Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty Vanguard looks amazing, as did Call of Duty WWII - however, everyone can agree that Call of Duty WWII's Zombies mode was a little off. We don't think it was bad, exactly, but it was very dark and gritty in comparison to other Call of Duty Zombies experiences. It didn't really fit the aesthetic we're used to seeing - so will Vanguard Zombies?
Activision has announced that Treyarch is helming Vanguard's Zombies mode in a series-first collaboration and after Cold War Zombies' polished release, we're not mad about it. Treyarch release the best Call of Duty Zombies content, that's a universally accepted opinion. Cold War Zombies was a little polarising, though.
Treyarch's trademark supernatural themes were there, but everything seemed very... Crystal based. Almost everything unusual could be boiled down to purple Aether crystals and the Main Quest villains were hardly in keeping with what we've seen from Treyarch in the past. Thankfully, though... It looks like Treyarch is leaning back into their "classic" aesthetic for Vanguard Zombies.
DEMONIC INTERFERENCE - Strange carvings and skulls
We're not going to pretend to know all of the influences behind Call of Duty Zombies' aesthetic, but it's safe to say that a lot of it is pulled from Lovecraftian cosmic horror.
World at War's opening of the Aether storyline was a little tepid, but the Lovecraftian aesthetic was evident by Black Ops 3 and Black Ops 4. It was the perfect blend of superstitious science and otherwordly horror. With Treyarch back at the helm for Cold War's Zombies, everyone expected more of the same.
Sadly, that isn't really what we got.
The main issue with this is that Black Ops Cold War is set in the 80s and Treyarch leant into this with their narrative more than they did the cosmic horror of their previous entries. Of course, there's portals and strange tentacle monsters in there, but it never felt quite like the older Zombies experiences.
It wasn't bad at all, but it was missing that spark that would make it memorable. Thankfully, it looks like Vanguard is leaning into the strange carvings and skulls a little more. There are mystical artefacts replacing the gadget-based skills of Cold War's Zombies and the demonic presence is front and centre.
With Shi No Numa on the way back and Nazi's behind the undead threat, it looks like Vanguard's Zombies mode is going to hark back to the formula that made it so successful in the past.
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