Review: Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War

Call of Duty : Black Ops Cold War is here. This time the game does have a single player campaign mode and this one is the most refreshing. Easily one of the best parts of this new Call of Duty game.

Black Ops Cold War is the fifth installment in the Black Ops sub-series and a direct sequel to the very first Black Ops game from 2010. Personally, I was very happy with this news, because the first Black Ops is easily my favorite Treyarch game and belongs in a close second place in my favorite Call of Duty's list. With number one, of course, being Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Black Ops Cold War

Black Ops Cold War immediately tries to put some landmarks on the player by reintroducing Mason and Woods. Re-introducing beloved characters worked really well for Modern Warfare 2019, perhaps Black Ops as well. And yes, it does. Mason and Woods undoubtedly provide some memories of the first Black Ops game that makes Cold War feel indirectly familiar. It's like coming home after a few years of vacation. It's still home, but a lot has changed in the meantime.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War changes a lot in the single player campaign. Mainly for the better, because besides the fact that you're once again playing an incredibly brutal, gruesome action-filled shooter, there are also moments where you become more involved in the course of the story. Cold War does this in a traditional mysterious Black Ops way in a way that surprised me very positively. Many well-known Black Ops mysteries from the past are now baked right into the story.

We've got a job to do in Cold War

In Black Ops Cold War you take on the role of "Bell". This is your nickname, but you can enter your own name this time. In addition to your name, you can choose where you originally come from. Not necessarily country, but special unit. Are you MI6, CIA or ex-KGB? Your choice here has some influence on the way the story is told. You are also encouraged to play through the story several times, because there are two very different endings, with a total of 7 variants on which it can end. The very last mission is based on the choice you make shortly in advance. Of course we won't tell you what that choice is. You will have to experience that yourself.

Fortunately, it is not a punishment to play through the campaign several times. There are only a handful of missions and in about 5 to 6 hours you will get through it the first time. Subsequent playthroughs are then a little shorter if you would go for that. I emphatically say something shorter, because besides the fact that you now know what to expect, you may approach certain things a little differently. Not every mission is a shooting range on rails.

Remember, no Russian

One of the coolest missions in the game does not involve shooting at all on the first level. You infiltrate a Russian headquarters and need to gain access to the bunker so that your American friends can kick some ass. During this mission you will be equipped with a map with different locations marked on it and you are completely free to access the bunker in your way. It plays a bit like a Dishonored level where you have a lot of freedom to solve something.

You can find passwords and combinations through puzzles to view files or to open safes. This way you can falsify information or obtain a strong poison. You can also try to bribe other people. There are many possibilities in this mission and they all play out in a unique way, something that will make you want to play through this level 2 or 3 more times.

you're talking about balls

Furthermore, you mainly play through missions in which you travel different locations around the world and rob everything and everyone of life in the most cinematic way. Not bad, because that's why we keep playing Call of Duty, right? You start at a very interesting location, namely, a bar in Amsterdam. The game starts with a conversation with Russel Adler in a bar in Amsterdam. Adler is 90% your companion throughout the game and he really is your quintessential Call of Duty Badass Hoorah! American. A very cool character by the way.

Anyway, you start in Amsterdam and this is a hilarious start for us in the Netherlands. Not only is it cool to see Amsterdam in the 80's in a fucking Call of Duty game. But it's also really funny if you hang around the bar a bit and try to catch up on the conversations that are going on.

There is a man and a woman chatting outside the bar who you can hear talking clearly from a certain point. I don't know exactly what it is about, there is no string to it, but there are very iconic Dutch statements. "Portion of bitterballen! Delicious with a little mustard on top." That's just a small portion of the clip. I recorded the entire clip and showed it to my friends. Since then it has stuck for a bit and we use the statements from this mission as if it came from a Mastermovies movie.

Gameplay

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War plays great and it takes a step back in terms of realism compared to Modern Warfare. It has become more of an arcade shooter again and I personally think that is more than fine. I will come back to this in the multiplayer review. So definitely look forward to this. The weapons feel nice and the gunplay is very good.

Verdict

Black Ops Cold War offers arguably the most refreshing single player campaign in the entire franchise. It doesn't do anything revolutionary, but we weren't expecting that either. The subtle adjustments, construction of the missions and the structure is a refreshing addition. Furthermore, the campaign mainly plays like any Call of Duty campaign. You can get through it in a few hours, but those few hours are accompanied by gruesome action, cinematic moments and in this case a very interesting plot twist.

 

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