The Coldest of Wars – Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

This game’s title is unnecessarily long.

Death, taxes, and Call of Duty. Those are the three guarantees in life my friends.

It’s that time of the year. We’re talking about Call of Duty, and this one is going to be a long one.

To try and make this easier for you, I’m going to break this down by the three core tenets of the game: campaign, zombies, and multiplayer. Skip to your favorite part or read them all.

We move!

Preamble

I think this game looks stunning. Again on the PS5 (sorry I’m really not trying to brag) the lighting was incredible in certain sequences during the campaign, frame rates were stable in Zombies/Multiplayer although there were moments where the frame rate noticeably dipped. Doesn’t happen often, but enough to note. It is a whopping download though so make sure you free up space if you dive in.

Also being on next gen gives you the benefit of faster load times. Pretty solid especially compared to how long load times used to be back in the day. Speaking of next gen, the game is cross platform and cross gen. Play with your PS4/PS5 friends or Xbox One/Xbox Series X friends.

Last important thing is the game features a progression system across all modes. So you could honestly prestige in Zombies mode alone without ever having to touch multiplayer. When the first season launches in December, the progression system will carry over to Warzone and Modern Warfare.

Campaign

Cold War is a direct sequel to Black Ops 1. Armed with that knowledge, don’t be surprised if you see similar faces from the game such as Alex Mason, Frank Woods, and Jason Hudson.

The game follows the story of the homies as they face a new crisis in the world during the 1980s. Perseus, an unknown entity, is putting together a plan to put the entire free world in danger, and President Reagan gives you the power to to put a stop to him.

Story synopsis aside, the developers made something unique here. After the first couple of missions, you actually go through and create your own character. Granted you can’t physically customize your character, but you can name your character, choose a background, name them, and choose traits which directly impacts their performance in field. Besides that there are “RPG lite” moments where you can choose what your character’s dialogue options.

Besides your typical campaign, there are actual side quests you can partake in. Some of the side quests are actually pretty good, one in particular had me sneaking around the streets of East Berlin to free an informant at night while the police were enforcing a strict curfew. As you play through the campaign, there will be intel that you can collect which helps you undertake an operation. There are two operations you can complete and in order to complete them, you will need all the Intel you’ve found to decrypt puzzles and identify leads. The puzzles where actually challenging to my small brain so I actually thought the whole setup was well done.

Black Ops 2 featured the first Call of Duty campaign to feature multiple endings, and this game follows a similar trend. Depending on your actions, depending on if you complete the side quests and operations correctly, depending on your characters choices, you’ll actually get different endings.

My personal opinion on the campaign.

I thought the story was good and interesting. I think this was one of the more unique entries with the branching outcomes, different styles of character creation, and overall setup. I’m interested to see what Treyarch does next Call of Duty campaign wise, and how it fits in to the overall universe especially since after this entry Black Ops 2 is next and it’s in the near future.

Zombies

I’m going to be honest with you, after Black Ops 2, I fell off Zombies hard. I felt like it got a little too complicated for it’s own good, and while yes, evolving the formula was necessary, it didn’t feel right. Also my friends stopped playing so there’s that. I went into this experience with a fresh mindset.

Zombies mode this time around is seems to be going back to it’s roots. The last Zombies experience concluded the original characters narrative while this game focuses on a new narrative. Long story short, the CIA gets information that the KGB were messing around with zombies.

You load in on a new version of Nacht der Untoten as part of a team investigating the disturbance in operation Die Maschine. New to the experience is the fact you can choose a load out to use as soon as you load in. After that everything is pretty standard.

Kill, reload, board up windows, Pack-a-Punch, and find easter eggs.

Again, it’s been a while since I really messed with zombies, but there are plenty of new things here to take in. You can actually craft killstreaks to use to help your team out, craft armor for yourself and build the Wonder weapons. Crafting materials are gained from killing zombies and they’ll even drop equipment that you can use such as stuns, C4, and frags. You can Pack-a-Punching your weapons up to three levels and even infuse mods such as fire, ice and even electricity.

The last part that I can confirm is 100% is the Exfil option. Zombies beating your behind? After a certain number of rounds you can call in for a chopper to exfil the team. What ensues is pure madness. Once the chopper gets there, you have 1 min 30 seconds to clear the landing zone. Zombies upon zombies flood the screen trying to prevent it. If you succeed, you Exfil and win the game. If you don’t, a random RPG comes out, shoots down the chopper, and you have to try again in a few rounds. It’s pretty hectic, and I managed to clutch up an Exfil attempt with a level 2 Ray Gun and some heavy circling. It’s madness.

Exclusive to PlayStation is the Zombies Onslaught mode, which I haven’t tried. Probably won’t either.

Besides that, the overall experience I’ve had so far was incredible. It felt good just doing the simple zombie things with some friends. Heads up though, make sure you pick up the Gallo shotgun. It’s ludicrously strong at base and leveling it up makes it insane.

Multiplayer

Not much has really changed in regards to my opinion on Cold War’s multiplayer since I talked about it in my Alpha post. It’s a CoD game so you know what you’re going to get. In the game’s defense, I think since the Alpha and Beta the game feels a lot more solid and feels like it’s in a better place. Treyarch is a great dev team despite some of the decisions they make, and they stay on top of weapon balancing and changes.

On the other hand just a couple of nitpicks.

The maps aren’t that good. I can’t really identify a map that I enjoy especially since there’s only like 6 maps, and a few of them are condensed or expanded depending on the game mode you play i.e. Crossroad Strike is a 6v6 version of Crossroads from the bigger mode. Perk balance is whack. You don’t unlock Flak Jacket until level 20 and Tac Mask until 32 so you’re going to die a lot by equipment and explosives. It’s bizarre.

The next nitpick, and I’m not going to harp on it too much is Skill Based Matchmaking.

If you can’t see what’s wrong with this, either the font is too small or you’re a part of the problem. It’s thicc this year, and you know it’s bad when the pros are struggling to post K/D’s over 2.0. I’m level 22, and I’m matching against kids you haven’t showered since November 13th. If you pay attention to CoD even a smidgen, all of your favorite content creators are struggling. Stop doing that Activision. Stop killing off our favorite creators.

Conclusion

I’m too nice when it comes to Call of Duty. At this point, I realize we aren’t ever going to get back Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops 2, or World at War and maybe that’s why I still give these games a try. To be fair, I think Cold War is a solid experience, especially compared to the last CoD game that came out in between console launches *cough cough* Ghosts sucked *cough cough*.

I think Zombies was actually surprisingly good, which is a surprise since I haven’t touched Zombies in years. The Campaign is good with some cool new additions and little tidbits. Multiplayer is well… more CoD multiplayer for better and worse.

Next week launches the Warzone cross progression system which interests me. For now, I’m going to go play some Zombies.


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