Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s Beta Shows Activision Is Listening

Jury's still out on the full game, but chatter following the beta seems generally positive.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s Beta Shows Activision Is Listening

The Alpha for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the biggest in PlayStation 4 history, which goes to show just how huge the Call of Duty franchise is.  Operators were chomping at the bit to get in on the action and see how things were shaping up.  The end result was a ton of requests for tweaks, some trepidation about certain maps, and an overall feeling that the dev teams had quite the considerable workload ahead of them.

While the Alpha took place just a few weeks back, Activision has already returned with a Beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.  This Beta gave fans a chance to check out some new content, but also see if Activision listened to the fan feedback from the Alpha.  While the jury is still out on the full game, chatter following the Beta seems to be generally more positive in all areas.

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Players shoot it out through an open warehouse.

Players shoot it out through an open warehouse.

Mapped out

The general consensus this time around points to the maps themselves being the star of the show.  Players were able to get down and dirty on Cartel, Miami, Moscow, Armada, Satellite and Crossroads.  These maps do an excellent job of providing all sorts of unique locales for operators to explore, while also showing off their strategic layouts.  No two maps are alike, and all of them provide multiple ways for opponents to tackle each other head-on, or outthink one another by dashing around alleyways, through backdoors, and over ledges.

Each map forced players to mix up their approach to gameplay as well.  Sometimes rushing straight into the heat of battle would reward operatives, and other times it was almost guaranteed obliteration.  A wonderful mix of tactics was on display as well, as sometimes players had to sneak their way in and out of close quarters combat in buildings, or run-and-gun action out on open fields with sparse cover.  These maps don’t appear to be the same general ideas with a fresh coat of paint.  The team behind map creation really put a ton of thought into the designs here, which should make for a different type of firefight every time you play.

The only real map complaints stemmed from Crossroads, but that appears to have more to do with the map size rather than its features.  The modes available in the Beta didn’t really make much sense for Crossroads, which is a much more sprawling map compared to the others.  The good news is that Crossroads could find its time to shine once the full game launches, as some of the modes focused on bigger amounts of players could help showcase the map in a better light.

Boats on Armada are such a nice touch.

Boats on Armada are such a nice touch.

Weapon feedback

Weapons, on the other hand, were still a bit of a mixed bag.  Players had gripes about multiple weapons, but Activision has been quick to point out that they’re still gathering player data on how to implement each weapon.  The good news is that some weapons in the Beta have been tweaked from their Alpha version, making it clear that Activision really is listening.

The Beta gave players access to all nine weapon classes, but not every weapon that’ll be featured in the final game.  The nine weapon classes include mains like assault rifles, submachine guns, tactical rifles, light machine guns, sniper rifles, and secondary firearms such as pistols, shotguns, launchers, and melee.  In the final game, players will have a litany of options to tweak on each weapon with the Gunsmith feature, allowing for customization of countless aspects in four categories; firepower, speed, accuracy, and ammo.

Sniper rifles were the main weapon operators took issue with in the Alpha, and they appear to have gotten the lion’s share of attention for the Beta.  Sniper rifles were tweaked in a number of ways, including slower Aim Down Sights time, a more pronounced scope glint for your opponents to spot, and enhanced precision required from the shooter when going for a one-shot kill.  It’s clear things have swung in the opposite direction for sniper rifles, leaving some players feeling that things have been taken too far.

All classes in general received tweaks in different areas, be it reload time, recoil, and so on.  Some weapons are now a bit nerfed compared to their Alpha appearance, while others are buffed in a number of ways.  This kind of back-and-forth swing is expected from Alpha to Beta, as the developers are using the data they’ve gathered to try and find the sweet spot for launch.  These changes show that the final stats are being zeroed in on, and everything should be in fairly good shape by the time release day comes.

The meat and potatoes of Call of Duty: guns.

The meat and potatoes of Call of Duty: guns.

Mode variety

As far as modes goes, the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Beta certainly provided a ton of variety.  Players got to dip their toes into a number of 6v6 and 12v12 options, each requiring a unique set of skills.  These modes obviously offer up major differences in gameplay, requiring players to work together in multiple ways.  As always, there are some modes players weren’t thrilled with, but by and large, it seems the Beta action went over quite well.

As usual, the more traditional and straightforward modes appeared to be the ones players had the most fun with.  Team Deathmatch is about as standard as it gets, but it still remains a favorite.  Two teams rushing to take out as many players as they can, with each side gunning for a specific kill count.  There’s really no fancy objectives or anything else to worry about here.  It’s a game of kill or be killed, and it results in absolute pandemonium that Call of Duty fans still love.

The same goes for Control, Domination, and Hardpoint.  All three offer a few twists on traditional King of the Hill gameplay.  You’re either holding onto stationary points, or running around the map to secure rotating spots.  Retaining control of those areas is definitely important to the overall game and will help inch your team closer to victory, but taking out other players not only helps prevent your locations from being overthrown, but also adds to the win tally as well.  A little more sophisticated than Team Deathmatch, but running and gunning is still a big part of the action.

There’s also Combined Arms: Assault and Combined Arms: Domination.  These two modes play out much like the three mentioned above, but they’re using a 12v12 player base and expanded objectives.  You’ll now have multiple points to capture, all depending on the map size.  There’s even some vehicles thrown in there to spice up things even further.  Again, the name of the game is capturing and defending points all while taking out the opposition.  It’s just on a grander scale and a bit more frantic because of it.

Then there’s the VIP Escort mode, which definitely asks the most of its players.  If your team isn’t willing to work together to get your VIP to the extraction zone, you’re going to have quite a frustrating time.  Play sessions are extremely quick, and you’ll need to take out everyone on the other team or get your VIP to one of two dedicated spots to win.  The mode is ridiculously tense, especially since you only have one life to live.  Players have to peek around every corner and take a methodical pace as they carefully escort their VIP out of danger.  Get the right group of players in this mode and you’ll be rewarded with the most unique multiplayer action Black Ops Cold War has to offer.

All in all, the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Beta seemed to be a step in the right direction.  While there’s clearly still some work to do on the weapons side of things, players clearly feel that other components are falling into place.  A considerable set of changes from the Alpha to Beta show that everyone at Activision is working hard to ensure a great launch for the game.

A second Beta weekend is in the works, which will open up a new mode while allowing for more players than ever.  It’ll be the real test of what Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has to offer.  Hopefully players end up feeling it’s the best slice of the game yet, as launch day isn’t far off at all.  Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War releases on November 13th, 2020.

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Kevin Cassidy has been covering all things Nintendo for over 15 years now and has been leading the weekly GoNintendo Podcast for just as long. Kevin is also quite passionate about pro wrestling, anime, comic books, and more! Follow Kevin on Twitter via @GoNintendoTweet.