MULTIPLAYER REVIEW: ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’ (PS4)

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Cold War Multiplayer

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a first-person shooter developed by Treyarch and Raven Software and published by Activision. Black Ops has seen numerous iterations throughout Call of Duty’s lifetime, but Black Ops Cold War is set during the early 1980s, focusing on the events of the Cold War. While the campaign follows the actions of a CIA officer, Russell Adler, as he pursues an alleged Soviet spy, Perseus, the Black Ops Cold War multiplayer focuses on individual conflicts between Soviet and U.S. forces.

The multiplayer itself builds on the game modes and class system from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. While many of the game modes will be familiar to long-time fans, such as Team Deathmatch and Search and Destroy, there are a couple of new modes: Fireteam and VIP Escort.

Fireteam can support up to 40 players at once and up to 10 Fireteams. Right now, the featured game for Fireteam is Dirty Bomb, requiring players to collect, deliver, and deposit uranium into several active dirty bombs. With so many teams on one map, this game mode can get chaotic very quickly but, at the same time, it’s extremely fun. Fireteam easily stands out from the crowd because it requires vastly different tactics than many of the other modes available. It manages to meld the feel of big team battles found in Warzone with small team tactics such as those in Search and Destroy.

VIP Escort is rather self-explanatory. Two teams alternate in attempting to escort a VIP—which is chosen at random from one of the players on your team—to an extraction point. The VIP has a unique loadout and a spy plane scorestreak which reveals enemies on the mini-map. Although not my favorite game mode to play with strangers, VIP Escort is a breath of fresh air from some of the other more straight forward game modes.

Cold War Multiplayer

The general game modes have also been treated differently in Black Ops Cold War than in other Call of Duty games and are being referred to as Deniable Operations. The multiplayer is now narrative-driven and lore-centric. Each game type, pairing its objectives with the available maps, has a story behind it. The developers wanted to create realistic and plausible scenarios with a gritty, historical tone. This was a very nice touch to the usual multiplayer experience, giving each battle not only a time and place but a purpose. However, the narrative isn’t overt enough to hinder players who just want to shoot things and play the objectives.

Currently, there are ten maps available, two of which are limited to only the Fireteam game mode. The maps have a wide range of environments, from the deserts of Angola to the jungles of Nicaragua and even to the open seas. The wonderful graphics not only bring out the best in these maps but the maps themselves bring out the best in players. Although some maps primarily focus on CQB, most of the maps allow for a range of playstyles and perfectly accommodate both the classic 6v6 format and larger 12v12 combat. Unlike the last Call of Duty game, when the lobby fills up and the game is about to start, players will be able to vote on a map to play. The return of this specific mechanic, though small, was a good call; sometimes you just really don’t want to play on certain maps.

As usual, the Create-a-Class system hasn’t changed much. The main difference is that Field Upgrades are now part of the class loadouts. So, whereas you only normally have a tactical (ex: stun grenade) and a lethal (ex: frag grenade) equipped, Black Ops Cold War allows players to have additional Field Upgrades such as proximity mines or a SAM turret. Wildcards are also back, allowing players to mix up their loadouts further. Personally, these additions didn’t change my multiplayer experience much, but I’m sure some players will be stoked to get their hands on SAM turrets again.

Warzone is also supported in this game. First introduced in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, this free-to-play game mode is a massive battle royale hosting up to 150 players. Winning is simple: the last team standing wins. However, despite the new game, Warzone is still exactly the same as it was when Modern Warfare released it. Although there are plans for updates to the game mode in the future, the fact that upon launch of Black Ops Cold War nothing major has been added is a bit of a letdown.

Overall, this is a good start to the Black Ops Cold War multiplayer. The addition of a couple of new game modes and a variety of maps shakes up the usual Call of Duty multiplayer experience. With more maps and modes expected to be added in future seasons, Black Ops Cold War will likely continue being a fun multiplayer experience for some time.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Multiplayer
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    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Overall, this is a good start to the Black Ops Cold War multiplayer. The addition of a couple of new game modes and a variety of maps shakes up the usual Call of Duty multiplayer experience. With more maps and modes expected to be added in future seasons, Black Ops Cold War will likely continue being a fun multiplayer experience for some time.