When signs first pointed toward zombies infiltrating Call of Duty: Warzone, it seemed like a perfect pairing. After a few seasons of inconsequential map updates such as the confusing subway system (which unceremoniously closed down), the open stadium (cool?), and a loot train that nobody cares about, adding zombies sounded like an easy win. Mindlessly stomping undead baddies would be a fun way to earn extra loot and a change of pace to the ruthlessly competitive battle royale environment.
Well, Warzone's zombies are finally here and (surprise!) they're super boring.
The problem is that there aren't enough zombies to go around. With a massive 150-player map to infest, they only spawn in a single tiny murderbox in the southeast corner. If you're extremely lucky, you might survive long enough on the Warzone Shipwreck to open a single loot crate with some okay gear. I don't know whose idea it was to split 40 zombies in a single location among 150 players, but they shouldn't be surprised that the start of every match currently looks like this:
Assuming you survive the initial chaos, it's still a terrible time. The zombies themselves are useless fodder and don't swarm in large enough numbers to make a dent in the marauding players. Ironically, shooting zombies is actually the last thing you should do if you want to stay alive—players are the only actual threat.
Everybody naturally wants to check out what's new in Season 2, and right now that means going all-in on a tiny corner of the map. To help communicate my disappointment, here's a handy visual aid that sums up Warzone Season 2 so far:
The good news is that signs point toward more undead activity in the coming weeks. The weird zombie measuring machines scattered throughout Verdansk's nuclear silos currently read five percent, so it seems likely that zombies will pop up in more locations. A map completely overrun with zombies (and the promise of solid loot to the folks that exterminate them) could be a cool and transformative way to say goodbye to Verdansk before it likely blows up.
Limiting zombies at first may play into Activision's plan for the infection to spread, but the microscopic start fails to capture any of the fun of the beloved mode that inspired it. CoD Zombies is about the simple pleasure of popping zombie brains with friends, upgrading weapons, and rolling the dice on the mystery box until I get a damn raygun (a glaring omission from Warzone's arsenal). Warzone might be able to capture that co-op fun by ratcheting up the zombies through mid-season updates and giving players more room to breathe. I wish it would hurry things up if that's the plan.
For now, there is a better place to get your open-world Zombies fix. The Cold War-exclusive Outbreak mode strikes a nice balance between Warzone's expansive arenas and the co-op intensity of Black Ops Zombies. Given that Warzone's bad implementation just makes me want to launch Cold War, maybe it's an effective advertisement after all.