Call of Duty Warzone: The Haunting of Verdansk does Halloween like no other game

Call of Duty Warzone: The Haunting of Verdansk
(Image credit: Activision)

There's a lot of video game Halloween events, but none of them are doing it like Call of Duty Warzone: The Haunting of Verdansk. 

The Haunting of Verdansk isn't some half-baked event, made up of a handful of Halloween cosmetics and a single limited-time mode that feels like a last-minute idea. It's quite the opposite, in fact. It has several different spooky playlists (all of which are wildly fun), a Trick-or-Treat hunt that'll send you all over the Warzone map searching for dang weapon charms, and Zombie Royale, a wildly fun variation on Battle Royale. Oh, and really cool skins (of course).

There's more depth in this themed in-game event then some multiplayer titles ever have, with a myriad of options for all types of Call of Duty players, whether you like massive Warzone battles or intimate Team Deathmatch face-offs on Rust. As far as video game Halloween events go, you'd be hard-pressed to find one as all-encompassing (and as genuinely scary) as The Haunting of Verdansk.

Pump that spooky playlist

Warzone Trick or Treat

(Image credit: Activision)

Admittedly, I'm more of a Call of Duty: Warzone girl – I only occasionally dip into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to rack up XP near the end of a battle pass. But with The Haunting of Verdansk, I'm playing Modern Warfare multiplayer more than I have since the game launched, and that's a testament to the quality of the Halloween-themed playlists.

First, there's Gunfright, which is exactly like Gunfight, except you can pick up your teammate's tags for some extra health. While that may not seem all that festive, it can be. A 3v3 battle between people who are mostly all wearing either the Leatherface or Saw players skins and wielding ridiculous guns that shoot purple-glowing bullets is certainly Halloween-y. 

Then, there's my personal favorite, the Haunted House playlist, which takes some great Mosh Pit game types and gives them a terrifying twist. If you want to play Kill Confirmed on Rust, you can, but now you're collecting skulls instead of tags, and the place is littered with them. And while most of the Haunted House game types are just existing maps with "at dark" tacked on the end of them, Call of Duty's realistic roots make for the absolute best version of the somewhat tired "it's the game but at night" Halloween twist. 

First, you're equipped with night vision goggles, which means these maps are actually dark, not just slightly blue-y like many night variants are. Plus, you have the ability to mess with the lights in certain rooms, which scares the crap out of and temporarily blinds your enemies (I can attest to that). It's those pulse-quickening details that take the "at dark" formula and take it to the next level. But Modern Warfare's Halloween playlists aren't all that The Haunting of Verdansk offers. Not even close. 

 World War Z

Call of Duty Warzone

(Image credit: Activision)

Zombie Royale is so different from previous iterations of Call of Duty's PvP zombie modes that I can't help but wonder if it's a peek into the future of the franchise. As soon as you start to play, you'll realize how different it is from even Warzone – dying won't drag you into the Gulag, instead, it drags you into the space between living and dead, dropping you back onto the map as a zombie. You can charge up a terrifying super jump, hurl gas grenades, or EMP nearby enemies. Kill players to earn stims that will return you to your human form. It's… wild, and a far cry from Modern Warfare's Infected game mode.

While Zombie Royale may borrow its core tenets from Apex Legends Fight or Fright, there are so many details and subtle nuances that make this game mode uniquely excellent. The return to human form option is great fun (and the only way to win), and the zombie mechanics in Verdansk at night is a whole new vibe, with strange noises sounding off around you, ethereal ghosts drifting down hospital hallways, and Leatherface's house chilling in Farmland, with ol' Leatherdaddy himself waiting in the window. You can't take in the sights, however, as your radar will quickly fill with fast-moving red dots that signify a zombie attack is imminent. But why not join the undead – I heard it's great fun.

If you do drop into Monster Quads – which is just Warzone at night, no zombies – and have a second to spare, the Trick-or-Treat scavenger hunt (gather 16 Halloween-themed cosmetics from specially-marked loot crates to unlock a dope blueprint) implores you to explore every nook and cranny of the dimly-lit Verdansk. And it's the hunt for those crates that may give you the biggest scare yet. Those lingering ghosts may cause you to accidentally fire off a round into the night, but there are jump scares awaiting you in The Haunting of Verdansk. Pretty gnarly ones, actually. If you don't die of fright, you'll certainly die from the bullet in the ass you get while screaming your head off. 

Simply put, video game Halloween events are a dime a dozen, but there's none like Call of Duty: Warzone's The Haunting of Verdansk, which feels like the devs spent months planning it so we could enjoy just a few weeks of playing it. 

Now that, ghouls and ghosts, is how you celebrate Halloween.

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.