorod Krovi. His meddling in the Zombies storyline felt like a pure copout, as Treyarch opted to make him the omnipresent puppet master behind everything in the game’s lore. This ruined any air of mystery that the Zombies series had for Treyarch. The perks? Dr. Monty planted the ideas in people’s heads. A story like zombies holds so much mystery to it. To pull back the curtain and explain everything is one thing, but to have the mechanics explained by a character who is everywhere setting the stage for the crew to show up, feels like an end all be all answer that has no mystery to it.
Combined with the fact that Treyarch Zombies originally was a more scientifically grounded story with few aliens, aliens made it a more interesting story. Theories and discussions kept the community alive between off-seasons. However, this is ruined by the introduction of Dr. Monty. All lose ends for the Aether story would be smashed together in the final map of Black Ops 4.
Game: Infinite Warfare
Right in the middle of IW’s DLC season, this map brought a new flair to the Zombies experience, placing the main cast in a ’70s Kung Fu movie in New York City. The map has a huge disco feel and includes the ability to don several types of Kung Fu moves, all of which can help the story’s heroes defeat the main antagonist, a sewer-dwelling businessman who controls rats. But the heroes aren’t alone, as they’re helped by film actress Pam Grier, continuing the trend of each map having a special guest based on the time of their films.
The map design is good, offering multiple avenues and verticality to avoid zombies and some close corner tough spots where skilled players are separated from the fodder. However, the only thing holding this map back is the difficulty of this Easter egg, with the game forcing the player to undergo challenge after challenge and even following NPC’s around the map to continue the Easter egg. On top of that, the end boss fight is notoriously hard and sometimes a huge pain to complete, even with the wonky AI from Pam Grier attempting to help the player.
Attack of the Radioactive Thing
Game: Infinite Warfare
The fourth map in the IW DLC season brought our characters back to the ’50s with goofy B-movie giant monsters. The map features large open areas and multiple locales to run around as the undead chase down all the players dressed up like townsfolk. The game also starts with the novel concept of being in black and white until the power is turned on, which was done before, but still enjoyable. The guest appearance of this map is movie hostess Elvira, as she helps the cast solve the main quest, all with her usual flair. The map is held back from being better due to its difficult main quest, requiring the player to understand chemistry to complete. Its final boss section gave other players and me I teamed up with trouble. It’s a parkour section that’s more difficult with zombies spawning all over the play area. Missing a jump or slide will cause an instant down, and with all players needing to complete the challenge simultaneously, as well as have the players time a button press as the final blow.
If one person misses that button press, the whole sequence needs to be redone by all players.
The Final Reich
Game: Call of Duty: WWII
The first map in the WWII Zombies mode, bringing on the minds behind dead space, seemed like a fantastic idea for a horror title in the Call of Duty universe. And it was! The atmosphere was fantastic and the scares were great for zombies. The game can become stale. For casual players who want to relax and play a game, it doesn’t hold that feeling in any sense. But, it did bring along some of the defining features for WWII Zombies that helped it stand out among the other inclusions in the title. The notebook was a helpful way to instruct new players on how to complete the main quest without the help of a guide from YouTube or an online text guide, as well as the inclusion of a casual and hardcore quest, with the hardcore quest being the canon one, including an extended cutscene for those who completed it.
These Call of Duty Zombies maps on our tier list are above the gold standard, either doing something new or pushing the boundaries set by their predecessors. Their mechanics, flow, and design is good enough to be played multiple times with friends and solo.
Shi No Numa
Game: World at War, Black Ops, Black Ops 3
This is where Zombies started to come into its own as a game mode, testing out ideas to change how players played while expanding upon mechanics it had added in previous maps. With perks, the machines changed every game, so players who wanted to get a specific perk would have to open up the full map if they didn’t get the perk they wanted from the get-go.
This also brought in more traps, such as the massive spinning log called “The Flogger” and the first fast travel, a zipline connecting one part of the map to the main area. With new areas connecting to the main hub, this allowed for a full team to have their spots without stepping on the other player’s toes, as well as a plethora of new ways to play the game.
Der Rise (The Giant)
Game: World at War, Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3
The final map for World at War become a staple of the Zombies game mode as it introduced the final few mechanics that would cement themselves into the formula for a decade of Call of Duty maps and modes. Introducing the teleporters, Pack-a-Punch, and a side Easter egg to complete, this map did have it all. It also included the first Wonder Weapon, the Wunderwaffe, a lightning gun that could eviscerate hordes of zombies. While it was small enough to run around in with friends, it was also content-rich enough to allow for multiple play styles.
Some players would run around the map, while other players set up with a full-packed arsenal, monkey bombs, and sit on the catwalk near power and camp to their heart’s content, shooting hordes of zombies down while they chatted it up. In the Black Ops 3 iteration of the map, new quests were added to give players the annihilator special weapon and a 6th perk machine via a robot head hanging above spawn. Design-wise, the map is also great, with your objective is made clear once you start the match, with all players spawning in front of a blocked Pack-a-Punch machine. While a fantastic final map for World at War, it’s outdone by newer maps but remains an all-time classic to fans.
Call of the Dead
Game: Black Ops 1
The second DLC for Black Ops 1 brought on the first celebrity cast for a Zombies map, featuring Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, Robert Englund, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. It also included George Romero as a boss zombie. The setup for the map is that our heroes are filming for a movie, also called Call of the Dead until zombies carry off George and our heroes are stranded, hoping to get out with their lives. The map design is fantastic, being the first time that actual ziplines are used in a Zombies title. As well as “the flinger” sending zombies and players across the map to help loop the areas together and keep map flow. The main quest consists of our heroes helping Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai escape a cramped room located in one of the buildings. Doing so rewards the player with the Wunderwaffe from Der Riese. Call of the Dead also had its Wonder Weapon, being the VR-11, a gun that turned zombies back into people and provided a distraction for hordes of zombies to run through.
Call of the Dead also spiced things up by moving the Pack-a-Punch machine around the map, easily located by the massive light shining on it from the lighthouse in the middle of the map. George also is still included in the map and is one of the first big boss zombies in the series. He carries around a massive stage light and shouts at the players, telling them that “he can’t wait to film the death scene.” He also has a lot of health. Taking him down removes him from the game for a few ounds and gives the player a death machine. There’s the fog that will occasionally obscure the map, but within a few minutes to a round or two, it’ll disappear. Call of the Dead is a fun and exciting map and a wonderful addition to the Zombies experience in Black Ops 1.
Game: Black Ops 2
The final installment in the Victis maps for Black Ops 2 shows our heroes in an underground western town filled with zombies, ghosts, and a giant who has an affinity for candy and booze. Some of the map is blocked off with barricades that need to be destroyed by the giant. Once you let him out of his jail cell, he’ll be able to bash barriers and hold crawlers for as long as you want him to. This map also includes multiple things that made the Black Op 2 maps fantastic. The bank where you can store and even give out points if you have the right tools, the weapon locker where you can hold any weapon aside from packed ones between games, and a new addition, the weapon chalk. This chalk allows players to put their wall buys wherever they want on the map and gives them an extra 1000 points if they put it down themselves.
The map also contains two new Wonder Weapons for Black Ops 2: the Paralyzer, an infinite ammo weapon that slows down zombies. It can levitate you up and over barricades or across tricky gaps that might be a bit more difficult to cross if used on allies or yourself. The other weapon is the Ray-Gun Mark II, a new version of the fan-favorite weapon that shoots out a third-round burst of penetrating lasers that’ll destroy crowds. For all players, the Ray Gun Mark II was added to all previous maps, giving the extra weapon more love. The Easter egg for the map follows the same layout as the previous maps, allowing Victis to side with Maxis or Richtofen. It also lets the player see one of two endings depending on who they sided with throughout the DLC season. If a button is pressed in a building, showing the progress of all players, the Easter egg will reset for all maps. This forces players to complete the Easter egg on all of the Victus maps.
Zombies in Spaceland
Game: Infinite Warfare
This is the first foray into Zombies for Infinity Ward, which proved to be divisive in the community. Many considered the game to be a carbon copy of Treyarch’s formula, but IW had some tricks up their sleeve to make their first outing into the zombie mode a memorable one. This map takes place in an 80’s theme park overrun by zombies, and the rides can help players take out the horde of the undead. For team players, some of the doors are made so that everyone in the game has to pay for them, making teamwork the key to survival.
While similar to Treyarch’s perk system, IW spices it up by changing the perks from soft drinks into candies for the player to eat and including their versions of perks and even some perks that fans were asking Treyarch to make. Visually and lore-wise, IW Zombies aimed to be a more light-hearted take on the mode, ditching the sci-fi dimension-hopping storyline style of Treyarch. This same setup allowed for celebrity guests from the period the map takes place in. For Zombies in Spaceland, David Hasselhoff is the DJ of the Themepark, pumping out ’80s jams mentioning Kitt from Knight Rider and helping the players escape from the evil zombie theme park.
The Easter egg is straightforward, allowing players to easily understand it and be rewarded when the game is complete. For finishing the Easter egg, the game rewards the player by letting them upgrade their gun a second time, making it even more powerful than before. The game is also more forgiving than previous iterations of the Zombies mode. Perks are lost over time when downed. There’s a lobby for players to bring themselves back into the fight by playing arcade games or hanging out and waiting for the respawn timer to tick down if they aren’t in a rush.
IW’s first try at the Zombies mode makes for a fantastic intro to their style, as well as an excellent gold standard for IW zombies. Even if the player comes back, their weapons are waiting for them at a “lost and found” box. This ensures that players who bite the dust don’t get left in it too, with a map design that loops into one another, allowing for a large map to feel more connected and less frustrating, to a fun Easter egg with plenty of awesome Wonder Weapons to build.
Game: Black Ops 4
Considered to be the easier of the two in the on-disc offerings on Black Ops 4, this Zombies map pits the new Chaos crew in a gladiator arena fending off both tigers, zombies, undead gladiators, and if players decide to complete the main quest, an Elephant. This is similar to the design of Shi No Numa, as the players start in one hub area, work into four separate areas and connect into a second bigger area where they can fight zombies. The map has a good flow, with everything connecting one way or another and a straightforward Pack-a-Punch setup. The map also allows for multiple types of play, whether it’s holding out in one area, running around the map, or using the traps to keep zombies at bay. The map also features a better challenge system than those in previous maps; as the players continue to get more challenges, the difficulty increases. So do the rewards, whether it’s an extra perk, a packed gun, or an extra life. The player has a reason to try out all four challenge podiums in multiple playthroughs and the fact that the map’s design allows for more casual play if players want to chill out and enjoy a game of zombies.
Game: Black Ops 4
While a remake of the map “Five,” this map puts in some new areas that spice up the gameplay and give it some more value. It allows us to return to playing as the Ultimis characters rather than the Primis we’ve seen since origins and through Black Ops 3, it’s a breath of fresh air that the Aether story had a more light-hearted moment.
While not the biggest map in the series, the map design remains to keep what made the original Five so good and improve upon what many didn’t like. The Pack-a-Punch area also is placed in a remade version of Groom Lake from Moon, allowing for not only a callback but a fun holdout spot for players who want to run around the map.
The Wonder Weapon is a Mark II version of Five’s, which is the winter’s howl, allowing players to use a new version of the fan-favorite Freeze Ray. While no easily obtainable main quest, players who can stomach sitting through 255 rounds of the game will be rewarded with a cutscene that pushes the story ahead, albeit if they can stomach to survive that long with the awful Black Ops 4 Zombies engine. But aside from the nearly unobtainable Easter egg, Classified is a great map and one that is perfect for getting a Zombies game in without any major or annoying setup.
Game: Black Ops 4
This is the final map in the Chaos story. Despite the many lies from Treyarch that the Black Ops pass would contain four new Chaos maps, this would be the last time players saw the Chaos crew.
This map included two major locales for players to explore, featuring a more cinematic approach and multiple in-game cutscenes. This included Delphi and the center of the Earth, which housed a giant warrior who perished at the hands of two giant snakes. The setup for the map is relatively simple, and its implementation of four gauntlets based on Greek mythology was a fantastic addition to the game. It felt like Treyarch and finally reigned in on what the Chaos maps were missing. Unfortunately, it was too little too late as the main quest ends on a massive cliffhanger that players will never get a resolution to unless the chaos story were to be resurrected.
Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
A return from the failure of Black Ops 4 takes players back to a heavily expanded version of Nacht der Untoten, as players uncover a secret base underneath the map that started it all. Many new additions and revisions to the game’s mechanics made this return to Zombies a worthwhile one.
With the reimplementation of perk-a-colas, a tiered weapon system with the box giving out higher-tiered weapons, players can vault and mount over obstacles instead of running around them. In addition to killstreaks from multiplayer being introduced, armor and crafting added new ways to play and an easy-to-understand and guided setup system for new players.
This map proves to be a massive step in the right direction. The map flows very well, with every area connecting while still feeling individual and a good mix of closed hallways and large open spaces. The main Easter egg was made to be followable and include intuitive yet obvious clues, making it entertaining to play with friends who haven’t completed it before. Die Maschine proved to be a fantastic start to Cold War Zombies. While not the brand new map players were expecting (especially since the last real new map from Treyarch’s Aether universe was Gorod Krovi in 2016), all fans welcomed it for returning to the roots of what made it Treyarch special.
Game: Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War
The second proper Zombies map in Cold War, following the introduction of Die Maschine, Firebase Z proved to push itself further into the limelight, incorporating new and old from the Zombies universe. The map starts players out in a small village with a teleporter hidden behind a door. When the players enter, they start the real map. The map introduces a new enemy that pretends to be pickups on the ground before turning into a massive monster and grappling with the player. Spanning around the base, there’s plenty to do, and it keeps up with the guided setup before setting the player’s free to do whatever they want.
Firebase Z is a better map than its predecessor. Included in the map is another Easter egg. This one still follows a path that’s easy to understand but requires more skill to complete alone, ending the quest with a big boss fight against a monster and an ending cutscene, something that the previous map lacked. The map also includes a defense round in which the same giant boss can break through a dimensional barrier and attack players. Completing this gives the player max armor and max ammo as well. The map’s new Wonder Weapon, the Rai-K 84, may seem milk toast in name and visuals, but it certainly does some damage, and upgraded to the third Pack-a-Punch tier can do some serious damage. Still, there’s a lot of growing room for Cold War Zombies, and with no information on a new map, here’s to hoping Treyarch can top themselves on making the next zombies map even better.
While not the best of the best, these Call of Duty Zombies maps on this tier list are certainly nothing to scoff at. Many players will constantly play these and find themselves downloading games to play these maps. These maps do everything right and add onto what makes zombies so great from the start, total fan favorites.
Kino der Toten
Game: Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3
This is an on-disc map for Black Ops 1 and most likely one of the most played Call of Duty maps by the Zombies community. Any curious player will want to use it. While barebones in the scope of other maps, Kino holds itself in high regard by being one of the master class examples of map design. It doesn’t matter which way you travel through the theater, you’ll spend the same amount of points and end up in the same place, and that place will loop right back into spawn. Whether it’s taking the path through the theater or walking through the alleyways, players will always end up at the stage, turn the power on, and right as the curtains rise, the teleporter from Der Rise will be sitting there. Using it will take them to the Pack-a-Punch hidden in the projector room of the theater, making that safe zone for players to throw grenades at zombies and upgrade their weapons.
Players developed strategies to give themselves the upper hand by not opening the second door to the alleyway. This leaves it closed to keep zombies from flanking them on one side, turning the alleyway into a holdout zone where four players and some teamwork can send them into the highest of rounds. The introduction of the Pack-a-Punch safe room, the nova crawlers, and the lore in the form of film reels provide one of the best balanced, optimal experiences for players of all time, but there’s a map or two that Kino can’t hold a candle to.
Game: Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3
In the Black Ops 1 DLC season, the final map takes our titular heroes to the Moon, with low gravity, no air, and evil zombie astronauts make for one of the best Call of Duty maps in the series. From spawning into the map and seeing the Pack-a-Punch machine next to the player, it brings the thought that things will be different. As waiting for enough money to pile up to upgrade might seem like a good idea, the furthering onslaught of zombies makes it difficult to survive with just an M1911. Once all players are on the teleporter and taken to the Moon, the lack of air is apparent as the characters choke and try to breathe. However, the PES system in front of you is the one saving grace. After that, the amount of time you survived in the Pack-a-Punch area is displayed. This means there’s more to that area than meets the eye, as not only is that not the start room, but the first round beginning when you enter the base signifies that the game has just only begun. With multiple avenues to explore, players realize that there’s more strategy to this map than one would think.
With the power on the inside rooms filled with air (save for the power room), players can ditch the PES for the hacker. Combining this with the iron lungs of the main cast can travel back to the pack area and hack the machine to put walls up, giving the players some rest while upgrading their weapons. However, once those walls drop, it’s going to be a whole different story as the zombies who’ve piled up are going to help you test those weapons out. Excavators will also attempt to ruin the few areas with life support making using the hacker impossible if breached. But the hacker helps in this regard by making it back to the starting room computers can return the excavators to their rightful place. The hacker can also open doors for cheap, spin the box twice, hand out weapons, give players points, turn powerups into max ammo for a price, rebuild barricades into stronger ones, and much more.
The main Easter egg on the map also fits as an ending to the Black Ops 1 story, but only if the host player has completed all of the main quests for the previous maps. This sees the final grand scheme of Richtofen as he swaps bodies with Samantha, who has been controlling the zombies this whole time. The person playing as Richtofen also gets all perks permanently as a gift for making it to the halfway point of the Easter egg. The rest of the players get the same reward and an awesome display of destruction as three missiles are launched at Earth, destroying it. This is made all the more impressive in the remastered version of Black Ops 3 with the new engine and lighting system.
Game: Black Ops 2
The first DLC map of the Black Ops 2 season continues the jumps of all sorts of ideas for Black Ops Zombies. This map takes place on a massive Skyscraper that’s been broken in half and falling over. Placing the characters in multiple ways of traversing the high rise, players need to find a way to navigate to the power on the other building on the map. Taking the elevator to the bottom of the skyscraper or to the top to jump to the power level is up to the player. The second building is where most of the action happens, as the perks and Pack-a-Punch ride from floor to floor, so players who want to catch them need to plan for their attack. However, the elevators can also be ridden to the top as a means of travel. But requires quick reflexes; otherwise, the unfortunate soul on the elevator will be crushed when it passes its last stop. A full amount of perks can also be acquired by the player granted their either skilled aim or skilled with a knife. The regular dog rounds will be replaced with an electric variant of the nova crawler. Getting 100% accuracy by never missing a shot with a gun or melee killing all of them will give the player a free perk, always handing out one until all players get their fill. The main quest is just as archaic as the previous maps in Black Ops 2. Still, the map stands out as a fun and exhilarating zombie experience that I always come back to with friends, especially if we want to have a good time shooting some zombies in an exotic locale.
Game: Black Ops 2, Black Ops 3
Many players would know what map you’re talking about if you say “on the battlefields of the great war..” as this was the return of the main cast of characters from Black Ops 1, dropping the stereotypes of their goofier counterparts, these hardened versions of our heroes battle the undead forces in the World War 1 trenches. But it’s not as you would remember it, as it’s ridden with the undead, ancient chainmail-wearing zombies and giant robots walking throughout the map. In this alternate history, the scientists who dug up the ruins of ancient heroes awoke the undead and destroyed the battlefield, leaving our heroes the only ones left alive. Now tasked with restoring power and opening a gateway to an alternate dimension, the Zombies crew must use the powers uncovered to stop the undead horde. Origins is massive; bigger than TranZit. The stage hazards of giant robots are more than just spectacle. There are four magic staffs scattered around the map, which require the player to unlock their potential via building them to acquire their stones through a portal to the alternate dimension, labeled as “The Crazy Place.”
All four staff can be upgraded and give them more abilities and uses than just killing the undead. Generators must start at six points around the map to activate Pack-a-Punch. Several zombies will spawn at the generator during the match to take it down and force the player to restart. If they manage to defeat the horde before their job is done, they’ll be safe from having to restart the generator, as well as gain a free Max Ammo. If they fail, the zombies will move to the next generator until they are disabled. It only takes one generator out of the six to prevent the use of Pack-a-Punch, and upgrading your arsenal is important, especially with the introduction of a new boss zombie, the Panzersoldat. It’s a massive zombie with a grappling hook that’ll pull unsuspecting players up to itself and attempt to burn them to a crisp. The main quest is fairly simple and borrows hints from the Black Ops 1 mission where Alex Mason and Reznov escape Vorkuta; however, the difficulty of these steps varies, especially with having to melee kill zombies to cleanse a stone needed to progress. This can be completed earlier, as it nets the player a new special grenade. But most players will opt to use the upgraded staff’s melee instead. The main quest also finishes with a cutscene showing a new version of Sam, who seems uncorrupted since the last time players had seen her. Overall, Origins is a fan favorite, but I feel that its size and required setup make it a poor map to play casually if you’re looking for a quick game of zombies. However, it’s a must-play for all zombies fans, as its scope and the dense content amount are heightened tenfold with its remaster in Black Ops 3.
Shadows of Evil
Game: Black Ops 3
The on-disc map for Black Ops 3, marketed as a completely new entry in the Zombies story, players were chomping at the bit to get their hands on this new experience. With a star-studded cast, including Jeff Goldblum, many described it as a spiritual successor to Mob of the Dead. The map was even made into a ride at Six Flags for their Halloween Fright Fest.
It introduces new spins on old mechanics from previous maps. One of them is the boss zombie, which was made more difficult with the introduction of the margwa, a three-headed tentacle monster who stalks the players around the map, taking out the three heads kills it. The Afterlife system from Mob of the Dead also returned with the characters using altars to become beasts to open areas and traverse the map. Design-wise the map is also very big, although it’s more compact than something like origins. The same philosophy applies to previous maps, with a central hub and starting area that flows into three other map areas. These outer areas can be traversed through portals unlocked with the beast mode or the monorail, allowing the map to have multiple escape areas and making getting around less tiresome.
Another thing that was expanded upon was the dig spots from origins, introducing plant pods and a fumigation gun. If players let the pods grow, they’d drop better items, and these could be anything from a gun to a perk, to a powerup, and even a part of the Wonder Weapon, which had its quest to be built. The map also includes a quest to unlock a sword that can be used as a special weapon, allowing the player to take down zombies without wasting ammo. This sword could also be upgraded into a better version of the sword, which would spin around the player, creating a barrier.
The setup for this map is lengthy, with the crew needing to go through several sacrifice holdouts in small areas. Doing so will start a final holdout area and unlock the Pack-a-Punch, where the Easter egg begins. Using the summoning key brings in a horrible HP Lovecraft-styled monster to float over the city, and all players need to team up to destroy it. Aside from completing the Pack-a-Punch setup, the main quest requires four players to be present, giving it the same problem Shangri-la had, causing many solo players not to complete it.
Another side quest brought in an NPC character who would help the players fight and revive them if they went down, which proved to be a good option for players who ran their matches solo. Completing it would reveal to the player that this map is connected to the other maps’ stories, making it a true addition to the Black Ops Zombies timeline. The only thing holding the map back was its various unsolved Easter eggs, as the Wonder Weapon, the Apothicon Servant could be upgraded at launch, but this function was removed. Players discovered through datamining the game would allow this weapon to be upgraded, but Treyarch never finished implementing it. Shadows of Evil stands out as one of the best launch maps in the history of Black Ops Zombies. Still, the large setup, difficult Easter egg, and various bugs at launch made the game hard to pick up for newer players. For hardcore Zombies fans, Shadows of Evil is one of the best Call of Duty maps in the series.
Game: Black Ops 3
The first DLC map in the Black Ops 3 season, Der Eisendrache is the triumphant return to the Primis Crew after their first appearance in Origins and their brief return to Der Rise in the pre-order map “The Giant.”
This map sees Nikolai, Takeo, Dempsey, and Richtofen go to a castle in the German mountains to find the original version of Dempsey, but as soon as they get their a rocket holding the soldier is sent to the Moon, where the base from the map of the same name resides.
Aside from making callbacks to previous maps, with the return of the Panzersoldat and having to feed heads for a weapon like in Mob of the Dead, it also introduces new mechanics added in Black Ops 3, such as the thrust jump from multiplayer. Underneath the castle, there’s an area with a pyramid. When activated, it becomes less prevalent, allowing our crew to wall run and thrust jump like in the multiplayer mode.
The map also features a new Wonder Weapon, the bow and arrow, which functions just like it does in multiplayer. This bow can be turned into one of four special bows, with the community naming them Void Bow, Fire Bow, Storm Bow, and Wolf Bow. These are needed to complete the Easter egg for the map, but this map is solo-friendly. The player still has to collect and build all four bows to complete the main quest. The bows can also be upgraded into better versions of them, allowing for more damage to be done. The map’s layout is archaic, with certain areas not being traversed as often as others. However, it includes two distinct sections: the castle and the rocket launch pad, which will be closed off at certain times due to a rocket test that frequently happens. This is also how players will unlock the weapon’s special weapon, the Ragnarok DG-4, a reskin of ruin’s gravity slam attack from multiplayer. The Ragnarok is different, though, with the ability to be set down and form an anti-gravity field useful for reviving friends mid-round. The main areas of the map are linked via jump pads, which launch the player from one part of the map to the other, making travel between the top and bottom of the mountain easier.
There’s also a side quest in the map with claws from the Panzersoldats. If the player can hit three panzers with the claws dropped from hidden areas, they can equip a hat that makes the Panzers deal less damage and make them less of a nuisance. The main quest, when completed, sees our heroes bring the original Dempsey back to the Earth, and in a wild twist that shows that the story is taking a wildly different turn, they blow up the Moon, destroying the base on it. Treyarch clarifies that this is a different timeline than the ending of Black Ops 2. This is the final nail in the coffin that the story is wildly different. Der Eisendrache is a perfect new-age Zombies map. It ticks all the boxes with flying colors, but its relatively smaller map design, as well as the fact that the map only has one or two things to do, by comparison to other maps in the series, holds it back from becoming an S tier map on our Call of Duty Zombies maps tier list.
Rave in the Redwoods
Game: Infinite Warfare
Infinity Ward’s first DLC map of their IW Zombies season, this map knocks it out of the park. It changes up the formula by having the main cast start with melee weapons instead of pistols, allowing players to choose which weapons they want to use from the get go.
Set in the California redwood forest, the map is akin to slasher films from the ’90s with a massive rave party haunted by a slasher villain sporting a buzzsaw. The players must find a way out of the film while avoiding the slasher at all costs, or they might meet a different demise if the zombies don’t get to them first. The map design is great in this game, with lots of open areas and plenty of atmospheres. However, the lack of fast travel means players will have to walk most of the time. Those who want to Pack-a-Punch will have to ride a boat from the main map to the island, which takes a substantial amount of time. But the design and visuals of the level are second to none when it comes down to it.
The map also includes a gameplay mechanic called “Rave mode,” in which zombies will drop pouches, that when thrown into the many fires around the map, turns the whole area into a colorful wonderland. In this mode, players can gain more points, find hidden items and open barriers that normally wouldn’t be allowed, and complete steps of the Easter egg, but once past round 10, the slasher will appear when rave mode is active. He is one tough customer and invincible while the player is still in the mode.
The map also has the same mechanics in Spaceland, allowing players to get killstreak-styled traps by putting specific-colored gems into totem poles. The map also hands out several special grenades if a specific challenge is met after activating it. The Wonder Weapon falls into the same four types that the previous Call of Duty Zombies maps has but completing the quests for these Wonder Weapons net the players a special crossbow that makes some elemental attack. The consensus in the community being that the Acid Rain crossbow is the best one to use for the Easter egg, so if you’re expecting to finish this Easter egg, make sure that the Acid Rain is in your arsenal. The celebrity character for this map is Kevin Smith, with a cameo from Jay Mewes. The part Kevin plays in the map fits him well also, giving a solid performance as a celebrity guest. As for the Easter egg on the map, it’s relatively straightforward and ends in a massive boss fight on the island that Pack-a-Punch is on. Players will have to duke it out with a giant version of the slasher and fight multiple waves of zombies and skeletons. Completing the main quest also unlocks a special weapon that can put down the slasher. However, it does take up a whole weapon slot. For players who beat the Spaceland map, they will have the privilege of already unlocking the double Pack-a-Punch mechanic for the match, allowing them to upgrade their weapons twice right off the bat. For those who didn’t complete it, every DLC map after Spaceland will have a quest that needs to be complete to unlock the double pack function for the round’s duration, rather than starting with it every time. Overall, Rave in the Redwoods is IW Zombies at its best, with a solid map design, wonderful visuals and great mechanics.
While not exactly Call of Duty Zombies maps, these inclusions don’t have a tier, but they wouldn’t complete the Zombies experiences without being mentioned on our Call of Duty Zombies maps tier list.
Dead Ops Arcade 1, 2, and 3
Games: Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Included as a bonus originally in Black Ops 1, Dead Ops Arcade is a top-down score-chasing zombie game played with up to four players. From islands to prisons to even a monster truck track, Dead Ops sees four unnamed commandos running through the world to take down the Cosmic Silverback, a gorilla stealing all the treasure from the players. To get to the Cosmic Silverback, the players must fight through his zombie army to get to him. Dead Ops Arcade 2 takes place immediately after the end of Dead Ops Arcade, with the brother of the Cosmic Silverback, the Cyber Silverback, stealing the main character’s chicken, which is a nod to one of the powerups from the first game. While following a very similar gameplay style, more powerups and other items are included with the new version of Dead Ops. This also includes a first-person powerup that makes the player see the game from a first-person perspective.
After completing Dead Ops 2, players of Cold War can play Dead Ops 3, in which the Cyber Silverback is hospitalized and calls his mother to avenge him. This version of Dead Ops includes plenty of new mechanics and a surprising amount of reused assets from Black Ops 4 Zombies. With bosses from XIII, Voyage of Despair and others being included in the game. Dead Ops is a fun and goofy mode that all players should at least play once or twice.
Game: Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War
Made for Black Ops Cold War, Outbreak is a large-scale Zombies mode in which players traverse Fireteam maps from multiplayer, hunting down zombies and completing objectives. Following the same gameplay mechanics as the Call of Duty Zombies maps featured in Cold War, players must make their way to the objective marker and complete various trials from the cast over the radio. Whether holding out for a rocket launch, escorting a drone, carrying large cans to a car, or being transported to a small area to survive for a limited time, completing these trials unlocks an upgrade station next to the end of the level, in which players can prepare for the next round of trials to begin.
Once all players make their choice, they’ll be transported to a whole new map, in which they must continue the same steps all over again. Vehicles and other types of modes of transportation are included as ways to get around the maps as big as they are. With the introduction of a new map to Outbreak, many are disappointed by the reuse of multiplayer content for Zombies. They hope that the gameplay adjusts to become more engaging for all players.
This is the best of the best when it comes to Zombies, the top of the chain. With S Tier maps, this will either be the first map that’s played when starting a Zombies session or the last one (for people who save the best for last). These Call of Duty Zombies maps on our tier list exceed the expectations of players and will even become the main reason players will download older Call of Duty titles, to be able to play a single or a couple of maps.
Game: Black Ops 1, Black Ops 3
This is the first DLC experience for Black Ops 1. Ascension begins with one of the most interesting intros in all of Zombies, set in a Russian cosmonaut facility. The players start outside of the map, descending into the main area on a rocket-propelled platform until landing and all the color in the map disappears. The main room includes a massive spinning centrifuge in the middle of the room, which will kick on and decimate anything in its area of effect. The map design is phenomenal, with the same philosophy behind the map design with Kino der Tote. However, it’s split into three separate areas. Completing a section of the map has the players call in the lunar lander from the beginning of the game. Riding it brings the players back to the start. However, this is also how Pack-a-Punch is unlocked. Turning on the power not only brings back the color to the map, but it also serves as the control room for the launch of a giant rocket at the end of the map, which houses the Pack-a-Punch machine. This gives players a large-scale challenge as the Pack-a-Punch is located in an unsafe spot, meaning that players need to hold the last zombie of the round or risk losing their perks to upgrade their weapon.
Dog rounds from earlier maps have been replaced with a new enemy, the space monkey. Monkeys will rain down from the sky in landers and attempt to attack the perk machines of any perks the players have purchased. If all players don’t have perks, the monkeys won’t spawn in. successfully defending all the perk machines and not letting the monkeys touch them will net the player a free perk.
If the player is willing to wait out the monkeys and not open the door to certain perks like Juggernog, the player will then have the chance to get Juggernog from the monkeys and keep the machine out of the machine their hands. This is also the first map to introduce fan-favorite items and perks, such as PHD Flopper, Stamin-Up, and the Gersh Device. Replacing the Monkey Bomb, the Gersh Device throws out a mini singularity that sucks in zombies and removes them from existence. If the player happens to dive into the singularity themselves, they’ll be transported to a different part of the map instantaneously. Ascension is also the first map in the Zombies series to include a proper Easter egg quest, one that gives the players all the perks on the map and a 90-second death machine that is a permanent upgrade to the powerup for the rest of the game. This addition, combined with its stellar map design and extremely high value as a map, makes it one of the best Call of Duty maps in the Black Ops Zombies series, hands down. I always find myself playing Ascension any time I boot up either Black Ops 1 or Black Ops 3.
Game: Black Ops 2
A bonus for players who purchased the hardened edition of Black Ops 2, Nuketown Zombies takes the critically acclaimed multiplayer map and turns it on its head, making it a Zombies map to launch Black Ops 2. The map was eventually released as a standalone DLC a couple of months after the game’s launch. I would claim that Nuketown Zombies is the perfect Zombies map for both casual and hardcore players. Taking place seemingly after the explosion that destroys Nuketown, you and up to three other players don the outfits of either the FBI or the CDC as you fight your way across the familiar multiplayer map.
While it’s not like the original map, with multiple doors and massive rocks from the nuclear blast blocking some of the main chokepoints for the map, the edits made to Nuketown turn it into the perfect Zombies map. This included places like the garage being locked, as well as the truck holding a myriad of wall-buys and powerful items right from the start, only to be blocked off by a 3000 point barrier.
To deter players from getting too powerful in the early game, perks and the Pack-a-Punch machine will rain down and specific intervals during rounds, making whatever lands first a mystery and changing the gameplay every time. The mystery box also contains weapons not used in the other Zombies maps, such as the M27, an assault rifle with a submachine gun fire rate.
There is also a free powerup that changes every so often in the shed behind the yellow house, which can be picked up once per game. The map is also a part of the story in Black Ops 2, taking place during the Moon Easter egg, as having the skill and tenacity to make it all the way to round 25 will change the eye colors and the announcer of the game to Richtofen as he completes his grand scheme. If you and a friend happen to die, you see one of the rockets from the Moon descend upon Nuketown, showcasing where they went before the destruction of the Earth in Moon. The map is easy to set up and easy to pick up and play with friends. While it lacks in a main quest and Easter eggs, its status as a survival map is second to none. Nuketown Zombies is the perfect casual Zombies map and is the whole reason I reinstalled Black Ops 2, aside from the last map in the list.
Mob of the Dead
Game: Black Ops 2
This is the second DLC map for Black Ops 2. It features a star-studded cast, which at this point has become a tradition in Zombies. This map features four gangsters in the ’30s who attempt to break out of Alcatraz, lovingly recreated from scans and photography by the Zombies team at Treyarch. This map is so close to the actual design of Alcatraz that those scans have been used multiple times by Treyarch in Black Ops 4 with Blood of the Dead, Alcatraz Island for Black Out, and Rebirth Island for Warzone and Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War.
While still being Alcatraz, the map connects the sections between the two very well, with multiple ways around the map without deviating too much from the real-life source material. The only notable deviation from the game that the developers took was the addition of the gondola connecting the main prison to the docks. While it’s notably smaller in-game due to the technical limitations of the Xbox 360 and PS3, Alcatraz finds itself to be an extremely fun map design-wise. Onto the mechanics of the map itself, the main mechanic included and introduced was the Afterlife system. Where players who were downed respawned in a ghostly form and could teleport zombies away from themselves, allowing them to revive their bodies and run away by the skin of their teeth. This was a holdover from the previous map Die Rise, where the introduction of a new perk, “Who’s Who?” let players who got downed respawn in and revive themselves. However, the mechanics of Who’s Who spawned the player in with just a pistol and nothing else.
Due to the verticality of Die Rise and how hectic and difficult high rounds become, anyone with whos who would be overwhelmed, and if they happened to die without reviving themselves, would remove their character with all of the previous weapons, setting the player back significantly. The Afterlife mode cut out the middle man from the perk by removing the ability to be attacked or seen by zombies and changing the pistol to an electric teleport weapon that got rid of zombies and powered up multiple things around the map. The Afterlife mode was also not used just for reviving. Interacting with a fusebox would put the player in Afterlife mode, allowing them to reach areas and unlock doors and quest items that wouldn’t be reachable without being downed or intentionally shocked. Combining that with the high jump that being a ghost grants the player, Afterlife mode became an immense part of Mob of the Dead, with parts of the map being locked behind it. Playing solo, you would be granted three Afterlife activations at the start of the game, with one coming back each round. In co-op, you would be granted one per round, with one as your maximum. The map also included a boss zombie donning riot gear. If he came across a barricade, perk machine, buildable table, mystery box, or anything, he wouldn’t hesitate to break it, forcing the player to pay a hefty sum of money to fix it, allowing it to be used. The map also features two Wonder Weapons and two map-only guns. For Wonder Weapons, we have a four-barreled shotgun. Getting it out of the mystery box or through its quest will net you the ultra-powerful gun. However, it needs to be reloaded after every shot, making it a high-risk, high-reward weapon. It can be upgraded into the Acid Gat, a version of the weapon that fires exploding acid capsules that attract zombies’ attention when fired. The Acid Gat is crafted by finding the parts to its upgrade station around the map and building them at one of the two buildable tables, one in prison and one at the docks.
Players need to decide. The shield for the map has to be built at one of these tables, making it a decision based on which area will be passed the most since the Acid Gat upgrade will be used once to upgrade the gun. Both the Blundergat and Acid Gat can be Pack-a-Punch and make them even more powerful than they were beforehand. The second Wonder Weapon is a powerful hatchet, using similar mechanics from the throwing axe in BO2’s multiplayer. This weapon can be thrown and will come back to the player, only be used after a short cooldown. The hatchet, or “Hell’s Retriever,” as the game calls it, can also be used to pick up powerups that might have dropped in the middle of a horde. Obtaining the Retriever is done by feeding three zombie dog heads around the map. Doing so will unlock a secret area in which the player can obtain the Retriever.
This mechanic of feeding zombie animal heads is used in multiple maps to this date, such as Der Eisendrache, Blood of the Dead, and Outbreak. The Retriever also can be upgraded. Through a lengthy process of collecting kills and other items, the Hell’s Retriever can be turned into the “Hell’s Redeemer,” making it the most powerful throwing item in the game. It has damage exceeding the health cap of regular zombies, making it perfect for high-round strategies. The one gun that is only obtainable in Mob of the Dead is the M1927, which is a high-capacity submachine gun that will decimate zombies one after another if upgraded. The second weapon is a high fire rate submachine gun with a limited magazine but the power to balance it out. Unlocking Pack-a-Punch is an adventure, but as I’ve complained about the setup for previous maps, what makes Mob of the Dead’s setup better is that it’s completely easy to understand and helps tell the player a story rather than feel like a task or a chore.
The map’s context is that Al Arlington, Finn O’Leary, Sal Deluca, and Billy Handsome plan to escape the prison by using multiple items taken to craft a plane of Al’s design that will fly them to victory. As the zombies descend upon the island, it’s all the more apparent that they need to leave, being the last four survivors. Getting the parts to the plane requires players to travel around the island, from holding out in the washroom to get the wings made out of clothes or to trigger the elevator to drop the rope by putting in a code while in the Afterlife mode.
Once all the pieces are complete, they all get on the plane but crash into the under-construction Golden Gate bridge, where Pack-a-Punch lies. While it’s an open area with plenty of room to run around, it’s far from safe as the zombies will continue to spawn all around the map, making it not only a viable place to holdout and train but a quick respite as the plane ride helps players catch their breath. The only way back is to take a seat in the electric chairs at the end of the bridge and wait for a lightning strike to send the player’s souls and bodies to the island again, as the game puts you where you started the match in the Afterlife mode. If players want to return to the Golden Gate bridge, the next round of gas cans will spawn in the areas where the parts are and are completely accessible right from the beginning. All the player has to do is pick them up off the floor and put them in the plane. The player needs to pick them up in solo, as they can hold all of the cans at once, leaving the idea of a cycle in the player’s minds. The main quest is by far the best Easter egg I have ever done. While not very complicated in Easter eggs, the story it provides and the implications surrounding it make it the best of the best. To activate the Easter egg, the player must obtain the Retriever, complete the Blundergat quest, and obtain the golden spork, a hidden melee weapon similar to the bowie knife. After those steps are completed, the player needs to go to the Golden Gate bridge three times. Once that is done, the numbers used to call down the rope will be flashing. If the player enters the prisoner numbers of every mobster in the crew, the screen will become black and white as the players take a tour to learn what happened to the mobsters the night they attempted to break out of Alcatraz.
After being aware of the plan made by Al to craft a plane to escape, the four mobsters go through with the plan, but infighting and arguing sour everything. With the three other mobsters turning on Al, they lure him to the roof and take him out. The guards find Al’s body and sentence the mobsters to death. Once all of them have perished, they’re forced into this cycle in the Map Mob of the Dead. This story is told through headphones, like a tour. Each headphone has the player walking up from the elevator to the roof, where the plane is. All players will eventually board the plane. The final battle is a PvP fight against the three mobsters and Al, as the zombies side with Arlington. If the player playing as Al wins, the cycle is broken and whole different end screenplays, showcasing the cycle’s destruction. With all manner of content to do, there are many places to hold out and train with two secret songs. It’s a shame this map was never properly remade with the same amount of care that went into the original. This map is the main reason I bought Black Ops 2 a second time on PC. It’s hands down the best Zombies map ever made for hardcore and casual fans.
This completes our Call of Duty Zombies maps tier list. While it’s completely subjective based on the opinions and experiences of my 12 years playing Zombies, every map has its ups and downs, but some are just better at pleasing than others.