The Pros & Cons of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Alpha
Over the weekend, the massive first-person shooter, Call of Duty, gave PS4 users a taste Cold War’s multiplayer. Because of the 1980’s setting, won’t see some of the technological advancements that are present in Modern Warfare. Gone are the radar drones, unmanned mini-tanks, and Juggernaut armor. Instead, you get analog versions of nearly everything. Its a nice change of pace from the madness that MW could often turn into. But with that said, let’s take a look at some of the changes from the Cold War Alpha and if it will top 2019’s hit.
This We Like
- Marksman Rifles: Functioning as the middle point between ARs and Snipers, the Marksman rifle dominates the midrange. Or at least it’s supposed to. In Modern Warfare, they were often outpaced by AR’s with ACOGs and had too much dropped off to compete with snipers. In Cold War alpha, they feel much better, giving you two-shot kills to anything you hit above the chest and improved accuracy. As of now, they feel much better and rewarding to use.
- Satellite Is AWESOME: Map design was a big pain point for last year’s installment. The design leaned too heavily on “three-lane” map styles and didn’t offer many variations. Cold War already changed that with one of the best maps in recent CoD memory. This map, set near the crash site of a fallen satellite in the Angolan desert, is a breath of fresh air. There aren’t really lanes as much as there are “features” to the map. The crash site sits on the high ground, surrounding it is a series of caves and canyons. Off to one side, there’s sweeping desert and dunes. It supports a myriad of play styles and strats, which make for some exciting matches.
- Numerical Value On Attachments: A big quality of life improvement on Cold War is the values displayed with attachments. Previously, when you added a new item to your weapon it raised or decreased a stat meter. Sometimes, this made it difficult to understand how your attachments improved your weapon. Now it will state just how much an item affects your kit. Instead of an arbitrary meter, a new grip will say “Horizontal Recoil Control +15%”. It’s a small but welcome change for tinkerers.
- Ground War’s “Better”: Ground War went from one of my favorite game modes in early CoD to easily my least favorite. Maps were too big and had too many interiors. In the new “Combined Arms” mode, all the good things about Ground War’s scale are present, with most of the annoyances gone. Vehicles can get shredded with focused fire, the maps are a bit smaller, and there’s enough room to flank. This all could change by the retail version, but it’s a good start on revamping a stale mode.
- Pacing: Because of the lack of certain tech, the game feels a bit slower overall. And that’s not a bad thing. With much of MW’s killstreaks and equipment removed, there’s a higher emphasis on gunplay. Which is what a SHOOTER game should be about.
- Retooling scope glint: THANK YOU 3ARC FOR CHANGING THIS GOD-AWFUL IDEA. In MW, when you aimed down a sniper scope there’s an ever-present shining glint from your character. Which made it IMPOSSIBLE to find a good, covert location because FRIGGIN POLARIS WAS SHINING FROM YOU WHEN YOU AIMED.
- Miami is terrible: This map is a mess. There are way too many obstacles in the street, the interiors are crazy to navigate and there are back alleys that lead to nowhere. Oh, and for half the match its night time. Terrible map and easily the worse of the Cold War alpha.
- Guns feel “same-y”: One legitimate gameplay concern is the feel of the weapons. I know its a bit hard to describe in text, but many of the guns feel much too similar. Back in CoD 4, the M4 Carbine was a weaker gun, but it had minimal recoil. Compared to the AK-47 which had loads of stopping power, but kicked like a stallion. Cold War’s weapons don’t feel as distinct as that. Especially with the right attachments.
- Buggy UI: An issue that will surely see a fix before retail. The UI had a habit of displaying over itself. So when you logged on you might see the Welcome screen plastered over your Create-A-Class. A minor but annoying bug.
All in all, the game feels good and has the potential to be more of a “purists” game. While MW still caters to the casual crowd, I feel like Cold War might bring some of the older fans of the series back in. With its higher emphasis on gunplay and mechanical skill, I can see this being much more exciting to watch as an esport as well. Only time will tell as the full version of CoD Black Ops: Cold War hits stores this fall. But gamers will get another chance to play early as the Cold War beta goes live on October 8 for folks with pre-orders.