The first look at multiplayer content for the newest addition to the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops Cold War, just dropped today, and let me tell you... it's a lot better than I feared.
In fact, it looks f-ing great.
The gameplay footage was captured on a Playstation 5 — though the game will be available for current and nextgen consoles, with crossplay still present. The reveal was also accompanied by accounts from the game's developers, who laid out some of the new features for the game.
The multiplayer maps are inspired by denial operations set in the 1980s and take place during both night and day. The idea seems to be that you're playing in areas where clandestine missions may have (or hell, maybe did) take place, from downtown Moscow, to the deserts of Angola, atop a Soviet submarine in the Atlantic Ocean, or on the Miami strip.
The maps also seem to have new entry points that feel more organic to the narrative: It seems that instead of just randomly materializing on the map, you'll come into the game from somewhere believable, like emerging out of the water, or dropping in. (That said, it's unclear if that's the case for vanilla multiplayer modes like Team Deathmatch, or if this will just be the case for specific scenarios.)
Speaking of new scenarios, Black Ops Cold War is introducing VIP Escort Ops, in which you and your team try to bring a high-value target to an exfiltration site. At first glance, it seems similar to Modern Warfare's cooperative Special Operations mode where you have specific classes. That said, the big difference in VIP Escort is that you'll be competing against other players, not random bots.
Additionally, Black Ops Cold War is keeping Ground War, but with a new name and some new toys. Called Combined Arms, it takes place on a massive map with multiple objectives, and an arsenal of armor and aircraft, from tanks to attack helicopters (thank god).
Finally, a lot of the gameplay mechanics that were introduced in Modern Warfare still appear to be in place, like sliding and leaning — though I have to say, I'm disappointed that I didn't see anyone mount their weapon while firing. It'd be a shame if Black Ops left this mechanic out since it added a level of realism to Modern Warfare, and finally made light machine guns worth using.
Some throwbacks include the return of Wild Cards, which change base elements of your loadout: One might allow you to carry more grenades, while another would let you equip weapon attachments beyond the normal amount.
And for those who have fallen in love with Modern Warfare's massively popular battle royal mode, Warzone, the newest Black Ops will continue to run the game mode and will allow players to carry over their blueprints and operators — which should be good news for those who spent their hard-earned cash at the in-game store.
The latest game is coming on the heels of Call of Duty's biggest success in years, and for avid players of the franchise it likely brings forth a wellspring of emotion: Will they double down on what they did right, or will they completely f*** it up?
I'm hopeful for the former because there's a lot to lose in the latter case: If Black Ops Cold War ends up being a flop, not only are players out $60 for the base game, there's always the risk that it'll draw gamers — and the necessary tech support to handle bugs — away from Modern Warfare.
That said, based on the reveal trailer, I'm optimistic about Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War's Nov. 13 release.
For a complete rundown of the changes, you can watch the full live-streamed reveal below: