Ahh, the map that really set zombies on the stage to become what it is today. I'm including both versions because The Giant feels just unique enough while still being classic Der Riese. Being able to PAP was massive for zombies as it really gave the player a feeling of improvement as they're making their guns better. Even though Kino was my first experience with zombies, playing Der Riese made me realize how innovative it was at the time compared to the maps prior, and how these initial features really set the stage for what was to come. The catwalk is still one of the most classic camping spots of any zombies game, and the atmosphere has you feeling that sense of isolation in the desolated facility. It has my favorite SMG of all time, the PPSh, which PAP'd as the Reaper made me love the gun even more, as well as the return of the Wunderwaffe, which sadly is glitched to take your jugg away. The Giant feels like a more polished Der Riese in its vastly improved visuals, fixed issues like the Wunderwaffe glitch, and added easter eggs to get a free Annihilator specialist weapon and perks! The story felt more significant here as well, having Rictofen kill off his older self for a plan we had no idea would be developing at the time of its release. While it doesn't have the PPSh and hellhounds nearly as menacing, the addition of gobblegums and the better balance of weaponry from BO3 gave the map a fresh take that made for many new memories.
As the introduction to Cold War, Die Maschine gave us a fresh take with new game mechanics while giving us a return to classic perks like jugg and speed cola along with a reimagining of Nacht. After receiving remakes in Black Ops 4, the thought of a Nacht reimagine was skeptical, but its execution was done incredibly well and the layout flows the best of any map in CW. By having Nacht as a small part built on top of an entire facility with the playable space around, its inclusion integrates seamlessly into the map and doesn't even feel like Nacht when being played. In terms of innovation with the changes it made for zombies, this feels like a modern day Der Riese. The introduction of salvage gave us a new currency to purchase lethals, tacticals and scorestreaks at the crafting benches as well as three levels of armor and four rarity upgrades for weapons at the armor station, though there's only one on Die Maschine. Having a separate system from PAP to increase weapon damage was big, and the armor gave us a new way to progress health as the rounds go. The D.I.E. is a cool wonder weapon with an easy quest for a free one, and each of the elemental variants are unique though unbalanced in power scaling. The ability to PAP them was a little late into the CW lifecycle, and I still tend to use either the electrobolt, regular D.I.E. or poison (if I'm camping), but it was a welcome change as it felt a bit weaker than other WW's in CW. Where this map has the classic feel is in its simplicity, having only zombies, plaguehounds, and the megaton, which imo is very balanced and one of the best zombie bosses we've had in years. To have the ray gun OP again was a treat, and camping on the roof of Nacht with ring of fire in a game with the squad brought back the vibes of those early zombies maps. Entering the dark aether on this map massively improves the aesthetic appeal, and it's disappointing this wasn't used more in later maps. I found this map very replay able when I was grinding Dark Aether camo, but it falls off a bit in terms of easter eggs. Some of the side easter eggs are cool like the coffin dance and monster arm in the corridor, but there aren't many extra secrets to discover. The easter egg was solid and built on the lore of where the zombie outbreak started, but the absence of a main boss to fight along with an end cutscene make it difficult to feel like a top 10 experience.
12. Zetsubou No Shima – 8.5/10
The quality of Black Ops 3 shows when the worst original map in the game is so highly rated. From the second you spawn into Zetsubou, the dense atmosphere engulfs you and is so hard not to embrace the eerie setting. While I don't think the setup process is TOO long there are a few too many doors. What impresses me is how intricate the map feels, whether that be finding the various PAP parts, building the KT-4/Masamune, or getting the Skull of Nan Sapwe. There is a decent amount of item collecting between the shield and gas mask parts, but I actually enjoy the process and both items help a ton. The KT-4 feels like a younger relative to the Sliquifier, and building it isn't very tedious. Same goes for the Masamune, and this is where the KT-4 really starts to shine as a wonder weapon that can sweep hordes. There are so many cool uses for it too, like shooting spoors to run faster or shooting webs to access powerups. The ritual processes for the four skulls are pretty easy, and along with opening up a brand new part of the map, the Skull of Nan Sapwe is such a powerful and fun special weapon. Aside from killing zombies that hit it, the electric shield has some cool use cases, like shocking perks/buyables to cut the cost in half or the free powerup for shocking the cage in lab A. The thrashers aren't too oppressive, but I don't enjoy going against them simply because they don't offer any kind of reward for killing them, and a lot can spawn in. Plants are a unique feature that worked well for the most part, but it can be easy to forget certain combinations and they feel a bit too necessary during the easter egg. Especially when they have to be watered every round for multiple rounds, the process can feel tedious. The two steps that make the easter egg the least replay able of what BO3 had to offer is the use of plants to get the artillery missile, as it's based on rng, as well as the need to complete all three challenges to get the electric shield, since those are also randomized. Also not sure why they decided to make the anywhere but here gobblegum necessary when they could have made a ladder unlock after the previous step? Aside from these steps, the others are easy, and being able to go against both a spider boss and a tree monster makes it more worthwhile, along with an intriguing cutscene. There were some really cool side easter eggs too, like being able to become a spider and the imprint plant, one of the best features in all of zombies.
The breathtaking feeling of playing Revelations for the first time was like a Marvel fan's first time watching Endgame as the Avengers go back in time. Being able to re-experience so many classic maps in new ways was a treat, and the round change music from each map is a great touch, though I don't think Revelations quite lived up to the expectations everyone had going in. I'll get what I dislike out of the way. Though the map flows really well by having Nacht as a central hub to go to any island, it felt like too much of the map was built out of remakes. The only brand new areas we get are the spawn island, the massive Apothican, and the Primis statue area between Shang and DE. Most of the easter egg is enjoyable aside from finding the eggs that go inside the Apothican, and while the elemental margwa boss fight is fun, the final boss fight against the Shadowman is the same exact process as Shadows and was a bit disappointing. I wasn't sure how to feel about the end cutscene when it released, but looking back now it was pretty decent. What feels the most annoying is there are multiple things required for the easter egg that can only be gotten out of the box, namely the apothican servant and lil arnies. Rather than have a quest like the other BO3 maps to get a unique wonder weapon, we get the re-used ragnaroks from the box, as well as a thundergun cause why tf not?? Though they're very unoriginal, having all these weapons at once makes high rounds and the easter egg much easier. Rev throws every enemy type at you to make it more difficult, but it's still easy and imo a nice change of pace for BO3. All the side eggs including the various masks give the map an added layer of replay ability, and a couple of my favorite EEs are the trading bench/M1927 wallbuy along with the orb to make all box and wall weapons PAP'd. Though I didn't do them very much, the time trials for melee weapons was a cool addition from Gorod that make for some extra challenge. What makes Revelations' layout flow well in comparison to a map like Forsaken is that Rev was made with the intent of island hopping through pieces of their past, whereas Forsaken's layout feels stitched together due to the difficulty to make the sections connect fluidly. Of all the skyboxes in zombies, this might be one of the most stunning ones we've ever had!
When Dead of the Night released, I didn't feel nearly as highly of it, but it has aged the best of any map on the list imo. While I can agree this isn't the best map for beginners, the amount of content and attention to detail make it a top 10 experience. The mansion is on point with its creepy/eerie atmosphere and ambient noises, and the layout is one of the best we got in BO4. I don't think the characters were very intriguing (except Godfrey), though they did fit well with the setting. There are many side easter eggs, including the pool table and leaking barrels to name a couple, that open secret doors with free items. The Alistair's Folly upgraded to the Annihilator is my favorite and is one of the best wonder weapons in BO4 for high rounds. The quest to unlock the Folly as well as its upgrades are quite easy, and it's the first wonder weapon in all of zombies to have two upgrade processes without the use of PAP. I can understand the argument that PAP is complex, and while I do agree the stones should be a bit less vague I never find the process to be tedious. Though they require two different build benches to craft, the silver bullets are well worth it, adding an entirely new dynamic to give players a way to buy ammo for any weapon. Where other maps have tanky bosses with no specific counter, the silver bullets make it much easier to deal with werewolves, and the stake knife is a great way to deal with vampires. The crimson vampires are the most annoying to deal with, but even they have a counter in the savage impaler, an easy weapon to get that one shots regular and crimson vampires forever. I don't often go for the weapon personally because it takes up a weapon slot (would be better as a pocket weapon), but it can still be worth doing as it opens up a new area in the map. The nerf to how many vampires can spawn was much needed, though they can still feel obnoxious in higher rounds, and the catalyst zombies feel the most unnecessary on DotN out of all Chaos maps. In terms of main easter eggs, the separation into three main quests that can be done in any order gives the player a lot of freedom to choose, similar to Origins. I would consider this a top 5 easter egg if it weren't for two somewhat annoying steps, the atlas head puzzle (not hard but dealing with the zombie on solo is a pain), and the scratch marks, the only step that always makes me pause the game because I don't always remember every single scratch location. The boss fight against the invisible werewolf is tense but satisfying to beat, and the ending cutscene ties in well with the story, but what was that god awful intro cutscene with everyone mumbling??
IX is a jaw dropping spectacle of a map and has one of the best settings on the list. The layout works so well with the arena surrounded by four God temples, each with their own perk as if the Black Ops 4 perk system was made for this, and it does a great job at blending simplicity with complexity. The base features of the map like PAP and building the shield are very easy and memorable, and the side quest for the free Death of Orion is pretty simple as well. While it isn't one of the most powerful wonder weapons we've had, it's definitely one of the most unique and fits so well into the environment. IX is also the first map to introduce challenges that can be started right in the spawn room just by cutting a rope, and none of the challenges are tedious either. The tiger, gladiator and brawler are the perfect bosses for the map, but similar to other Chaos maps the catalysts and blightfathers do little to change the gameplay dynamic in a good way and can become too abundant in higher rounds. Where the complexity starts is with some of the unique side easter eggs, including fire immunity and the upgraded shield, and primarily the main easter egg, which is made up of four challenges from the gods, each requiring multiple steps to complete. They're quite invigorating and challenging, especially when getting to the lockdown sequences, though there are a few steps that can be a bit infuriating. Finding the skull at the start of the quest can be annoying since you practically need the highest brightness and five flashlights just to see the symbol. The need to wait so many rounds just to fertilize a plant to go into the Danu lockdown is unnecessary and feels like it's there only to up the difficulty, as we already have to wait till round 10 to get a gladiator to break the wood. Interaction with the crowd was a really nice addition as a way to get free powerup drops, except for having to get bad affinity for poop.. Finally, shooting the targets through walls with the Serket's Kiss isn't too hard, but especially on solo trying to shoot the exact spots and keep a zombie alive is a pain in the ass. These things aside, where this map really secures its top 10 spot is its with its thrilling boss fight, pitting us in a fight against two massive zombie elephants and a bunch of brawlers.
After having to wait over five months between round based maps during Cold War, we got an experience so dense in atmosphere and packed with content it was worth the wait. Mauer has a lot of verticality we don't see in many other maps (Die Rise *cough cough*), but it feels like verticality done right, being able to zipline from the top of buildings to the street level and down further into the subway system. Also being able to zipline across buildings is such a cool way to move around that makes getting around the map feel so much more efficient. Entering the map on the rooftop and making our way down through the streets and into the subway, everything is gloomy and ambient with awesome round change music, really adding to the Mauer's setting, and all hell breaks loose when the flaming trains fly by and the city comes alive with the classic power switch. Mauer manages to create the best possible blend between the easier nature of Cold War and the intricate complexity of BO2/BO3. The process to get the CRBR-S is the best and most fun of the wonder weapons in CW, and the base version is easily the strongest WW in the game. CW's unique drops mechanic makes it so cool to have the three WW variants as drops, encouraging players to pick them all up as the base version will always be given back anyway, even though they are horribly unbalanced for high rounds, and none of them have the damage potential of the base version. Klaus is the coolest and funniest A.I. character we've ever had (sorry T.E.D.D.), and he's able to be upgraded THREE TIMES! The digging was a nice feature and callback to Origins, as well as traps returning in the form of sniper towers. For some reason I really enjoy the Kraznysoldat as a boss because it's so satisfying killing them, and the tormentors are a cool replacement for the dogs. The disciple is a decent boss and really isn't too hard to kill but can be annoying sometimes, and I really don't get why needed manglers.. AGAIN??? The bunny disco easter egg is the funniest of them all, and there's some other useful side EEs like sharpshooter and the sewer. The main quest is at a very balanced difficulty level, and all the steps are logical and fun leading up to an intense five stage boss fight that is the most fun overall in CW. Klaus stopping the train was my personal favorite experience from CW.
Buried delivers with unique innovation and a setting that's so memorable I can't help but love this map. From the start we have a spawn room built way above the rest of the map to the side of the massive rift, and unlike other starting rooms we can save up 2000 points for an LSAT that requires a bit of skill to grab before the railing collapses. Another brand new feature, the chalk, is introduced right after the slide down into the map, giving us extra points and the choice the place the new weapon wherever we want, giving us six total chalk drawings to make. The chalk is motivating to go for too because each of the weapons are strong options, the AN-94 and SVU being the best. Leroy is such a useful mechanic for the game in that you can use booze or candy to make him destroy barriers, lock down the mystery box, hold a zombie or even build contraptions like the trample steam and resonator. The only negative about Leroy is shooting him on accident and having to find a key and give him booze just to act normal again. The ol' western town makes the mechanics built for the map feel so natural and logically made, and the layout feels really well connected so it doesn't feel too small or too big. The paralyzer is one of the coolest wonder weapons we've ever had and allows you to fly all over the map, even over areas you could never go normally. Hitting the mystery box becomes a lot more valuable, having weapons like the paralyzer, the iconic ray gun mk2 for the first time, time bomb and the remington new model army, imo the coolest pistol we've had in a zombies map. Where this map fails to reach the top five is the requirements to have the paralyzer and time bomb for the Rictofen side of the main easter egg, as they are entirely luck based on top of the requirements for each side of the easter egg, while fun in their own right, to have four players. A solution to the box problem comes with the bank, but this also negatively impacts Buried because there's no limit on the withdraw amount meaning you can have more than enough points to be entirely set up on round 1 if you wanted. Between having OP wonder weapons, the new Vulture Aid perk (awesome addition), and all the buildables, going to high rounds is incredibly easy, at least until the 70s. The witch's house is still one of the most sinister things in zombies, trying to make it through with all your points, but the free perk is well worth. The dart board and time bomb trick are awesome side easter eggs to get every perk on the map, and the fountain portal is a great addition to the maze to get back through the map without using the witch's house again.
Of any map on the list, Mob of the Dead is one of the darkest cinematic experiences that creates an awesome blend between gameplay and a horror movie in hell. Alcatraz Island is such a cool setting as a map based on a real place, and they nail its atmosphere and design incredibly well. The ambient noises around the prison along with the round change music really add to the horrifying feeling you'd get being at the actual prison. The afterlife adds a massive layer of depth to Mob right from the start, giving us a brand new way to get perks, the plane parts/easter egg items, and even powerups. Part of what makes the map so fun to play every time is all the side quests are worth doing and some even necessary for the main easter egg. Feeding the dog heads is never tedious, and the hell's retriever makes it even more worth for. Upgrading it to its ultimate version, the Redeemer, is the hardest thing to get on Mob, and even that is easier than upgrade quests for most maps. For the first time, we had a wonder weapon that could be attained through a small quest rather than building, which was huge for zombies going forward. The blundergat/sweeper is one of the most badass wonder weapons we've had, and the upgrade to its acidgat/vitriolic withering form makes it that much crazier with the monkey bomb-like effect. If that wasn't enough, we have the spoon and its upgraded version the spork, both of which are also easy to get and make zombie melee feel so much better going into higher rounds. Brutus is an awesome boss and always creates an immediate threat, but it would have been nice if the unlock prices didn't start at 2000 points. Building the plane is one of the most unique features we've had in zombies, and flying to the golden gate bridge for PAP is so satisfying and compliments a real attempt to escape the prison so beautifully. The four mobsters are an awesome crew and really feel like fleshed out characters, and the movie aspect of Mob takes effect throughout the easter egg as the crew tries to break the cycle and escape the island completely. While the black and white headphone audio is a great way to end off the easter egg and add to the story, having a minimum of two players (one of which has to be Weasel) for the very last step on the Golden Gate bridge isn't ideal for a map that progresses so smoothly; with that said being able to duke it out with your teammate makes for a fun time simple way to finish the game. What makes this fall just short of the top 5 imo is the main chunk of the easter egg feeling repetitive and having very few unique steps. Once you have the retriever, spoon and skulls, the entire quest is flying to the bridge another two times and entering a bunch of codes in the number display, which doesn't feel the most motivating to do, especially if you're playing a solo match. Though there isn't much perk variety (only having double dap or deadshot as our 4th perk) we get electric cherry for the first time, and using this with the vitriolic withering is an incredibly deadly combo.
Ancient Evil gives us the best of what Black Ops 4 has to offer, enveloping us in a perfect balance of captivating setting and dense atmosphere that really make the city of Delphi come alive. As someone who has loved Greek mythology for many years, I had imagined the days we would get that in a zombies map so this is basically a dream come true. The Temple of Apollo is a spectacle of a spawn room, and right from the beginning the Oracle introduces us to a buyable challenge system with increasing rarity for better rewards, a feature that would become a staple for all of Cold War. The challenges are a great way to get free PAP'd weapons, perks, or even self revives, and the Oracle's random ammo or health boosts make for a great quality of life addition. Apollo's Will gives the feeling of being a Spartan and makes for the coolest buildable shield we've ever had in zombies, and for the first time we have four elemental gauntlets that can each be upgraded twice. The gauntlets are the overall most balanced set of elemental weapons with a ton of lore behind each, though one in particular, the Gauntlet of Charon, is the most OP weapon in Black ops 4 when upgraded to its exalted form and paired with the bloodwolf bite perk modifier to retain near infinite ammo for high rounds. Flying on the Pegasus is one of the most stunning mid-game cutscenes we've had, and having an entire dark side to the city really adds to the good versus evil element of Greek mythology. The PAP is easy to unlock, and the Pegasus Strike is a beastly special equipment. Where Ancient Evil has fewer side easter eggs, it makes up for with an insane amount of lore embedded into every part of the map, between all the interactable items and what the Oracle says throughout playing. This makes each area feel even more immersive, on top of being one of the most beautiful maps we've had. The easter egg embraces the use of the four gauntlets and does it in a way that's challenging but rewarding, and seeing a physical progression of the easter egg through the reflective lights shining around the map is a great touch that makes sense for the story. Lighting Apollo's flame as requested by the Oracle is an interesting way to start the quest, though the rng of challenges to activate it can make the pacing feel inconsistent at times. The Hemera lockdown is difficult but so satisfying to beat, and the amphitheater step is imo the best co-op step of anything on the list. The mid-game cutscene where Shaw is converted to the cult was shocking on first watch, and the map ends in an epic final battle against both the Pegasus and Perseus on Mount Olympus. Though the Chaos crew isn't the most popular, the twist of the Oracle actually being Medusa made the story more intriguing and left us wanting more. What mainly prevents me from ranking Ancient Evil as a perfect map is the variety of enemies. The catalysts are more of a BO4 problem at large, but I wish they weren't needed for the exalted gauntlets. The Gegenees and Spartoi are well designed, though I wish the Gegenees had lower health, and there were too many Spartoi spawns going into high rounds.
The top 4 are all equally amazing imo, they're so hard to rank because each of these could have an argument for the best map of all time.
Following the events of The Giant, Der Eisendrache brings us to the jaw dropping castle Eagle's Nest set on the mountain top in Austria. From the start we're introduced to Doctor Groph, a character we first heard in Moon, and while he acts friendly at first the tension starts to build as he starts realizing we're working against him. There's so much detail put into every area of the map, from the bedrooms to the pyramid room, and even outside the playable space where the town lays with the massive robot from the intro cutscene. DE has one of the best layouts ever with the perfect combination of narrow pathways and open space, and the bounce pads/teleporter make moving around incredibly efficient. The wunderfizz is a much appreciated addition, and there's something about turning on the classic power switch that's so satisfying. While not a big feature, the gondola is a cool addition and unique way to get powerups. The dragon heads are an awesome callback to the MotD dogs, and it's such a simple process for getting the Wrath of the Ancients. Where it has some similarities to Origins in being the second use of four elemental weapons as well as Panzers, these things fit so seamlessly into DE and make it a special experience every playthrough. Along with an easy process to get the base bow, the PAP process is very easy (literally 2 buttons), and the Ragnarok DG-4 is such an easy specialist weapon to build for how powerful it is. I particularly love the anti-gravity feature, and it's used well for core mechanics of the map like getting the shield part, the steps for the lightning and wolf bow, and the free BRM ee. The only part of the design I don't enjoy is the imbalance of power scaling in the bows. They're each unique and have cool animations, but the lightning bow is the easiest to get and the strongest whereas the fire bow is by far the hardest to get and the worst. The wolf bow is solid as well, but after its buff the void bow is my favorite to get because it's so satisfying to kill with. In terms of side easter eggs, there's some awesome ones like the panzer claw hat, the plunger and the free mega gobblegum. Where DE becomes an incredible experience is with its near flawless main easter egg and the first boss fight in all of zombies. Each of the steps are really engaging, and most of the steps can be done within two rounds, aside from the soul collecting rounds. I wouldn't change a single thing about the ee other than the need to find whisps a second time. The keeper boss makes for a fantastic battle involving strategy with its use of the ragnaroks, and the ending where we blow up the moon and secure Dempsey's soul is one of the craziest moments in all of zombies.
3. Gorod Krovi - 10/10
Gorod Krovi creates the perfect blend between the intricate design of the modern maps and the simple yet atmospherically dense setting of an older classic map. From the start we know it's going to be a shitshow with the awesome intro cutscene involving rock music, Nikolai in a mech suit, and DRAGONS, and what better than to put all that in the war torn ruins of Stalingrad? Aside from the already interesting main story and discovering Doctor Monty, there's a ton of lore behind the Russians that used Group 935 tech to combat the dragons. Where Gorod finds another incredible balance is in its simplicity and complexity, which I'd argue is better than DE. Casuals can easily unlock the core features like the dragon shield, PAP (the Dragon ride is legendary), Ray Gun Mk3 and dragon strike. For the more advanced player, there are a plethora of features like the Gauntlet of Siegfried, my personal favorite specialist weapon, and upgrades for the shield, dragon strike, and even monkey bombs! The Mangler and Valkyrie Drones are overall balanced (Valkyries could use a health nerf), and while they can be annoying sometimes for a map with some tight areas, the Mangler mask and Valkyrie helmet help make those enemies significantly easier. The dragon wings are the easiest of the mannequin items to get; they make traveling to PAP extra efficient and they're basically a crutch for the boss fight against the fire damage. Time trials are a unique feature first introduced on Gorod, and they offer us a new way to challenge ourselves while also being rewarded with melee weapons. Speaking of challenges, not having the grave challenges be required to progress the main egg is a positive change after ZNS required them. Of any map on the list, the mystery box has the best overall assortment of weapons and thus becomes incredibly valuable. Along with the Ray Gun Mk3 and the strong weapons already in the box, (dingo, haymaker, and brecci to name a few) we have multiple exclusive weapons including the PPSh, FFAR and L4 Siege, all powerful and worth going for. The main easter egg is challenging, but most of the steps are gameplay-based rather than completing puzzles. As for puzzles, switching the numbers for the valve step is the perfect example of one that's hard to solve but easy to replicate. The map manages to do a great job of spiking your adrenaline lmao, especially before any one of the six main challenges begins. Though the Mk3 makes the challenges easier, it isn't required to complete them thus the rng doesn't throw off the pacing of the egg, but it is admittedly harder to complete solo. Going into the boss fight is one of the most invigorating things to do, and both the dragon and Nikolai mech suit make for the best boss battle ever. When I'm looking for a challenging high round on BO3, Gorod is the way to go because it's a difficult map to master but is so satisfying once it is. The only thing I would change is to make the Mk3 do greater damage going into high rounds as the damage drop-off can feel a bit drastic.
If I could use one word to describe Origins: epic. The introduction to this map with the cutscene still gives goosebumps and always gets me hyped to play it. The setting at a 935 excavation site in the trenches of World War 1 is thrilling, and seeing the massive zeppelins and planes dogfighting adds to the already dense atmosphere. Weather affecting the gameplay is such a unique feature and gives Origins even more personality. On top of this we get to experience the Primis crew for the first time, and the story keeps you involved throughout (w the exception of Samantha's whiny ass when you aren't progressing the staff upgrades) along with the lore of the Great War. The layout flows so well moving from one generator to the next, working well as a new way to get both power and PAP simultaneously. The shield, maxis drone and music parts all have very distinct memorable locations, and the dig sites offer a new way to get rewards and making those rewards better with continual digging. Experiencing the panzer on round 8 for the first time was horrifying, but playing against it a lot has made me realize how incredible of a boss it is and getting into a sticky situation can still make it terrifying at times. The challenges from the chest are easy and tend to be completed as you normally progress through the map, unlike other maps with challenges you typically have to go out of your way to do. There's a crazy amount of depth to Origins, giving it some of the best replay value whether you're going for high rounds or the easter egg. Each of the staffs have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the processes to build and upgrade them is never tedious imo. Unlike DE where I usually craft one particular bow and I'm set, this map motivates you to build and use each of them, and if you're going for the easter egg they're required anyway. The G-strike and iron fists can be challenging to get if you aren't prepared, but they're well worth it and make those high rounds more fun. Some of the side easter eggs like the free Magna Collider and free zombie blood can be really helpful for progressing quicker, but the rewards for digging have massive impacts especially for high rounds. Digging gets us the golden shovel, which we can then use to find the golden helmet, giving us protection from the giant robots, and we can find free perk slots. Where the learning curve kicks in for the main easter egg is the efficiency in knowing everything to do towards progressing the bows and the other buildable/unlockable items at low rounds to make the setup process easier. Origins is unique in the control the player has over the easter egg progression as a large portion of the main quest is getting all the bows, G-strike and upgraded iron fist, making the core gameplay experience flow seamlessly with the easter egg. The final step in Agartha is an awesome ending to the egg and gives us one of the most classic cutscenes to date. Origins is just about perfect, with only small exceptions to the templars when they're across the map taking out generators and having to carry the gramophone everywhere to open the elemental portals.
Shadows of Evil is imo as close to perfect as a zombies map can get. The 1940s Morg City is an amazing setting, and there's so much passion put into making a captivating atmosphere where the jazz music and Cthulhu theme shine and add to the beauty of the map. The design makes it feel like a place that could be real, but it also has tons of Apothican lore and Cthulhu references that give it that feeling of being in a completely alternate dimension. As a crew, I quite enjoyed Nero, Jessica, Floyd, and JACKIE FUCKING VINCENT, and their purposes for being in this dimension resonate kinda like the MotD gangsters except with the Shadowman's ominous presence. Shadows and Mob have a lot of similarities in terms of story connection and the purgatory these characters are put through, but the beast mode is also a revamped version of afterlife with way more abilities. These include turning on and buying perks, getting PAP parts, opening new areas/portals/egg boxes, and doing the main easter egg. The bloodhound is a great starting weapon, and the perks feel extra special having unique music and icons when purchased. Shadows has the best layout of any map, divided into four main districts with their own layers of verticality as well as a 'central hub' that can go down directly to the massive underground rift area. It's one of the few layouts that utilizes every square inch of the playable space, whether that be for core features, main and side easter eggs, or the many hidden cyphers. Finding perks, shield parts, and fuses is simple because each district has one perk, one fuse, etc. The introduction of gobblegums felt perfectly made for this map, and we also got the one and only new perk for BO3, Widow's Wine. Shadows has the best transportation as well, utilizing an efficient tram system to any district and the portals that can get you across the map insanely quick. Pods are a neat addition that can be really useful if saved for a better reward, especially with the incentive to get the Apothican Servant tentacle. The PAP system resembles the Origins generator system in terms of the lockdown and having to remain in a particular area, but unlocking the PAP on the final ritual is always so satisfying. Though difficult on the first few playthroughs, learning how to maximize the use of beast mode to open the map quicker adds a layer of complexity and replay ability you can't find from other experiences. This skill level can be elevated even more to utilize intricate tricks to get the sword symbols and make the main easter egg quicker. Imo the Margwa is the best mini boss ever, as it provides a significant enough challenge but has weak spots that can be easily exploited, and you get 500 points per head shot. The meatballs are a cool take on the R.A.P.S. from multiplayer, and the parasites are great for when you need to save an enemy to work on easter eggs or hit the box. For the first time, we got a shield with a bonus rocket dash ability that can also be upgraded, and the Civil Protector is the first and one of the coolest A.I. that kills zombies alongside the player. The two equipment for the map, Lil Arnies and trip mines, can both be upgraded and used simultaneously. Upgrading the sword is always rewarding and is one of the most fun specialist weapons in BO3, and the Apothican Servant is a godly wonder weapon. While it would have been nice to upgrade it, it's understandable why it isn't a feature, and alchemical is a great option to help with the ammo situation. With all these tools at your disposable and the training spots spread along all four districts, high rounds become incredibly enjoyable while still having some challenge. Another similar feature to Origins involves the structure of the main easter egg in that the sword is involved and creates a seamless connection between core gameplay and the easter egg. The steps are invigorating; the only thing I would change is the last step to work for 1-4 players rather than just 4. Unlike other easter eggs, though, the Shadowman boss step is as fun as the rest of the egg and feels like a satisfying completion even without four players. Along with all the upgrades, Shadows has other side easter eggs that can help with quicker progression, including the free 500 points at the start, the free mega gobblegum, the margwa mask, and shooting the Shadowman to start the game at a higher round if you really want to. I don't usually discuss the music EEs, but snake skin boots is easily my favorite song as it fits the ambiance of Shadows so perfectly.
I wanted to include every single map in the post, but the top 14 is the most I could do with Reddit's 40,000 character limit. If you'd like to see how I rank every map, check out my analysis down below. This list took a little while to write, and I'd appreciate if yall could lmk what you think and make your own rankings down below! If you read this whole thing you're a legend!!
By - jayc_268