Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the 17th instalment to the Call of Duty series.

We are supported by our audience, this post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclosure for more details.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the 17th instalment to the Call of Duty series.

We are supported by our audience, this post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclosure for more details.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

We rate Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War an 8.5/10

8.5/10

Quick Summary

This year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has taken many steps in the right direction. The campaign mode is easily one of the best yet, bringing one of the most stunning, immensely creative, and deeply immersive campaign experiences to date. The game also shines in its multiplayer mode as well, with great gunplay, and a smooth and responsive experience throughout. This year’s multiplayer maps have also seen a great improvement. Although these two modes are brilliant, the Zombies mode is where the game stands out, bringing the main focus of the mode back to having fun. This year’s Zombies mode brings a range of innovative new features you’re sure to fall in love with. We highly recommend Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Pros

  • Campaign is one of the best in recent years
  • Multiplayer maps are much better this year
  • Zombies mode is the most fun it's been in a long while with the great new features

Cons

  • Only one Zombies map at launch
  • The new multiplayer game modes are disappointing

Rating

What is Call of Duty?

Call of Duty is a first-person shooter game franchise that started out in 2003. The Call of Duty game franchise has seen games set during world wars, modern times, futuristic times, and even in outer space. The first Call of Duty game was released back in 2003, and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was released in 2020 and is the 17th Call of Duty instalment.

For all Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War reviews, please see below:

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the 17th instalment in the Call of Duty game franchise and was released on November 13, 2020. The game was released on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC, allowing for cross-platform play across all platforms. This year’s Call of Duty title was developed by Treyarch and published by Activision.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review: Campaign

This year’s single-player campaign mode is as great as ever, offering one of the best campaigns we’ve seen in a while, which is partly thanks to the next-generation graphics and capabilities with the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles. This year’s campaign mode makes up about 6-8 hours of gameplay, this is the usual length of a Call of Duty campaign.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign - Credit: Activision

The campaign mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War follows a group of operatives tasked with tracking down a Soviet agent named Perseus, previously believed to be dead, who plans to set off a chain of nuclear devices all across Europe.

This year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign will consist of some of the most daring and intense gunfights to date, with the journey consisting of everything from rooftop chases, high-speed shootouts, assassinations, and even carrying out a raid on the KGB headquarters, to influencing the game’s direction based on the decisions you make. For example, at the beginning of the campaign, you’re given the opportunity to fill out your character’s psych profile which will actually affect gameplay later on.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign - Credit: Activision

With the newly released next-gen consoles, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has been able to take the Call of Duty series to the next level. Throughout all modes, and especially in the campaign, you’ll experience a level of realism like never before, with incredible lighting, vibrant jungles, beautiful snowy mountains, amazing audio, and much much more. And of course, with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War being set during the Cold War, along your journey you’ll find plenty of indoor smoking, CRT TVs, and the iconic ’80s fashion.

Overall, the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War campaign mode is easily one of the best yet. The entire campaign is nothing less than stunning, immensely creative, and when paired with the new gameplay mechanics, it results in one of the most enjoyable single-player campaign experiences to date. Additionally, if you’ve played a few of the previous Call of Duty: Black Ops games, you might also recognise a few faces along the way.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review: Multiplayer

This year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer experience starts with just 8 maps at launch, this is pretty disappointing when the last Call of Duty: Black Ops game started off with 14 multiplayer maps. A little after Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was released, the fan-favourite ‘Nuketown’ map was added into multiplayer.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review multiplayer
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer - Credit: Activision

When it comes to the multiplayer maps in general, it seems this year Call of Duty have made efforts to return back to the more simplistic three-lane map designs, at least more than last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

At its core, this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer experience has seen plenty of tweaks and improvements, especially since its beta release. Some of these changes include a longer time-to-kill, improved sounds, animations, and overall gunplay feeling, all along with the addition of a field of view (FOV) slider for consoles, previously exclusive to PC players.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review multiplayer
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer - Credit: Activision

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War also introduced three new multiplayer modes: VIP Escort, Combined Arms, and Fireteam: Dirty Bomb.

The new VIP Escort mode features two teams of six fighting to protect or eliminate the designated VIP player that is chosen at random. The VIP must make their way to one of multiple extractions zones whilst their teammates escort and protect them along the way.

Another mode Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War introduced is the 12v12 Combined Arms. Currently available to play on three large-scale maps, combined Arms comes with two different versions: Domination and Assault. In Combined Arms: Domination, both teams must capture and defend five different points across the map, the more points your team captures, the more points your team will get. If you’re familiar with any previous Call of Duty titles, this is like the standard Domination game mode, just on a larger scale.

When it comes to Combined Arms: Assault, instead of fighting to capture and defend five different points, both teams must fight over the same point at the same time, however, this point moves around to different areas of the map. If you’re familiar with any previous Call of Duty titles, this is just like the Hardpoint game mode, just on a larger scale.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review multiplayer
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer - Credit: Activision

The third and final new mode introduced with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is Fireteam: Dirty Bomb. If you’re familiar with last year’s Call of Duty: Warzone, you might’ve played a mode called Plunder, Fireteam: Dirty Bomb is essentially a smaller-scale version of Plunder. In Fireteam: Dirty Bomb, 10 teams of four players fight to reach the top of the scoreboard by collecting and depositing uranium at different bomb locations, detonating the dirty bombs, and by killing enemy players.

Overall, the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer experience is really good. As you’d expect from a Call of Duty title, the gunplay is amazing, it looks visually stunning, and from start to finish it feels smooth and responsive. This year’s multiplayer maps are also much better than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s maps, with great designs and less nooks and crannies for players to camp in. Despite these great maps, the new game modes fail to live up to their full potential, with most playing these modes once or twice and then forgetting all about them.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review: Zombies

Over the years, Call of Duty Zombies have become a signature mode, especially for the Call of Duty: Black Ops series. When the Zombies mode was first introduced in Call of Duty: World at War, all the way back in 2008, no one could’ve expected the Zombies mode to grow as big as it is today.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War zombies
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies - Credit: Activision

Call of Duty Zombies is a fun, fast-paced zombie survival mode packed with secrets and puzzles to uncover and solve. At its core, the objective is to survive as many rounds as you can, with the higher rounds progressively getting more and more difficult. In order to survive, you will need to kill every zombie in order for the next wave to start, by killing these Zombies, you will earn points. These points are the in-game currency which you can use to buy weapons, buy perks, open doors, and much much more.

With this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, it seems most of the creative energy went into reinventing this year’s Zombies mode by getting rid of the over-complicated features, keeping the features that have worked well in the past, all whilst adding new, innovative and exciting features, ensuring this year’s Zombies experience feels better than ever.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombie bosses
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies - Credit: Activision

First of all, one of the biggest changes with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies has been the perks. In previous Call of Duty Zombies games, we’re used to being limited to just four perks at a time, with the perks not being able to be upgraded to different tiers. However, this year’s Call of Duty Zombies reworked how the perks work. One of the most community-praised changes is that you are no longer limited to just four perks at once, you can buy as many as you like. The other change made to the perks is that they are now permanently upgradable to three different tiers using Aetherium Crystals. Below are all of the perks currently available at launch.

Jugger-nog

Jugger-nog increases your maximum health by 50. The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Jugger-nog Tier 1: Reduce status effect durations by 50%.
  • Jugger-nog Tier 2: Armor Plates replenish 25% additional Armor.
  • Jugger-nog Tier 3: Increase maximum health by 100 (total of 250 hp)

Speed Cola

Speed Cola increases your reload speed by 15%. The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Speed Cola Tier 1: Swap weapons faster.
  • Speed Cola Tier 2: Field Upgrades recharge 20% faster.
  • Speed Cola Tier 3: Increase reload speed by 30%.

Quick Revive

Quick Revive reduces the time it takes to regenerate to full health by 50%, as well as reducing the time it takes to revive an ally by 50%. The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Quick Revive Tier 1: Downed crawl speed is increased by 100%.
  • Quick Revive Tier 2: Reduce the delay before health starts regenerating by 50%.
  • Quick Revive Tier 3: Reviving an ally will also heal you to full health.

Stamin-Up

Stamin-Up increases run and sprint speed. The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Stamin-Up Tier 1: Increase backpedal speed.
  • Stamin-Up Tier 2: Immunity to fall damage.
  • Stamin-Up Tier 3: Walk faster while aiming down sights.

Elemental Pop

Elemental Pop gives every bullet has a small chance to apply a random base Ammo Mod effect. The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Elemental Pop Tier 1: Equipment damage also has a small chance to apply a random base Ammo Mod effect.
  • Elemental Pop Tier 2: Reduce Ammo Mod cooldowns by 20%.
  • Elemental Pop Tier 3: When random Ammo Mod is applied it uses the Ammo Mod’s current Skill Tier instead of the base.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies Elemental Pop perk
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies Elemental Pop perk - Credit: Activision

Deadshot Daiquiri

Deadshot Daiquiri allows aiming down sight to focus on enemy critical location, as well as removing scope sway. The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Deadshot Daiquiri Tier 1: Deal 100% extra critical damage if an enemy is at full health.
  • Deadshot Daiquiri Tier 2: Increase damage against armor pieces by 50%.
  • Deadshot Daiquiri Tier 3: Reduce hip-fire spread.

What are Aetherium Crystals in Zombies?

Aetherium Crystals are the main form of currency in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies. Aetherium Crystals are used to unlock permanent upgrades for Perks, Field Upgrades, Ammo Mods, and Weapon Classes. There are two ways to earn Aetherium Crystals in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies, surviving until milestone rounds and by successful extraction. If you choose to earn Aetherium Crystals by surviving to round milestones, here is a helpful list to give you an idea of how many Aetherium Crystals you’ll be earning:

  • Surviving until rounds 10, 15, 20, and 25 will earn you 1 Aetherium Crystal.
  • Surviving until rounds 30 and 35 will earn you 2 Aetherium Crystals.
  • Surviving until rounds 40 and 45 will earn you 3 Aetherium Crystals.
  • Surviving until rounds 50 and 55 will earn you 4 Aetherium Crystals.
  • Surviving until rounds 60 and 65 will earn you 5 Aetherium Crystals.
  • Surviving until rounds 70 and 75 will earn you 6 Aetherium Crystals.
  • Surviving until rounds 80 and 85 will earn you 7 Aetherium Crystals.
  • Surviving until rounds 90 and 95 will earn you 8 Aetherium Crystals.
  • Surviving until round 100 and every five rounds after that will earn you 9 Aetherium Crystals.

Another big change with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies is the new weapon rarity system. Each weapon will now come in one of the following rarity tiers, start from Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary, with the higher level rarities dealing more damage. As well as this, you can now pack-a-punch your weapons three times, with each tier making your weapon more and more powerful.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies Speed Cola perk - Credit: Activision

On top of this, you can also upgrade weapon damage using salvage, something that’s occasionally dropped by zombies after you kill them. Not only this, but you can also add elemental Ammo Mods to your weapons. There are currently four different elemental Ammo Mods that you can choose from, read more about these below.

Napalm Burst

Bullets deal fire damage, each bullet has a chance to apply a burn effect on normal enemies, dealing 10% of their maximum health in fire damage over 5 seconds. (3-second cooldown) The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Napalm Burst Tier 1: Initial burn effect deals 5% of enemy maximum health in fire damage.
  • Napalm Burst Tier 2: Increase burn duration to 10 seconds.
  • Napalm Burst Tier 3: Double burn effect damage.

Dead Wire

Bullets deal electronic damage, Each bullet has a chance to stun normal enemies for 2 seconds. (15 second cooldown) The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Dead Wire Tier 1: Stunned enemies generate an electric field dealing electric damage to self and nearby enemies.
  • Dead Wire Tier 2: Increase stun duration to 4 seconds.
  • Dead Wire Tier 3: Double the electric field damage.

Cryofreeze

Bullets deal frost damage. Each bullet has a chance to slow normal enemies by 30% of their run speed for 3 seconds. (3-second cooldown) The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Cryofreeze Tier 1: Slowed enemies take 25% more damage.
  • Cryofreeze Tier 2: Slowed enemy duration increased to 5 seconds.
  • Cryofreeze Tier 3: Slowed enemy speed decreased to 50%.

Brain Rot

Bullets deal with toxic damage. Each bullet has a chance to turn a normal enemy to an ally for 15 seconds before dying. (40-second cooldown) The following tiers can be upgraded with Aetherium Crystals, each tier will cost an additional Aetherium Crystal to upgrade.

  • Brain Rot Tier 1: Turned enemy explodes on death-dealing toxic damage.
  • Brain Rot Tier 2: Increase turned duration to 20 seconds.
  • Brain Rot Tier 3: Turned enemy damage is doubled.

Another change that we’ve never seen before in Call of Duty Zombies is that you can now start off with your loadouts from multiplayer. This means that instead of starting with a pistol like in previous Call of Duty games, you can now start off with your favourite custom-made weapons, fitted with all of your favourite attachments. These loadout classes will start off at a low level, but you can always upgrade them in each game. What’s even better is that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has cross-progression, meaning your rank and any guns you level up in Zombies will also level up in multiplayer, and visa versa.

Perhaps the biggest new addition to this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies is the option to exfil. After you survive the first 10 rounds, you’ll be given the option to call in a chopper to exfil you and your team. If you don’t exfil now, you’ll then get the option to exfil every five rounds. The extraction option is a high risk but high reward scenario. If you manage to exfil successfully, you’ll receive a bonus, if you fail the exfil, you’ll die and receive no bonus. The longer you survive until, the more bonus rewards you’ll be able to receive.

And finally, the last major feature added to this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies mode are the Field Upgrades. You can think of Field Upgrades as a kind of special ability that you can only use every so often to give yourself a little boost or to help you get out of tough situations. The five Field Upgrades available at launch are:

  • Frost Blast: Create a frigid blast of wind that deals frost damage and slows enemies caught inside of it. Slowed enemies take additional damage.
  • Healing Aura: Summon beams of energy down on yourself and allies to instantly heal to full health.
  • Energy Mine: Create a mine of pure energy that detonates on proximity of enemies, dealing explosive damage.
  • Ring of Fire: Create a ring of ethereal fire that boosts damage for you and allies. Normal enemies who enter gain a burning effect that deals fire damage. Lasts 15 seconds.
  • Aether Shroud: Phase into the Dark Aether for 5 seconds becoming hidden from enemy detection.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies review
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies - Credit: Activision

One of the biggest disappointments of this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies mode is the lack of maps available at launch. Usually, we’re used to seeing at least two maps at launch, however, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was released with only one Zombies map, Die Maschine. For comparison, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was released with four Zombies maps available to play at release.

Die Maschine (German for The Machine) builds on from the original Nacht Der Untoten (German for Night of the Undead) map, the first-ever Zombies map from Call of Duty: World at War, released back in 2008. Die Maschine expands the original Nacht Der Untoten building into a much larger, multi-level map packed full of secrets. Despite this being the only map at launch, it’s without a doubt a very good map and sets the bar high for future maps.

If you’ve played previous Call of Duty games, you’ll know that Call of Duty usually release 4 paid DLC packs that players can buy to unlock new content for the game (both Zombies and multiplayer). However, this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War plans to provide free updates with new content over time, expectedly with the release of each new season in the Battle Pass.

Beside the main Zombies mode, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War also has two smaller Zombies modes, Dead Ops Arcade and Zombies Onslaught. Dead Ops Arcade is a twin-stick top-down shooter where your goal is to survive as long as you can against waves of increasingly difficult zombies, just like the main Zombies mode. As well as being a top-down shooter, it also differs in the sense that you have unlimited ammo and a number of weapons and power-ups appear throughout the arcade game to assist you.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Dead Ops Arcade
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies Dead Ops Arcade - Credit: Activision

The new Zombies Onslaught mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a PlayStation exclusive mode until xx. Zombies Onslaught is a two-person, fast-paced co-op zombie survival experience where players will have to fight off zombies in a limited area across Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer maps. The playable area will slowly move around the map, and the longer you survive, the faster and more deadly the zombies become.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review: Pricing

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was released on November 13, 2020. At release, prices started from £59.99 in the UK and $59.99 in the US. Below are some of the best deals from Amazon. If you would like to purchase this game for Windows, you will need to purchase the game from Blizzard.

Quick Answers

How much does Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War cost?

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was released on November 13, 2020. At release, prices started from £59.99 in the UK and $59.99 in the US.

Is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War good?

This year's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has taken many steps in the right direction. The campaign mode is easily one of the best yet, bringing one of the most stunning, immensely creative, and deeply immersive campaign experiences to date. The game also shines in its multiplayer mode as well, with great gunplay, and a smooth and responsive experience throughout. This year's multiplayer maps have also seen a great improvement. Although these two modes are brilliant, the Zombies mode is where the game stands out, bringing the main focus of the mode back to having fun. This year's Zombies mode brings a range of innovative new features you're sure to fall in love with.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review: Conclusion

It seems this year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has taken many steps in the right direction. The campaign mode is easily one of the best yet, with it being nothing less than stunning, immensely creative, and when paired with the new gameplay mechanics, it results in one of the most enjoyable single-player campaign experiences to date.

When it comes to multiplayer, the gunplay is amazing, it looks brilliant, and from start to finish it feels smooth and responsive. The maps this year are also much better, with great designs and less nooks and crannies for players to hide in. We’re a little disappointed with the new game modes, but overall the multiplayer is great fun.

This year’s Zombies mode seems to have been the main focus of the three modes, with most of the creative energy put into making Call of Duty Zombies fun again. Despite there only being one map available at launch, with the many new and improved features, Zombies is as fun as ever, much more enjoyable than Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies. All in all, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a great game that looks and feels amazing, we can easily recommend Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

Rating

Visually Reviewed Rated 8.5

Share this Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War review

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp