Choices Matter In This Campaign
Before we answer that question, let’s focus on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s story campaign. Like every other Call of Duty game, the campaign plays like a Michael Bay movie but with a better script. In this game’s case, David S. Goyer, who penned the screenplays for The Dark Knight trilogy, lends his pen to the iconic first-person shooter franchise and delivers a story filled with intrigue, action, explosions, covert ops, and some mind-bending moments that the Black Ops franchise has come to become known for that will successfully keep you on the edge of your seat.
The campaign kicks things off by introducing a new feature that allows you to put a more personal touch on your character by adding your name and picking personality traits that will determine your playstyle, rewarding you with buffs that don’t really affect the game all that much. Once your info is logged in and stored away in the CIA archives, you are thrust into a world loosely based on the Cold War era in a spy-thriller campaign after the Tehran hostage crisis of 1981 plus the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Your new Commander-In-Chief enlists your Black Ops team to take out the individuals behind the hostage crisis. While on that mission, you discover that “Perseus,” a nefarious double agent, is up to no good and wants to enact a Thanos-like plan using a missing nuclear warhead.
With the discovery of Perseus and his plan, you join a team led by CIA agent Russell Adler (pictured above), who immediately reminded me of Kurt Russell just with a cool scar on his face on a globe-trotting mission to save the world from impending nuclear doom it has no idea it is facing. Your character, who goes by the handle “Bell,” will team up with some new faces to the franchise as well as Black Ops OGs, Alex Mason and Frank Woods.
Black Ops Cold War’s nearly 6-hour campaign does an excellent job of giving the player a good variety in mission types. For example, you can go from riding around in a helicopter over the jungle during the Vietnam war to infiltrating KGB headquarters in one of the campaign’s standout missions that will have you finding a way to sneak Bell and Adler into the building without blowing your cover.
Like previous Black Ops games, you will also gather clues to help you decipher puzzles and mysteries before you embark on side missions. It’s honestly one of the features I enjoyed the most, trying to figure out which three spies I should focus on or break an encrypted code using the evidence I acquired by deciding to let a witness live instead of opting to kill him. Yes, Black Ops Cold War does have sequences that allow making specific choices. Some don’t affect the story significantly, while others will, which gives the campaign some replayability.
A Next-Gen Multiplayer That Keeps It Basic
I personally have not been engaged in Call of Duty’s multiplayer mainly becuase I get my ass handed to me, especially in Modern Warfare. But, for some reason, I found myself enjoying Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer and actually wanting to play even more. It does seem like a step down from Modern Warfare/Warzone, even playing on an Xbox Series X, but I found it easier to play and jump in. It might have to do with Black Ops Cold War scaling down on the gadgets and focusing more on the fast-paced action.
Black Ops Cold War offers classic multiplayer modes like Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, or Kill Confirmed, plus new modes like Combined Arms, Dirty Bomb, or VIP Escort; all benefit from faster, action-packed gameplay. The only letdown is the lack of maps and other content, but that has since been giving a boost with the arrival of the Nuketown’ 84 map.
ZOMBIES IS BACK!
Fans of Zombies will be happy to see the mode take it back to the basics. A team of four will now return to an updated Die Maschine map that offers you more to explore and run around while battling hordes of Nazi undead soldiers.
Players will also be happy to learn that you can use your loadouts from the multiplayer in your Zombies run while loading up on ammo, which is not as rare as it used to be, and utilizing insta-kill buffs and screen-clearing nukes that come in handy when the undead surrounds you. As you shoot your way through the waves of zombies, they get tougher, and eventually, a mutated heavy hits the map that requires you to unload a shitload of bullets in it before it goes down.
There are even moments when you dig in even further into the laboratory where you will find yourself in another dimension, which truly shows off the power of whatever next-gen console you are playing on.
Will Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War lure you away from Modern Warfare? That depends on what you are looking for from the game. If you have been waiting for a new installment in the Black Ops franchise’s conspiracy-filled story, then this game will fix that need. This game might lose players because it’s multiplayer does feel very different from Modern Warfare, which players have been enjoying for six seasons. I also believe that Zombies won’t be enough to keep players hooked to Black Ops Cold War, but it will lure some players in.
I always believed that both franchises under the Call of Duty umbrella have their core base of loyal fans becuase the games are drastically different in gameplay. With the arrival of the Black Ops Cold War, that continues to be the case. It’s a solid start for the first-person shooter franchise on next-gen consoles that offers a great campaign story and a fun multiplayer that everyone can enjoy.
I look forward to seeing how the game will continue to grow as more updates roll out in the future.
Photo: Treyarch / Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War