Xbox Series X Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War

How does COD hold up on next gen?

Black Ops Cold War will drop fans into the depths of the Cold War’s volatile geopolitical battle of the early 1980s. Nothing is ever as it seems in a gripping single-player Campaign, where players will come face-to-face with historical figures and hard truths, as they battle around the globe through iconic locales like East Berlin, Vietnam, Turkey, Soviet KGB headquarters, and more.

After last year’s amazing return to form for the Call of Duty series with the reboot of Modern Warfare, it was always going to be a tough task to follow it up with next year’s edition of the franchise. Black Ops is pretty much its own series now with Cold War being the 5th game to bear the Black Ops subtitle. This is also the first COD on new hardware, so it’s a chance for them to push through faster loading, raytracing and all that, but is it enough?

The campaign is your typical high-octane fare, but it does make a few changes such as choice making that actually has an impact on the story, as well as side-objectives. It’s a nice change of pace and while it isn’t the longest of campaigns, it’s done well enough that replaying it to mop up the remaining achievements isn’t a chore.

Multiplayer feels more responsive than ever, the new maps are well designed, and the weapons really pack a punch. Also being able to see your enemy’s health bar is very welcome and also being able to see much damage you inflicted is nice too. Your typical modes are all here and Nuketown has just launched to expand the map roster, this is going to be a multiplayer that is going to be hard to put down. The game also incorporates the next-gen version of COD Warzone and that is a decent upgrade as well, upping the visuals and load times of the legacy consoles.

Zombies has been a staple of the Black Ops series since the original game and Cold War is no different. The game comes with one map but it’s ridiculously fun and tough as nails, there’s a range of monsters to go alongside the zombies and the sheer number of them can be overwhelming. It doesn’t help matters that they can be quick too, but you can upgrade your skills and weapons as you could in previous games and if you have a good team behind you, you can get pretty far.

The visual leap from Modern Warfare to Cold War is a nice one. Load times are short, raytracing reflections look stunning and the levels look great running at a smooth framerate, upto 120FPS for those lucky enough to have a TV that supports it. I’ve heard of the game crashing on consoles, but I have yet to experience this myself and I didn’t come across any bugs so far. The voice-acting is well done and the soundtrack is impressive.

The Verdict

While not as polished as Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War is a great entry in the series and makes great use of the new hardware. The small changes to campaign are welcome and the refinements to multiplayer and Zombies are exactly why gamers pick up COD each year. It’s not going to redefine the genre, but it’s enough to keep us playing.

Score: 8.5