This year’s Call of Duty makes a welcome return as a direct sequel to the original Call of Duty: Black Ops. Set in a historically interesting period of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War of the 1980s. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s campaign does a good job of making the player feel like a covert operative by collecting evidence to solve code puzzles that reveal side missions. As a result of being a direct sequel to Black Ops, Cold War keeps the same story themes of mind control and sleeper agents. However, the game is without its flaws, bugs, animation glitches, and connection issues. Black Ops Cold War is far from a perfect game.
A General Outlook on Black Ops Cold War
It wouldn’t be a Call of Duty game without the fast action multiplayer. The multiplayer formula stays relatively the same as to be expected. Including a ton of challenges to complete, as well as the return of the gunsmith from Modern Warfare (2019). As a result of this, the multiplayer resembles a cross hybrid between Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Black Ops. However, there are issues such as weapon balancing that Treyarch will monitor and adjust, for example, the unmatched MP5 at launch. Additional issues come from dodgy spawns and map flow. Thirdly a return to the original Black Ops game and excluding wager matches, such as One in the Chamber, Sticks, and Stones and the beloved Gun game is a crime!
Over the years Zombies has had many developments and with the installment of Black Ops 4, it began to feel too over the top. The unthought out gameplay mechanics such as the specialized weapons like Ra’s Scepter and Viper’s dragon. In addition, Black Ops 4 went away from the normal perk system, removing fan-favorite Juggernog. Black Ops Cold War is a gracious return to Zombies. It appears that Treyarch has really listened to the zombie community. With the return of original perks and Nacht Un Toten implemented in Die Maschine. The zombie experience feels like it’s in a very good place. New gameplay mechanics feel well balanced and are embellished to enhance the zombie mode in a fun and interesting way. However, the zombie mode is rather buggy with strange animation glitches and frequent crashes. Which is extremely irritating when achieving a high round.
Enjoyable Campaign, However, Somewhat Feels Disconnected
Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War carries on the events that occurred in Black Ops 1, a tall order to say the least. However, the game offers a great campaign and story, with each mission feeling distinct from the last. Furthermore, the campaign offers the player a higher level of interactivity than earlier titles lacked. As a result of adding RPG elements such as allowing the player to create a custom character with a choice of character traits that somewhat impact campaign gameplay.
I was nervous at first whether the game could deliver a solid narrative with a custom character, however, it works really well. And perhaps works better than if “Bell” was a voiced and developed character. This is due to the campaigns underlying themes, I will not address this further as to not spoil the campaign. Furthermore, the core themes allow for an interesting replay of the story.
The cast of characters are great, Hudson, Mason and woods return consequently the player actually plays Mason in some missions. New characters are hit and miss, as Adler is a great addition to the story and overall a great character. However, Parker, Lazar and Simms can feel a little underwhelming.
Black Ops Cold War Attempts New Gameplay Mechanics
The safe house acts as a hub for the Black Ops team in between missions, a great concept implemented well. With various interactable and characters to talk to. The Safehouse oozes atmosphere.
The campaign offers unique gameplay mechanics that prior Call of Duty campaigns have not attempted. For example, players have the opportunity to collect intel while on missions to bring back to the safe house. Followed by inspecting the intel and trying to debunk codes and conduct problem solving, to obtain evidence to unlock missions works extremely well. As it further conforms to the Black Ops covert operation themes. Additionally, codes and detective work that the player will interact with are unique to the player’s campaign. Therefore the player cannot look online for the answers. However, the process of solving the codes are the same.
Black Ops Cold War Campaign Cons
While the Black Ops Cold War story excels in many areas earlier stated, its overall experience is setback a notch. This is due to the campaign feeling a little disjointed. As you’ll be traveling to many locations extremely quickly, as a result of a short campaign roughly around 5 – 7 hours depending on whether the player completes side missions. Therefore the campaign is extremely ambitious for the length of time it has to tell you the story. Consequently, the player can’t help but feel a little disappointed because of this.
While the campaign takes you to many different locations, and each mission feels unique. This is also to its detriment as the pacing feels rather quick and therefore making the campaign feel disjointed and segmented rather than a fluid story.
Cookie Cutter COD Multiplayer
Black Ops Cold War, offers the same cookie-cutter multiplayer with some changes and variation. New game modes such as combined arms and Fireteam: Dirty bomb are welcome additions to the multiplayer. For the most part, multiplayer maps flow well and feel unique. Due to Treyarch somewhat abandoning the 3 lane formula that was featured in past COD multiplayer maps.
The multiplayer really benefits from this decision as it creates a variety of gameplay. However, maps such as Armada and Cartel are fun but have their problems. for instance, Cartel is a rather restricted map and resembles akin to the three-lane system, but not overdone. Armada offers a very unique setting that offers players a variation in combat. As players can zip across zip lines ride jet skis, swim, and even drive gunboats. However, the map suffers from dumb spawns and huge sightlines allowing for snipers to dominate.
COD multiplayer has always suffered from an undeveloped spawning system. As often players will spawn and die or even spawn behind enemies. As a result, the player can feel cheated sometimes when they die. Equipment and field equipment feel relatively balanced with some items being more powerful than others. Such as my favorite, the Trophy System, that bad boy has saved my life countless times. However, even though it’s very strong it is required with the number of frags, semtex, C4, etc, that are thrown your way on objectives and choke points.
Great Gun Customization
The gunsmith returns and offers many ways to customize weapons. Players will feel as though their guns are unique due to the amount of variation. However, unlike Modern Warfare (2019) Cold War does not include as many negative attributes for attachments. This disappointed me as balancing weapon stats is a lot easier. There is a lot to do in Cold War multiplayer, as Treyarch will be adding new maps and season rewards. Giving the game greater value. Cold War’s multiplayer’s longevity is relative to Treyarch’s effort in fixing and updating the multiplayer.
Treyarch has made the effort to actively listen to the community and analyze trends on the multiplayer. Which has already led to numerous balance changes such as the dreaded MP5 and the 1.05 update. However, the game overall suffers from connection issues and crashing issues.
Return of the Living Dead
Zombies return in a great way. Zombies have gone through many changes and developments over the years, some good, some a lot worse. Black Ops Cold War offers a new fresh zombies story and original gameplay with a new twist. New features such as armor are well balanced to not be too powerful but aid the player in survival. Scorestreaks are implemented well, although extremely powerful they do not last long. Which offers exciting gameplay as survivors lay waste to the undead in tricky situations, but must be vigilant once they are over.
The original perks are back from the classic Zombies along side a new perk called Elemental Pop. Perks cost differently now and more thought is required when purchasing them as each purchase increases the next perk by 500. Furthermore, the player can spend crystals obtain through achieving round milestones to purchase upgrades for perks, skills and equipment. That stays with the players account.
Zombies launched with one map which some may find disappointing, however, quality is over quantity here as the map is well designed a great nod to the original Nacht Un Toten. The map is filled with secrets and even some amusing easter eggs. Players can find intel which they can later examine in the lobby. Furthermore, the player gets radio contact with returning Black Ops 1 character Weaver along with various other characters. Great addition as the story feels a bit more direct while keeping the magical feeling of discovery of items and easter eggs that past zombies contained.
Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War zombies includes a new Exfil system where players can earn extra rewards from calling in a little bird helicopter and escaping. However, players must travel to the pickup zone and eliminate a large number of zombies to be successful. This makes for extremely fun gameplay.
Tear-Inducing Bugs and Glitches
Although there is a lot of good points to discuss with zombies it suffers extremely badly from connection and crashing issues that I myself and many people have experienced. An unforgivable glitch that is frustrating and impacts the overall Black Ops Cold War score. For example, I and a buddy were having a great game and making great progress up to round 31 until my friend’s game crashed.
Further evidence shows that other players having problems with the game crashing especially in the zombies game mode. As NoahJ456 popular Call of Duty streamer had a similar issue with a much more drastic outcome.
There are further issues with zombies such as many animation glitches, where characters would make very strange poses. A triple-A game should play better and not be plagued by these issues.
In conclusion, Black Ops Cold War is a solid COD title that is a welcome return to the original Black Ops. The gameplay feels like a hybrid between Modern Warfare (2019) and the original Black Ops. The game is fun to play with friends and offers a great story that has some pacing issues. Zombies are back and are in a great place, but is laced with bugs and glitches that heavily impact the game’s overall score. (If you want to buy Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War & you are on XBOX then check this great deal for the game, for other platforms check here.)
If you enjoyed this review why not check out our other reviews such as Tens or Phasmophobia.
Summary: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the sixth installment in the Black Ops series, and the seventeenth installment in the overall Call of Duty series. Serving as the direct sequel to Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010) and the direct prequel to Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)
Genres: First-person shooter
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows (Review Version)