Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War is an unnecessary sequel that fades compared to Warzone.
To discuss a new one Call of Duty with friends and colleagues has a completely different tone than when we talk about other games. Since it is a game series that comes out every year, usually with fairly small changes, the discussions are often about picky details. This is definitely true too Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War – a fairly okay game that does not reach its predecessor.
This not very cold war commits no enormous, unforgivable sins. But it is hampered by a series of more and less noticeable shortcomings, such as the feeling of weapons and the flow in the multiplayer maps.
Despite welcome changes in the create-a-class mode, as well as a fun but short campaign, so have Call of Duty definitely been better than this. In fact, a better game in the series was released earlier this year – Call of Duty: Warzone. It was also free to play, and its popularity and replay value make it even harder Cold War to find its place in the supply.
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From December, Activision will also merge the players’ progression in Warzone and Cold War, so that they get common ranks, weapons, battle-passes and cosmetic items. If you go up in rank in one game, it automatically follows to the other. You can also start each game from each other’s main menus. It’s a somewhat odd development, there Call of DutyThe series is being developed towards a kind of taped live service unit with Warzone as hub.
In a way, it’s impressive to see the games integrated in this way, but it’s not a consistent gaming experience. The games have different developers and engines, and weapons that appear in both games (like M4 and MP5) do not have the same feel and recoil. Accessories that look basically identical still give different bonuses.
To jump off after a few matches Warzone to Cold War is like jumping from a bike to a skateboard. The basic concept is similar, but they differ in every way that really matters. There is no doubt about which of these games is the winner in the end (because it feels more like competition than cooperation). Activision is definitely looking Warzone as the future of the series. Cold War is okay, but it’s mostly a short distraction, and not the game in the series I’ll still be playing in a year.
Doubtful time period
One of the game’s biggest problems is actually the titular Cold War. The 80s series has classic weapons such as MP5 and M4, but the range of additions and visibility is worse. Since the laser sight and the holographic sight were at an early stage at that time, the supply is much smaller than we are used to.
The lack of things like underbarrel grenade launchers, weapon bonuses and hybrid visibility hurts a lot. IN Modern Warfare the weapons were customizable, but in Cold War I feel no difference when I pull the controls that are available. The desire to experiment is absent, and it is more difficult to tailor your style of play.
In addition to a couple of pretty nice 80s-scented destinations like Miami and Moscow, the era feels more like an obstacle than an asset in multiplayer. The range of weapons is a strange mix between high-tech and historical that probably does not make anyone really happy. Is it too much to ask for an AK47 with a shotgun accessory and heat sight? Yes apparently. It’s the 80s, after all.
However, Create-a-class is a little better than before. Especially fun are, as usual, the wildcards, class modifiers that contribute a little fun madness. I like the gunfighter ability, which lets one attach eight accessories to a weapon (instead of five). However, I guess most will stick to the greed ability, which gives a three extra perks.
However, perks do not have as great an impact this time. Two of them are reserved for simpler bonuses, such as greater resistance to grenade damage. That means I have to use my third perk choice to any ability that allows me to avoid UAVs. My third choice I would have preferred was a more fun ability, such as being able to run and shoot at the same time.
Tired firearms and nimble undead
Killstreaks are unfortunately a big deal again. Cold War runs with Treyarch’s typical score count, where all earned points are counted for killstreaks. But the count is not reset when a player dies, which spoils the whole point when you de facto do not have to kill a certain number of players in a row without dying yourself. You get killstreaks faster if you do not die, but also a sweep that I can napalmbomb the map at least once every match. If this sounds like a recipe for total chaos, it’s because it’s just that. For four games in a row, I shot down helicopters, only to see new ones fly in ten seconds later. And then another after that. It’s the worst and I hate it!
Ballistics is also a problem this time. CoDThe series has always had problems with a low “tick rate”, which means that you can be hit even after you have already taken cover. But in Cold War is it worse than in many years. The shooting feels sluggish, and it takes between five to seven frames after you fire your weapon before the hit is registered. Compare that with Modern Warfare, which was consistently on a delay of three frames in my tests. However, it is difficult to determine if it is due to the servers or lower speed of the bullets.
The guns have more problems, though. The predecessors set the bar high with their bass-heavy sound effects – where the machine guns thundered so loud that you could barely hear your teammates, and missed shots even around the ears. In comparison feels Cold Wars weapons as plastic toys. My AK47 rattles mostly like an empty spray can. Even the XM4 sounds a bit hollow like it did since the first one Black Ops. Even the missed shots have an unsatisfactory, soft sound.
The typical multiplayer modes, such as Team Deathmatch and Domination, are available here unchanged. However, this is where I spent the most time, as the new additions are not very good. VIP Escort is a game mode where you only have one life on you, and your team must escort a specific person to a helicopter. This is a game mode that can work – in other games. But in CoD there is seldom any further cooperation. Most of the matches were mostly about sincerely hoping that the VIP player would not rush straight into the first best hailstorm.
I preferred last year’s Cyber Attack a lot more. That situation was a fun tug of war where the advantage often changed several times between the teams during each match. VIP is not a worthy replacement. We also get another new mode called Dirty Bomb, which is mostly a sad mess that I will not return to.
Something I will return to, however, is the new zombie mode, surprisingly enough. I’m not particularly fond of how elaborate the popular game mode has become in recent years, so I appreciate that Cold War goes back to the roots. Instead of a mess of power-up items, there are now machines where you can buy bonus abilities, plus ultimate abilities that can be permanently upgraded between matches.
There is only one zombie map so far, but it seems to contain plenty of Easter eggs to explore. Unlike old zombie maps, there are also plenty of more open areas where you can give yourself some space to cut some undead types from a distance. It feels more like Left 4 Dead than ever, which is a good thing.
All the president’s men
It’s almost impressive how close Call of Dutys campaigns will do something of their own, without ever changing at all. When Cold War first announced, I hoped this would be an opportunity to move beyond helicopter crashes, shooting galleries and slow motion sequences where you kick in a door. But all of this is present again, even if the campaign is not completely free of spyware.
An early mission takes place almost entirely on the streets of East Berlin, where they look for the game’s villain – the Soviet agent Perseus. You get the chance to sneak around, knock out enemies in the hidden and even indulge in a little lock worship of Fallout-cut. However, the whole thing is over in a few minutes, and of course turns into a typically bombastic firefight. Later in the game, you also get to infiltrate the KGB headquarters in Moscow. It also starts interestingly, but soon ends in another firefight of standard cuts, where waves of enemies well up from all sides and edges. The best parts of the campaign are underutilized or undeveloped.
Between missions, you can, if you want, talk to your allies – complete with branching dialogue trees depending on what you say. It’s a nice way to get to know the characters a little better, but it’s too little and too short.
The campaign’s two side missions are pretty pointless. One of them even reuses a multiplayer map. It’s a shame, because putting unlock these side quests is cool. Technically, you can play these missions early in the campaign, but you are encouraged to prepare by solving puzzles that in turn give you more information. The solutions to the puzzles are scattered on the tracks during the game, and it is a fun detail that unfortunately does not lead anyone anywhere.
Between the fleeting highlights, the campaign is mostly a series of easily forgotten standard missions. The plot is most puzzling. Without saying too much, I was not impressed by the story’s twister, which mostly leads to multiple endings that are so abrupt that they feel unfinished. To be a story that begins with a newly elected Reagan creating an illegal death squad, it’s a rather tame story.
Speaking of Reagan, he’s barely in the game. Although he appears in the game’s trailer, he is only in a single intermediate sequence in the entire game. A bad one, too. Hearing the man behind the Iran-Conta affair, which financed war crimes, talk about “necessary measures” and heroes who receive no thanks, did not directly give me the patriotic goosebumps that Raven probably hopes for. But then this is the same series where Oliver North, also known for his involvement in the same scandal, already appeared in Black Ops 2.
Activision’s future vision for Call of Duty is somewhat confusing at the moment, where they both cling to Warzone as a service game, while also wanting to continue the annual releases. It mostly feels like they’re trying to sell Cold War as a kind of expansion, but at full price. I am curious about how the series will behave in the coming years. At the moment, the most thrilling conflict is in Call of Duty the internal that the series has with itself.
By: Morgan Park
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