CoD Black Ops: Cold War Crossplay beta first impressions

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9.0 Not-so-Cold

It’s clear that Treyarch has really improved on the overall multiplayer experience this time around. Even though you go back to a bygone era, gameplay and gunplay feel responsive and immersive like just a Black Ops game can. I’m keen on more come the full game in November.

  • Graphics 9
  • Gameplay 9
  • Sound 9
  • Multiplayer 9
  • User Ratings (5 Votes) 6.3

Nothing really beats the hype of the annual Call of Duty lead-up. It’s something I look forward to every year, more so than most other games planned to launch. This one’s special too. It’s launching on a next-gen console year, and those don’t come around very often. I spent some time with Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War multiplayer beta, and I’m still not sure in which format to write it. 

Bringing out a new shooter this year means that there was probably increased pressure on developers to make this one as good as possible. Bring out the big guns (quite literally) with brilliant graphics, engaging multiplayer options, riveting zombies options and, of course, a capable campaign. Something we can really sink our teeth into. Something that won’t feel grindy and pull us back for more every day. A good story — that’s what we need from CoD right now. 

But that’s not where we’re at just yet. For the past two weeks, I’ve been putting some time into Activision/Treyarch and Raven Software’s multiplayer beta gameplay for Black Ops: Cold War which was in beta for the past two weekends. The most recent of which saw the title explore real cross-platform across PlayStation and PC. 

Not-so-Cold actually

Because I only had access to the Multiplayer game mode, there’s not much to comment on the story or setting as much as I can only look at the maps. And it’s clear that developers really put thought into all of the locations available during the beta. 

One of the most interesting additions in Multiplayer, is the new Combined Arms 12-vs.-12 maps Cartel and Armada. We only had access to the domination mode, but what a blast traversing grounds (or water) with powerful vehicles, great mechanics and larger areas to battle in. Armada is by far one of my favourite dynamic maps in the Multiplayer mode, showing just how much fun a more interactive, well-designed map can do to improve the whole experience. 

The only small fragment of the actual setting comes in with the armoury. Even though it’s set in the early 1980s, gunplay is fast and tactical. It doesn’t feel like your character is lobbing around kilograms of equipment. It is here where you can feel it is a Black ops game — featuring nippy movement, great gunplay and engaging battles. One thing I was very sensitive to pick up was the ttk (time to kill) — something a Call of Duty game either nails or fails. 

But this time, it’s like the dev teams really nailed the ttk in Multiplayer. Engagements are quick and no-one really has an upper hand whether donning a mouse and keyboard or a controller. Guns feel true-to-life, with heavier equipment dragging your character down and lighter SMGs giving you more movement but less firepower. The details here are seriously impressive, and I commend everyone who worked on the multiplayer experience. 

More Warzone than Warzone

Moreso than ever before, Activision has managed to make me feel like I’m in an actual Warzone. This is mainly due to smart graphics tweaks, brilliant handling and movement as well as exceptional audio — even when played through cheap in-ears. 

Frag grenades and gun shots sound so close to nature, that I literally jumped up in my seat in some instances when a bomb exploded right behind my character. The game does a lot to immerse you into a fictional world of war based in detailed settings with the various maps. 

One of my favourite maps, by far, is the Miami map that brings some great ‘80s nostalgia (for someone who didn’t even live in the era). I can just see how awesome the somewhat rainy, puddled map will look on next-gen ray-tracing graphics. Especially if you consider the neon lighting all over the exterior of the buildings. 

When playing the alpha version in September, it was clear that the Multiplayer mode needed a few tweaks when it came to matchmaking, handling and connection issues. Some of the animations were sluggish and the ttk was relatively high. This time, however, it felt like Activision worked hard to minimise issues and it ultimately felt like a complete game, not a beta. 

CoD Black Ops: Cold War Initial Verdict

The multiplayer matches were crossplay and cross-generation, meaning you can play with friends on different platforms, including PS4 players teaming up with PS5 players and PC Master race joining the fight. With cross-progression, you can even switch platforms without losing your progress by linking your Activision account, which is a nice touch. 

It’s clear that Treyarch has really improved on the overall multiplayer experience this time around. Even though you go back to a bygone era, gameplay and gunplay feel responsive and immersive like just a Black Ops game can. I’m keen on more come the full game in November.

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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