Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
"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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Some laughable dialogue, such as when Woods says "I'm a goddamn onion, Mason."
- While enjoyable, most campaign missions are not much fun, creative and interesting to play in, especially in comparison to Black Ops 1 and II.
- Some campaign missions feel really bland. Not helped by the fact that some missions are HUB and interactive cutscene fillers.
- 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).
- Many cool mechanics are used in the campaign either very rarely or only once. For example, spy gadgets and explosive RC car.
- Despite various hints that the game would feature a mission set during 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).
- 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.
- Crashes are very common, many of which crash the console itself.
- 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, although the previous game was powered by a completely new engine.
- Glitches are common. Some notable examples include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Just like multiplayer maps and modes, there's also less weapons to use, with only 28 weapons, while 2019's Modern Warfare had 39 at launch.
- Aim assist is very overpowered, which results in a lack of challenge in killing other players and enables cheap kills.
- 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.
- Although it is an improvement over Black Ops 4, the zombies being tougher limits what playstyle the player wants to choose.
- Due to their greedy nature of the company, Activision made the next-gen upgrade program for this game very confusing, with the program varying depending on which version you buy and what platform you have.
- For some unknown reason, the Deutsche Volkspolizei in the campaign carries Western weapons, this is most likely that 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.
- The campaign missions are pretty fun and action packed to play through.
- 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.
- The characters are very well-written and memorable, which helps in making the story a good one.
- Dialogue options are introduced, and can alter the outcomes in the game's story, like unlocking side missions.
- The game has multiple endings just like Black Ops II.
- Issues aside, the cutscenes look amazing.
- 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.
- Great non-linear level design that goes well with the time period the game takes place in.
- 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.
- 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.
- The weapon statistics are well detailed.
- 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.
- Dead Ops Arcade is back with a third part.
- Following the end of map packs through DLC in the franchise, the further zombie maps are being added to the game for free.
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.
Angry Joe gave the game a 5/10.