For a two-week limited-time seasonal occasion, it’s staggering how a lot effort went into Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Warzone’s Haunting of Verdansk. And it’s not simply the brand new modes, scarily good premium bundles, or the trick-or-treat scavenger hunt. It’s the “hauntification” of the complete map of Verdansk; the small spooky particulars tucked into each nook of the brand new nighttime model of the map that make every part really feel contemporary and new, giving gamers a purpose to discover off the crushed path. In a 12 months once we can’t (or relatively, shouldn’t) be going to haunted homes to get our Halloween spook on, Infinity Ward is bringing the haunted home to the sport you like to play.
Reportedly more than 1400 visual effect assets were deployed across the Verdansk map, together with blood swimming pools dripping upward in sure areas, specters wandering numerous areas, and ghost trains roaring via the subway system. Visual results artists got a bit of freedom to embrace their favourite horror imagery, which led to the Ghostbusters-like swirling of spirits close to the Gulag, the ghost of Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface appropriately hiding in Farmland, and SAW-themed rooms within the subway areas, full with a freshly sawed off and bloody leg (a superb callback to Cary Elwes’ destiny within the unique movie). It’s not simply visible results, both. Spooky sounds accompany the visuals—youngsters laughing, chainsaw noises, and so forth.—actually promoting the “Haunting of Verdansk” really feel and rising the strain as you attempt to survive to the top.
The official licensing of each Texas Chainsaw Massacre and SAW is a pleasant contact too. The incredible and creepy premium bundles convey Billy the Puppet and Leatherface into the sport as Operators, and provides gamers a bunch of cool blueprints (with bloody dismemberment results) and cosmetics to associate with them. Being the place that Call of Duty cash is made for the free-to-play Warzone, the bundles accompanying the Haunting of Verdansk are high quality packs, even when it’s a bit of bizarre to equip Billy the Puppet and listen to Morte’s foolish voice associate with it (I might have cherished to have heard Tobin Bell’s calm but gravelly Jigsaw voice used right here). And that high quality goes for the unique characters too. Dr. Karlov is an imposing character and his weapons embrace electrical results themed round his in-game lore. Even extra bundles might be dropping earlier than the two-week occasion is up too.
But, of course, you don’t should drop money to be able to benefit from the Haunting. Limited-time modes give gamers new methods to interact with the battle royale, most prominently Zombie Royale. Once killed, gamers grow to be Zombies with tremendous powers like night time imaginative and prescient, a brilliant bounce, and immunity to the fuel. Zombies can both decide up two syringes from useless gamers to respawn as a human, or proceed to attempt to help their workforce because the undead, however when you die as a Zombie, you’re executed till your workforce buys you again in.
Zombie Royale completely adjustments the dynamic of the survival recreation. The nighttime Verdansk map lights up inside areas, making them much less protected with larger visibility. But being out on the open with zombies prowling about isn’t precisely fixing to maintain you alive both. Killing a participant or a workforce might simply create a bunch of vengeance-fueled corpses who know precisely the place you’re hiding. Or they could run off to attempt to decide off different unsuspecting gamers. While half of me needs that there have been additionally AI zombie enemies wandering the map to shake issues up (similar to a haunted home attraction, none of the “Haunting” results can truly damage you), Zombie Royale continues to be a very cool twist on the Warzone components.
Haunting of Verdansk – Tricks and Treats
And layered on prime of every part is a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt metagame, 17 rewards that may be earned by opening loot chests scattered round Verdansk. The menu has been up to date with UI to help this new scavenger hunt, checking off containers for the 16 areas wanted to earn the ultimate reward for locating all of them. Rewards embrace beauty trinkets like calling playing cards, emblems, sprays, and weapon charms, however there are just a few greater rewards like weapon blueprints and a cool new watch to put on. Be warned although. The treats include tips. Sometimes opening a field as you seek out these rewards will lead to a bit of a bounce scare, even on the daytime model of the maps. It’s not tremendous typically although. I performed for hours yesterday and didn’t run right into a single one.
Even the Modern Warfare multiplayer aspect of issues acquired just a few spooky additions, even when most of the main focus for this occasion is on Warzone’s Verdansk. Killstreaks make gamers have a flaming jack-o-lantern head. Control level flags are changed with scarecrows. And of course the spooky Operators and weapons may be taken into MP too. Yet what Haunting of Verdansk actually does it present the place Activision needs to take Warzone sooner or later. It proves no doubt that they see the free-to-play battle royale as a stay recreation worthy of constant updates and occasions to maintain it feeling contemporary. After all, with well over 75 million players and a wealth of alternative below the free-to-play banner, it could be silly to not preserve gamers coming again.
Warzone is not any stranger to limited-time twists on its components—short-term modes like Armored Royale, Kingslayer Trios, and others pop up for a pair weeks at a time, shaking up the sport, by no means to return once more. But it’s inside these limited-time twists that stay video games discover renewed curiosity and a resurgence of gamers, or even perhaps decide up new ones for the primary time. The subsequent Season, occasion, replace, or content material drop is the carrot that retains us all coming again.
Haunting of Verdansk is the most important limited-time stay seasonal occasion the sport has ever had—I’d argue even bigger in scope than the Black Ops Cold War reveal. And but, in lower than two weeks, it should all be gone, minus the individuals nonetheless working round because the horror icons. The ghosts and spirits will fade as daylight as soon as once more overtakes Verdansk. Players might be despatched to the Gulag as a substitute of changing into an undead tremendous energy. For Infinity Ward and Activision to place this type of effort—and licensing—right into a limited-time occasion exhibits the long run plans for Warzone as a live-service platform.
And contemplating the distinctive response to Haunting of Verdansk, count on that Activision is paying consideration. I’d prefer to suppose they’ll double down on efforts like this sooner or later. Warzone’s been an enchanting Call of Duty experiment to observe firsthand since its launch back in March of this year. Its very existence—alongside Call of Duty Mobile—has shaken up the established Call of Duty components in methods we couldn’t have even predicted final 12 months when Modern Warfare got here out, portray success for the complete franchise via its free ticket to entry and inherent ties to the principle yearly title. And when it turns into entangled with Cold War later this 12 months, count on one other surge of success because the Warzone continues to evolve to support both next-gen and the brand new recreation from Treyarch.
For now although, merely benefit from the tips and treats within the Haunting of Verdansk. Become a Zombie. Discover Verdansk’s many spooky city legends delivered to life. Maybe lastly drop some money on a premium Operator bundle. And get the residing daylights scared out of you simply by looting chests. Warzone is simply kicking off its strongest limited-time occasion but (obtainable till November third), however that is only a harbinger of issues but to return.