Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War / Warzone
Developer: Treyarch, Beenox, Raven Software, Infinity Ward
Website: Black Ops – Cold War
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platform: Playstation, XBOX, PC
Age Rating: 18+
Release Date: April 22, 2021
Price: Free in-game Update
Another 60 (roughly) days, and another season begins.
This time the changes are more apparent, so let’s reset the BattlePass, put on some new skins and dive straight in!
The new Operator Wraith looks insane!
It’s no surprise that loading into Verdansk on day 1, the lobby was filled with the same skins.
Captain Price (1984 version) as a free operator for Cold War owners seems a little random, but I’m sure it’ll have some reason further into the season. Knight has recently appeared in the store, and I assume Antonov will appear at some point. Honestly, the number of operators available is mind-blowing, and a blatant grab for some cash, but people buy them, so why not?
After numerous leaks, we were getting a new map, YouTube videos that change was coming, finally, it did. They nuked Verdansk, and I can honestly say it was the most underwhelming experience of my life!
I started my PS5 up at 18:00 GMT to prepare for the beginning of the 20:00 GMT event; it took me until 21:30 GMT to even get into the servers, at which point I had 30minutes left in event one and the lagging, glitches and crashing of the servers were so frustrating, everyone felt the same.
Picture this; I’m finally in, running with a random quad because my usual teammates are still in a server queue. We’re doing incredibly well. We rush the Juggernaut drop. I pick up the Jugg, and we are dominating; we’re advancing through hordes of zombies towards Dam, where the extraction point is. We get a call, the extractions happening, we’re going to get out and be victorious, we’re jubilant! But no, a cut-scene starts. There’s no chopper. The most underwhelming warhead, which has a very irregular flight pattern, drops short of the stadium taking out the fire station before it and nukes Verdansk.
I almost feel a deployed trophy system would’ve taken it out!
Server crashes and queues ruined the event excitement. I stayed on for Part 2, which was nighttime Rebirth Island, and this had huge potential. The map was excellent, the darkness helped the Roze skins for sure, but it also changed how you approached the game. I enjoyed it until I crashed out of a server and back into a 20-minute server queue. At this point, I switched off my PlayStation, cursed the developers and went to bed.
To quote the overhyped and underwhelming YouTubers, it was not “insane”, more outrageous that we expected anything different than what we got…. hours of pain and misery trying to get online.
I think they spent more on the new season trailer “celebrities” than paying for server upkeep.
Now here’s where it’s interesting, we didn’t get a “new” map, we got a re-skin of the existing layout, we’ve travelled back in time, and the Ural Mountains map that floated about was nothing more than a fairytale.
However, the new Verdansk is somewhat welcome. There’s been a lot of work on the map that Raven has done in the background and listened to the community on, let me list a few;
- Buy Stations are no longer blatantly out in the open
- New Points of Interest fill dead spaces
- A massive burst of colour, contrast levels are up to 11 (Roze skins)
The new Dam and Farm areas are more enjoyable drop zones, and it adds choice to your landing zones. Summit is massive, with so many different levels and sightlines; this is a snipers dream and pushes close-quarter battles when you get up close and personal. Superstore now has an Airplane Factory instead of a sales garage and gives more space and makes Superstore feel a lot busier. Not to mention Superstore is brighter and gets rid of the shadowy corners.
The Skyscrapers are under construction and have access to several levels at the top, changing that dynamic for those camping the dizzying heights of downtown.
I’d be amiss not to mention the open Stadium layout.
Are there snipers on the scoreboards?
Enemies in the stands or on the field hiding?
Wait, is that an ATV driving towards me!?
Arguably the biggest POI in Verdansk is now the Radar Array, a haven for those looking to pick people off from up in the clouds.
So to say we’ve not got a new map feels a little unfair. I know a lot of work has gone into these map changes, but I don’t know how long they can ride the coattails of an ever-changing Verdansk (if this is the case for the foreseeable).
Hunt for Adler
For those following the Intel storyline, NATO knows Adler is in Verdansk, and it’s up to the players in a limited-time event to bring him home by completing scavenger challenges in particular POI’s or via limited challenges in Cold War and rescue him from Stitch.
These “contracts” are meant to pinpoint his exact location and could’ve been so much more exciting in terms of execution, but it falls short at the hurdle and turns into a boring scavenger run.
However, as usual, this is all fell apart! Now everyone gets him free because it didn’t track correctly.
Slow clap! (Who tests this game?)
Cold War has had quite an update, and I’ve enjoyed playing this again so much more than Warzone. Yamantau, one of the new maps this season, is an excellent three-lane, multi-level area. I’m disappointed they’ve taken it out of rotation and replaced it with Diesel 24/7, another three-lane map but nowhere near as good. One lane is open season for mid-long range rifles, and the other is meant to offer CQB but is just a mess, avoid this map.
The new Duga map in Outbreak offers so much more versatility in play style and challenges you to think about positioning. However, my new favourite -Sanatorium – was such a wasted opportunity to give us an actual different Warzone map. I can’t think of a more traverse multi-tiered area that could’ve added a breath of fresh air to Warzone or even a second Rebirth style map.
Finding the Balance
It’s not all negativity though, the one thing Raven has done right is balancing the weapons! Finally, there is no “meta”, and players are using so many different weapons to make it more enjoyable. Not having to worry about levelling a specific gun is glorious.
Season 3 is a step in a fresh new direction, and I hope that the developers can build on this success, even with some of the issues I’ve noted above.
If there’s anything I’d like to ask, out of everything they could change, it would be two things;
- FOV for consoles in Warzone. For the love of seeing the bigger picture, let me see more as I can in Black Ops.
- Server stability. I can’t count on all my appendages how many times I’ve lost weapon challenge progression because of server time outs or disconnections.
For now, though, I’ll see you on the battlefield, commander!
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.