✔️Narrative for its campaign; the best penned in years. ✔️Exciting, enthralling and complete deviation from its expeditious demonstrations in the past. ✔️Zombies is still fun as hell.
❌Multiplayer has truly hit a wall. Subtle innovation, but a waning substance.
Another year, another Call of Duty. Only this time we’re heading towards a fresh intake of innovative mechanics and gameplay from lead developers at Treyarch, and the Black Ops franchise. If there’s anything to be said in regards to Black Ops, and its ongoing series of adaptable warfare, the sublet initiative tends to deviate from other entries with a dedicated standout feature that is sure to entice its devout audience, roping them in for another jam packed action title to tie them over ’til next November. There’s consistency, and persistence within its nuances that develop a strong confidence in the series’ audience that they’re in for a completely fresh take every year. However, while Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War does represent a new age for the War series, it envelopes learnings from the Activision published series, and settles on a stronghold of semblance, rather than a creative curb.
It’s intention is for the experienced “COD” gamer; the heavy handed FPS player that loves this franchise, and knows what they’re in for. I unequivocally respect this notion as it displays accessibility for those who may have had a sabbatical from the franchise and are looking to return for some high-octane, trigger happy combat with an adaptive narrative based on true events. Black Ops: Cold War is as the title implies, based on the Cold War, is a loose retelling of affairs that situated around conflicts between the early 1980’s to 1990’s with the Soviet Union, the United States and their respective allies. The marketing for this title had me somewhat intrigued with the inclusion of 40th President, and highly praised Hollywood alum Ronald Reagen. Whether it be from the aggressive side of political media, or the depiction of civilians knowing that they were living a life of uncertainty, Cold War’s chaos delivers a copious degree of conviction within its fascinating campaign.
The Bell Tolls...
As mentioned, our campaign begins in January of 1981 with the CIA investigating the Iran hostage crisis, spearheaded by target terrorists Qasim Javadi and Arash Kadivar. Operatives Russel Adler, Frank Woods and Alex Mason are given orders to track down the duo and interrogate them on the organisations unfolding plot. Kadivar had misled the entire team to Turkey, where upon inquiry, he reveals that another teammate was the mastermind behind the entire attack before the silent operatives assassinate the radical thug. Informing the President, Reagan tasks his force to find Perseus, a supposed Soviet spy that allegedly breached United States National Security. The President flags the entire mission as a Black Operative (how apropos), with Military, CIA and the British MI6 working to apprehend the maleficent leader.
The crew is lead by Jason Hudson, with Adler’s Mason, Woods and Lawrence Sims. The party are comprised by a number of militant operatives that exist across multiple international locale, including the national intelligence agency of Israel, known as Mossad, with lead operative “Lazar” Azoulay assisting, MI6’s Helen Park, and an unknown ominous independent agent who prefers to stay anonymous, and goes by the codename “Bell”. Acquainted during an operation in Vietnam, Adler agents work with Bell in recalling their first sighting of the inconspicuous Perseus, where they believe the spy to have ties within Gernany. The team heads into East Berlin, in hunt for both Perseus, and Russian Godfather Anton Volkov.
This is where most of the campaign’s action begins to transpire, and more of its convoluted storyline tends to unfold. Cold War explores more of a tactics, espionage approach to warfare rather than the expeditious side of an all-out attack. While there are moments of heavy armoured combat that are forced, or somewhat bottlenecked through certain events, most of the experience relies on its character development. I found this to be a unique experiment; a subtle touch to the entire scope of the plot instead of a led foot on the pedal. Call of Duty prides its initiative of being a whimsical flurry of fireworks, but this entry steers away from this blueprint, rather testing players and their patience which can be quite engrossing. Hallmarks remain persistent, with a myriad of tailored machinery scattered across fields, and ammo acquired through numerous circumstances. It’s a given.
But this campaign is different; it’s subtlety is welcome. There’s an anxious aura that leads to aghast yet awe within every plot twist. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, but I was certainly captivated. I’d say this is Call of Duty’s narrative renaissance; penned by The Dark Knight’s lead screenwriter David S Goyer, Cold War entails the best mainline campaign since Advanced Warfare. While the foundations of the series remain intact, only cosmetic facets are changed to suit the narrative. Attack and execution remains identical to previous entries of the modern era, so if you’re looking for an entirely refreshed engine you’ll be sadly disappointed. But if you’re in it for an astonishing cinematic drive, then Cold War delivers on its entire premise, ten-fold.
Roll up, Roll up...
Okay let’s be honest, you want to know about Multiplayer and Zombies. For the last few iterations, fans have heavily criticised developers for lack of vision within Multiplayer’s Map designs. Eager to see what Cold War were set on demonstrating, an overhaul had been planned within the shooter’s series for quite sometime. Each release was promised a basic structure that fans of the arcade mode would appreciate, but never could live up to expectation. While Call of Duty’s multiplayer has been flogged to death with a desperate flurry of creative pushes that have tried to exceed developer’s guarantee, I’m in the mind that multiplayer has gone as far as it can in developing any fresh takes for the territorial mode. I don’t put this blame on the development team, it’s hard to recycle a mode that’s cuffed by limitations, but we’ve hit a wall. You know what to expect when diving in.
Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War is the best first person shooter I've had the pleasure of witnessing for quite some time
The traditional Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed return, along with new modes that will struggle to draw keen eyes over to its unwieldy, mislabelled bloat. It’s not underwhelming, nor is it anything that players will boast about, but it’s Call of Duty Multiplayer, it’s a given. However, Warzone is where the actions at. The Battle Royale mode returns and pushes the solo agenda, with a litany of recognisable weaponry that players old and new will absolutely salivate for. Not since Blackout have I felt such adrenaline for a bountiful burst of guns blazing across a bustling field for survival. There’s something about the Battle Royale genre that kicks things into overdrive, and your will and competitive spirit tend to takeover. It’s tantalising allure reaches your ambitious spirit and begins to pull you through. I love it, put it in my veins.
Alright Zombies. I hate horror, I can’t stand being frightened. However, Zombies have become a trademark staple to the Black Ops series, and something that fans are – appropriately – drawn into. Continuing the lore of the Nazi undead, the entire experience tends to pull out all the stops, including a revised Die Maschine map, with an obscure wintery locale for flexibility. Swarms of the undead army will aggressively assault your character, while other vile and disgusting mutations reveal themselves. In almost a reverse Battle Royale mode structure, the rate of survival will contest the maps depth-of-field. More and more of the terrain will expand and reveal its own untold narrative of infected animals, a lab fill of fossils and of course… more Zombies. I’d say panic is suitable with its rapid pacing, and apprehensive energy. Each abhorrent abomination will leave a sense of dread, but let’s be honest, this mode is a laugh and great time for those who love their shooters.
Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War exudes a creative evolvement in its storytelling, more than its existing blueprint. The framework of its successful gameplay loop remains intact, and while some may criticise it – justly – you cannot deny that it works every time; if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Sure some subtle improvements will become evident as events become clearer throughout each poignant set piece, but Call of Duty’s firm foundations remain intact for a enthralling joyride around the globe, with its catch me if you can inspired investigate tale in ending the unofficial proceedings between the two conservative conglomerates. Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War is the best first person shooter I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing for quite some time, a memorable campaign and a ton of fun playing online.
Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a 2020 first-person shooter video game developed by Treyarch and Raven Software and published by Activision. It is the sixth installment in the Black Ops series, and the seventeenth installment.