Another year means another Call of Duty game. This time around, veteran developers Treyarch look to bring the sixth installment of the Black Ops series to current and next-generation hardware with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Promising the same thrilling multiplayer, the return of the fan-favorite Zombie Mode, and an entirely new campaign, Cold War looks to carry on the Black Ops name…but does it do enough?
Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Review
The campaign in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes place in the early 1980s and serves as a narrative bridge between Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. It follows CIA agent Russell Adler and his elite crew of soldiers as they attempt to track down Perseus, a Soviet Union spy who is looking to turn the tide of the Cold War.
One of the immediate standout elements of the campaign is the attention to detail on its fantastic cast of characters. The facial animations, the voice acting, the lip syncing – they all come together to deliver some of the best visuals the franchise has seen to date. While the campaign is short, and not quite worth the price of entry alone, it’s a much-welcomed addition for an aging FPS fan that struggles to keep up in other areas of the Call of Duty experience.
For a first in the Call of Duty series, Cold War introduces player choice throughout the story campaign. Many of these offer an illusion of choice, providing options that have little to no effect on the story itself. However, others are major; major enough to determine the outcome of the entire Cold War era. I played through the campaign a couple of times, switching up the choices and decisions I made. For a franchise that is synonymous with fast-paced, arcade-like multiplayer action, having this depth and variation in the main campaign was a surprise, and one that I really enjoyed. Your choices will result in the deaths of allies, the fate of your enemies, and the very survival of the free world. It is probably the most fun I’ve had in a Call of Duty story in many years.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s story may have pushed the narrative in new and creative directions, but for the most part, the rest of the game remains much in the same. Multiplayer returns, arguably the series’ biggest appeal – even after releasing the same game year after year. If you’re a fan of the Call of Duty formula, there’s everything you could want in a multiplayer experience.
A few new modes add some much-needed refreshment to the experience. An arsenal of guns that can be customized more than you’ll ever need to customize anything. Not that the range of arsenal matters, because nearly all lobbies are filled with players running the same weapons and kits. Ongoing challenges, achievements, and tasks give you plenty to aim for as you load into the next lobby, so there’s a lot to do if you’re willing. One of the few changes to multiplayer that I noticed, was the the extension of the Kill Cam.
Instead of highlighting a single or end of round kill, it now highlights the “best play” seen in the round. While a few are worthy of watching, more often than not it’s just player after player running into bullet fire. Making matters worse, they are way too long. On a few occasions, the play of the round replay was longer than the round itself. Not a common occurrence I’d admit, but in a game that is so heavily focused on ramming you into the next lobby and game as quickly as possible, it feels counter productive.
For me, the appeal of Call of Duty’s multiplayer has dwindled over the years, and Cold War does nothing to reignite my passion for the genre. I will say, however, that the map design is the best I’ve seen in Call of Duty in years. Each map is well designed, keeps the action fluid, and allows for a constantly evolving battlefield throughout the different game modes available. In the more recent Call of Duty games, I often found myself sighing in disbelief as yet another boring map is forced into rotation. However, after a few days in the multiplayer of Cold War, there is not a map I didn’t enjoy.
If the campaign and multiplayer don’t take your fancy, Zombies Mode makes an epic return in Cold War. Continuing the trend of previous games, it combines an intriguing survival experience with a interesting, but often hidden, narrative that rewards players for exploration and creativity. Digging into the various secrets and hidden aspects of Zombies has always had a strong appeal, and much of that appeal remains in Cold War.
Much like multiplayer, Zombies Mode is more of what you would expect in a Call of Duty zombies mode, but there are some minor differences. The fixed characters of previous versions are no more, allowing players to choose Operators from the multiplayer component of the game, bringing with them their own unique, custom loadout. This replaces the 10-15 minutes of mundane pistol and knife action at the start of every round, creating a faster and more action-packed introduction each time.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is another solid entry in the Call of Duty franchise. Fantastic shooting, great visuals, a strong story – fans of the series will find a lot to love in the latest entry. Unfortunately, for anyone else, it’s just another Call of Duty game that relies entirely on the same old multiplayer and zombies to carry it through.
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