24 Hours with the ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War’ Multiplayer Modes

For Call of Duty fans, few things compare to the launch day hype. A fresh start; a fresh new year, reminiscing the glory days. You go in with limitless expectations, often to be swiftly and routinely brought down to reality.

Hours of multiplayer have been sunk in now, giving me a half decent understanding of where the game lies and where it can go with just a few simple tweaks. The foundations are there for a sensational CoD experience, its just a shame its hampered by a few things that could so easily been prevented. I will go as far as saying I thoroughly enjoyed my first full day on Cold War but unfortunately a lot of things left a sour taste.

From sizzling highs to downright lows the launch has been as much of a roller coaster as one could expect, but not due to the gameplay itself. Which is predominately what you would expect by now from a COD game, although now with a marginally higher TTK (Time to kill). Cold War provides stable gunplay on maps somewhat similar to older Call of Duty iterations. Which by itself is a good start. Going back to the predominantly three lane structure that helps users control maps with ease; This perhaps does cater to the ever expanding pro league more so than the common fan, but I myself as a veteran player welcomed the familiarity it provided. The structure may be good but the quantity is bad. The map count is wilted from the numbers seen in previous years, unspectacularly launching with just 8 maps in the core games modes. Great! 8 maps, you’d presume they’re all bangers right? Wrong. I found that out of the 8 maps I genuinely only loved a handful, with I, myself routinely vetoing a select few which just couldn’t handle the implications of certain game modes. (I’m looking at you Domination on Crossroads)

The maps seemingly cater to the fast paced pro league essence of play, leaving massive balancing holes involving the SMGs. The true S tier of multiplayer; high rate of fire; excellent TTK and an absurdly manageable climb leaves players being able to use the SMG in all situations, routinely out shooting AR’s in the mid range and, in many occasions at longer ranges, snipers rifles. The MP5 itself is so absurdly overpowered that people have already started calling for INSTANT balance changes on twitter. A simple tweak in the SMG meta and a reduction in the TTK would solve a lot of launch day issues, but not all of them.

Although SBMM (Skill based Match Making) doesn’t appear as strong as last year, it is ever prominent. You’ll go through glorious stretches of imbalanced starter matches (with the good and bad of the COD world) when you start to play, only to be brought back to reality shortly after. If you operate at a higher level than the rest of your squad, you’ll find they’ll feel the implications of this a lot more than yourself. A controversial approach to lobby management, SBMM has divided the COD community since the release of Modern Warfare last year. Personally I think a slight tone down in this area could help pay dividends in the longevity of the year long cycle cod strives to provide.

I think the core components are in place to help make this game what it should be. The movement mechanics are some of the finest tuned i’ve seen in a COD game. Camaraderie and teamwork is still ever present when playing objective modes. (As long as you’re in a squad). They’ve even went above and beyond to cater to those with colour blindness going further than many FPS shooters before. They’ve really done a great job in making COD feel like its true self while trying to tow the line into the future of the franchise, giving a gateway to a new set of fans while still adhering to the old guard. The things that make COD great are here and on full display, they’re just overshadowed by the issues at hand. Cold War still has that same COD wrapping as the rest of the great games in the series, the ones fans so nostalgically look back it and reminisce over so routinely.

It’s refreshing that this years game is fulled with a great amount of positives, Its just a shame at this stage of the game that its come with a rocky launch of balancing issues and other smaller disappointments (not that long-term fans haven’t come to expect this). Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War is a game that has A LOT of potential to revitalise the series. It has the potential for incremental changes that could make the game into a vastly greater gaming experience, changes that Treyarch can, and probably will, make in line with justified consumer feedback. Although my 8 hours of multiplayer time isn’t everything. I am optimistic Treyarch is attempting to recapture the spirit of the franchise’s golden generation of titles. With some weapon balancing and additional maps on the horizon , the potential is there to give the series the correct push back to the juggernaut it once was.

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