Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War DEALS
Few things in life that are inevitable – Life, death, taxes and yearly Call of Duty instalments. Yep, no pandemic wasn’t going to delay the “Michael Bay” of FPS. Slow mos, more explosions than the 4th July and patriotic wank material. Modern Warfare last year was an attempt at trying to be a bit more “grown-up” but picking on the old foes of Mother Russia and Middle Eastern Terrorists, redubbing actual war crimes that the Russians (yes it’s a work of fiction, but don’t make it fucking obvious by giving it the same name as an actual real-life war crime) oh, and the flashback level of sneaking around a burning home to kill a Russian soldier as a kid, or a much more violent retelling of Home Alone – hilariously bad taste there.
Overall, just another crappy “Michael Bay” Call of Duty campaign. Who thought it could be a “Kathryn Bigelow”. Just read the review I have done before this turns into more of a rant than it has been
Which brings me on to this year’s alliteration of Black Ops: Cold War. Now for me, Black Ops 1 was the last COD Campaign that I thoroughly enjoyed, and still do 10 years on. The future bollocks it went on to do was again “bollocks”. So, I was pleasantly pleased it’s gone back to its Cold War Roots. When it was revealed to the world back in the summer, so much like Darren Box and previous FIFA titles, I took the plunge once again. Blitz through the campaign over the weekend and here are some words. Enjoy.
The plot, well, takes place in 1981 (or between Black Ops 1 and 2), and starts rather “normal for Call of Duty Campaigns. Hunting down 2 figureheads of the Iran Hostage Crisis. Shooting up Amsterdam and melodramatically chasing and blowing up a plane in Turkey, which before the aforementioned 2nd figurehead is capped. Gloats that the whole Iran Hostage crisis was orchestrated by a Russian spy called “Perseus”. Which to their credit is based on a conspiracy of a Soviet Spy managing to sneak in on the Manhattan Project. But, For fuck sake lads, stop blaming the Russians for everything? Or is it the Fox News merry-go-round?
With that out the way, and a bit of blurb about Perseus’s background who his initial photo looks like John Travolta, and a cameo by President Regan. The CIA brings together a “mystery gang” to hunt him down. Russell Adler who looks like Robert Redford, and fan favourites Mason and Woods and Hudson 2 agents from MI6 and Mossad. Us as the protagonist, who is customizable with skin tones, genders, and in-game perks like extra health or faster reloads and name, but referred to as “Bell”. Now, as a British person I would feel sorry for anyone with the last name of “Endcox” or “End”, but you have a fucking open goal for a good laugh.
Nob gags aside, “Bell” and the gang are tasked with bringing down Perseus. Chasing the trail from East Berlin to the Heart of the KGB and flashbacks to Vietnam, and it turns out that the CIA had a plan that if the Soviets did invade they had nukes in every major European city to make them unusable to the Russians. And guess who got in on that? so, you’ve got to stop him nuking western Europe hey lads? and blaming the USA as well.
Now slight spoilers ahead so if you are one of the few who do care about COD Campaigns. Look away now.
So towards the end after a trippy Vietnam flashback mission. It turns out you were one of Perseus top agents and was left for dead at the start of the game. Which then the CIA Brainwashed you to work for them and possibly give his location up, and you’re given the choice in helping the CIA or fucking them over and Perseus wins in nuking half of Europe and making the USA public enemy no 1. Which for a COD Campaign is a nice surprise and not been done since Black ops 2. There are other decisions to make which doesn’t make a huge difference to the plot. Other than a different summary at the end, but it’s actually nice to have an option for the “Bad Guys” to win for once.
As COD stories go, I kinda enjoyed this one. It had everything you would expect from a summer blockbuster. decent action. Plot a bit mad and nonsensical, but on board with it. Both the KGB and East Berlin missions were a personal highlight of mine. There are a few cameos from the history and previous COD games, like a shit kid’s tv program. It does give off “Cold War” vibes and in some missions, it doesn’t gun down all living organisms every day. The best way to explain it fully is that Modern Warfare wanted to be serious and gritty but missed the mark, like if Michael Bay directed Schindler’s list, in terms of movie comparisons, Black Ops: Cold War is like The Rock (the 1996 film that is). Yeah, it’s a Michael Bay film, and yeah, it’s not the best action film at all, but I like it somehow. In a way, it knows what it is and accepts it, and I respect it for that.
There are some side missions. Well, two to be exact, and also some light puzzle work. One requires hacking into a floppy disk to get a list of sleeper agents and figuring out who are double agents. You could do the missions anyway but won’t get some nice words about it. If you want the nice words at the end, you would have to find the evidence (collectables) in some of the main missions which do offer some replayability if you want to do things right. And in between certain missions, you can wander around the safehouse and chat to the gang if you so want. For some of you out there, they are just the ones you don’t have to shoot.
Gameplay? Well, it’s a Call of Duty game so don’t expect much overhall. Though arguably this is the more restrained game of the series. Yeah, there are the massive gunfights as you would expect I mean come on it’s a Call of Duty game. There are some stealth sections as well, not the shit ones where it throws you back because one guard spotted your arse by the bins. More like just turns into another shootout. The mission in the KGB is a fun one because it’s more of an impromptu Hitman mission — for the first half that is. Then it’s by the books by Call of Duty standards, i.e. massive shootouts.
It somehow complements it, in the sense it is not in your face all of the time. Compared to Modern Warfare it has had some features removed, but call me a bit of a traditionalist but I like it more than in Modern Warfare from last year – it just feels more familiar. Easy to pick up if you’ve played an FPS in the last century or so. Newly introduced is the ability to take Ivan hostage as you shoot up the place, it is more of a gimmick, it can be helpful but when most people are on the other side. Just cut out the middle man really, and melee kills are just pre-animated takedowns which my eyes just roll out of my sockets in boredom. There is a nice touch in the game as littered around are a few arcade cabinets of some of Activision’s old games which are playable. And as for playtime, it’s a short one but it’s to be expected of a COD Campaign hence why I don’t sound disappointed.
Technically, in gameplay it runs alright which is par for the course for a Call of Duty game. For cutscenes in particular, like the fuck? How can what could be considered a video file have a framerate dawdle along horribly every so often. Yeah, once in a while when the stars have aligned, and Piers Morgan has a coherent rant. It would run smoothly, but of all the tech problems out there you could have, Black Ops Cold War choose a weird one. Also another thing – Sniper Scopes, they aren’t really usable. In fact, it’s more guesswork as the crosshairs don’t load in half the time. Other than that, it looks alright on what is now dubbed the previous gen of consoles, or the PS5. Sound is good, and again always a bit of a sucker for 80s music *awkward glance at my copy of Vice City*.
Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
The first time since probably Black ops a decade ago that I enjoyed a COD Campaign. Yeah, the plot is a bit nonsensical and yet somehow on board with it. I kinda accepted the fact most COD campaigns can be beaten in an evening or so, but it plays well enough. It toes the line between massive shootouts and espionage, and it's back in the Cold War in the 1980s when there were no pandemics at all. sounds nice, doesn’t it?
- Decent gameplay
- A balance between shootouts and espionage
- Bit of a sucker for the 1980s
- Short Campaign
- Weird technical issues
- The plot is a bit nonsensical
- Graphics 0
- Gameplay 0
- Narrative 0
- Audio 0
- Technical 0