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Saturday, 21 November 2020

Doom Eternal on Switch Will Now Be Digital-Only

Doom Eternal review discussion

It has been a while since we last heard an update on Doom Eternal for the Nintendo Switch. We knew it was coming, just not when it was coming. We have finely gotten an update and it might not be a good one for players looking forward to snagging a physical copy of the game.

Customers who pre-ordered Doom Eternal on Switch started to receive messages that their physical pre-orders were being canceled at GameStop. Some people began to wonder if the game was getting canceled altogether. Turns out, Bethesda is not offering physical versions of the game and it will be a digital-only release.

Bethesda released a statement to IGN and stated: "While Doom Eternal is 100% on track for an imminent digital-only release on Nintendo Switch, the absence of a physical release at retail resulted in canceled pre-orders."

The spokesperson continued,  "Affected customers will receive full refunds and should contact their preferred retailer for more information."

For those who were looking forward to a physical version, they might be disappointed now that they will need to do a hefty download. The file size for the original Doom on the Switch is over 21GB and I wouldn't think this one will be any smaller. Make sure to clear some room if you do not have a micro SD with much storage.

Doom Eternal is currently available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The game can also be played on the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S thanks to backward compatibility. The Switch version still does not have an official release date. It is also on Xbox Game Pass. Make sure to check out DualShockers' official review of the game right here.

The post Doom Eternal on Switch Will Now Be Digital-Only by Grant Huff appeared first on DualShockers.


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Developers Undo MP5 Nerfs on Accident

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War

If you have hopped into the multiplayer mode in the recently released Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, then you might have noticed how overpowered the MP5. The devs quickly patched the game after players expressed their concerns. However, that patch has now been reversed by accident.

The first nerf reduced the damage range of the weapon by 33% and adjusted the recoil to make it more challenging to stay on target when firing.

The first nerf was a quick hotfix made before a larger patch that came at a later date. That larger patch reversed the first hotfix though. Treyarch addressed the problem in the patch notes: "These changes were unintentionally reverted in today's update and will return in an upcoming update."

Hopefully, the patch that will reverse the second patch which reversed the first patch will be out soon. In my time with the online mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the MP5 is extremely overpowered. There are plenty of times that every player in the match is using the weapon. And, to be honest, I don't blame them. The MP5 is the first SMG players can use online. So it didn't take any time to unlock and players were decimating everyone with it. If the gun was the last SMG to unlock, maybe this wouldn't have been as big of an issue.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is currently available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Make sure to check out DualShockers' official review of the game right here.

The post Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Developers Undo MP5 Nerfs on Accident by Grant Huff appeared first on DualShockers.


Genshin Impact: miHoYo Sues Two Players Who Leaked Version 1.2 Closed Beta Content

Genshin Impact version 1.2 leaked feature. Humoristic screenshots with VEnti described as "leakers" and another Venti looking menacingly from behind described as "mihoyo", with paimon flying around described as "emergency food"

miHoYo announced on November 19 its plans to bring to court players who leaked content from the Version 1.2 Closed Beta Test of Genshin Impact (PC, PS4, PS5, Mobile, soon on Switch). Leaking content from the test is a violation of the non-disclosure agreement players had to sign to participate. As such, miHoYo has initiated "procedures to pursue legal action against those guilty of such violations".

miHoYo investigated and traced down the leaks to two players whose info has been partially revealed:

Server: Celestia Server
Nickname: 星***千鶴
Live Server UID: 100***556
Beta Server UID: 1***31

Server: America
Nickname: J**z
Live Server UID: 600***200
Beta Server UID: 2***28

miHoYo explained it understands players wish to learn about news as soon as possible. However, Closed Beta Test content is content that's still in development. As such, we might get the wrong idea if we see it before we should. miHoYo also urged players to follow official sources for content reveals. Lastly, miHoYo will turn up the effort to fight leaks, and kindly asked players to not share that kind of info.

The statement regarding the Genshin Impact version 1.2 leaked content was first shared in English on Facebook. Later on, it was published in Japanese as well:

Moreover, it's important to note why miHoYo is doing that. Nearly everything about Version 1.1 was leaked before its release on November 11. miHoYo is now taking leaks more seriously than ever, and it looks like it won't be happening anymore.

Personally speaking, its not like I'm on miHoYo or any company's side, but not breaking NDA is common sense. I believe Genshin Impact most notably has a lot of easily impressionable players because of their young age or their lack of experience with Japanese (gacha) games. As such, leaks and their batch of false or incomplete information can have pretty  dire consequences on the community. Something I personally don't want to deal with, as someone whose job is to regularly go through Genshin players' gathering grounds and official channels. I'm tired of "is this character gonna get nerfed" debates because of leaks. It's extremely rare in the first place for characters in a gacha game to get nerfed too.

miHoYo recently lowered the difficulty of the story boss fight against Childe. The ongoing Unreconciled Stars event also has a pretty neat detail if you own Venti.

The post Genshin Impact: miHoYo Sues Two Players Who Leaked Version 1.2 Closed Beta Content by Iyane Agossah appeared first on DualShockers.


Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is Coming to GOG

Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the first Sony exclusive titles to make its way over to PC. The game was released on Steam back in August of this year. It looks like now the game is coming to GOG.COM as well.

The announcement came from the GOG Twitter account. The Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition will be hitting the store on November 24 and will feature full GOG GALAXY 2.0 support.

https://twitter.com/GOGcom/status/1329786676185616387

Hopefully, the release goes smooth on GOG. When the game released on Steam, it wasn't the most stable game out there. Players started to report technical glitches and hard crashes. Guerilla has followed the release with many patches that have stabilized the game since its launch.

It great to see more and more players get familiar with Horizon Zero Dawn. It truly was a great game that was a must-play for PS4 owners and a system seller as well. Its sequel, Horizon Forbidden West was announced earlier this year for the PS5 and it sure does look incredible. I am sure plenty of people would like to see what all the fuss is about before hopping into the next game in the series whenever it does release.

Horizon Zero Dawn is currently available for PS4 and PC. The game is playable on the newly released PS5 as well thanks to backward compatibility. Make sure to check out DualShockers' official review of the PC version. If you happen to be interested in the PS4 version, we also have that review as well.

The post Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is Coming to GOG by Grant Huff appeared first on DualShockers.


Cyberpunk 2077 Updated PC Specs Revealed, Ray-Tracing Requirements Highlighted

Cyberpunk 2077

A couple of months back, CD Projekt Red announced the system requirements that would be needed for those looking to play Cyberpunk 2077 on PC. Surprisingly, the requirements to play the game at a baseline level proved to be pretty minimal, but today, the developer has announced what those with beefier rigs will be able to accomplish.

A new list of PC specs for Cyberpunk 2077 were unveiled today on Twitter with the most notable additions being the details being for those looking to run the game at a high level. When it comes to both the High and Ultra requirements for Cyberpunk 2077, you'll need to have 12GB or RAM ready to go at a minimum, with 16GB being required for Ultra settings. An AMD Ryzen 5 CPU will then be needed for Ultra, while a Ryzen 3 can work for High. Lastly, the GPU; those playing on High will need an RTX 2060 while Ultra users will need an RTX 2080S/RTX 3070 at a minimum.

And when it comes to running actual ray-tracing on Cyberpunk 2077, you'll need even more power. To use RT at a minimum, you'll at least need an RTX 2060. A full-blown RTX 3080 (which is nearly impossible to find right now) will then be needed to run the game at max settings with ray-tracing enabled. Otherwise, most of the aforementioned specs continue to ring true here with 16GB of RAM and a Ryzen 5 being required.

Chances are, you might not have a setup like some of the ones mentioned here, but that's perfectly fine. The best part of gaming on PC is how games can be optimized for different amalgamations. Even if you don't have an RTX 3080 in hand right now, you should be able to get more than enough enjoyment out of this one.

Cyberpunk 2077 will finally launch on PC next month on December 10. It will also be coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Stadia.

The post Cyberpunk 2077 Updated PC Specs Revealed, Ray-Tracing Requirements Highlighted by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.


Grand Theft Auto Online Goes to Cayo Perico For Next Heist

Yesterday, Rockstar started teasing their "biggest ever" update for Grand Theft Auto Online. As predicted, the new slice of content adds a brand new private island to the game for players to explore. However, the most exciting part is likely the new heist you can take on either by yourself or with up to three friends. Obviously, there is so much more content available, but every time a heist comes into the game, it's a big deal. Check it out.

The Cayo Perico Heist in Grand Theft Auto Online is the most exciting content the game has gotten in a long time. Not only are players getting a new heist, but a whole new landmass comes with it. Plus, solo players finally have the perfect heist for them. Personally, I've always felt held back in GTA Online because of the requirements to team up for heists. Now, I can jump in and do them by myself once my friends inevitably fall off of the content grind.

Cayo Perico isn't only about heists though. Players can expect tons of new stuff to do and collect. From new weapons and vehicles to new radio stations, Rockstar is putting in everything but the kitchen sink. Unless that submarine HQ has a kitchen sink in it. In that case, you can also get yourself a digital sink. Which would be rad.

Grand Theft Auto Online gets The Cayo Perico Heist on December 15. The game is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The next-gen version comes to PS5 and Xbox Series X sometime in 2021.

The post Grand Theft Auto Online Goes to Cayo Perico For Next Heist by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.


The Last of Us TV Series at HBO Greenlit, Production to Begin Soon

the last of us, naughty dog, playstation 4

Earlier this year, it was announced that a TV series based on The Last of Us was in the works at HBO with writers Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin being tied to the project. As of today, a substantial new development in the show's creation has now come about.

HBO and Warner Media released a press release this afternoon announcing that its series based on The Last of Us has officially been ordered by the network. While the series was previously just being pitched to HBO as a project in development, the network has now officially picked it up meaning that the next steps of production will start to begin.

Much like before, Mazin and Druckmann have been announced as the primary writers and executive producers of The Last of Us alongside Carolyn Strauss, who has previously worked on Game of Thrones and Chernobyl. Other producers include Naughty Dog's Evan Wells and PlayStation Productions' Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan. The series is also being developed in tandem with Sony Pictures, PlayStation Productions, and Naughty Dog itself.

While this announcement makes the TV iteration of The Last of Us more official than it was previously, new information on the project hasn't really come about. The number of episodes or a potential debut have yet to be divulged, but now that an official order has been put in by HBO, more information should start to come about at a quicker pace.

As for the show's plot, it is said to center entirely around the first installment of The Last of Us, which follows Joel and Ellie in the trek across the United States. So if you're someone who really hates the decisions that were made narratively in this year's The Last of Us Part II, no need to complain in the comments down below.

The post The Last of Us TV Series at HBO Greenlit, Production to Begin Soon by Logan Moore appeared first on DualShockers.


NBA 2K21 Review — More of the Same, But Prettier

As the lifespan of the Xbox One and PS4 continued to age, it seemed to me like the NBA 2K series continued to decline year after year. Each time, the next iteration would make some minimal adjustments to the gameplay, introduce a new story to my career mode, and shoehorn in ads and microtransactions to milk that player base for all their worth. Visual Concepts has advertised that it has created a new experience from the ground up for the next generation of hardware. While NBA 2K21 might look like a next-gen experience, it certainly doesn't feel like one.

That might sound like a harsh statement, but the contrast between graphical/technical improvement and gameplay improvement is steep. NBA 2K21 for the Xbox Series X and PS5 looks incredible. Towards the end of the previous generation, the last few games in the series tended to blend together. Now that Visual Concepts can take advantage of more powerful technology, the lines between reality and make-believe are starting to blur.

The lighting in NBA 2K21 is the star. NBA Courts pop of the screen and offer unreal reflections. During instant replays and timeouts, you will notice just how much it has improved. Players look much more lifelike and it could probably fool someone for a real NBA game if they took a quick glance at the screen. And the sweat. Oh, the sweat. I know it's a trope to show off how good the next 2K game looks by close-ups of sweaty players, but it really does sell you.

The extra horsepower of the next-gen hardware allows the game to get closer to a real NBA experience. Before each game, the court will be filled with players warming up doing their pre-game rituals, referees will be consulting midcourt, cheerleaders will be pumping up the crowd, and the TV commentators will be sitting courtside. I have watched plenty of NBA basketball in my life and Visual Concepts sure nailed shoot around.

Another aspect that might fly under the radar to some is that players will not have hover as much as they did in the past. 2K tasks players making quick decisions based on what the defense or offense gives them. If a player makes a move, the game has to play an animation for that move. In the past, you might have noticed players hovering over the court to get to the spot where the animation was going to play out. Or their feet will shift in an unnatural way. Movements in NBA 2K21 are much more fluid. Player's shoulders will rub much more naturally when they are driving to the paint. Visual Concepts has really improved how natural the game looks and feels.

NBA 2K21

Once you get into the game though, 2K veterans will notice everything looks better, but you are still playing the same 2K you have played before. I will say, NBA 2K21 has made adjustments that I greatly appreciate and noticed. Players will naturally find the three-point line after running around a set of picks. If you take a step back that would normally straddle the line, players will make sure to step behind the line. I have come to love playing with Damian Lillard because when he has the open space, especially when coming off a ball screen, a step back three is much easier and fun to pull off.

On top of that, pull-up jumpers seem to be much improved. For an NBA player, a pull-up jumper isn't too hard to make. NBA 2K has made it not so easy in the past. I found that if I was coming around a ball screen and noticed an open window to take a shot, I didn't hesitate to pull up. In previous versions of 2K, I would only take outside shots if I knew my player was standing in one place. Now, pulling up off the dribble looks and feels natural. Veterans might notice a few leaning jumpers falling where they wouldn't have had a prayer in the past.

Other than those changes, I wouldn't say this next-gen version of NBA 2K21 has done much else to really separate itself from its predecessors. There have not been many groundbreaking achievements done to make this the definitive version of the game. It still feels pretty identical even though Visual Concepts introduced a couple of new gameplay mechanics that spice things up for you depending on if you like how they control. The first of these is a new way to control your player's shot.

While I personally wasn't a fan at all, you have the option now to control the flight path of the ball with the analog stick. Once the shot is starting to be attempted, the analog stick can be brought back to the center of the stick, almost mimicking shooting the ball right on line. If you move to the far left, the ball will miss to the left. Too far right, the ball will miss to the right. I found that any shot I attempted, this new control just felt too unnatural to me. After making a great move past your defender, the last thing you would want to do is awkwardly try to flick your thumb and align it back right in the center. I'll take my normal button press with open jumpers and different rotations of the stick to get around defenders for contested layups.

The second addition comes with controlling your player's ball speed. I honestly didn't notice too much of a difference compared to other 2K games and believe it doesn't give anyone that big of an advantage or disadvantage. Some might come to master the new moves, but I have yet to see it.

Gameplay aside, some of the mainstays of the NBA 2K series are back for the next generation of consoles. MyCareer and MyTeam return and I honestly had quite some fun with them. I have always felt like these modes are at their best when the player hasn't played 2K in a few years. Maybe that is just a testament to how repetitive this series has been, though.

NBA 2K21

MyTeam offers a laundry list of tasks to do. Whether that is as a single-player experience with matchups against custom created teams in 5v5 or 3v3 games, or online matches against other players, you will never not have something to do. Each game mode might offer a different reward such as MyTeam currency that can be used on card packs or even card packs themselves. Those said card packs could offer new players, badges that can be tied to players, shoes that players can use to boost stats, or contracts to lengthen the number of games your players can be used.

If you don't want to shell out real money for packs and want to experience the long grind to upgrade your team, MyTeam is an enjoyable experience for the most part. There is a lot to do and constantly upgrading your team provides a longing satisfaction. However, I will always point out that card packs are only a way to incentivize players to use real money. I wish unlockables were a lot more transparent rather than just wishful hopes. Plus, if you are playing a game online and you get disconnected from the 2K servers, it will count as a loss and players will lose another game on their contract. I have been disconnected 3 or 4 times and had to use a contract on some players while also taking an L. There needs to be a way for teams not to take a hit when the 2K servers are the problem.

In MyCareer, you take the role of Junior, the son of a New York basketball legend who recently passed away. Junior had only played football throughout his school career, until his senior year of high school, when he decided to lace up his shoes and hit the hardwood. You can play through his senior year of high school, but you also have the option to jump right to the NBA draft. If you decide to play through high school, plenty of different story paths will open up such as deciding to skip college and go straight to the G-League, going to college and competing for a national championship, or even deciding what agency to sign with once you are going to get drafted. NBA 2K21 has tried to emulate the career of a professional basketball player so players can see what it's like through their eyes.

Being an NBA nut myself, I can't help but grin a little bit whenever that next big hurdle is jumped over in MyCareer mode. In the first NBA game, Junior will run out from the tunnel and jump into shoot around with his new team. Leaving the locker room looks pretty surreal with the power of next-gen hardware. It looked like the pre-game for an actual NBA game.

Even with all of the new technical bells and whistles though, MyCareer mode in NBA 2K21 isn't anything that'll blow your socks off. The story is incredibly predictable, the narrative can be very campy, and you can really tell the game was made to look great during matches, not cutscenes. If you go into it wanting a great story mode first and gameplay second, you will be disappointed. The addition of a WNBA MyCareer mode is a cool bonus that I believe will make some people happy. Though, this leads me to the expansion of its online MyCareer mode.

NBA 2K21

The City is an expansion of The Neighborhood. This is a hub world that features NPCs to give you quests to complete, games to play against other players, and it wouldn't be an NBA 2K game without things to purchase with real money such as clothes or even VC. I have always thought the idea of an open-world basketball experience where players all over the world can compete would be incredible. But when I launch the game for the first time and everyone has already leveled up their rating to the high 80s or low 90s because they purchased VC, it's a little disheartening. The City isn't anything groundbreaking, it's just more ways to play 2K online against other players with your created player and another way for 2K to try to get players to purchase VC with real money.

NBA 2K21 on next-gen consoles might look like a next-gen leap for the franchise, but it still lacks any meaningful improvements on the gameplay side of things. Visual Concepts has made small improvements that were needed such as improving pull-up jumpers and collision detection. However, this isn't the leap many fans were hoping for. Also, in all honesty, I still can't help but feel a little gross hopping into any of the online modes 2K21 has to offer since the publisher has previously included some pretty predatory microtransactions and unskippable ads. You can slice it any way you want. The City might have countless amounts of things to do in it, MyTeam might offer plenty of different scenarios to play through, but NBA 2K21 can still be a pay to win experience if someone wants to open up their wallet.

Have we hit the ultimate ceiling for basketball simulation in terms of gameplay? Over the past five or so years, 2K has not evolved very much in how it controls. And to be fair, why should they? The current control scheme still works well and I am not sure what more innovation can be done using a modern controller. The problem that these games keep running into is that they just feel too repetitive and convoluted. Every year we get a similar MyCareer mode with an underwhelming storyline, a convoluted MyTeam mode, and an online experience that rewards those who fork over real cash. Until 2K and Visual Concepts can evolve the series in some way, or people stop buying more VC, I have to imagine the repetitive feeling and microtransactions will be around for a while.

The post NBA 2K21 Review — More of the Same, But Prettier by Grant Huff appeared first on DualShockers.


FIFA 21 Kicks Off Season 2 of FUT With Intriguing Changes and Icon SBCs

FIFA 21, EA Sports

Today marks the first day of Season 2 in FIFA 21. That means a brand new battle pass-like system and tons of new objectives to start working on in FUT. For this go-around, EA Sports has made a few small changes to what we saw last year. Notably, we're getting mid-level players rewards much earlier than we did in FIFA 20. Plus, today the team dropped the first set of Icon SBCs. Check it out.

https://twitter.com/EASPORTSFIFA/status/1329847128206831619

For most, the Icon SBCs are probably the big talking point. These took a break in FIFA 20, but they're back. Of course, later in the game cycle, players will also be able to earn other Icons via Icon Swaps. However, these are the first ones you can "craft" through SBCs. Javier Zanetti, Edwin van der Sar, and Luis Figo are the first three up. Each is overpriced in my opinion, though you could probably do them cheaper if you wait for lightning rounds over Black Friday. That said, if you want to get one, you have 29 days to do so. Fortunately, if you just want to test them out, you can craft the loan version relatively easily.

Personally, I probably won't worry too much about this set. Both Zanetti and van der Sar would make my squad, but I don't know if they're worth the assets at this stage. That said, it's always fun to toss an Icon or two in the club, so you might consider doing one of these.

Outside of the Icons, the battle pass is pretty intriguing this season. In FIFA 20, we didn't get a mid-tier player reward until Season 4, but FIFA 21 is doing it a few months early. They've also completely gotten rid of player loan items in the season pass. That should mean you'll see fewer players subbing on Mbappes and the like before kickoff in Friendlies. Of course, you can get those Icon loans now, but that requires a few minutes of actual work. My hope is that casual players stay lazy and we don't see many Figos popping up.

The mid-level players on offer for this go-around are all boosted silvers. The trio includes Joseph Aidoo, Andres Tello, and Woo Yeong Jeong. For me, I'll probably go with Tello. Though Aidoo looks pretty fun, and Jeong could be a fun addition to a Bundesliga side. I rock a Serie A team, so Tello can help out when Kessie inevitably gets red-carded in FUT Champs.

Players at the end of the pass would be exciting if you could get them today. However, knowing you won't have these dudes until the end of December makes it a bit less exciting. That said, you'll have either Naby Keita, Alessio Romagnoli, or Iago Aspas waiting for you. Again, these are fine players, but I don't know if they'll make many squads by the time you'll finally have access to them. Given his position and league, Romagnoli probably has the best chance to still be somewhat viable in January, but it's not the best look from EA.

All told, this is a middling start to Season 2 in FIFA 21. The Icon SBCs look overpriced, especially when you consider how hard EA nerfed League SBCs. I do like seeing more reward players in the season pass. I just wish they were juiced a bit more to make them viable when you can actually get them in your squad. As ever with EA, it's a case of one step forward, three steps back.

FIFA 21 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The next-gen update drops on December 4.

The post FIFA 21 Kicks Off Season 2 of FUT With Intriguing Changes and Icon SBCs by Ricky Frech appeared first on DualShockers.


Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Review — Forgetting its History

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Review

If it's November of any given year, that means there's a new Call of Duty title gracing store shelves and digital marketplaces. This year's title is another entry in the Black Ops series, so if you're expecting anything similar to last year's Modern Warfare, you're sure to be disappointed. Instead, this year's Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War took some tentative steps outside of the franchise's comfort zone, but ended up with almost nothing to show for it.

Campaign

From its first mission, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes steps to demonstrate how it's differentiating itself from other titles. Players start by ambushing a house filled with enemies ringing in the new year and chase their team's target across rooftops. When he's finally captured, players get to actually choose what to say in the form of a dialogue tree. At least for me, this was a huge change for a Call of Duty title. I'm more accustomed to letting the game's characters do the talking while I have fun running and gunning.

That being said, being able to actually get involved in the game's story is extremely welcome. Every dialogue choice has an effect on the game, from the innocuous to the explicitly obvious ones. There are multiple points where players can choose to throw that target off the roof as soon as he spills the beans, or players can capture him for further interrogation right there, changing the game's ending in its very first mission.

Dialogue trees are just one of the many departures from the Call of Duty norm that Treyarch has decided to make. The second comes almost immediately after the first mission wraps up – you're introduced to the new Black Ops team and the safehouse you'll all be calling home while working to prevent the actions of Perseus, a Russian agent that has changed the balance of the Cold War every time he's come into play. This base of operations is also where players will be spending their downtime. That's right, there's time spent in a Call of Duty title not purely blasting bad guys away with enormous weaponry.

And really, it's pretty nice. For once, players will get to learn a little bit about the characters they're working alongside. It's something that the Call of Duty series desperately requires, or at least has for me. Take for example Captain John Price, as he was in the original Modern Warfare games. He's beloved in the older Call of Duty groups for being an all-around badass, but outside of that, players don't really know much of anything about him. He's like John Wick if we only saw the parts of the movies where John Wick shot people; that's his only personality trait. Instead, players get to actually learn a little bit about their crewmates, and I ended up taking every opportunity I could to do so. These small, short interactions reveal the most interesting pieces of dialogue in the entire game.

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Review

But once you get back to the story of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, things go downhill quickly. The game moves at a blisteringly fast pace and wraps up in about six hours total. Over the course of my first playthrough, I struggled to stay engaged with the game's continually developing story of espionage, intrigue, and who stole however many American-made nuclear warheads. In fact, without looking at the notes I took while playing it, most of Black Ops Cold War's campaign is a blur – it all mushes together into one extended combat sequence. There are a few key sections of missions that stand out. One of these sequences places players in the shoes of a CIA plant in the Lubyanka, the center of the Soviet-era KGB. Another has players fighting through a Russian model of a typical 1980's American suburb. These situations are fun, although only because they offer delightful changes in scenery.

Additionally, players have access to side-missions that can be accessed from the safehouse. These one-off missions don't boast a huge amount of content, but unlocking them is the real joy. The two missions require players to gather evidence from other main story missions to be completed successfully. Once gathered, players have to use that evidence to solve puzzles, with one requiring them to pick out targets from a large group and another tasking them with decoding a message. This process is unlike anything I've seen in a Call of Duty title and it's genuinely pretty fun. It plays into the entire espionage theme of the game, which makes it such a pity that the missions you end up unlocking are pretty underwhelming.

When mission variety is as drab as it is in Black Ops Cold War, the saving grace of games like these is usually gunplay, but that's not the case here either. Guns in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War are the worst they've felt in any Call of Duty title I've ever played. I should say that I never played Advanced Warfare or Black Ops 3 and 4, but regardless, this performance is simply poor. Every weapon lacks weight, and the ones that are supposed to have that boast an undeniable heft, like the game's Gallo SA 12, which I recognized as the Spas-12 from other CoD titles. This hulking, automatic shotgun doesn't let out a deep thump with every shell fired, but instead an unsatisfying "Bap!" The franchise's staple AK-47 has its own similar quirk, dinging like a bell with every round let loose.

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Review

These issues, compounded with the extremely limited variety of weapons that players have access to over the course of the campaign makes the act of killing bad guys uninteresting and unsatisfying and is a death knell for any game based around doing that exact thing.

However, the largest issue I ran into with Black Ops Cold War was presented in its final moments. Black Ops games are known for their twists and turns, and this one is no exception. It has its mysteries, and there are hints toward something larger presented sparsely by easily-missed optional dialogue throughout the game. But when things come to a head and players are going through the game's final mission, the biggest mystery it has is finally revealed, and just as quickly as players are made aware, it's resolved. It was incredibly disappointing to have the most interesting plot point in this game presented and then wrapped up so quickly when it should have taken a more front and center position.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War does some things right. It takes some brave, new steps for the franchise; it branches out with dialogue trees, downtime, evidence, and side-missions, all of which add at least something to the game. It's not always something of substance, but they never take away from the overall experience. I can certainly appreciate the attempt to make something different here and hope that future Treyarch CoD titles continue to implement these changes.

However, the core experience of a CoD campaign relies on a gripping story, providing consistently fun and varied missions, and solid shooting mechanics, all of which Black Ops Cold War lacks. The campaign here is worth playing through once to familiarize players with the game's guns and mechanics, but past that, I can't recommend playing through this story multiple times to experience each end. It's simply not worth it.

Multiplayer

Let me get this out of the way first: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War does not play like 2019's Modern Warfare. This game is much more arcadey, like most Black Ops titles before it. If you're heading into this expecting the same experience you got from last year's CoD title, you're going to be disappointed.

That's not to say that multiplayer in this year's CoD is bad though. In fact, I genuinely really like it. It's everything that Call of Duty multiplayer has to be; fast and heavily customizable. Of course, it's not without its own issues Some are smaller and some are larger, game affecting ones, but overall, the multiplayer experience for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is still solid.

From the get-go, there are eight different main multiplayer maps for players to run and gun on, and they all follow largely the same, tried and true three-lane design. You'd imagine that level design like this would get tiring, but there are enough shortcuts, connectors, and interesting angles to keep them enjoyable. However, that also means that whenever you're playing, you'll always be on the alert. There is literally never a moment that goes by when I'm not concerned that someone is going to start shooting at me from some vantage point, and that's where the game rears one of its ugly heads.

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer Review

It is damn near impossible to see other player characters in this game sometimes. I've found this issue mostly on the more earthy levels, like Cartel, a primarily brown and green colored map set in a field of drugs. However, I've also ran into this issue on other maps with dark areas. The camouflage on Operator's clothes is finally working, because against certain backgrounds, they are incredibly difficult to see. I've been killed multiple times by bullets flying out from seemingly nowhere, just to find that the shooter was right ahead of me in a dark corner that my eyes never could have picked up.

It doesn't help either that time to kill, or TTK, is lightning quick in this game. Apparently, after Black Ops 4, Treyarch made extra sure that players couldn't survive four headshots with an assault rifle before going down. Except this fix is far, far too extreme. Even in the game's regular core modes, TTK is just a couple of seconds, leaving players almost no time to properly react if someone else gets the drop on them. While it also makes the pace of games much quicker, the negatives far outweigh the positives in this case.

One of the other major changes to the series in Black Ops Cold War is the revamping of killstreaks as scorestreaks. Your kills no longer are the only way to get a spy plane or RC XD. Instead, just about anything you do in the game, from taking objectives to shooting down other player's score streaks, put points towards your streaks. While this design is meant to open up rewards to players that don't have a positive kill/death ratio, in practice, it doesn't work all that well. The score needed to actually get any scorestreaks is far, far higher than what you get from just killing other players. For example, getting a spy plane may take three kills in other games, but in Cold War, it takes more points than you'd get from killing three other players. The end result is fewer score streaks all around.

Cold War Multiplayer Review

Even with all of these negatives, I still found myself enjoying how fast paced and rewarding multiplayer is overall. While the selection of weapons in multiplayer isn't that high, what you can do with them is pretty extensive. Gunsmith and all the different attachments that come with it are a boon for the game, leaving every weapon heavily customizable so there are multiple ways to play with each. Seeing measurable stat differences with every different piece of hardware attached to your weapon is an extra, much appreciated bonus.

Likewise, there are so many different classes to put together that I found myself spending far, far too long customizing mine. Between different perks, throwables and the addition of wildcards that drastically change the makeup of any class, there is a bevy of options for players to enjoy. This kind of customization and the fact that you're almost always unlocking something for a weapon or a new perk kept me playing Cold War's multiplayer late into too many nights.

Multiplayer in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War certainly doesn't reinvent the wheel. There are some changes, but while they sound promising on paper, they are more of a detriment. Still, it's Call of Duty multiplayer, perhaps not at its best but certainly not at its worst. I can see myself playing this for quite some time between other major releases.

Zombies

To some, it may be a surprise, but this is where Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War shines. I've always been a fan of Treyarch's Nazi Zombies game modes, ever since they debuted back in World at War. This year, the game mode made a triumphant return as the best reason overall to pick up Black Ops Cold War.

I've talked about Treyarch trying to innovate with this latest Call of Duty title but never getting it quite right. In fact, you could probably call it the theme of this entire review. But this is the one case where every single change and innovation that's been made is to the end product's benefit. It's the same Zombies that players know and love but with a heap of new features that made the hours I sank into it feel like minutes.

Zombies in Cold War begins with customizing your class, and that by itself was a shock to me when I started playing. You can go into the game with any weapon you want, as long as you've got it unlocked. No more starting with a pistol only, unless you want to. Players also start with a piece of either offensive or support equipment. By default, the game starts you with a cryogenic weapon that freezes zombies in a small area around you, but there are others that can mix the game up.

Players can also upgrade their classes using Aetherium Crystals, a new currency obtained by playing and extracting, which we'll get to in a bit. Using these crystals, you can upgrade the aforementioned equipment, perks, and even weapon classes themselves, making them more effective before they're pack-a-punched.

This all adds up to the biggest change for Zombies I've ever seen: progression. No more starting off from square one every time you start the game up. Instead, your progress leads to actual, visible change the next time you start a game. And while the game was already filled with them, having Aetherium Crystals and other rewards on the line when only one person is left alive leads to some fantastic heart-pounding moments.

A huge part of this system is exfiltrating, which is the first time I've seen an actual ending built into an interaction of CoD zombies. Starting at round 10 and then every five rounds after that, players can call in a chopper to pick them up. I ended up doing this for the first time last night during a game with friends, and it was adrenaline pumping. We had made it to round 35 but things went south – one of my friends died and lost their guns, we were running out of ammo, and zombies were tanking more of our shots.

We decided it was time to leave, so we gathered up as many resources as we could to prepare. There's an entire crafting system in Zombies now, and by using different kinds of scrap dropped by the dead-heads, players can make everything from stun grenades to score streaks. I ended up making myself a chopper gunner in case the going got tough. The game also has armor built-in, something that Warzone players should find familiar, and different tiers for each weapon, from one to five. Both of these are also purchased with scrap, and give players more options for beefing themselves up beyond buying perks and using the pack-a-punch machine, which can now upgrade weapons up to three times.

After getting everything we could together, we started up the round and I radioed the chopper. We made a mad dash to its landing zone, but had to clear it first so the thing could actually land, and that's when I saw it. Zombies now has a variety of, well, zombies. Besides the regular undead Nazis and their canine companions, the game also has Megatons, massive, hulking, radioactive undead that fire bursts of energy at a range. They've got tons of health, swing like a wrecking ball, and split into two when they're defeated. So when I saw two of them at the landing zone and told my friends, there was audible panic.

Cold War Zombies Review

We ended up burning through all our resources, I almost died, and one of my teammates sadly didn't make it out. But three of us ended up exfiltrating successfully, nabbing a ton of XP and Crystals as a reward. This is the first time I've been able to tell a story about CoD Zombies that was actually exciting to me, and not just one that went something like, "I had so many great weapons and we made it to this obscenely late round." For once there are actual stakes, and the game benefits greatly from that.

I've struggled to find anything bad to say about Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War's Zombies mode, and honestly, I can't. It's zombie-killing arcade perfection, the ultimate version of the game mode that I started playing over a decade ago. My one holdup is that there's only one map for Zombies as of writing, but roadmaps for the game have already revealed that another will be coming out in December, and I can't wait to spend way too much time up late at night playing that as well.


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is the very definition of a mixed bag. The quality of each of the core experiences in this game are so varied that it's hard to imagine they're all part of the same package. But here they are, a lackluster campaign, decent multiplayer, and perfect Zombies mode, all bundled together.

This game is a sharp rebuke of the past two Black Ops titles, and yet it still sports new innovations that don't always work out. Treyarch continues to be a fantastic developer for the Call of Duty franchise because it is willing to work outside of the extremely rigid box that Infinity Ward constantly works inside of. While this isn't the best example of Treyarch going in a new direction with its half of the Call of Duty series, I can certainly appreciate its attempt and the few genuinely good additions that have been made.

Altogether, this year's entry in the Call of Duty franchise is as solid it gets. It's not bad, and it's certainly not fantastic like last year's Modern Warfare. Instead, it's par for the course as Call of Duty games go; a great first-person shooter that just about anyone can spend way, way too many hours playing.

The post Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Review — Forgetting its History by Otto Kratky appeared first on DualShockers.


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