Reviews

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Review

Written by Nhakos

Information

Name: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Developer: Treyarch and Raven Software

Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC

The now almost 20 years old Call of Duty franchise delivers yet another solid entry that will please both the fans and newcomers. This year’s new Call of Duty takes us back to the Cold War, following the original Black Ops storyline with returning characters such as Woods, Mason, and Hudson. This year’s Call of Duty has 3 main modes: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies. Warzone is also returning, but we don’t know yet how both games are going to coexist in it. I played the game on PS4 Pro.

The Campaign

I was delighted with this campaign; being a big fan of the first 2 Black Ops, I was eager to find out how it would stack up against these two, and I’m happy to say that it’s a great ride from start to finish with a lot of easter eggs and fan service moments. Full of twists and the bombastic action set pieces that we know and love from the Call of Duty franchise.

This time you play mostly as Bell, a character that you will customize in the beginning. The story takes place in 1981 as we follow CIA officer Russell Adler trying to stop Perseus, a Soviet spy preparing an attack on the free world. You’re part of an elite team as you unrivaled many missions that you will have access to from the warehouse, where you will also be able to explore it and know your teammates.

They really nailed the Cold War theme and aesthetic as you’ll go in many parts of Europe and the URSS; one of them includes the Berlin Wall and many other locations. I was surprised at how many slow moments they were. Like there’s a whole sequence where you play as an infiltrated KGB agent in their headquarters, as you’ll have to employ stealth and use different approaches to get to your objective. Those segments really made the more “loud” moments shine even more.

The Gameplay

The guns feel great; we really feel that step up that Infinity Ward brought with Modern Warfare (2019); the punchiness and sound are a feast. You’ve got all the classics; MP5, M16, 1911, etc… This time around, they added a mechanic that allows you to mele the enemy and use him as a human shield, which can be pretty useful when facing enemy waves. I played through the campaign in Veteran, and it was both challenging and forgiving.

I also liked the mission hub, which is the warehouse where you’ll be able to move around, play with the environment, and engage in scripted dialogues with your teammates to know them better. It’s also where you start every main mission and the optional secondary missions.

You also got story choices returning. There are multiple endings, and while obviously not all dialogues are linked to the ending but only key ones, it felt great to choose which questions to ask, what to do with said character, etc.. and it made the experience feel more unique.

Performance and Graphics

On the technical side of things, I didn’t encounter anything notable on PS4 Pro playing in dynamic 4k, tho sometimes in mission after reloading a checkpoint, I had this weird glitch where I would move forward and backward, but I reckoned it was me moving to fast for the game’s script to load. But it only happened to me like 3 or 4 times in my 5 to 6h long playthrough.

The graphics are amazing, it uses the IW engine, and the lighting and colors are on point; they really add to the tone the game is going for too, I can’t imagine how good it looks on the next-gen consoles with RTX on. I am also impatient to test out the adaptive triggers capability of the DualSense on this game.

The Multiplayer

To start things off, I personally was always more of a Treyarch guy when it came to CoD’s MP; BO2 is still my fav MP in the franchise to this day. I wasn’t a big fan of Modern Warfare (2019) MP because even though the gunplay is the best CoD has ever been, the maps were too big with too many windows and incited camping too much. The tactical aspect such as being able to mount your weapon, while a nice addition, fits more a tactical shooter such as Rainbow Six Siege and isn’t very pertinent with the “run and gun” CoD style so much.

On the other hand, in Black Ops Cold War, the maps are much more to my taste as they are more restrained and have fewer windows, which you can get shot from everywhere. But they still have some verticality to them and an interesting layout, so they’re not just the simple, and quite frankly boring, 3 lane map design.

Now onto the modes, you obviously have your classics Deathmatch, free for all, domination, etc.. and the new large scale 40 players mode Dirty Bomb. And many others will get added temporarily or not as part of the many events the game will have.

It’s important to specify that the game has the same monetization aspect as Modern Warfare (2019), so a season pass and free new multiplayer and zombie maps, along with new unlockable weapons, get added over the span of the game’s lifespan. The first one being the Nuketown ’84 map for multiplayer, which arrives in-game on November 24th.

Weapon balancing has always been tricky in CoD’s MP here. You definitely feel like some guns are more powerful than others, like the MP5 right now, which can hit targets from way too far with pretty much no recoil. So this is something to keep an eye out on for future updates that will hopefully make the game fairer for everyone.

The skill-based matchmaking in this game has been the subject of many controversies. It makes the game pretty unforgiving for experienced players, but this would require a dedicated discussion as there are many things to point about. But to make it short, I don’t particularly appreciate how it is implemented even though I understand its reason.

The Zombies

Zombie mode is a lot of fun; we only have one map for now, but it’s excellent; it isn’t too complicated, which is a plus for non experienced zombie players, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for future maps.

Verdict

In conclusion, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a great package, with a fun campaign and a multiplayer which shines by its use of Modern Warfare’s solid foundation mixed with Treyarch dynamic map design. It isn’t perfect, though, as the campaign isn’t as remarkable as previous Black Ops entries, but it definitely revived my love for the Black Ops series after the forgettable Black Ops 3 and 4. The balancing definitely needs some work too, and as of right now, the zombies are pretty bare bone with only one map.

Pros:

– Fun missions schemes
– Plot full of twists
– Cool to see Woods, Mason, and Hudson back

– Dynamic map design

Cons:

– Campaign is too short, even for CoD standard

– Only 1 zombie map at launch

7/10

 

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