BLACK OPS COLD WAR IS NOT A HOME RUN
A sour taste.       


HANDS ON PREVIEW

By JAY TEE
19/10/20
Previewed on Xbox One X  

I found these post cards… IN HELL.

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Black Ops Cold War is on paper as feature rich and content stuffed as one has come to expect from this stalwart shooter; a veritable gift basket of modes and ideas that will inevitably serve a broad, excited audience. But after spending a fair amount of time with the recent Open Beta, there’s a number of key elements that make this latest iteration a swing and a miss.

For starters, the traditionally zippy player movement is retained, but without the heft introduced in Infinity War’s most recent take on Modern Warfare. There’s a fine line between floaty and responsive, so it’s a shame that Cold War feels more like a disembodied camera than “boots on the ground”. Navigating obstacles is also far too sticky and reminds me of Battlefield’s constant struggle with cover vaulting.

The variance in polish and approach extends to the modes themselves. Close quarter combat works best on the smaller maps, where mounting corners has been removed in favour of twitch reactions and lanes of action. This feels much more in keeping with the COD’s of old, especially after Modern Warfare’s frankly disastrous map design. Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, and Domination are significantly more enjoyable in Cold War as a result.

Where things really fall flat though are in the larger maps with an increased vehicle focus. The handling is laughable at times, with maps still not quite open enough to support that kind of speedy traversal. The bigger team battles, which in one instance centres around collection of uranium and setting off dirty bombs, is absolutely dreadful on a few levels.  

For one thing, the visuals take a nosedive, with fuzzy draw distances and a lack of detail throughout. The absence of decent UI signposting makes orientating yourself a nightmare, with objectives and ping markers far too small to be clocked in the heat of the moment. There’s also a down but not out animation that looks like Spiderman ate a dodgy curry.

The Open Beta only provided a snapshot of the multiplayer offering, but based on what we played, Black Ops Cold War is not in a good state.




TARPS?

At the bottom of some of our articles, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.  

The SHODDY CODDY badge is for a game that includes mechanics or controls that just don’t feel right.

The CORPSE ON THE PILE badge is for a game where you can sacrifice yourself for the greater good.

The KILLJOYS badge is for a game where you can deliberately make it so other players have a miserable time.

The LEAVES ON THE LINE badge is for a game where awkwardly placed geometry and/or bad level design causes you to get unintentionally stuck.

The FRAMERATE VIAGRA badge is for a game with mostly solid performance, but has occasional dips or stuttering.

The SCEPTICAL FACE badge is for when a game doesn’t leave a strong first impression. Perhaps more time is needed to decide?

The HYPE-O-SPRAY badge is for a game that has, or may yet become, a victim of its own hype.




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