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What the critics are saying about Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War

The first game in the longstanding action franchise for the next generation of consoles has arrived, and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War is impressing critics as a polished return to form for the series.

Reviews of Black Ops – Cold War have generally been positive on Metacritic, landing the game score in the low to mid-80s across the systems the game is available for, PC, Xbox One, Series X|S, PS4, and PS5. Like many games in the Call of Duty spinoff series, Black Ops – Cold War rests on "a trifecta of exciting experiences," according to Game Informer, which awarded the game an 8.75. Those experiences are divided up among the primary campaign, core multiplayer, and returning Zombies mode.

Gamespot, in an unscored but overall positive review, praised the campaign for strong level design "with clear objectives and bombastic set-pieces." The review also praised the inclusion of divergent paths in specific missions, giving the illusion of influence over the story. However, multiple playthroughs reveal that most scenarios are the same no matter what the player chooses.

The game's standard multiplayer mode drew praise as well, with PCGamesN writing, "Multiplayer is where Treyarch usually nails things, and Black Ops Cold War is another sturdy example of this." Returning game modes, such as the standard six vs. six team deathmatch and hardpoint modes, meet and exceed expectations. In closing their otherwise glowing multiplayer assessment, PCGamesn did note some connection issues alongside a dislike of the reworked scorestreak system, which carries killstreaks across multiple lives. The game still scored a nine from the site overall, however.

In Gaming Trend's 90/100 review of Black Ops – Cold War, a particular focus is on improvements made to Zombies mode to make it more accessible to players who may have avoided it before. The ability to bring your loadout from the main game "makes the mode much less intimidating," the review notes. Also appreciated is the new Exfil option, which allows players to fight through a few more zombies to reach a helicopter evacuation and save their progress.

Critics who reviewed Black Ops – Cold War on the PlayStation 5 also took the opportunity to talk about some of the unique features of that version of the game. PlayStation Lifestyle called the other two-player Zombie onslaught fun but "unobtrusive enough that it doesn't feel like other platforms are missing out on much."

Gamespot also evaluated the use of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers on the new DualSense PS5 controllers in Black Ops – Cold War. Ultimately, they decided that while the features "provide engaging feedback, they may not necessarily improve your Call of Duty game." The reviewer even found himself switching to more comfortable-to-use guns when powerful weapons strained their fingers — although he noted that players can turn off adaptive triggers.