We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

I’ve just found the standalone COD Zombies game I always wanted

Sker Ritual is out now on PS5 and Xbox, and it could be the FPS hit you need if you’re missing the glory days of Call of Duty Zombies.

Sker Ritual Call of Duty Zombies game: An image of Zombie Ghost in MW3 and Quiet Ones in Sker Ritual.

Ever since Treyarch threw down the undead gauntlet in 2008’s Call of Duty World at War, I’ve been obsessed with COD Zombies. However, not every iteration has captured that same energy, and MW3 Zombies veers away from the round-based formula completely. Now I’m seriously intrigued by Sker Ritual, a gothic-tinged spin on the beloved game mode that’s just hit PlayStation and Xbox.

Spinning off from the 2020 horror game Maid of Sker, developer Wales Interactive shifts the action to gory, visceral, round-based mayhem. At first glance, it evokes an aesthetic that Call of Duty explored in Black Ops 3’s Shadows of Evil and BO4’s Dead of the Night. It looks so similar that it might get those Activision alarm bells ringing. Yet, beyond its very similar premise and visuals, Sker Ritual appears to be doing something that myself and COD players have been requesting for years: ‘make a standalone COD Zombies game’. 

That’s seemingly at the core of Sker Ritual, as it launches with four maps, all of them including optional easter eggs to solve and secrets to uncover. One of the pitfalls of late-era COD Zombies maps is the intense focus on easter eggs. The simplicity of pure survival and knowing the map like the back of your hand is what made the FPS game mode so popular to begin with. It was enough to turn me off COD Zombies, until Black Ops Cold War swiftly revived it from the ashes. 

Sker Ritual Thunderbolt: An image of the Thunderbolt in Sker Ritual.

While Sker Ritual certainly guides you toward fulfilling certain story related objectives, it doesn’t feel intrusive. You can still choose to just purely kill Quiet Ones, the game’s melee-weapon wielding enemies. It all immediately feels like a PS3 and Xbox 360 era shooter – and that’s not a bad thing. Mechanically, it is more inline with Black Ops 3, and that influence bleeds into the UI too. Miracle drops offer powerful buffs for you in combat, and each of them are inspired by a specific Celtic God. Want to turn your gun into a wild steampunk hunk of metal? You can do that too with the Super Charger. There are even boss fights to get prepared for, too. 

Admittedly, I’ve had more fun in my brief time with Sker Ritual than I have with MW3 Zombies since it launched last November. That isn’t to say I haven’t had any good times with it, but there’s still that special something missing. With four battle passes, customization, and plenty of ways to refine your perks and weapons, there’s enough here to keep me busy. If Wales Interactive can patch up its lesser aspects on the performance front, it might become of the best multiplayer games around for COD Zombies fanatics.

Sker Ritual is rough around the edges, especially on the performance side, but I can feel myself already getting won over by its gleeful nods to its influences. It’d be easy to dismiss Sker Ritual as merely ripping off COD Zombies. Thankfully, there’s enough of Wales Interactive’s own spin here to keep it fresh, coming off as a loving homage to the good old days of undead fun. I’m eager to see how it fares as a co-op game while squadding in four-player multiplayer with friends. 

YouTube Thumbnail

You can download this new PS5 game and new Xbox game right now, or hop into the solo-only demo.

In related multiplayer game news, MW3 Ranked has unbanned several meta weapons for a limited-time only, and Ubisoft’s rival shooter XDefiant returns (but you don’t have long to play it). And if you’re looking for regular updates on all the latest PS5 and Xbox games, don’t forget to follow us on Google News.