The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has been taking the weekend by storm as its Beta opened for everybody! The franchise often suffers from yearly releases that can end up feeling redundant; but with 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare shaking things up for the better, why not give Cold War a chance? After about 10 solid hours of gameplay & hitting max rank, I’ve accumulated some opinionated first impressions I thought I’d share about Cold War; the good & the bad.
One Step Forward
I found a lot of what I experienced in the Open Beta was better than I initially expected! The gameplay feels simple but tight as it leans towards the franchise’s more arcade-style gameplay. Despite my preference for Modern Warfare‘s more “realistic” & tactical approach, I still had fun with Cold War’s gameplay. Shooting felt really good, it wasn’t too quick or hard to kill, and it was clear to see who was an ally and enemy!
As expected, the game feels silky smooth to play, in affect making the tight gunplay & frantic vehicle driving feel really good. The game ran at a constant 60 frames per second, even during the most chaotic of firefights. As somebody who prefers a good frame-rate over solid 4K resolution, I was quite happy with how well the game ran under stress.
Call of Duty has always had fun game modes, and that hasn’t changed in Cold War! Game-types such as Domination, Hardpoint, Kill-Confirmed and Team Deathmatch return and remain incredibly fun; but the real fun was the new Fireteam Dirty Bomb mode! Playing similar to Modern Warfare’s Warzone, you drop in with your squad to collect uranium and insert it into bombs across the map; while taking down other squads in the process.
One thing a really appreciated is how the menu layout & customization remains similar to that of Modern Warfare; meaning you can jump between games without having to learn a new UI. Other things such as joining friends, quick customization & more have also been massively improved. Additionally the menu music is simply outstanding, which was quite effective on getting me in the mood to play!
Two Steps Back
Unfortunately for everything good this Open Beta does, it feels like it takes two steps backwards. While the gameplay is fun, is a big step back from the incredibly high bar set by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is almost every way. Missing gameplay features such as tactical sprint & aim-leaning are nowhere to be found; and the guns feel nowhere near as satisfying as they were in the previous entry.
While I don’t mind a return to arcade-like gameplay that Cold War is returning too, the game doesn’t do anything new to justify it. As of now, Cold War’s multiplayer has nothing new or innovative to provide, just a classic Call of Duty experience that was done better in previous entries. When it tries to build off of things Modern Warfare setup, it feels like a cheap knock off; for example the pre-game cutscene clips feel rushed and look like cringe arcade-game transitions.
The Cold War Open Beta suffered from several technical issues which I fear may end up in the final game; especially since we are so close to launch. The game is plagued with poor textures & effects and everything falls apart when you get close; fire is literally flat, there are hardly any lighting effects, characters appear lit in dark places and more. It’s certainly a bit disappointing to see when the game is only weeks away & is asking for an extra $10 for next-gen upgrades; yet it looks like a game that is several years old.
Worst of all I ran into was a massive crash when in the middle of an online match, completely shutting down my Xbox One X. The Xbox had to go through its full rebooting process to turn on, and the game itself wouldn’t launch afterwards. I had to uninstall & reinstall the game to fix the issue, which is completely unacceptable and has me worried about how the final product will effect my Xbox One X or Xbox Series X.
My final impressions for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War are unfortunately very mixed, to say the least. While the core gameplay can be enjoyable; it’s massive step back from Modern Warfare with more elements being removed than added. Additionally the consistent tech issues & the major system crash have caused more worry for this entry than excitement, which is a shame.
Giving the benefit of the doubt, this is only the Beta & hopefully we see these tech issues get fixed before launch, as it certainly has potential to be a really good game. Those who didn’t enjoy Modern Warfare may end up enjoying Cold War a lot more, which is a fair point to take into consideration. Only time will tell how the game will launch, so stay tuned to Informed Pixel for all the latest news on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War!
As always, for more reviews, rankings and gaming news you can keep up to date at Informed Pixel. Want to share your experience with the Open Beta? You can do so over on the official Informed Pixel Facebook page and on the official Informed Pixel Twitter account, we would love to hear what you think!
Listen to my personal project, The Noble-Core Podcast on Spotify and Apple! My Podcast primarily focuses on Halo news and content, but also includes many FPS games such as DOOM, Half-Life & more! Follow me on Twitter @TheNobleGrunt and my Podcast’s account @TheNobleCore for more gaming discussions!