When Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War first launched, it was met with lower review scores than most entries in the Call of Duty series. While the game did not review poorly by any means, the critical reception was noticeably different from the norm, and for good reason. While the campaign was good, Zombies was lacking content to match its excellent gameplay. Further, while there was a good foundation for multiplayer, players found the mode’s content lacking in an even more significant way than Zombies. Worse, the game was buggy, with the lack of polish caused by a rushed development cycle and the negative effects of Covid-19.
Since its rocky launch, however, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has been steadily improving with time. Content has been added to both Zombies and multiplayer, while bugs have become less prevalent with each passing day. Fan favorite modes have been added alongside fresh ideas, and the game’s prestige system and seasonal challenges have given fans something to grind for. While several noticeable improvements have been made, and the game is in a much better state than it was in on day one, there are still some things that can be done to make it better.
While Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Season 2 is a noticeable improvement and a clear step on the right direction, there is one pitfall that it has not managed to avoid. When Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War launched, only 8 maps for 6v6 modes were available to play on. While Nuketown came shortly after launch, Raid, Pines, and Express came to the game in Season 1, the total was only 12 maps. With most Call of Duty games launching with this number, only reaching it months later was a bit disappointing.
That disappointment has only continued with Season 2, as only one new 6v6 map has been added to the game. While Apocalypse is a fine addition to the game, only having 13 traditional maps four months into the game’s life cycle is a bit frustrating. While the need for creating additional Fireteam maps understandably splits the time and resources of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War‘s developer, focusing on exclusive Fireteam maps like Alpine and Sanatorium means that there is a bit less content for 6v6 fans to enjoy.
Hopefully, future Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War updates bring more 6v6 content. While the unpopular map Miami receiving a rework is a good move, fresh content needs to come as well. More remakes like Firing Range and Summit would surely go over well with fans, while fresh locations like Pines or Apocalypse would prove to be equally interesting. It is great to see Fireteam fans getting some love, but original 6v6 maps could see some fully original locations doubling as Combined Arms maps — something that the community needs more of right now.
The next way to improve Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is to listen to criticism from fans. While there is plenty of feedback to consider, as players have been quick to voice their comments and concerns about the game, much of this criticism is valid. For example, further refining the League Play system would be a good start. While Treyarch has already started to make adjustments, keeping an eye on what restrictions and additions the community wants to see made would be a wise idea. With League Play launching in a messy state, it will take some smart decisions to win competitive players back.
Treyarch should also make some adjustments to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s flawed split-screen mechanics. In multiplayer, enemies can appear entirely invisible for the duration of the game. Likewise, extreme bouts of lag and choppy framerate are both common occurrences, with the only known fix for these issues being hard reset of the application. If this was not enough, lobby errors and texture issues are also prevalent, all of which combine to create a split-screen experience that is nearly unplayable. While split-screen is not used nearly as much today as it was in older Call of Duty games, it is still a feature that needs some attention going forward.
Finally, looking into the community’s opinions on current game modes and challenges would be helpful for the game’s lifespan. Players have severe issues with Gun Game, for example, as the final two tiers ruin the fun for many fans of the mode. Challenges tied to Call of Duty: Warzone integration have proven to be just as frustrating, as some players have no interest in playing the battle royale game. With Treyarch’s previous map reworks proving that it cares about the community and improving the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War experience, hopefully issues like these are addressed in the future.
While Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer has endured some growing pains, Zombies has been a huge hit with fans. Though it did lack content on launch day, fans fell in love with the new Zombies features and mechanics. Since then, a strong survival map has been added, with Firebase Z being well received from the get-go. Weeks after the map’s launch, Outbreak mode arrived, delivering open world Zombies for the very first time. Proving to be far better than anyone could have ever expected, expanding upon Outbreak as well as traditional Survival through new maps would be a great way to make Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War better.
With new perks on the way, and the Zombies meta improved heavily via more upgrade tiers to progress through, the additional content beyond more maps is looking promising. One way that Zombies could improve is through the addition of a Gobblegum or Elixir system. With these smaller buffs adding a new layer of strategy to the core Zombies gameplay, seeing them added to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War would be a huge plus.
Fan favorites like Perkaholic, Shopping Free, and Alchemical Antithesis could all return, with a Whimsical coming back to add some silly touches to every game. With the cookbook feature allowing players to make some of these buffs every day, bringing back this system would give Zombies fans a reason to check Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War often.
Finally, experienced Zombies players could use some kind of difficulty option for their matches. While Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 had this mechanic, it is sorely missed in this game, as many find the core gameplay of the latest title to be far too easy. This extends to the main quests, and while Treyarch has a great reason for making easter eggs easier, some players miss how complex they used to be. One solution would be to make use of Call of Duty: WW2 Zombies’ system of a casual and hardcore main quests, with the hardcore version possibly offering extra rewards an extra cutscene. Bonus rewards could be applied to playing on higher difficulties as well.
Another minor improvement could see an option to pin daily challenges to the pause menu, while one more could see Treyarch putting more original Zombies songs in the music player. If even some of these changes are made, though, the game will be in an even better place than it is right now. Comparing today’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War to the launch version of the game shows huge improvement, and hopefully, Treyarch continues to make the latest Black Ops title even better going forward.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.