Black Ops Cold War Zombies has a loadout feature that allows players to begin the game with a chosen weapon.
Loadouts for Black Ops Cold War Zombies are far simpler than the multiplayer counterpart. There are no perks, secondary weapons, or equipment. Instead, loadouts in Black Ops Cold War Zombies consist strictly of a field upgrade and a primary weapon.
The primary weapon itself can also be customized to have attachments that are unlocked. However, that doesn't apply to the knife, which is the best starting weapon in Black Ops Cold War Zombies.
The knife is the best choice to start in Black Ops Cold War Zombies
The knife is the most powerful tool at the start of Black Ops Cold War Zombies, and nothing really comes close. Up until Round 11, the knife will kill Zombies in one hit. Even without the instakill buff on, the knife will continue to one-hit kill. This will wear off and become useless beyond Round 11 but as a starting weapon, it's far better than the other choices.
On top of killing everything in one hit, using the knife up to Round 10 provides way more points. There is a melee bonus provided for each Zombie killed with a melee hit in Black Ops Cold War Zombies. All those points add up with each round and can boost players to perks and a Pack-A-Punch far earlier.
Players should also keep in mind that the weapons brought into the Zombies game through the loadout will be weaker than weapons found in-game. For example, the Gallo SA12 that is purchased on the wall will do 100% more damage than a Gallo SA12 from a loadout. This means that any weapon in the loadout should be discarded after Round 10 anyway.
As rounds continue, the chance of getting a legendary rarity weapon in the mystery box increases. By Round 30 and beyond, the player is nearly guaranteed to get some legendary weapons. Legendary weapons in Black Ops Cold War have eight attachments and a 300% damage boost.
The other part of the loadout is the field upgrade. There are five choices which include upgrades that freeze zombies, heal teammates, or set traps. However, the best pick is the Aether Shroud.
Using the Aether Shroud provides invisibility from Zombies. It is a get-out-of-jail-free card that can be used for escapes, more time to upgrade or free revives on teammates. With upgrades, it even instantly reloads weapons and launches players a short distance forward.