“Call of Duty” games are like pork chops. A pork chop is pretty much always going to be fine. Not great, not awful, just fine. Someone might have some great memories with pork chops, but that memory probably has little to do with the pork itself, and more to do with the people they ate with.
“Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War” launched an open beta from Oct. 17 and 18, giving players on PC and Xbox an opportunity to play the multiplayer modes and give feedback to Treyarch and Activision, who developed the game. Sure enough, it’s by-the-numbers “CoD.”
All of the usual multiplayer suspects make an appearance. Team deathmatch, hardpoint, domination and kill confirmed. The game modes are fun enough, but there’s nothing new or fresh about them.
The guns lack any sort of character, except for the AK-47 and AK-74U, which sound and feel like the real thing. But the others all felt like point and click lasers. Picking up a random gun off the ground didn’t feel like a change at all.
The biggest problem with this game is map design. In recent “CoD” titles, the developers have strayed away from three-lane maps, maps that have three general areas where players can be, opting instead for more realistic open worlds. This makes the game much more chaotic and far less predictable, marring the game’s competitive integrity.
The open world nature of “Cold War’s” maps makes them devoid of much cover to hide behind, promoting constant sniper duels. And while these long range dances of death are fun, they can’t be the only viable strategy to win a game.
Some of the maps are also far too cluttered. Enemies can lay down in bushes to pop up at any point before laying down again, unseen and unheard.
“Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War” makes playing with friends extremely difficult. Figuring out who can queue with who can take a lifetime, as players will appear to be offline, or simply aren’t joinable. Then someone’s game unexpectedly crashes, or the entire party loses connection to the server, and the process begins again.
It’s maddening, but because the game is only in beta, the mistake slides for now. Hopefully, Treyarch and Activision will fix the problem before the full game’s release on Nov. 13.