Black Ops Cold War Alpha Impressions: What We Liked, And What We Didn't

The Black Ops Cold War Alpha has come and gone, and PlayStation 4 players got the chance to get their boots on the ground in Treyarch's latest title.

We spent some time over the weekend spraying lead and picking up those sweet, sweet streaks, but it's clear that Black Ops Cold War will be divisive for longtime fans.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Alpha Impressions

Time To Kill Is Longer

The first thing you'll notice is that the time to kill is longer than that of Modern Warfare 2019.

That means that gunfights aren't always resolved by whoever shoots first, as smart players can duck and dive before returning cover.

Auto-health regeneration is back after being removed for Black Ops 4, so you actually feel like you have a chance, even when bullets are flying at you.

How that'll translate into Warzone, though, is anyone's guess.

Weapon Feel

If you've played Modern Warfare for any period of time, you'll know that each weapon offers its own unique "weight".

It's hard to quantify, but easily experienced when switching between them, and Black Ops Cold War just doesn't feel as finely tuned... yet.

Weapons don't offer that satisfying kick, but that could be due to this being an early build.

Also, you can't mount weapons here, which is sure to please some as much as it disappoints others.

Maps Are Varied, Now Allow Voting

If you're anything like me, you undoubtedly back out of a Modern Warfare lobby when your least-favourite map appears in the rotation (just go AWAY Shipment!).

However, Cold War brings back voting, so you've got a chance of avoiding maps.

Luckily, the maps in the beta are all interesting, if not instant classics.

Satellite is set in the desert, with ample sniping opportunities, while Miami offers plenty of colour with its neon breaking through the darkness of the night.

Moscow feels like a basic Call of Duty map, with an urban sprawl that feels ripped straight from Modern Warfare.

These 6v6 maps suffer from the same issue as Modern Warfare's launch ones did, in that they feel just a bit too big - it's all too easy to rotate around the map and not see anyone for a while.

Combined Arms Is OK, But Needs More Players

Essentially Ground War but under a different name, Combined Arms is 12v12 instead of that modes 20v20.

That's a shame because with larger lobbies it could be great, but for now each map just feels a little sparse.

There are also some balancing issues, with tanks being torn to shreds by LMGs, and snipers essentially forcing you to use vehicles.

Speaking Of Snipers

Ok, Treyarch has already confirmed that they're looking into snipers, but they're entirely too powerful in their current state.

Not only that, but no-scoping doesn't feel like a trick or a speciality when it seems everyone is capable of pulling it off.

Still, we'll trust that the developers are looking into it. 

Skill-Based Matchmaking Is A Double-Edged Sword

Finally, the big talking point of the Alpha - SBMM.

Its a system that has been discussed at length, but there's no denying it has both positives and negatives.

On the plus side, it promotes more competitive matches and, theoretically, helps players improve their skills over time.

On the other hand, it does mean that more matches become hyper competitive and "sweaty", something that makes jumping into a quick match with friends while you shoot the breeze a little less enjoyable.

In any case, the developers have noted that the system has been in every Call of Duty title for some time, but it'll be interesting to see if it'll be tweaked in the run-up to launch.


What did you think of the Alpha? Let us know in the comments below!

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War