Over the last 3 days, I have played over 20+ hours of the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Beta. I’ve played every mode, used every weapon, earned every killstreak, and I am here this morning to tell you I am actually very glad we have a month off of this game because I cannot keep playing the same 4 maps over and over again. I think yesterday alone I played for about 6 hours with only a 20-minute break to finalize yesterday’s teaser.
Here’s what I think:
First, A Note To Modern Warfare Fans
Before I even say anything, I need to clarify something very critical to the rest of this “review”. If Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the first CoD you’ve played in a while, you need to take a step back for a second and understand that MW is very, very different from any other game in Call of Duty history.
Yes, CoD has always done a great job of catering to the casual fan, but there has always been a skill gap between the people that grind the game for 30-40 hours a week and the ones that log on once a week for a game or two before bed. And in MW, the skill gap was intentionally minimized by Infinity Ward by manipulating gameplay mechanics like movement, gun balancing, map design, and much more. Infinity Ward’s goal with the Modern Warfare remake was to make it so both the grinder and the casual could both win games with their preferred gameplay method. This is why guns like the 725, Origin, and Snakeshot Akimbo Magnums took so long to get nerfed and are constantly replaced with other “broken” guns (like the JAK). It’s why the kill times are lower than any other Call of Duty in history. It’s why you can seemingly move at lightspeed across a map with very little delay between actions (aiming, sliding, dropping, jumping, etc). It’s why maps and areas in Warzone have specific areas that seem to reward camping.
The goal of MW was to make Call of Duty more fun for everyone, not to provide a balanced and competitive experience. In fact, the developers themselves are on record for saying that esports “boiled the fun” out of CoD. So in response, Treyarch (the studio developing Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War) has reworked many of the movement and gunplay mechanics for their upcoming entry.
And what I need all of you that are upset about the changes to understand is this is how Call of Duty has felt for the last few years prior to Modern Warfare minus the jetpacks. MW was an anomaly. You may have liked certain elements of it, but as a whole, the game was very flawed. And based on what I have seen from the Cold War Beta, I think this new entry in the series is going to return the series to its roots. Sometimes you have to step back a bit before moving forward and I think the changes made (that I will go into further detail below) will help to improve the issues we had with MW while returning to that classic CoD gameplay that we all know and love.
Sucks ass. Next.
KIDDING, KIDDING. Jesus, remember this is a comedy gaming blog. No need to get so tense with your SCUF Prestige 9000 and G-Fuel Banana Cream Pie crack drink pouring out your nose. Overall, I think the movement is pretty good. Slide canceling still exists but it’s nowhere near as powerful as in MW and it takes perfect timing to nail a jump-into-slide-burst kill like this one from yours truly.
I like the delays that come with jumping and clambering; in no real-world should you maintain your momentum while climbing over a wall or jumping around the corner of a room. This allows for AR players with good aim and tracking a chance to react instead of everyone just run n’ gun n’ slide n’ dive n’ spin n’ barrel-stuffing the fuck out of each other. Overall, slower-paced than MW but not in a bad way.
My favorite thing about this game right now is that most of the guns seem to be very well balanced. Now personally, I think everyone says that at the beginning of a game’s life cycle until they all pour 50 hours into a game and discover that 2-3 guns are clearly better than the rest. I found the most success with the XM4, AK-74u, M16, and LW3 Tundra, but I know people that used pretty much every other gun available during this beta that went off for 25-50 kills per round anyway.
There’s a lot of people talking about how snipers still need to be nerfed and shotguns are too powerful, but from my experience using those guns, they seem to be just fine. Quickscopers are going to have to sacrifice damage distance for ADS and while shotguns are lethal in close range rooms found in Moscow and Miami, they don’t deal that much damage at mid to long-range.
My biggest beef with the game is how long it takes to use throwables. It’s ridiculous. Is it realistic that it takes like 3 seconds to grab a grenade from your vest, pull the pin, and then chuck it with your non-dominant left hand? Yes…but me wanna throw fast. Let me throw fast.
Gunsmith, Perks, Scorestreaks, Wildcards
This is a packed section but all of these systems are interconnected so I wanted to talk about them together.
First, let’s start with the gunsmith. If there’s one thing in the last day of the beta, its make a class with just the base AK-74u and then make a class with the fully kitted AK-74u and switch between them every other life to see the difference. Because frankly, I couldn’t really tell you how each of the attachments changed the gun other than the sights. I really couldn’t. Now granted, a lot of this weekend I was stoned out of my mind just running around mowing people down but I couldn’t tell you whether that barrel I equipped made it easier to shoot someone 200 meters away or not. I just threw a bunch of stuff that looked good on and went to killing.
The perks though you can definitely tell make an impact, and it’s why I think most people will be running the Perk Greed Wildcard, especially since classic perks like Ghost, Ninja, and Cold-Blooded are all in the same category. I think you have to have Ninja on in this game especially because sprinting with a full kit is fucking LOUD. Same with Flak Jacket and Tactical Mask. Nothing else really stood out as over or underpowered in this category to me. Wildcards are really cool though and will force players to choose between a fully kitted gun and decked out perk classes.
I will say I was worried about scorestreaks a bit heading into the beta but Treyarch did a great job still emphasizing killstreaks and implementing rewards for ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME MODE. God that has to be one of my biggest complaints in MW: loading into a Hardpoint game and everyone playing TDM instead of the objective. Without overdoing it, the scorestreak system actually rewards the players fighting for those points and objectives by tacking on extra points toward your next reward. Killstreaking is still the fastest way to a chopper gunner, but now it’s not the only way.
I think using the scorestreaks is pretty fun too except the fucking chopper gunner that just flys in a circle and is basically useless on maps like Moscow. Overall, I think everything here makes sense to allow players to play however they want without overpowering anything in particular.
Before I talk about the maps themselves, let me start by saying I think the spawn system needs some work. Unless you’re playing an objective-based game like Hardpoint, Control, or VIP Escort, you are CONSTANTLY flipping spawns. Like literally every 45 seconds. On an open map like Satellite, this is especially frustrating as you have no idea where to be looking while sitting in the middle of the map and it has cost me a nuke more than once this beta.
But as for the maps themselves…meh. I didn’t love them, but there were definitely times I hated them like running around Miami on TDM looking for any sign of life not sitting in a corner of a building. Cartel was for sure the worst map in the beta, and I think I’d have to say Moscow was the “best” but none of the 4 standard multiplayer maps really were all that great. I’m really hoping for better designed maps when the full game launches.
I’m only mentioning this because so many fucking people have commented on how “the graphics look like shit”. To which I say…what the fuck are you talking about?
(For reference, I am playing on a 1440p 144z 1ms refresh monitor with a gaming PC equipped with an Nvidia 2070 Super. It doesn’t get much better than that right now unless you won the auction for the new 3080 series.)
In what world are the graphics in Cold War worse than Modern Warfare? They look exactly the same. I legitimately can’t tell a difference. In fact, there are parts of Cold War that look BETTER than MW in many areas, especially in Miami and Satellite. Now if you’re talking about animation? Yes, I can say I agree. I do think the fluidity of the animations is slightly better in MW than in the Cold War Beta. And hopefully, that is what the team is polishing up right now in the final build that will be released in about a month.
This guy has a pretty good overview of the differences and I agree with most of what he says (but remember that he is comparing a finished product with a game still in beta).
All in all, I think we’re in for a pretty good year of Call of Duty. We still haven’t seen half of multiplayer, the changes to Warzone, the campaign, and most importantly to me, ZOMBIES. For me to be as happy as I am right now without touching any of that? That’s a WAP.
Also, something I haven’t even touched from above is the fact that Treyarch has already updated the game based on our feedback from the pre-release testing. Twice. In less than a month. That’s a team that clearly gives a fuck about their community.
Much better than Joe Cecot and his merry band of morons just straight up doing nothing for months except tweeting snide comments at people who are frustrated with thier dogshit game.
To which I responded: