One of the first games to drop on the next generation consoles is Activision’s new Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. The game is the newest entry in the franchise and a new entry into the black ops sub title. It’s the seventh in total and the sixth black ops game. Taking place between Black Ops (2010) and Black Ops II (2012),
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, promises to bring the amazing heart stopping action the series is known for while being unique in its own way. It was originally developed by Raven Software and Sledgehammer games but due to some creative dispute and issues, Activision took Sledgehammer off and replaced them with Call of Duty veterans Treyarch in 2019. Though it wasn’t planned to be part of the Black Ops series, it was eventually included and launched with the title.
The title was launched on the 13th of November, 2020, within the release of the next generation consoles and it hopes to make good use of their new hardware while craving out its name amongst the greats of the series. Will it measure up? Let’s break it down.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War | Storyline
Before we go into this, if you want to play the campaign without spoilers, you should skip this story section. This section is filled with spoilers of the campaign seeing as it’s a detailed description of it. If you want to know the story you’re getting into, go ahead but you have been warned.
It starts in January 1981 where Russell Adler, Alex Mason and Frank Woods are sent to execute Qasim Javadi and Arash Kadivar because of their involvement in the Iran Hostage Crisis. The team locates and interrogates Qasim and uses the intel they get from him to find Arash. Once Arash is found they take him out but before they do, he boasts that a Russian Agent named Perseus is responsible for the hostage crisis. Russell briefs United States President Ronald Reagan and the president authorizes a strike team to eliminate Perseus.
The team includes Adler, CIA operative Lawrence Sims, American born Mossad operative Eleazer Azoulay, MI6 intelligence officer Helen Park with Mason and Woods on tactical support and finally, a team member known only by their codename, Bell. They served with Adler and Sims in MACV-SOG in Vietnam.
Their mission starts with Bell remembering Operation Fracture Jaw. A mission Bell served with Adler and Sims. Alder believes that this is where they first came across Perseus and remembering this mission will help. Later the team goes to East Berlin to kill a Russian Mafia boss with links to Perseus. After a successful infiltration of a secret Spetsnaz training facility, the team discovers that Perseus has infiltrated a top secret American operation called Operation Greenlight. The purpose of the operation is to plant neutron bombs in every major European city to stop the Soviets in the events of an invasion.
The story continues with Mason and Woods going to Mount Yamantau in the Ural Mountains to get into Nikita Dragovich’s destroyed base so they can get the list of sleeper agents in Operation Greenlight. When they get there, they find that Perseus has cleared the hard drive and the only other option is to break into the KGB. Adler and Bell infiltrate the KGB with the help of a double agent. There they learn that a scientist in Operation Greenlight and a sleeper agent has escaped to Cuba. With the hopes of catching Perseus there, the team goes to Cuba only to discover that Perseus has the launch codes for every nuke in Operation Greenlight. With this, he can devastate Europe and blame it on America. The team comes under fire in Cuba and they eventually escape.
Adler comes under serious fire after the mission in Cuba. He presses and provokes Bell’s memories of Vietnam. Through Bell’s memories, it’s revealed that they are an agent of Perseus and they were shot by Arash in Turkey out of jealousy. Then Bell was found by Adler who used Project MK Ultra to brainwash him into believing that they served together. With the truth out, Bell has to choose between remaining loyal to Perseus and lying to Adler or Betraying Perseus and revealing his location to Adler
If Bell stays loyal to Persues, They’ll send Adler and the team to Duga while Persues activates the nukes in Europe. Adler will be too far to stop Persues. If Bell has already been in contact with the Soviet Army, he can set a trap for Adler and the team and kill them in Duga. If Bell chooses not to kill them, Adler kills Bell but he doesn’t stop the nukes. The USA goes down in public opinion as Europe is devastated. Perseus savors his victory and promises to keep undermining the USA while he infiltrates Europe and turns them to the Soviet Union.
If Bell betrays Perseus, he leads the team to Perseus’s headquarters in Solovetsky. There the team attacks the base and destroys the transmitters they’re using to detonate the nukes. With the failure of his operation, Perseus goes into hiding but Adler vows to track him down. This ending closes with a private conversation between Adler and Bell where Adler thanks Bell for helping them and lets him know his decision was of his own free will. Then Adler says Bell is a loose end and he must be eliminated. Adler and Bell draw their weapons and the scene goes blank then we hear gunshots.
As it’s expected with this franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War gives us the high level action we expect to see in the campaign. You play mostly as Bell in the campaign short which involves 6 plus hours of gameplay. There are scenes where you play as other characters. It follows the normal high octane first person shooter gameplay with guns, enemies and a whole lot more. What’s interesting to see is how much down time the game has.
The down time (times where you aren’t in heavy shootouts and the likes) in the game is certainly more than any other in the franchise and it isn’t just deep breaths between action, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War actually puts this time to good use. Be it listening in on conversations or stealthy gameplay, the down time in this game is actually something to enjoy when you come across it. Take for instance a mission where you have to sneak in your American allies into the KGB building. You can complete this mission without firing a single shot and that doesn’t make it less entertaining. It gives you the option to be meticulous and find the best to get passed soviet guards and take out your enemies. There are still some guards you have to knock out and hide.
It’s not only in missions though, you can review evidence, have a go at secret codes, solve mysteries and talk to teammates in the Safe house scenes. Conversations with teammates help you get to know your team but they don’t affect the game in the long run. The evidence or collectables in the game can be gotten in missions. They act as in universe items in the game and they help set up other missions. The collectables help solve puzzles that you’ll need to progress to or unlock certain missions. This doesn’t in any way drag the gameplay. In fact, it gives it a good adventure feel as you get to go back and replay the level to find what you missed.
There are sequences that involve you using your camera. These are a few ways Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War carves out its own style in the genre.
As mentioned earlier, the shooter gameplay remains the same. It’s high action and it has heart stopping moments. Aside from that, the AI is basic, there isn’t much difference in the weapons and there are a lot of gadgets in the game. One of the more notable uses of a gadget is the use of the RC bomb car in the first mission and there isn’t much after that. The missions are most of the usual with assassinations in the mix.
Overall, Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War doesn’t do much in the regular shooting gameplay but it’s different in the quiet down time of the game. This modifies gameplay and adds a new look.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on Next Generation Consoles
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War makes good use of the features of the next generation consoles. This is very clear in the graphics quality of the game. It captures the lights, sounds and sights of the game and it pops on a good TV. Xbox series X/S does well with the game but it truly shines on PS5.
For the use of ray tracing to how gorgeous it looks at 4K with 60fps, you can tell Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is at its best on a console with PS5. The game also makes good use of haptic feedback. No weapon feels the same. From the recoil to the reload and everything in between, playing with the haptic feedback is a truly immersive experience. It may not suit everyone but it’s something worth trying at least once.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War comes in two packs for PC and three for consoles. The first to pack being the Standard Edition($59.99) and the Ultimate Edition($89.99) respectively. The Standard Edition is just the game while the Ultimate Edition adds up a confrontation weapons pack with the Land, Sea and Air pack and Battle Pass Bundle. The third pack being the Cross-Generation Pack($69.99) for PS5 and Xbox series X/S.
Operating System : Windows 10 64-bit (v.1803 or higher)
Minimum Intel Core i3-4340 | AMD FX-6300
Recommended – Intel Core i5-2500K | AMD Ryzen R5 1600X Processor
Ram (Memory) : 8GB (Minimum) / 12GB (Recommended)
Storage : 175 GB required for all game modes.
Graphics Card :
Minimum – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | AMD Radeon HD 7950 – DirectX 12.0 compatible system.
Recommended – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super | AMD Radeon R9 390 / AMD Radeon RX 580 – DirectX 12.0 compatible system.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a game that doesn’t deviate much from its predecessors. Its storyline is compelling, entertaining and in a way tries to be like Black Ops I but it falls short of it. The game doesn’t seem to have that extra spark in the campaign mode that sets it apart from all the rest.
That being said, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is great for fans of the series, fans of first person shooters and for those looking for a first person shooter to start their next generation console adventure. Its plot may not be the best of its series but the twists and multiple endings stand out. It will be interesting to see how it’s followed up in the upcoming games of this series. The amazing use of the down time really gives something fresh in this new entry and with Multiplayer and Zombie mode, there’s a lot to keep you going.
If you want to get a good first person shooter or you’re a fan of the franchise or just want something new to play on your new next generation console, you should go for this.