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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
"I'm a goddamn onion, Mason."
Sgt. Frank Woods
Protagonist(s): Alex Mason
Genre(s): First-person shooter
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Xbox One
Xbox Series X/S
Release: November 13, 2020
Engine: IW Engine (BO: Cold War branch)
Developer(s): Treyarch
Raven Software
Publisher(s): Activision
Country: United States
Series: Call of Duty
Predecessor: Call of Duty: Black Ops (chronologically)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) (release)
Successor: Call of Duty: Black Ops II (chronologically)
Call of Duty: Vanguard (release)

"When it comes down to it, Cold War is simply the unlucky offspring of a company who, by any means necessary, has to release a new product every year in November."
The Act Man

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a first-person shooter game co-developed by Treyarch and Raven Software, and published by Activision in 2020.


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes place in 1981, where U.S. President Ronald Reagan tasks CIA operatives Russell Adler, Alex Mason, and Frank Woods with hunting down Qasim Javadi and Arash Kadivar for their involvement in the Iran hostage crisis. After tracking the two down and capturing them, Arash reveals that Perseus, a Soviet spy, was the one who organized the crisis. Upon learning about Perseus and the threat he poses to the U.S., Reagan sends the trio, accompanied by an agent known as "Bell", to hunt down and stop Perseus.

Bad Qualities

  1. Rushed Game Development: The game was rushed due to Treyarch having to take Sledgehammer Games' spot as one of the development teams because of conflict between Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software, which lead to many of the problems listed below.
  2. A bunch of voice actors don't return to voice the returning characters, and the new voice actors poorly resemble what these characters originally sounded like.
  3. Some laughably terrible dialogue, such as when Woods says "I'm a goddamn onion, Mason."
  4. Several historical inaccuracies, for example:
    • The Soviet troops in the campaign were found to occasionally carry the M16 assault rifle instead of the correct AK rifle .
    • For some unknown reason, the Deutsche Volkspolizei (East German Police) in the campaign carries Western weapons, this is most likely because some weapons like the FB PM-63 (which appeared in the first Black Ops) and others that Deutsche Volkspolizei carried in real life do not appear in this game.
  5. While enjoyable, most campaign missions are not much fun, creative and interesting to play through , especially in comparison to Black Ops I and II.
  6. Some campaign missions feel really bland. Not helped by the fact that some missions are HUB and interactive cutscene fillers.
  7. Shoehorned inclusivity in the form of a "non-binary" gender option for Bell's customization, which doesn't even make any sense, given the game's setting and especially the fact that Bell turns out to be a Soviet operative (although in the game itself this option is played carefully by being named "classified", as in keeping more of Bell's personal information a secret, allowing non-binary Players to associate more with the character).
  8. Many cool mechanics are used in the campaign either very rarely or only once. For example, spy gadgets and the famous RC-XD.
  9. Despite various hints that the game would feature a mission set during the Nicaraguan Revolution, it ended up being scrapped and replaced with an uninspired mission set in Cuba. This is evident by the mission's name in the console code - "cp_nic_revolucion" (Campaign_Nicaragua_Revolucion).
  10. The cutscenes are very poorly optimized, which causes numerous problems.
    • Severe frame-rate drops are very common, and the cutscenes often have to speed up to catch up to the audio.
    • The bitrate also drops drastically at times, making the cutscenes blurry.
  11. Crashes are very common, many of which crash the console itself.
  12. While it doesn't look bad, the game has noticeably weak graphics for a next-gen title especially compared to Modern Warfare (2019). The main problem is that the game uses an outdated engine (it reuses the Black Ops III engine with some features from IW 8.0 (from Modern Warfare 2019) engine, which, the code itself is originally based on the id Tech 3 engine that debuted in 1999 with Quake III Arena, instead of using the Black Ops 4 or IW 8.0/MW 2019 engine), although the previous game have the engine that was completely rebulit (while also continues using the id Tech 3 code with it's new graphics engine [1]).
    • The reason why Treyarch continued to use this outdated engine, alongside the modified BO3's IW engine at the time instead of BO4's IW Engine was likely due to some familiarity with the code for the IW 3.0 engine used in COD 4 - Black Ops 1. However, this would be changed with the upcoming Modern Warfare II 2022 (and later titles) as the version of IW engine (9.0, which was used by upcoming MWII and later version) was co-developed by IW, Sledgehammer and even Treyarch involved and they will use the new engine for all future titles.[2]
  13. Glitches are common. Some notable examples include:
    • The rendering distance. This makes the textures more blurry, interiors disappear/won't show up until you get closer, happen when using a sniper/camera and zoom in during a mission such as (Echoes of a Cold War).
    • The models of other players not rendering properly, such as missing arms or holding guns in a very odd fashion.
    • Some of the scopes lack a reticle, making it difficult to make accurate shots with them.
  14. Matchmaking is a mess, as sessions are determined by how players performed in the last session rather than their overall performance/ranking. This can lead to players constantly going back and forth between sessions with skilled players and not so skilled players.
  15. Just like other recent Call of Duty games, there is a severe lack of multiplayer content, with much of the upcoming content planning to be drip-fed as time goes on.
  16. Most of the game modes are underwhelming, as they have nothing special about them that makes them stand out. The only exceptions are "Combined Arms" and "VIP Escort".
    • There's also less modes than previous games.
  17. A lack in multiplayer maps compared to 2019's Modern Warfare, which causes the enjoyable game modes as mentioned above to suffer from repetitiveness after a while.
  18. Just like multiplayer maps and modes, there's were less weapons to use at launch, with only 28 weapons, while 2019's Modern Warfare had 39 at launch.
  19. The scorestreak system was radically changed, it works just as the Persistence trait from Infinite Warfare and the Requisitions basic training from WWII, where the score progression doesn't reset on death but they cost so much points, for doing things worse, once you use a scorestreak there's a cooldown to get back to progress for getting the scorestreak again.
  20. Aim assist is very overpowered, which results in a lack of challenge in killing other players and enables cheap kills.
  21. Some of the perks unlocked with a high enough score are ludicrously high, to the point of being nearly impossible to acquire, such as the Gunship requiring a whopping 10,000 points.
  22. Although it is an improvement over Black Ops 4, the zombies being tougher limits what playstyle the player wants to choose.
  23. Due to their greedy nature of the company, Activision made the next-generation upgrade program for this game very confusing, with the program varying depending on which version you buy and what platform you have.

Good Qualities

  1. The campaign missions are pretty fun and action packed to play through.
  2. The story is pretty good and unpredictable, and does a good job in connecting the stories of the first two Black Ops games unlike Black Ops 3 and 4.
  3. The characters are very well-written and memorable, which helps in making the story a good one.
  4. Dialogue options are introduced, and can alter the outcomes in the game's story, like unlocking side missions.
  5. The game has multiple endings just like its chronological successor, Black Ops II.
  6. Issues aside, the cutscenes look amazing.
  7. The hub area is an improvement over the previous ones, as players can talk with the other major characters, watch the characters interact with each other, watch TV, and investigate evidence collected in missions.
  8. Great non-linear level design that goes well with the time period the game takes place in.
  9. The evidence and clues players will have to solve is challenging and encourages the player to think outside the box.
    • The solutions are also randomized to prevent cheating.
  10. The weapons are more balanced to allow for more playstyles in multiplayer without being either too overpowered or underpowered.
    • The map designs also allow for the different playstyles to work well.
  11. The weapon statistics are well detailed.
  12. The fireteam modes in multiplayer are an interesting addition as it consist of battles of 10 quads.
  13. The zombies mode has been improved upon, with the charm returning, a satisfying progression system, perks that aren't too overpowered, and weapons now having different tiers.
    • There's also two new Zombie modes, Onslaught (PlayStation exclusive until November 2021), and Outbreak.
    • Dead Ops Arcade is back with a third part.
  14. Unlike in Black Ops 4 where there was two season passes, one for Multiplayer and another one for its Blackout mode, the battle pass of Cold War is universal and not only for this game but even in Modern Warfare, however, most of the rewards are only available to use in Warzone.
  15. Following the end of DLC in the franchise, new weapons, multiplayer maps and even zombies maps are being added to the game for free.
    • And for the first time, new scorestreaks and items for the zombies mode are being added.
  16. You can create your own character for the campaign, a first for the series that implements RPG-like elements into the game.


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was met with mixed-to-positive reception from critics, but a mostly negative reception from fans. On Metacritic, the game has a Metascore of 77/100 on the PC and the Xbox Series X/S, and a 76/100 on the PS4 and PS5. The user scores were lower, with a user score of 3.2/10 on the PC, a 3.4/10 on the PS4, a 3.7/10 on the PS5, and a 3.0/10 on the Xbox Series X/S.[3][4][5][6]

Angry Joe gave the game a 5/10.



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