Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War shoots blanks

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the most anticipated first-person shooter game of the year, failed its audience by releasing last week an unfinished game full of bugs and performance flaws.

Black Ops Cold War was released on Nov. 13 on all platforms, including the latest Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Players can choose from three versions of the game including an Ultimate Edition version for $90, a backward-compatible version for $70 and a standard version for $60. Still, at any price point, the game is all but unplayable.

Although the new game garnered major excitement with the zombie-filled trailer released on Sep. 30 and the return of many beloved weapons and killstreaks, the hype was not worth what was ultimately sold to millions of gamers. Perhaps, the franchise cursed itself by releasing the game on Friday the 13th as players immediately noticed countless issues with the game.

Multiplayer is by far the worst thing about Cold War. The first thing players notice is the appalling in-game visuals. It appears Treyarch Studios, the game’s developers, focused on all the cut scenes and trailer graphics and put little effort into the in-game graphics. All the characters appear to be smaller than usual and experience delays with each movement. The motions of the characters were also poorly executed, appearing as if they were running on ice, thus, taking ages to move across the map.

The multiplayer option displays a split-screen, making it difficult for players to view the in-game text and details. (Conny Chavez | The Poly Post)

The split-screen mode is horrible as the screen alters into a 3-to-4 ratio with two black bars peeking at the sides. This is incredibly frustrating as the text and details within the game are already small, but with this screen size, text is rendered unreadable.

Despite the intentions of a split-screen option, second players do not have a map on their screens and must rely on the first player’s screen to view the enemy on the radar. Most often, second players are unable to use any killstreaks, meaning they are unable to use any rewards achieved for killing a certain number of enemies without dying.

Split-screen gamers are also restricted to playing only multiplayer. Split-screen gamers cannot play the legendary zombies together due to it only being available for online multiplayer. This is one of the dumbest moves from the developers, as every previous Zombies has been available split-screen and they understand their fans were expecting the option.

The skill-based matchmaking, a system that matches players with others that are in a similar rank or have similar skills, is disappointing and absurd. The whole point of people playing multiplayer games is to feel motivated to rank up by competing against challenging and more skilled players.

Cold War has one of the lowest performance levels out of all Black Ops franchise games, as it is full of glitches. Every time that I played Cold War, my screen has frozen and crashed mid-game due to its countless glitches. The most infuriating thing about any game is having it crash in the middle of a match, yet it happens all the time in Cold War. Players are unable to save any progress or rank-ups as the game crashes before returning to the waiting lobby.

Despite the huge backlash from fans, Treyarch Studios have only altered a small detail of the game through an update. Treyarch nerfed the MP5 submachine gun, meaning they reduced its power. The MP5’s damage range has been reduced by 33% forcing players to choose other weapons.

Although it is understandable that every production team faces issues when developing a product during a pandemic, it seems as though Treyarch and Activision completely rushed to simply release the game. I would have much preferred for them to delay the release than to pay $60 for an unfinished game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a tragedy for the franchise.

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