While the official launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War isn’t until next month, PS4 players got their hands, and eyes on the beta over the weekend. If you had a code like we did, or preordered the game, you got into that beta a bit early, on October 8. This beta showed off what people can expect from the multiplayer version the game goes live in November.
When the smoke cleared from the beta, it was clear there are both good and bad things on the horizon. Cold War will be on almost every platform come November. Xbox, PS4, and PC will all have the next big shooter. This time around though, the beta was only available on the PS4 early.
This focus being on the multiplayer, we didn’t get a look at the next Call of Duty: Black Ops zombie mode. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty to do in the limited scope of this beta. What I was able to come away with was a very good grasp of what the game offers when it comes to going up against other live players.
Everything Old Is New Again In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
As has been the case with a couple of the Call of Duty games to hit the market recently, this is a kind of a rehash of older COD titles. The maps, the weapons and the player models don’t bring much new.
The good news is that the weapons, maps, and player models are good enough they don’t need much tweaking. At the same time, the first thing that struck me is how much this version felt like every other version.
The entire title is supposed to be a nod to the 1980’s. There hasn’t been a ton of change in this series since it first launched. That’s still the case here.
That includes the modes offered up in this preview. Deathmatch and Domination are signature modes for team shooters. They’re packed into Cold War as well. While it can be hard to tweak the modes because they’re so well known and have been done so often over the years, it just didn’t feel like a brand new game.
The beta felt like I was playing last year’s Call of Duty. Or the year before that. Or the year before that.
Honestly, that’s not entirely fair. At least some of the other COD games offered maps that were unique because of the World Wars I & II settings. These maps are far more generic.
That doesn’t mean the maps aren’t good looking. They were just … there. Whether working in a series of mountain passes or swimming across the water, of ducking in and out of buildings, it all felt very generic. Some of the blame falls on when this game takes place.
It’s hard to convey the Cold War without a story behind it.
Gunplay Is Still Good
If the maps in Black Ops Cold War were a bit disappointing, the mechanics and the shooting was not. Because this game is set in modern times, there aren’t a ton of eye-catching weapons.
Of course, COD games have never been about pretty weapons. It’s far more about how well whatever weapons you get handle.
On that score, Cold War merits a solid B score. The guns feel like they have realistic recoil and they sound “alright.” In will say I noticed more than once that the guns in Apex Legends feel a bit better. They also sound a bit better.
Still, the gunplay in Cold War was more than adequate. There were plenty of times I found myself in a firefight that had me actually sweating once it was all over. Domination especially allowed me and my teammates to call out where we were going and what we were seeing. Ducking bullets and dodging grenades was plenty fun. I just wish it felt different at all.
VIP Escort Is A Bright Spot
While most of the modes, maps and guns felt very familiar, there was one aspect that stood out from the rest. VIP Escort gives the game a very different feel. In this mode, one player is the “VIP” who must be taken to a chopper.
The rest of the team has to fend off the enemy, knowing they have just one life. That lends special importance to both getting the VIP to the helicopter and staying alive with them. The downside is, if you die early, you’re left waiting a while, or leaving before the mode is completed.
Verdict: The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta probably did what it was meant to do. Those who have long loved this style of game aren’t going to be disappointed with Treyarch‘s latest iterati0n. At the same time, if this was the sales pitch for those of us on the fence about buying “more of the same” I’m not sure it nailed the landing.