Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to Back Ops and is set in the early 1980s during the depth of the Cold War. It marks the return of a traditional campaign to the series. Developed by Treyarch and Raven Software, Black Ops Cold War is available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Details
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Developer(s): Treyarch, Raven Software
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A conspiracy-fill thrill ride decades in the making
Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is a direct sequel to Back Ops and takes place in the early 1980s. You are dropped into the depth of the Cold War and fight alongside fan series favourite-characters like Woods, Mason and Hudson as well as a new cast of characters. It’s not long before you learn that everything isn’t what it seems.
Throughout this mind-bending story, you encounter historic figures and learn hard truths in iconic locales such as East Berlin, Turkey, Vietnam, Soviet-era Moscow and more. As part of a group of elite operatives, your mission is to stop a plot decades in the making as you follow the trail of a shadowy figure named Perseus. Who, is on a mission to destabilize the global balance of power and change the course of history.
I think that Treyarch did an excellent job of fusing elements of 1980s pop culture and a conspiracy story into a gripping single-player Campaign. The game feels like a true sequel to the original Black Ops and kept me literally on the edge of my seat the entire time playing. Oh and there is the ending! Nothing had me prepared for either outcome that is possible at the end of the game!
Black Ops Cold War takes a significant departure for the series norm when it comes to your character. In this game, you don’t just give your character a name and you are off. Instead you build your own character and persona from the ground up from background info, to gender, to perks. It’s all very clear that Treyarch wants your character to feel like it’s your own and an integral part of the story.
Your character doesn’t have any speaking parts in the game. However, there are occasional prompts, that based on your answer, influence your squad and upcoming series of events in the story. You tackle missions and research your enemies from your squad’s hideout, which also allows you to talk and interact with them.
During the campaign there are some missions that have multiple ways to accomplish the end goal. For example, there is a mission where you play as an inside mole of the KGB headquarters. The entire facility is on lock down but your goal is to get a keycard to get members of your squad into the building. You can either convince a prisoner to take a general out, poison the general yourself over a cup of tea or hack together a keycard yourself.
In addition to the campaign missions, there are a few side missions that give you more background on your enemies. Additionally, these side missions require some puzzle solving that shakes gameplay up a bit. It’s unfortunate that these missions are optional as they help determine certain elements in the end game.
Next-gen look and feel
On next generation consoles, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War supports 4k 60fps visuals with ray tracing. Landscapes look incredible and character models are a step up from PS4 and Xbox One. There were a few times during chaotic situations on the screen that I noticed some framerate drops but it was nothing too serious.
Furthermore, for those with compatible TVs or monitors, you can run the game at 120fps. The game runs at a lower resolution and with less graphical effects. I played a few missions this way and instantly noticed just how smooth gameplay felt but also noticed the decreased resolution.
Strangely enough, to enable this mode you have to go into the PS5’s settings and restart the game. Other games that offer this feature simply have an option in the game. That being said, the star of the show in Black Ops Cold War is the PS5’s DualSense wireless controller. The game makes excellent use of the adaptive triggers by providing pressure when aiming and firing your weapon.
You feel the kick back when shooting your shotgun and feel every bullet as they leave the chamber in your machine gun. It’s a whole new level of immersion that I never knew I wanted and can’t imagine playing without.
Next-gen multiplayer fun with cross-platform and cross-generation support
Whereas Black Ops Cold War’s campaign introduced a few new gameplay elements, the game’s multiplayer sticks close to the series’ roots. In fact, gameplay elements like interactive doors have been removed and speeds up the overall experience.
All the standard fare modes of Team Deathmatch, Domination and Hardpoint are all included. You can make your own personal playlist for hours upon hours of multiplayer fun.
However, it’s the larger, objective-based levels that fully utilize the maps with a higher number of players in Combined Arms that I really enjoyed. One of my favourite maps in Combined Arms takes places across several military ships.
You can zipline across to some of the vessels or take to the water and swim. Better yet, hop on a jet ski and whizz around the water taking your opponents out. There are so many possibilities and objective changes that make Combined Arms extremely fun.
Fireteam Dirty Bomb
Fireteam Dirty Bomb is another new addition to Black Ops Cold War multiplayer. 40 players are divided up into 10 teams of 4 players called Fireteams. Your goal is to work together with your team to take out enemies, collect Uranium caches, and locate dirty bombs scattered throughout the map. In addition, there is Uranium, at these dirty bomb sites, that you collect and deposit until it’s primed for detonation.
Overall, my experience with Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War multiplayer modes was enjoyable and fun. While there aren’t a whole lot of maps to play in multiplayer at the moment, I’m sure we will see some new additions with the first season in December.
Another fan favourite mode makes its return, Zombies. If you’ve played this mode before in previous games, then you will feel right at home. There really haven’t been any dramatic changes to the formula. You and up to three others play online and try to survive the waves of zombies while uncovering all the secrets the map has to offer.
There is even a narrative that is loosely tied to Zombies that is conveyed through in-game narration as you complete objectives. While I wouldn’t classify it as a dramatic change, after 10 rounds you can now call a chopper in to evacuate. You’ll be given an evacuation point and you must survive the round to make your escape.
Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is an impressive entry of the series on next-gen consoles
Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War is an impressive entry of the series on next generation consoles. The game’s use of ray tracing is pretty impressive and the DualSense wireless controller on the PS5 takes the game to a whole new level. The adaptive triggers give the right amount of resistance and feedback so that it feels like you are firing the weapon.
Although a tad bit too short, the game’s campaign is full of twists and turns that kept me wanting to find out what’s going to happen next. The game’s multiplayer modes are fun and am looking forward to new maps. If there is one mode that I am addicted to the most is Zombies. I simply can’t get enough of it!
+ Engaging story full of twists and turns that keeps you entertained
+ Multiplayer modes are fun to play
+ Cross-play and cross-platform support
+ Zombies is as addictive as ever
+ Beautiful 4K 60fps ray traced graphics
– Limited amount of multiplayer maps at launch
– Campaign is a tad bit too short
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS COLD WAR
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5