Well, it’s not a new year until we get a Call of Duty beta to sink our teeth into. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War had it’s double weekend for beta testing the multiplayer. Now we can all discuss what about the multiplayer we liked, we disliked, and anything else. To start off, I didn’t get the chance to play the first weekend of the beta, but I took in some content on the first weekend to prepare for this video, and also asked around the player base to judge what the reaction was. It was pretty mixed. The connection issues that were a chief complaint, I’m going to chalk up to it being the first weekend of a beta test. But that is something to keep an eye on.
As for the other weekend, I played this one on my Xbox One X. For starters, it was sort of a relief that the beta wasn’t some massive download like we’ve grown accustomed to with Modern Warfare. After a quick download, I was off.
Halfway Between Modern Warfare and Black Ops 4
So, what does that mean? Well, the menus felt very much like Modern Warfare. That’s not a bad thing. That game had some of the best presentation of any of the Call of Duty games. So that’s a strong bit that doesn’t really have anything to do with the overall beta test though. But the statement of being “halfway between Black Ops 4 and Modern Warfare” could also be a death knell for the game.
My thoughts on Modern Warfare started off incredibly strong, and then waned, and then cratered very quickly. Infinity Ward took ages to make changes to massive problems in the game, and in some cases never actually fixed things. So while Treyarch gets a massive amount of crap, in Black Ops 4 they fixed things that popped up as problems in the game. For every M4 problem in Modern Warfare that got band-aid fixed, there were actually solutions to operator or gun issues in Black Ops 4.
But this isn’t about Modern Warfare. It’s just easy to compare this game to predecessors. You’re here to hear about the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Beta.
Gameplay, Feel, Guns, and Certain Maps
The best part about this beta test was feeling what a Call of Duty game should actually feel like. It’s about fast paced, quick twitch, shooting. It’s not Battlefield, it’s not Operation Flashpoint, it’s Call of Duty. In my first game, I could tell this was going to be a game that I liked much more than Modern Warfare. For all the afterglow that I had during the beta for MW, this game I was more reserved with my hype and praise. That’s not to say this game doesn’t feel as good as that beta test did, it’s just a different feeling altogether.
The Main Modes Of The Beta
The beta included all the game modes you’d expect, plus a couple new ones. So for veterans of not just CoD, but any shooter, you had: Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed, and Hardpoint. For new modes, we got the mix of old style Ground War and new style Ground War with Combined Arms. This wasn’t my favorite game mode to play because the maps included were pretty subpar. It’s a 12v12 battle for tactical supremacy with vehicles. Like domination, but with more flags. It was a fun concept to increase the size of the battlefield, but the maps held this one back for me.
Fireteam: Dirty Bomb was a fun little distraction. The game mode, where you drop in with ten, four player, teams wasn’t exactly groundbreaking for me. It got tense at points, but it wasn’t the highlight of the beta for me.
The one game type that I didn’t get to try out was VIP Escort. In Black Ops 4, “Safeguard” was the worst game mode in the game. So I wasn’t particularly thrilled to play a game mode that sounded similar to that. If you played VIP Escort and it was awesome, let me know how wrong I am about it!
For me, this was all about the core game modes though. And that part was great.
The main maps that were in the game were: Moscow, Miami, Satellite, and Cartel. The two larger maps with vehicles were: Crossroads and Armada.
Miami Is Bad
Of all the maps, the only one that truly caused frustration for me was Miami. The map isn’t the worst designed CoD map in existence (Icebreaker, Hacienda, and Jungle come to mind). It’s just not a great map. Hardpoint on Miami was the only really horrible experience I had playing, with two of the hardpoints being laughably easy to defend.
Crossroads Needs Better Visibility
Crossroads is a pretty standard “large-scale” map for the new Ground War type modes, but the visibility on the map left a lot to be desired. I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I could actually see who I was shooting at.
Moscow Was The Best Of The Beta
Turns out the small, three-lane, map was the best of the beta. Surprise, surprise. Keep it simple, stupid. CoD doesn’t need much more than that to still be fun after all these years.
Satellite Is Fun, But Half The Map Doesn’t Actually Exist
I played my first game of the beta on Satellite, and it was a great experience. It was also the only time I saw someone use the gigantic desert half of the map. Other than that, it was more focused on the other half of the map, so hopefully they can do some finagling with the objective based game modes to get the action out that way.
Armada Had Spawn Issues And Felt Too Big
Armada was a cool idea for a map. In practice, though, it fell short for me. It was way too easy to spawn trap the other team. Also, in some games, it felt like the enemy was few and far between. Changing the spawns should be easy enough to fix for Treyarch.
Cartel Had Some Objective Based Issues
Cartel was the mini-large map for this time around. It saw play in the larger team based games but also in rotation for normal sized objective based modes. I enjoyed it, it had some pretty good gameplay and I didn’t notice too many issues with spawns or anything like that.
The Guns Need Some Tuning
As with all CoD games, the guns are the real focus. The gunsmith is back but in a smaller, more standardized way. You can still have a bunch of customization options for your favorite guns that change the way they play. I’m very glad that this came back from MW, it was one of the best things about that game.
As for the balance of the guns, it felt like Sniper Rifles had a pretty clear advantage in this beta. I’m not much of a sniper (call me terrible at the game). So I didn’t get a lot of practice in with them, but I was noticing, especially on the larger maps, that snipers had a clear advantage. It wasn’t game breaking, but it was noticeable.
The MP5 and the Gallo SA 12 were the runaway all-stars for me though. The MP5 is a pretty classic CoD gun at this point. So it’s not a surprise that an SMG would be a star in this game. The Gallo SA 12 is probably going to need a nerf to how fast you can fire it, because it felt nearly automatic at certain points. Once again, not game-breaking though.
I couldn’t tell that one gun was going to be miles better than any other though, so that’s a solid start for the game. Hopefully we don’t run into any issues like with the M4 in MW.
Finishing Thoughts On The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer Beta
You can read the sheer joy and optimism I had for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare after the beta here. This time around, I’ve tempered my expectations. I’m not looking for the best Call of Duty of all-time. I’m simply looking for a functional game that holds my attention for it’s life cycle. In that regard, Modern Warfare was a spectacular failure.
The beta for Black Ops Cold War was/is (it’s still going on, ends 10/20 at 10:00am) a fun experience that gave a small taste to the overall game. I’m excited to see a multiplayer experience that feels more like classic Call of Duty without specialists, operator mods, or quicker time to kill than any game in the series.
Here’s to hoping that the full experience is well worth the time. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War releases on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Playstation 5, and PC on November 13th.
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