I’ve always been a fan of Call of Duty. I grew up playing it when it was at it peak with both the Modern Warfare and Black Ops series being at the top of their game. Despite tumultuous development with Sledgehammer being pulled from the yearly developer rotation making Treyarch move up a year on the schedule and bringing in Raven to help with development, I was still excited to return to the world of Call of Duty and Black Ops with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
Playing Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on a PlayStation 5 felt amazing. The game is gorgeous and runs buttery smooth, and I never really noticed any frame drops while playing. The game also took full use of the adaptive triggers of the new DualSense controller. Each gun I used felt different to from each other thanks to the resistance in the triggers making each pull of the guns’ triggers harder or easier to pull depending on the type of weapon. I do recommend turning them off when you go to multiplayer though for an easier experience there. Though I didn’t really need to mess with them, the addition of FOV sliders are great for those who want to adjust those kind of settings.
The return of a Black Ops campaign was a delight to see after Black Ops IIII lacked one. Set in the Cold War era of the early 1980s, Black Ops Cold War‘s campaign feels like a true 1980s action movie at points. Mission design isn’t always just running and gunning at all times. Literally there is a mission where the majority of the time spent there was just exploring an area with multiple different objectives I could do stealthily. There are also side missions, though only two of them, that become easier via finding evidence in other main missions. Thus, they encourage exploration in a Call of Duty game that isn’t just searching for collectibles.
Unfortunately, the campaign is not without its flaws though. First it felt way shorter than I expected. There are only a handful of main missions, and being able to see and return to them via the board makes it very noticeable at how few missions there are. Then, bringing back characters the community loves was great, but they get very little shine in this one, and are mostly relegated to the background. Aside from Adler, I barely formed an attachment to any of the new characters. There’s even a point where a decision came about characters, and I just felt apathy about them and what was going to happen in that scenario. They also try to do something storywise with the player character, but they make it way too obvious and you see it coming from a mile away.
The multiplayer is still the strongest FPS multiplayer out there. All the modes that fans of come to love over the years are there, and the game feels more like classic Call of Duty than ever. This even shows with a smaller amount of and a more basic design of the maps than what other maps in recent entries have been. I loved this as it felt like I was jumping back into the game I knew so well without missing a beat. Then, there’s the wide variety of weapons, perks, streaks, and everything else. Once I started unlocking all these new things, each loadout I built had me feeling like I could still stay competitive no matter what the strongest weapons may be at the time as I was becoming more accustomed to each of my main weapons and their advantages and disadvantages.
Being someone who hasn’t played a lot of the series in recent years though, my biggest gripe with multiplayer was how cluttered the lobby has become. Finding out how to start a match or choose a specific mode to play took way too long. Also, the fact Warzone isn’t accessible without having it already installed on your console, the game tries to launch it but fails if you don’t have it installed already, feels weird to me. It seems like Warzone should have come with Black Ops Cold War when you download it. This definitely shows the issue with having to support a separate battle royale game and mainline entries in a series simultaneously that Activsion faces with Call of Duty.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War‘s Zombies mode, like always, is the highlight of any Treyarch entry in the series. Like multiplayer, it feels like a return to basics, but with modern tendencies. You now get to set your loadout going into the start which now make the beginning rounds fly by, and allow you to start progressing to the meat of the mode without the tedium that early rounds have been known for. While there is only one map at the moment, being an updated version of a classic map is sure to be a delight to longtime fans. While Zombies mode has always been something that has been enjoyed with friends or other people, unfortunately, this mode is limited to online co-op only if you want to have other players join you to face the horde. You can’t play with bots either, so if you don’t have any friends that can play online, you are in for a lonely experience facing down zombies on your own.
Overall, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a very good entry into the series despite being able to see some of the cracks that a mix in development has caused. However, Treyarch was able to reach back to classic Call of Duty and provide a modernized version of what classic means. Despite it’s flaws, any fan of the series is sure to enjoy Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on their new consoles.
Score: 8 out of 10
Reviewed on PlayStation 5