NEXT-GEN PREVIEW: Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

I Am Warming Up To This One

It has been a very long time since I have been excited about a new Call of Duty game. Not since the days of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and to a lesser extent, World At War, has an entry in the annualized juggernaut even remotely grabbed my attention. Even the hardcore Call Of Duty fans seemed to be waning on the games as they slowly moved further and further away from the series’ strengths, relying on futuristic weapons, wall-running and remakes rather than fixing any core gameplay mechanics. 

There has been a turn around in the last few years though, with Call of Duty: WWII and Call of Duty: Warfare, which modernized with a new battle-royale style multiplayer mode, both toning it down with the weapons, feeling more like evolutions of some of the older games, rather than sticking to the path the franchise was going down. This year’s entry, and the first Call of Duty game to hit next-gen hardware, Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will continue with that focus on the basics, targeting better moment-to-moment action gameplay, a “realistic” storyline and addictive multiplayer. 

Here’s why after all my years away from the franchise, I have pre-ordered Call Of Duty: Cold War as one of my first next-gen titles

A Dish Best Served Cold…War

I know a lot of people rush to the multiplayer modes in COD games, but I am personally quite impartial to the campaign mode, no matter how derivative the storylines can be. I find that now and then I will come across an amazing mission – I just need to go through some tedium first. It’s similar to watching episodes of The Walking Dead. For every ten forgettable moments, you’ll get one fantastic setpiece or plot twist that will get you through the next ten dull moments. Let’s not forget some of the great missions like the Chernobyl/sniper assassination in Modern Warfare or the exhilarating escape from Vorkuta in Black Ops. Call Of Duty has the ability to tell exciting stories, and as a fan of alternate-history timelines (what up, Resistance: Fall of Man!), the story behind Cold War‘s globe-trotting and action-packed story mode has grabbed my attention.

Set 13 years after the original Black Ops against the backdrop of the Cold War (duh), the narrative will reward long-time fans with returning characters, but also act as a fresh entry point for new and returning players. “We are huge fans of the original Black Ops, and our first goal was bringing back the iconic trio of Woods, Mason and Hudson – but to do so in a way that didn’t require any previous experience with the series,” said Dan Vondrak, Senior Creative Director at Raven Software, the team behind the new campaign, via the Call of Duty Blog. “We also felt it was important to introduce some new characters so we could explore their personalities and relationships with the classic characters – this way, both new and old players get something fresh. By approaching it this way, as the story unravels, we can slowly make connections and references back to Black Ops that fans like us will appreciate but won’t be a flood of new information all at once for new players.”

Mute The Children

The meat and potatoes of any modern Call of Duty game is its multiplayer mode, and now it’s much more than just a way to hear from all the 13-year olds who have claimed to fuck your mum! Call of Duty: Cold War will take cues from Warzone, the hugely successful battle royale mode released earlier this year, and as per Activision’s Blog, will feature ‘a deep commitment to robust, ongoing content’. Modes will take place across several detailed maps from across the world, each delivering the same 1980’s flair and flavour as the primary campaign. Map locations include “the Angolan desert (Map name: Satellite), to the frozen lakes of Uzbekistan (Crossroads), to the streets of South Beach (Miami), to frigid North Atlantic waters (Armada), and even to the heart of the U.S.S.R. (Moscow)”. I am super excited to find all the cocaine in the South Beach map!

Team Deathmatch, Search & Destroy, Domination, Control and Kill Confirmed will all make their return, alongside the new VIP Escort, Combined Arms, and Fireteam multiplayer modes. VIP Escort is a 6v6 mode where players need to either defend or destroy a randomly selected player who is designated the VIP. The VIP will be armed with only a pistol, a smoke grenade and a UAV, so it will be up to their teammates to get them safely to the extraction point. Combined Arms is a little bit bigger, featuring 12v12 battles that combine infantry and vehicular combat. Vehicles included in Combined Arms mode include Tanks, Snowmobiles, Attack Helicopters or Wakerunners. Wrapping up the trio of new modes, Fireteam will pit ten teams of four up against each other as they try to collect enough uranium to set off a dirty bomb and win the match. How delightful. 

Let’s face it, even without these new additions, the Call of Duty: Cold War multiplayer will be huge, it always is. But as a lapsed COD multiplayer addict (come catch my sniper and me in Overgrown, fool!), these new touches sound like just the ticket to tempt me back into the hellscape that is online FPS games. 

Will There Be A Zombie Reagan To Take Out?

The mode that just won’t die, Zombies, is back in Call of Duty: Cold War, and like hell am I going to say no to putting holes in Nazis, no matter what their current life-status is! Players will take part in the operations of Requiem, a CIA-backed international response team led by Black Ops alumni, Grigori Weaver. The group’s mission sees them explore a World War II bunker filled with, you guessed it, zombos. Nazi zombos. Players will take on wave after wave of these undead fascists with a bizarre arsenal of real-world and fictional weaponry across multiple maps, resulting in a perfect combination of dumb, brainless fun.

As you progress, a whole host of perks will increase your zombie-killing abilities. Perks like Jugger-nog (Increase maximum health by 50), Speed Cola (Increase reload speed by 15%) and Deadshot Daiquiri (Aiming down sights moves to enemy’s critical location) will all return, alongside the introduction of the new Elemental Pop. Elemental Pop will showcase Ammo Mods, giving every shot a small chance to apply a random base Ammo Mod effect. The new Zombie Mode will also introduce weapon rarities, discoverable loot, Field Upgrades, support weapons, persistent loadouts, and a new option to exfiltrate the combat zone via helicopter when things get too hairy. An in-depth skill tier system rounds out what is quite a sizable upgrade to the mode, and with cross-play, cross-gen, cross-progression, and a unified Battle Pass System, I think this generation of Zombies is going to be massive. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops launches November 13 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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