Call of Duty Haunting in Verdansk review: Spooky joy – and totally terrifying


CALL of Duty: The Haunting of Verdansk is in full swing – and it’s more fun than anyone could’ve hoped.

The special limited-time Halloween event introduces new game modes, weapons and plenty of frights.

Darkness has swept across Verdansk for Halloween

I’ve been playing almost non-stop, and it’s fair to say this is Call of Duty at some of its best.

Most of the changes affect Warzone, which is set in Verdansk – where the haunting is happening.

Bump in the night

There’s a new version of Battle Royale Trios that re-skins the entire map to a night-time theme.

It’s not completely pitch black as the Moon provides a decent amount of lighting.

Play as a zombie and hunt down unsuspecting foes

But spotting enemies on distant rooftops or in dark corners is very difficult.

I’ve found success in sticking a thermal scope on my sniper and assault rifle – so choosing your load out wisely is essential.

The map is beautiful at night, and almost feels like how Warzone should’ve always been: operators creeping around under the cover of darkness.

Fans have also been calling for a nighttime version of Warzone for ages, so it’s a welcome change.

I’m quietly hoping that some kind of nighttime Warzone sticks around for good, though I’d wager it’s unlikely.

Soldiers of the damned

In any case, the headline act isn’t Battle Royale – but rather Zombie Royale.

This also plays across a nighttime Verdansk, but is far spookier.

You’ll once again be playing as a trio, but you’ll turn into a zombie upon death.

This gives you a new skin, plus increased speed, a huge leap ability, a toxic gas grenade, an EMP, and a rapid melee attack.

When regular players die, they drop a syringe – and collecting two of those will turn you back into a human.

So you can either hunt down your own prey, or pick up uncollected syringes from other fallen foes.

This likely won’t be the last franchise tie-up for Warzone

Playing as a zombie is loads of fun: what’s not to love about sneaking up on a terrified enemy and mauling them to death?

But it’s just as fun trying to fend off the horde.

Zombies can be tricky to kill, especially when they sneak up on you – or attack in large numbers.

But the cash rewards for killing a zombie are huge, so it’s well worth trying to bag a few before hunkering down.

Both nighttime maps have their share of frights.

Some areas are occupied by ghosts that roam around.

And certain loot boxes will launch a ghastly face towards you, which never fails to scare the hell out of me.

None of this is too overbearing, thankfully.

Hope you’re not wearing white undies…

The new loot system for collecting seasonal items is great.

You have to unlock boxes in specific areas of the map to acquire individual items.

For example, you can unlock the terrifying cleaver by cracking open a box at the Gulag.

Meanwhile, opening a loot box at Dam will unlock a new watch accessory.

There are loads of items to collect, and it forces you to visit areas of the map you might usually avoid.

There’s loads of content to enjoy in The Haunting of Verdansk

Warzone’s new groove

What’s exciting is that this is Call of Duty making its first strides into proper Warzone event territory.

For most of Modern Warfare, Warzone has played it safe while finding its feet.

That’s in contrast to rival games like Fortnite that regularly roll out events.

Now Warzone has proved itself as a ludicrously popular Battle Royale contender, we’ll likely see many more changes to the game mode.

A night time version of the map was a long time coming, but there’s so much scope to change gameplay.

The map could be flooded, adding a marine element – or we could soon traverse the snowy areas seen in Call of Duty Cold War, which comes out in a matter of weeks.

There’s so much potential for Warzone, and it’s easy to see how it will remain one of the dominant forces in online gaming for years to come.

My only gripe: The Haunting in Verdansk comes to an end on November 3

In other news, check out our early take on Call of Duty Cold War’s multiplayer.

We recently spoke to one of Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War’s designers about the game’s multiplayer mode.

And, we recently spoke to Warzone’s creators about the future of the spin-off game.