So a couple of years ago, I felt that something was missing from Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII. It got the multiplayer components right; and obviously WarZone was a big hit. But without that single player component to keep things balanced, it just didn’t feel complete to me. Sure, people had fun with it, but it didn’t really feel like the “4” it was being labeled as.
But here we are, two years later, with Black Ops: Cold War, which really does feel like the “4” of the series. There’s a lot to uncover here, including a single player campaign that takes place in the 80s; a Zombies mode from the guys that got it started all the way back with World at War; and, of course, multiplayer. It doesn’t quite nail all the bases completely as it hopes, but there’s more than enough here to keep fans content – especially if you loved the first chapters of the Black Ops saga.
A Single Player Mode That Shows Evolution
Treyarch pulls off a nice trick with the Cold War single player campaign. It introduces familiar characters back into the fold, including series mainstay Frank Woods, and throws them into a plotline straight out of the 80s. Even Ronald Reagan is here, and, well, not that badly represented considering what it could have been.
What’s neat is how the story can veer off based on your decisions. Do you let this guy live or throw him off the roof? Do you risk reputation taking on a mission, or go a different route?
While the choices aren’t exactly earth-shattering in terms of the direction you go, they add tremendous replayability to a game that usually doesn’t provide huge story choices. And you actually find some cool missions along the way, challenging you at every turn – particularly on higher difficulty settings.
What’s more, it’s incredibly polished. On the Xbox Series X, the game screams at a beautiful 60 frames per second (maybe even 120, I didn’t count), with lots of amazing lighting and good character detail. Some of the locations are fantastic too, and really set the tone for an adventure set in the past. This could be Treyarch’s most accomplished CoD to date – and that’s saying something considering how amazing they did on Black Ops II. Isn’t that game due for a next-gen remaster…?
The Zombies Are Back
With a new Call of Duty game comes a new Zombies mode, with a fun little storyline and neat little extras, like Dead Ops Arcade, which has become a staple for this series over the years. It’s not incredibly innovative; but when it comes to mowing down dead soldiers alongside your friends, it’s a complete blast.
Like all Zombies modes, it’s all about finding those key weapons, keeping up your defenses and avoiding getting overrun. The variations included here are very cool, though not quite as in- depth as we’ve seen in other games in the past. Still, if it’s a good crew game you’re after, you could do far worse than this.
Sadly, we didn’t get to try the Onslaught mode, as that’s exclusive to the PlayStation versions of the game. But we’ll catch up with that eventually and provide our thoughts soon enough.
Multiplayer’s A Little Behind
Where Black Ops: Cold War surprisingly comes up short is an area where Treyarch usually knows how to cover its ground – multiplayer. It’s not bad, to say the least; and there’s enough content here to keep players logged in. But it comes up a bit short in content in its own right.
There’s only one new mode, Fireteam: Dirty Bomb, which has squads going up against one another to collect uranium and use explosives. It’s kind of neat, but a little gimmicky as well,
and it’s unsure if it’ll stick around for future iterations.
The other modes are here, and well presented for the most part, but it’s the map count that’s a bit disappointing. There’s only eight available so far, and that means far less terrain to cover than we’re generally used to. That may disappoint some hardcore players expecting a huge, expansive experience like WarZone has. But, as Activision promised in the past, there’s more content coming, and most of it will be on the house. So, patience, gamers.
Back To Proper Form, For The Most Part
While Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War lacks a stacked amount of content like we’ve seen in the past, there is still more than enough here to keep fans pleased. The graphics are amazing, the gameplay still holds up rather well, and Zombies is packed with a lot of bloody fun. Multiplayer could use a little more content; and there could be more modes thrown in for good measure.
But as it stands, the general Call of Duty experience is present and accounted for, compared to what we’ve gotten in the past. I’ll happily take it.