Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – Review
Follow Genre: FPS, Multiplayer
Developer: Treyarch, Raven Software, Beenox
Publisher: Activision
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Tested On: PlayStation 4

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Decent campaign
Bad: Very few changes from previous games
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The Call of Duty series has been going on since 2003 with yearly releases. Its core concept hasn’t varied much from one game to another, although some content such as the plot for the campaigns has. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War brings more of the usual gameplay with a story about espionage during the Cold War.

Story

The game’s story revolves around Russel Adler and his black ops team as they pursue two of the participants in the Iran hostage crisis. Upon apprehending the second of them, he reveals the implication of the soviet spy known as Perseus, who was the mastermind behind the operation. After debriefing US president Ronald Reagan, Adler’s team now sets out to find the elusive spy.

Players take control of an agent known as “Bell”, as they accompany the rest of the team’s members. After a flashback mission where Bell recalls his first encounter with Perseus’ doings in Vietnam, the team decides to go after Anton Volkov, a mobster with ties to Perseus who then leads them to a secret facility.

In this facility, Bell and his companion Frank Woods find a training area outfitted to look like an American town. After dispatching the soldiers in the area, the pair encounter a console with stored logs. The files contained in said console reveal Perseus has stolen a nuke from the American government, sending the team on a race against the clock.

Overall, while not a prodigy of storytelling, Cold War’s plot is an entertaining spy story although the focus is still very much on the gameplay. The cast of characters is plentiful and the banter entertaining, although most of the characters are interchangeable.

Graphics

Cold War’s graphics are quite good, as it’s to be expected of a game that’s at the end of a generation’s life cycle. Everything looks crisp and high detail. Environments all feel mostly different and unique, with the same also applying to story-relevant characters. Those that are not relevant are a different deal though, seeing as most are identical to each other with little variation other than their uniforms.

Sound

Sound in most shooters is generally underwhelming, but even more so on Cold War. Despite the overall quality of the soundtrack, it is completely overshadowed by the heavy SFX. Everywhere players go, all sound will be covered by the constant shooting and explosions. Curiously enough the game doesn’t even seem to feature walking sounds, prompting “interesting” moments in multiplayer with enemies walking past each other without realizing.

Gameplay

As with all CoD games, Cold War’s gameplay belongs to the first-person shooter genre, in particular to the more realistic kind. Players can employ different real weapons to shoot at enemies with the possibility to toss an occasional grenade. The multiplayer modes add more gadgets to the mix, but more on those later.

Throughout all levels, players start with a main weapon and a secondary one, the latter usually a handgun. Both of these can then be substituted by different guns by means of downing enemies and taking theirs. Funnily enough, there’s generally no point in doing this, since the main weapon players start with is as good if not better than anything else that can be found, with ammo being plentiful in all difficulties.

Progression through the campaign is done by the means of finishing different main missions, themselves divided into sections. To break the usual “gun everyone down” gameplay, some of these sections will play out with a stealth approach, tasking players with remaining unseen for as long as possible, lest they prefer facing hordes of enemy guards. These stealth moments are curiously well done, with a pretty immersive approach to the whole “black ops” thing.

Cold War also features several different difficulty modes for its campaign, ranging from easy to “brutal”. Despite the claims of the game, even the hardest difficulty mode is rather forgiving, since checkpoints are peppered throughout the map without much separation. The health regeneration also does no favors for the game, allowing players to sit behind cover for a few seconds in order to fully heal back up. As previously mentioned, the game is quite generous with ammo, with refills being available throughout longer levels. The other modes the game features include Multiplayer, Warzone and Zombies, the second of which is not yet available at the moment of writing this review.

Multiplayer features groups of players, often divided into teams, squaring off against each other in several different modes. These contain the standard deathmatch and zone domination modes, with a few others such as VIP escorting and free for all included. All of these take place in several maps, two of which will be available at random for players in the lobby to vote for. Most of these maps are quite big and varied, although some players have argued against their quality gameplay-wise.

A current issue in the community related to the multiplayer modes concerns the matchmaking systems employed for PvP multiplayer, where players are strictly placed against others of their own level. This seemingly limits the possibilities to play with friends and family of different score levels, while also forcing players with winning streaks to face off against players with better abilities. While this may not be relevant to everyone, it’s still worth mentioning for those it may affect.

Finally, onto the last mode, Zombies features several different ways to play it, with the core gameplay remaining the same: a few players squaring off against incoming waves of the undead. The modes featured in Zombies are rather limited, coming down to “Die Maschine”, Arcade and Onslaught. Die Maschine is the classic Zombies experience where players are thrown into a large area to slay hordes until extraction. Arcade is a simpler twin-stick shooter mode which is more of a novelty than anything else (despite already existing on previous games) and Onslaught sees pairs of players trying to stay inside the safe area generated by an orb while fending off enemies.

Both the Zombies and Multiplayer modes also feature a loadout selection, where players can set different weapons, tools, perks and active items, with special additions for Zombies. Weapons are the usual bunch: rifles, machine guns, shotguns, etc. Tools range from grenades to stimpaks to restore health, usually with limited uses. Perks grant passive abilities to players, fitting different archetypes and with varied effects. And last but not least, active items generally deploy an object with different functions, such as land mines, sentry turrets or missile deflectors. As players level up through playing more games, they unlock more items, with another level up system in place for the weapons. This secondary system sees weapons level up with use, unlocking upgrades and cosmetics to use in either of the modes.

Conclusion

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a decent FPS that will have that generic ‘more of the same’ feeling surrounding it. The single-player campaign is quite strong, although if it’s worth the €/$69,99/£65 the PS5 version costs (which includes the PS4 one) or even the cheaper PS4 standalone version’s price is quite arguable for a game which barely innovates on its predecessors. We’re sure that diehard fans of the game will have a field-day with this new iteration of the game, but casual fans looking for something new will have to make do with the campaign of this title, as the multiplayer portion of the game brings nothing new to the table. Samey, but decent.

Personal Opinion

“I had some amount of fun with the game’s campaign, although certain missions were too long for my liking. Shooting enemies gets old pretty quick when they barely vary from level to level and the weaponry stays the same all the time. The multiplayer mode was also entertaining for a while, but as a casual FPS player who completely sucks using a controller, I fail to see the appeal besides for shits and giggles with friends. That also applies to the Zombies mode, where the enemies are absolutely bland and most of their difficulty comes down to the sheer amount that needs to be fended off. These games have become the Fifa of FPS, innovating the bare minimum to not be copy-pasted completely (not even that in the case of Fifa). If I were to play a game like this for the multiplayer I’d much rather boot my PC and start CS:GO, which shares most of the standard multiplayer game modes and is free.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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