Less than a month ago, Activision and Treyarch announced Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War with an official video teaser. Now the latest part of the long-established first-person shooter series was already playable. Well, initially only in a very early alpha version, only in multiplayer mode and only exclusively on the PlayStation 4. However, these restrictions did not prevent us from plunging into the virtual battlefield last weekend and pounding our opponents with lead pump.
Of course, we weren't able to get a full impression of the game. The scope of the alpha version was simply too limited for that: just five maps and five game modes, no insight into the level and progression system, lack of access to the barracks and much more make a classic preview of what is now the 17th edition of Call of Duty a little bit complicated. So we save that for the time being for the one that starts on October 8th Beta phase on. Instead, in this article, we look at the biggest changes and how Cold War compares to last year's Modern Warfare reboot beats.
Innovation made by Infinity Ward
What is immediately noticeable in the menu at the beginning: Developer Treyarch has copied a lot from his colleagues at Infinty Ward. Black Ops Cold War is coming, unlike anything else Black Ops 4without the so-called specialists. Archetypes with different special abilities, for example a dog squadron or a huge grenade launcher, are a thing of the past. This year, the operators will take their place – characters that differ from one another only visually but not playfully. A step that at least we approve of.
Black Ops is already following familiar paths when it comes to weapons and equipment: In the corresponding menu, you can assemble your own classes, choose from various ratchets and adapt them to your play style with various attachments. Compared to Modern Warfare, the weaponsmith's menu is far less appealing, and the shooting sticks sometimes have a slightly plastic sheen. Instead, precise percentages now show how different weapon parts affect the shooting behavior. We top it off with the field upgrades introduced in Modern Warfare – gadgets that have to be charged over the course of a game before they can be used. Instead of tactics, a portable shield or ammunition box, directional microphones or proximity mines are now available. Another great feature is the portable anti-aircraft gun that fires completely independently at enemy air support such as reconnaissance drones.
If you want to remain undetected, you can also use the ninja perk again, which dampens your steps. It's making a comeback in Cold War. In addition, shotguns are again considered secondary weapons in the Cold War, stun grenades, Claymore mines, Semtex and underflow grenade launchers have been deleted from the arsenal, at least in the Alpha. This is supposed to counteract the much-hated Grenade Spam, i.e. the excessive use of explosive devices.
The attack of the red pencil
When you finally have everything together, you only have to choose three series of points rewards that have replaced the series of killings from Modern Warfare. Then it's time to jump into the match. Standard modes like Kill Confirmed, Dominion, and Team Deathmatch were available in Alpha. Nothing new awaits us here at the front. The maps Miami, Moscow and Satellite also offered a very familiar picture: Due to the tried and tested three-lane structure, i.e. the division of the map into three lanes, the action is usually concentrated in one place, traditionally at the B-point in rule. Only the Combined Arms battles offer a bit of variety. Here you compete in a 12-on-12 battle for a total of six positions and are also allowed to use vehicles.
Compared to Modern Warfare, however, the environments have much less verticality. So there are not so many objects that can be climbed and alternative paths opened up. And the look is, let's say, at least questionable. Sure, we've only tried the Alpha on a standard PS4. In the associated forum, there was no shortage of players who also had some problems with the display of the game on the Pro version. Reloading texture, pop-ins and even smaller frame rate drops did not necessarily make the hearts of graphics enthusiasts beat faster. Overall, Black Ops Cold War clearly lags behind the images of the first gameplay trailer, but also behind Modern Warfare. Surfaces and details, but above all the animations, left a lot to be desired. Sometimes they looked out of round, wooden, even robotic. One can at least partially excuse this with the fact that only the alpha version was playable here. In addition, the developers were also under extreme time pressure. Actually Treyarch would have been responsible for the Call of Duty, which will be released in 2021, but then had to for Raven Software and Sledgehammer Games jump into the breach. At a high price of 70 euros, we would have expected a halfway polished game.
In terms of gameplay, there were also felt a few steps backwards. Many of the clever innovations from Modern Warfare were simply not adopted. Well, reloading in target mode has remained and opening and closing doors is really unnecessary. But why was propping up guns and peeping around the corner removed? Why did you do without the tactical sprint when the cards have remained roughly the same size? So you need a lot of time to traverse.
After all, the creators have brought back the classic mini map in return. Unlike last year, it now shows opponents who fire a non-silenced shot. As is typical for Black Ops, there are of course also optionally deactivatable life bars. This makes it even easier to understand that Treyarch has again worked on the time-to-kill this year – i.e. the number of shots required to kill an opponent. It is now noticeably higher than that of Modern Warfare. So you don't give up the spoon after a few hits. The twitching at enemy fire has also been abolished.
All of these changes should, in theory, add even more movement to the map. Those who do not have acute fear of death do not sit crouching in a corner. Especially since Black Ops with its almost hectic movement of sliding and jumping as well as regular respawn without a zoom sequence plays much faster. In practice, however, you will still have to deal with a lot of campers. Especially in Miami, people love to pick you to pieces with their sniper rifles from the balcony of a hotel. Sniping is far too easy in Cold War, even with controller controls. The makers have therefore already announced an urgently needed nerf for the beta.
What else is there? Of the Map Vote is back, the vehicle control is still a horror, also cross-play and cross-progression are on board again – as well as skill-based match-making, which has already caused heated discussions. Overall, Cold War has been received quite controversially so far. Some love it because it feels so much faster and more arcane than the last Call of Duty. Others miss the realism of Modern Warfare. The only thing that can be clearly stated is that a little more fine-tuning won't harm the title. What has been seen in the alpha so far, at least not made us really hot for the release, which will be on November 13th for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The next-gen upgrade for the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X is then expected "for the holidays 2020" submitted later become.
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