One simply cannot end 2020 without Call of Duty’s annual release. This time developed by Treyarch to offer us Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the fifth installment of this sub-series that this time is set in the 80s, during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union to offer us the umpteenth military confrontation between these two nations.
We have a mission
Black Ops Cold War is built on three different pillars (four if we count Warzone ): its Campaign, the Multiplayer mode and the now-classic Zombies mode that has usually accompanied Black Ops deliveries for a few years now. First of all, we are going to talk to you about the campaign that, as we have said a few lines ago, is set during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, having to face a new threat that can put the free world in check and give power from the globe to the Soviets.
Therefore, before a classic Call of Duty campaign, we will meet old acquaintances, some already somewhat hackneyed situations, with that already “tired” American patriotism and with some new mechanics with role-playing touches on the one hand. When creating a character for the campaign or performing secondary and stealth missions, on the other hand, open locks with a pick or kill our enemies silently and hide them in a closet in the purest Hitman style.
However, despite some new brushstrokes here and there, this Black Ops Cold War offers us a somewhat predictable campaign that shows that little by little, Call of Duty begins to lose its surprise effect and its fireworks that no longer overwhelm just like they did before. Yes, we have found some interesting moments at the plot level in the final part, but they could have been better used at the narrative and playable levels. Of course, despite fulfilling and entertaining, no level of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will go down in history.
As for the duration, we find about five hours of Campaign seasoned by some secondary missions and also by certain decisions during it that will make this year more replayable than on previous occasions, although the little impact of the end in one way or another makes it not worth giving it another spin.
A classic multiplayer and very entertaining
Another pillar is the multiplayer of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, with Treyarch always being particularly adept at designing and balancing these online clashes. Not in vain in the previous Black Ops IIII, they offered us an enjoyable and quite balanced experience, at least before our eyes.
Black Ops Cold War, in many respects, is more continuous with respect to classic games of the series, offering us a much more arcade experience than Modern Warfare, something that we notice from the behaviour of the weapons to the design of the maps through the different actions that our character can perform. This multiplayer seems to be designed to please the most purists for good and bad, offering us the best of Call of Duty from years ago and giving us a feeling of playing the same thing as in previous installments (except Modern Warfare ).
Of course, we want to praise the good work of balance and optimization of the online modes that Treyarch has done after the beta, offering us at this moment a fairly polished title. However, in our journey with the game, we have come across certain maps that, could be better balanced, such as Miami or Cartel, in which we believe that improvements should be made to favour a more tactical confrontation.
Among the main novelties of multiplayer, we find certain adjustments in the game modes that try to promote confrontation by preventing certain players from staying in one place for a long time, with tweaks here and there that favour running from one place to another. Pressing the enemy line while we are shooting and throwing grenades, although in most cases, these changes are going to be noticed more at a competitive level than in community games.
In addition to the classic modes (Dominion, Confirmed Death …), we have two new game modes that stand out above the rest, the first of these modes being VIP Escort, in which we will have to take a player to an extraction point on the map, something that we have already seen in other games like Counter-Strike and that favours teamwork or ambushes, being one of the most “tactical” modes together with Search and Destroy or Dominion.
The other new mode is Dirty Bomb, which has more personality and proposes a confrontation of 10 teams of 4 players each on the two largest maps of this “multi,” which are Ruka and Alpine. In this mode, we will have to work together to gather uranium and detonate some dirty bombs scattered on the map, which will allow us to gain points giving us the possibility of winning the game. Bomba Sucia has seemed to us a kind of evolution of Botín (present in Warzone ) and offers us intense and fun confrontations. However, we do not believe that it will mark an era in the saga’s future, being more an extra detail typical of the Black Ops Cold War than something that comes to stay.
Moving on to Warzone, the Call of Duty battle royale will be available through Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War for the next few weeks, and we currently need to have it installed independently to access it. Activision promises us a total integration with the weapons and other aspects of this new installment, and we will see, in the future, the changes they incorporate and if, with this integration, the desired anti-cheat system arrives to solve the problem with cheats that this battle royale has.
Finally, we want to remind you that this new installment, as happened with Modern Warfare, has crossplay, allowing us to play without any problem with friends who use other platforms, being able to enjoy with them regardless of whether to enjoy the new Black Ops on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One or Xbox Series X / S.
Finally, we have the Zombies mode that, in general, has the same symptoms of exhaustion as the rest of the installment. They are fun, you have a laugh with your friends, and they serve to pass the time, but they are far in this installment to offer us their best level with a new map that we believe is uninspired and that in some points reminds us of locations that we have already seen at other times in zombie mode. In general, it happens to us, as in the rest of the game modes, overall the zombies work well, and you can not blame it for anything, although it gives us the feeling of being playing something already more than known in recent years.
We do not have too many complaints about the outstanding shooting mechanics of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War that continues to offer us an amazing feeling of satisfaction when it comes to aiming and shooting to end the lives of our enemies, sewing them with bullets. This time these shooting mechanics are more arcade than in the 2019 installment, something that we notice, for example, in the recoil of weapons or in the time it takes to eliminate another player. Still, we can say that, despite the fact that we liked more the “air of simulation” of Modern Warfare, but that’s not to say that how much we enjoyed the Cold War’s multiplayer.
Also, this Black Ops Cold War inherits the Modern Warfare weaponry progression system allowing us to gradually unlock new weapons and, as we use them, to be able to access different pieces to customize them and adapt them to our tastes, noting when we use them each new piece in the form of a handle, muzzle or look that we have been adding.
Before concluding, we want to tell you about the technical section of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War that offers us graphics that follow the wake of Modern Warfare and that, at least for us, do not evolve too much with respect to the previous installment, being very careful and pampering when it comes to bringing to life virtually each of the weapons in the game. We have not liked so much the artificial intelligence of the campaign. We have noticed a few bugs and some errors in the collision engine during it, going through some objects in certain situations of the most disparate.
On the PS5, it is at a very stable 60fps in all its versions, and in the new generation, Xbox Series X and PS5, we also have ray tracing and even the possibility of playing at 120fps.
Finally, we want to applaud the enormous work of Treyarch in the sound section, with an equalization, a sublime audio mix and a thousand and one realistic sound details that make us enjoy like never before recognizing the characteristic and realistic sound of an AK47 or an M16 feeling how everything explodes around us or how the casings of our bullets bounce off the ground.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a perfect shooting game, entertaining, fun and addictive, but it is a step back from what Modern Warfare offered us, with a more classic and arcade bet that begins to show obvious signs of exhaustion and that has left us with a sense of deja vu, that everything we experienced in the campaign, in multiplayer and in zombies mode we have already experienced it before. Lovers of the series are sure that they will enjoy this installment for hundreds of hours, but, of course, we believe that Call of Duty needs a break sooner rather than later if it continues with this more continuous trend.
We prepared this review by playing the game on PS5 with a digital review code provided by Activision.