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: February 25, 2021
Price: Free in-game Update
So another season is well and truly underway, the BattlePass has reset, the characters get some fancy new clothes, and the weapons get some new blueprints, but all in all, has much changed?
First stop… Rebirth Island / Resurgence Extreme
Rebirth has been a firm favourite of mine since its launch last season. It’s fast-paced, trains your gun game and teaches you fighting skills. The game mode keeps players rotating and re-spawning, removing most campers compared to Verdansk, as the map is smaller, and this means we see more AR/SMGs, which usually means you’re coming up against a Mac10 or FFAR/Amax.
The initial update to Season 2 saw 90 people in the lobby, and it was chaos; it was insane, and as much as I had a hate/love relationship with the update, the regular 40 people mode now feels a bit slow. Maybe we could have a good middle ground for 60 people?
Either way, the only changes here are that the boat has gone. Spooky!
Next Stop – Outbreak?
Outbreak is a new game mode in Cold War that’s pretty fun.
It’s the Zombies of Warzone that returned my love of Cold War; without it, I don’t think I would have ventured back into the game.
Outbreak kicked off with a cross-game event that incorporated challenges in Outbreak and Verdansk, and once complete, you get 2 new blueprints for 2 weapons. These aren’t the best weapon blueprints and it feels like a lot of work for not much reward. However, the co-op mode is more fun than the rewards here.
Cold War’s new outbreak mode is a large open map that shares points of interests, including special sub-events like feeding a Dragon some zombies to open a chest, Pack-a-Punch to give your weapons some extra kick, Perks in the guise of soda cans and much more.
Each map also has the main objective, and once you complete that, you can portal to another map/dimension, and the worlds get harder as you go along (plus the rewards grow too), or pack up and exfiltrate via chopper. These choices are all team-based, so if you’re outvoted, you’re either going on or packing up and going home.
This mode has introduced me to some amusing people when joining random squads, even helping first-timers who’ve never played Cold War before like on the free weekend. It’s about getting your mic on and working with your squad as you move building to building, listening for the groans of zombies or the terrifying giggle of a child that leads you to a crate, or sometimes a mimic that will attack!
You can even catapult yourself from the ground off a launch pad and deploy your parachute to glide over the map. I just wish the vehicles were easier to drive!
I don’t think Outbreak was designed to fix the game’s problems, but it’s a great distraction from other game modes that can be frustrating; plus, there’s a solo mode that is good for levelling up weapons. However, to survive this mode, teamwork and forethought are key because as those levels get higher, the challenge gets harder. I suppose if you’re looking for some fun connection time that doesn’t involve you dying to the try-hards of Warzone. Try this!
Final Stop, Verdansk
If you’ve been following the hidden intel storylines and the teasers, then we knew a ship was headed to Verdansk. The previous season ended with a cut scene of Price and gang stopping a Nuke and jumping off the Damn. Is it the ship from Rebirth Island?
The video below is all of the cutscenes so far… I must admit that the woven storyline from the end of Modern Warfare and Warzone has been interesting to watch unfold.
Those secrets are zombies. Vodianoy, the cargo vessel for years thought to be lost at sea, held an unspeakable horror that brings undead creatures ashore to Verdansk, turning what was just a fabled nightmare into a horrifying threat for Operators to overcome.
These Zombies are leaking onto the shores and if you kill them all via an in-game event, you’re gifted a snazzy access card for a loot box, which includes a gold gas mask, fancy custom SMG and cash.
New Maps, new modes, Nukes, new blueprints and new characters. Let’s break this down.
*Update* On the 11th March 2021 the POI (point of interest) on the map changed and the zombies have ambled over to the Prison, leaving the ship empty and a place nobody is probably going to go ever again, what a waste! Why didn’t the zombies just multiply and spread across both areas, this seems like a very slow and tedious update to changing the landscape of the map.
The rumours from the 11/12th of March said the beginning of the end would start, however, this seems like a slow painstaking attempt to drag this out all season.
Verdansk has evolved Season to Season. We’ve now got nuclear silos, a train, bunkers, a crashed ship, even the dam has gotten a boat dock… and how about when the Stadium was closed?
However, the biggest change is coming; with what is rumoured to be a Plague Mode, this will force players to battle the un-dead before those nukes are launched, devastating the area.
Will this nuclear holocaust change the landscape, or are we looking at a new map entirely?
I think Warzone needs a new map. It’s been a year since we started this journey, way back in March 2020, right as the world descended into its chaotic journey. I’ve said it before, but I believe without Covid-19, Warzone wouldn’t have been the success it is today.
Operators & Weapons
Naga is our title character, born in Laos and raised in conflict, they are a former warlord who grew rich in trafficking drugs and weapons. Short-tempered and brutal, prime recruitment for Perseus.
Maxis has just arrived as I write this, playable in Cold War & Warzone. After her rescue from Firebase Z, she rejoins Requiem on the frontlines.
Wolf & Rivas have yet to appear, but they drop midseason, with both operators being a part of the rescue team searching for Adler.
Fara 83 is our latest fully-automatic assault rifle, along with the LC10, the latest SMG, both attainable via the purchasable BattlePass.
Along with those, we get a new Machete, a shovel, crossbow and sniper rifle at some point midseason.
Blueprints, Cosmetics & Bundles
There are roughly 707 bundles available in COD across all platforms, which is overwhelming and feels a bit greedy. I understand monetisation, and I get revenue is required for updates, staff, servers etc.… but when they charge £20 for a skin, it’s a struggling notion to get behind. I think a lower amount would have seen more purchases, but there’s also this rumour that buying bundles gets you easier lobbies initially? So is that how these streamers do so well?
Cosmetics, skins and blueprints are attainable both in-game or via pay to play. I can, however, appreciate the cosmetic changes on the reactive bundles that change depending on kill counts in different modes. It’s different and adds something to talk about, or if you’re in my group of regular gamers, our very own Cartergaz shouting “look at my gun glowing”, “look how pretty it is” haha.
The Battle Pass, however, isn’t the greatest. The weapons and cosmetics from the 100 tier bundle don’t excite me. It’s more a chore to complete it for the free coins in preparation for the next season. At least give us some exclusive content that is exciting and not as controversial as the Roze skin.
Most games have problems, but Call of Duty has three big ones that are frustrating and seem to be continuous;
- The overall file size of the game is insane. The fact that the latest generation of PlayStation and XBOX are around 320GB for both Black Ops and MW without its “packs” is disappointing. I’ve invested in a 1TB external SSD for all my PS4 games. Unfortunately, I can’t move my PS5 games there, so I’m stuck split across two storage mediums. I’ve uninstalled both campaigns and am still surrendering (Black Ops 180GB & 186Gb Warzone/MW) to COD. Will the next COD bring another 150GB file size too?
- Hackers and, somewhat, cross-play are ruining the game. Many YouTubers now run videos of them speaking to hackers and how easy it is to derail the game without being banned. Most use an IP spoofer to change their local address or Hardware ID changer to circumnavigate the anti-cheat engine. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been beamed across a map, through a wall, or even snapped onto immediately in a kill cam that I’ve nearly smashed my TV in frustration. So much now that I’m a walking meme when it comes to not enabling cross-play in my regular group of friends. Allow XBOX and PS4 to play together on a controller and if we want cross-play, allow us to change it in the settings and don’t burden us with that irritating pop-up when loading into the game.
- Glitches, lagging, and crashes seem to be a dime a dozen lately. Since Season 2 launched, I’ve disconnected more times than in the entire of Season 1 for Black Ops integration. I wish they would take the time to fix the issues than just roll back to previous versions that had even more glitches (the stim-glitch, invisibility glitch). They ruin the game and make it no fun for anyone. It’s a shame when one thing breaks, they fix it, and another appears in its place.
There’s so much to cover in all the miniature updates to these games, including unreleased game modes or season start modes like exfiltration, which is good fun but has some balance issues.
It’s easy to forget this technically is a free game, as Warzone is F2P and you could have never spent a penny, so to continue after a year with development and ongoing support is a huge positive for the companies involved.
Warzone does needs a change though, and hopefully, it’s coming in the shape of a new map, new modes, different styles of playlists, maybe even some balance across weapons to see less meta based guns and more diversity among groups.
Call of Duty has become a staple of my PlayStation evenings and has, for better or worse, consumed more time than any other title I own. I wonder, though, with the future releases of some heavy hitters like God of War, Horizon Forbidden West, Far Cry 6 and many others, when debating on storage space, will COD finally bite the dust?
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.