Treyarch returns to Call of Duty with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and updates the franchise while staying true to what has made it such a massive success.

Unlike Black Ops IV, Cold War features a campaign and it is one that offers players side missions, alternate in-mission objectives, dialogue options, and differing endings.

The game is set in the 80’s but jumps forward in time to Vietnam and other timeline events. The player is cast as an operative named Bell. Players have the option to customize their character in terms of name, gender, backstory and such, but it doesn’t change gameplay in any meaningful way. “Bell” is how you’re known in the game.

From Eastern Europe, to Vietnam, Cuba, and other locales, the game includes 80’s technology and music as players strive to stop a Soviet General named Perseus from unleashing a nuclear onslaught.

As fans of the series could have guessed, players undertake various missions using combat, stealth, infiltration, elimination, recovery, and more to save the day. There are all sorts of weapons to choose from, ranging from Western to Eastern and allows players to experience a variety of options from sniping, run and gun, and even a bow.

Vehicles also play a part, but they are more heavily featured in the multiplayer portion of the game.

There is an assault mode where players can use vehicles ranging from tanks, snowmobiles, jet skis, gun boats and more, which adds to the fun as ramming your ride into a landing area which an explosive attached is great fun.

The game does offer variations on the ending based on which side missions a player chooses to complete, and other choices they make along the way. It also offers players the chance to grab enemies and use them as a shield in taking on enemy fire. This is one option I would love to see appear in multiplayer.

The graphics are solid, and some of the landscapes from jungle to frozen tundra really stand out as I was played on an EVGA 2700 GTX card. The game was also considerably more stable than Modern Warfare was at launch, and I did not encounter any issues with my gameplay.

At first I thought the campaign was short, but I later realized I had become so engrossed in it that I mistakenly thought so. The levels do offer some real treats which I would love to discuss but do not want to spoil.

Multiplayer is the bread and butter of the series, and I think drives much of its popularity. Players will spend countless hours leveling up, customizing, and playing the various maps and modes as new content arrives until the release of the next game in the series.

Some have complained that the maps are a bit sparse and uninspired, but I have enjoyed my time in the multiplayer and appreciated the fact that I can now select only the modes I wish to play for Quickplay to avoid being placed in a mode I do not wish to play.

The co-op mode I liked so much in Modern Warfare is gone this time around in favor of a Zombie mode, and while it does not shake things up much from the prior Zombie offerings, it does offer plenty of entertainment value, and I look forward to seeing more content like it in the future.

The only issue I had with the game was with Warzone mode, as attempting to launch it took me to desktop and out of the game. Hopefully this will be smoothed out soon; patches and updates are already released, and next week will see the return of the popular Nuketown map which now is updated to 1984.

In the end Black Ops Cold War does not reinvent the franchise, but rather gives players more of what they have come to expect with a few new wrinkles to the mix. The game is available for Windows 10, PS4, PS5, XBox One and XBox Series X/S.

4 stars out of 5

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