Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Review – Warm Truce
It’s quite weird to be covering the yearly Call of Duty game this late within its launch but thanks to the power of the patient gamer, we have gotten the latest COD game for the fraction of the price during the start of its 2nd Multiplayer season.
So, is the game good again? Has the Skill-Based Matchmaking finally been fixed? And is the story mode as bonkers as people say it has been? All in due time, folks.
I do credit Treyarch for making their aging Black Ops 3 engine work wonders with the graphics of BOCW as it doesn’t look out of place within the more superior IW 8 engine seen in Modern Warfare 2019. Its sharpness thanks to them placing Ray-Tracing for next-gen consoles makes it quite good-looking and smooth.
Though it does come with some glitches as well. Like once on a Zombies map, all of the zombies had black textures like they all were wearing a tuxedo and it lasted all of the 10 rounds that I was playing.
Kinks of the old engine I suppose, but hopefully, their next game in 3 years would see them use the new IW engine.
The UI is almost exactly the same as what we have seen in the previous game. But with the addition of the Warzone and Modern Warfare menus within the UI doesn’t fit the aesthetic of the game about the Cold War.
This shows the assimilation of the CoD games within each other since the introduction of the battle royale mode last year.
Sound design-wise, it is your standard CoD affair here. Loud-sounding guns and explosions that fit the more “arcadey” nature of Treyarch’s games.
The Soundtrack that accompanies the main story is one of the highlights for me, fitting the moment quite well and best of all, it’s available to listen to even during multiplayer matches.
The main story campaign this time is handled by Raven Software, whose last full story mode work is within the highly underrated Singularity, and boy is they still pretty good at this.
This story mode is a mix of Black Ops 1 style story beats with some downtime like in BO 2&3, which helps make the pacing of the game more consistent. It has twists and turns, and even a cipher or two to solve.
It makes me wish Raven was in charge of the main title for once. They have the creativity to create unique stories and they did co-create the most bonkers Quake title back in the day.
It is something that I wish CoD could do in the future and not settle on another WW2 title for no reason (looking at you, Sledgehammer).
Multi Of The Players
But really, the real meat of the annual Call of Duty game is, of course, Multiplayer. Treyarch should be good at this since the last Black Ops did launch online only and look how that worked out for them (it wasn’t fun).
The normal modes returned as usual. So does Nuketown. But thanks to the success of Modern Warfare enabling cross-play for console players to be fully annihilated by PC players, this game includes that as well.
And nothing is more enjoyable than making them PC users mad by using just a controller and light machine gun as they try to accurately snipe you. Then getting blown to bits as they use all their Scorestreak on you alone. Great fun.
But what isn’t fun is something that has the game being in scrutiny since it’s public beta and that is Skill-Based Matchmaking or SBMM. It is a system where you are matched with similarly leveled KDM players and sweat it out in a match.
It was quite unpopular amongst the pro scene as that means that they would have to be competitive even during their downtime.
So when the introduction of League Play was announced, Casual Play returns to its normal route of either someone literally owning your or vice versa. And people wouldn’t have it any other way. Myself included.
One other staple of the Black Ops formula is the Zombies mode. Ever since its inclusion in World At War back in 2008, it has been quite a fan favorite with its own story, powerups, and now, a brand new mode that brings in a combo that is intriguing yet feels similar to something Activision once owned.
Outbreak is the newest mode where you and your buddies are dropped into a large open area and have to settle tasks that are randomly generated to either exit or go into another round.
If this doesn’t scream Destiny then I don’t know what will. It’s a tried and tested method and one of the best ways to not only level up your weapons (since you can bring your personal loadouts in zombies now), but it is much more fun than the usual mode and I don’t think I can return to that now.
And what can I say about the narrative in Zombies? It had an ARG which lead towards the release of its initial trailer, which not only was intriguing in its own volition but shows that Treyarch can do something unique in showcasing something people are expecting.
It may not be the Richtofen storyline anymore (which ended in BO4) but it is quite interesting to see characters in the main campaign joining into the zombies’ mode as if they are intersecting one another.
Black Ops Cold War main story campaign takes around 10 hours, if you take your time with the missions and the other two modes do have infinite replayability, or as I like to call it, “I can stop whenever I want to”.
Call of Duty usually goes around that sort of way as they drop new content every two months. And even though they have gated some zombie stuff over on the PlayStation side, this one doesn’t feel as bad as the one seen in Modern Warfare ‘19.
And there’s always the ever-looming in size Warzone mode. Where you too can feel anger over getting bodied by 149 people and more unless you have skins that give you an advantage but we don’t talk about that really.
Just avoid that if you play solo, because like something in life, it is much more fun with Friends.
Ever since getting Black Ops 3 for free back in 2018, I feel a fascination towards this series that dabbles in conspiracies, cipher agents, and in the case of the game above, the wandering mind of a person’s last thoughts.
Black Ops Cold War is still up there with its other namesakes in being an interesting part of the Call of Duty portfolio of games.
It might not be your cup of tea, but I definitely enjoyed this year’s CoD and with the unfavorable rumors of the next installment being a rehash of its old methods. Perhaps this could accompany me and some of the fanbase as we await whatever Infinity Ward is doing in 2022.
I picked this up during a sale and thoroughly enjoyed it, mind you. So I don’t need to tell you to do the same, yes?
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War adds some new flavor into their tried and true method of the first-person shooters brand that they are usually known for. Its campaign is fun to play and Outbreak makes Zombies get that Tombstone shot for a more fun second wind.
Highly recommended if you want a nice time shooting, dying, and repeating it over and over again, alone or even with friends.
Played on Xbox Series S, Review copy purchased by the reviewer.