Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer Review
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Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer Review

Chris Trout
15 November 2020

Is it hot or cold?

Black Ops Cold War is now live around the world on five different platforms!

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC players can all play together in unity in the first-ever online cross-generational Call of Duty game.

The multiplayer mode is arguably the most important section in any Call of Duty and Black Ops Cold War is under the microscope.

Depending on what side of the community you were on, Modern Warfare was either one of the best or worst in history.

But that all comes down to your own personal preference.

So where does this stand? Here's my review of the multiplayer.

You can find our campaign review here.

This article will be updated over the coming days as I play more of the multiplayer - the verdict is not final.

From Alpha, To Beta, To Launch

Going from the Alpha to the Beta, I was very optimistic. I loved what they had managed to do and fixed a lot of the issues I had with Modern Warfare.

Modern Warfare was too slow, lacked intense gunfights and had some severe connections issues.

Once the Beta arrived, I was excited to see what had changed. There were definitely big improvements, but something seemed different, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

Gunfights seemed less engaging and the Time-To-Kill seemed a lot faster. Some weapons were far stronger than others (which is no surprise) and the killstreak system seemed to ruin the flow of play.

Underneath the flaws, I knew there was a great game. It reminded me a lot of Black Ops 2 in ways but had taken a lot of great aspects from modern Call of Duty titles.

Many players likened it as a cross between Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 4; which I'd have to agree with.

There's no doubt that the pieces were all there, but Treyarch needed to fit them all together in the correct place.

It was disappointing to hear that the game would only launch with 8 core maps, a number of which weren't optimised for the gameplay.

There was a lack of flow with the way the new killstreaks system worked. Rather than getting them sporadically through the game, they all seemed to culminate in waves where the opposition was bombarded by explosions.

Not to mention that the spawns were really poor, they lacked a lot of variety in where you would drop and would flip without much logic or warning.

Fortunately, I was satisfied with the general gameplay and fundamental mechanics of the game.

How Is The Multiplayer?

It feels very similar to the beta, but with a few new maps and weapons have been changed.

Having played on the Xbox Series X, the gameplay looks beautiful but it certainly doesn't feel as responsive as I was hoping.

It could be early doors and adjusting to the new game on a controller I've not used for some time, but the responsiveness of my movements aren't quite where I'd like them to be.

The Aim Assist has been heavily nerfed in the full game, meaning you won't get away with the sloppy aim.

As you begin your multiplayer experience, you'll need to rank up to unlock a lot of weapons.

Usually, this is an exciting part of the game, but it seems like the unlocks quickly become more effective the further you level up.

Without having much unlocked, it feels like you're at a distinct disadvantage very early on with a lack of weapon attachments, perks and scorestreaks available.

I've played a handful of cross-platform matches, alongside PC players, and the lobbies can be rough if you're just trying to get your bearings and the correct settings in place.

Where it continues to strive ahead of Modern Warfare is that the maps encourage gunfights and discourage slow and static movement; the game is fast and frantic, which is right up my street.

Having said the design of the maps are too cluttered and littered with head-glitches. There are often objects and obstructions that just don't need to be there and interrupt gunfights.

What they tried to do was no doubt creative and I like the thought behind it, but that doesn't mean it was the right choice.

Graphics

For the most part, the game runs flawlessly, with minimal frame rate drops.

It looks beautiful, it's very crisp and I can spot players from a distance I couldn't in the beta.

I play on a regular 1080p 60Hz monitor, so while I'm not getting the full extent of what the console can do, it's a noticeable and substantial upgrade on my PS4 and Xbox One.

Audio

The audio works a treat and has been vastly improved from the previous Call of Duty game where the audio seemed to pick and choose when it wanted to work.

It's very clear where people are and what they're doing.

The gun sounds are immensely satisfying too - they all seem to have a personality behind them and a recognisable tone as they unleash round after round of hot lead.

The Verdict

All of the pieces are in place for Black Ops Cold War to offer a genuinely great suite of multiplayer modes, but Treyarch and co seem to have fumbled a lot of the fundamentals.

Its offensively-minded map design makes a big impression after Modern Warfare's slower battles, but lower aim-assist, a less flexible SBMM system and inconsistent unlocks mire the game in frustration for now.

3/5

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