After Black Ops 4 completely dispensed with a single player and Modern Warfare caused a stir with a disturbing campaign, Treyarch has now found the golden mean: a controversial plot, paired with a multiplayer that combines the best of Black Ops and Modern Warfare. The cherry on the cake is the zombie mode, in which undead Nazis go to the collar. What else should go wrong with this recipe for success? But just when everyone agreed that there will be no crisis in Call of Duty, the cat jumps out of the bag: a Playstation-exclusive mode.
Although many players feel offended, Cold War should still be a box office success, as the content of the title is based on one of the most popular offshoots of the series, the first Black Ops from 2010.
Cold War basically has an independent storyline that leaves little questions unanswered for newcomers to the shooter, but die-hard fans of the series really get their money's worth. So we meet the well-known characters Mason and Woods, who we not only navigate through some levels, but can also ask about the events from the first part. We can find evidence of what has happened since then all over the world if we keep our eyes open.
Source: PC Games
Of course, we also get to know new faces in the campaign, such as the head of our special unit Russel Adler – a hardened CIA agent who does not leave the house without a cigarette and his 80s sunglasses. The protagonist is not Adler, but a secret agent code-named Bell, to whom we as players are allowed to give our own identity. The brand new character editor, which has never been seen before in Call of Duty, completely dispenses with the classic cosmetic options – after all, we will only be viewing Bell from the first-person view. To do this, however, we can determine name, skin color, gender and two personality traits. The latter are bonuses that we keep throughout the course of the game, such as faster reloading or stronger armor.
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But if you are looking for a bigger challenge, you can forego these bonuses entirely. Otherwise the levels of difficulty differ little from each other. If we play on a high level of difficulty, the AI does not get any smarter, nor do we meet more opponents. Only the number of bullets we can insert decreases and so we just switch between crouching and shooting instead of coming up with a real strategy.
Source: PC Games
Pretty cold in the war
In the 80s, Berlin was a divided city, spy the absolute trend job and David Hasselhoff was out of the question. The permanent threat of a third world war really creates tension – at least for an entire mission. As we walk incognito through East Berlin, with a loaded gun under our coat, past the Stasi, our heart beats audibly faster. At the same time, many small details keep us pausing: timetables in the subway, missing notices in decrepit East Berlin apartment blocks and an old German pub called Schwarzhirsch. At the sight of the border strip we fall into a pre-wall espionage mood and actually we want to see more of it. Instead, the plot of Black Ops Cold War is a journey through time and world.
In addition to a European round trip and a few detours to the Soviet Union, we experience the Vietnam War up close in several retrospectives, which ultimately detaches us completely from current world events. But that doesn't mean the campaign is bad. The usual effective staging with adoring explosions and violent cross-examination makes Cold War a fast-paced and entertaining action hit.
Source: PC Games
With six to eight hours of playtime, this is also quite short. While there are several possible endings and two optional side missions, the plot remains very linear and most decisions have little effect on the outcome of the game.
The campaign still offers replay value, because for the successful completion of the side missions we first have to collect and combine evidence. These are scattered along the main missions and can all be overlooked. In addition, some missions are specially designed in such a way that we only learn the whole truth about what is happening when we play it through several times. This mechanic proves to be surprisingly refreshing and rewards curious gamers without burdening the casual gamer with unnecessary backstory.
Source: PC Games
Shoot more players
After the campaign, a Call of Duty title is of course far from being played through – thanks to multiplayer and zombie mode! If you liked Modern Warfare, you will also enjoy Black Ops Cold War, because the feel of the game is basically the same. Fast and intense exchanges of fire dominate most matches and we are repeatedly shot from behind by campers. This happens much less often than in Modern Warfare, but some maps invite you to hide in a corner, listen to enemy footsteps and pull the trigger at the right moment. Fortunately, such mostly unpopular maps can be skipped, because with the latest part, the map voting is back in Call of Duty.
We really like the scorestreak model, in which we get rewards like the spy drone based on our points and not through our kill series. In addition, the scores are not reset when our virtual alter ego dies. The advantage of this is that camping is weaker and the achievement of goals is rewarded more, which was always very "unbalanced" in Call of Duty.
Source: PC Games
Multiplayer makes everything new
Classic modes such as free-for-all, domination and team deathmatch are supplemented by various alternatives that include new combat experiences. Call of Duty tries its hand at large maps including vehicle integration with the already known mode connected weapons. This half-hearted step towards the competition Battlefield doesn't really suit the shooter, however. The new ping system and thus the communication options between team members outside of a voice chat are too rudimentary. Completely new is the mode under the name Fireteam: Dirty Bomb, in which ten teams of four people compete against each other on a very large map by detonating uranium-filled bombs. This strategically challenging fun is hardly recommended, especially with Randoms, and being at the mercy of every sniper completely defenseless on an extensive map also has little to do with fun. The new VIP escort mode is much more balanced. There the team has to bring a randomly chosen player to one of two extraction points. Clever diversionary maneuvers and quick action are required here, which offers an exciting change from the usual game modes, in which the faster Colt usually wins.
Source: PC Games
Of course, a Call of Duty: Black Ops cannot be without the zombie mode. And while we're on zombies, why not go straight to Nazi zombies? How exactly the right-wing undead "survived" into the 1980s is left to the video game historians. It is only important for us that we open the bunker in which the rotting figures are already waiting to make life difficult for us. Round after round a new wave of undead fascists rushes towards us while we have tasks to do. The more zombies we kill, the better equipment we can afford, which is sorely needed to cope with the growing troops. By the way, you shouldn't go into the mode alone, as you are always attacked from several sides. If the virtual death of the group is foreseeable, we can choose an emergency exit after wave ten and every fifth wave thereafter.
If we manage to extract successfully, we even get a bonus, but have to shoot our way through extra hordes of undead creeps. After all, some zombies drop power-ups or additional equipment, which compensates for a little. Unlike in multiplayer, our equipment does not consist of boring grenades off the rack, but elementary ammunition, capsules filled with ether and a creative range of soft drinks. The Tempo Cola, for example, allows us to reload faster, while the Death Daiquiri lets our scope automatically aim at the most vulnerable point on our counterpart.
Source: PC Games
If you coordinate your equipment with that of your team, you can gain an immense advantage, which ultimately affects the leaderboard and the progress of the game. Because unlike in earlier parts, the killing of half-decomposed enemy property is now part of the progress in weapons and equipment. Incidentally, the mode is designed for four people. Anyone who owns a Playstation version of Cold War can exclusively use a duo-zombie mode, which the rest of the world will only be able to use in a year. In return, all new multiplayer maps and modes as well as the entire zombie content should remain free for all players.
The 17th part of Call of Duty not only plays well, but also looks really nice. Whether snowy mountains in the Ural Mountains or a sunrise in Vietnam – we are always enthusiastic about the backdrop and also take the time to take a closer look at our pretty weapons. The right sound goes with the great picture. Artillery fire in multiplayer hears and feels like a decent impact and the "rum" of a shotgun is full and satisfying. In addition, we stumble across small improvements such as an exact zoom indication on visors, which was missing in the predecessor. In addition, we hardly experienced any technical errors and were rarely flown out of the session in the main menu. Together with optional crossplay and couch co-op, Black Ops Cold War has something to offer almost everyone and is also a lot of fun.
Trigger-happy fun with a great campaign
The single player impresses not only with its impressive staging, but also with the exciting plot. The puzzles around the side quests, which certainly require a bit of puzzling, are also a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the same love has not flowed into all parts of the campaign and sometimes you shoot your way through bland corridors without a real target in mind. There are plenty of clever allusions and even the teaser for a zombie mode, which is well hidden and provides a few moments of shock. The fact that progress in said mode is now also being incorporated into the weapon ranks and online ranks is a big step towards the players and reflects Treyarch's efforts to create a balanced player experience that does not exclude anyone. This tactic only works to some extent in relation to a less camper-friendly multiplayer, but is moving in a good direction.
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