Black Ops Cold War x Warzone: A New Beginning
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Black Ops Cold War x Warzone: A New Beginning

After what felt like several months of uncertainty and mystery regarding the future of the 2020 smash-hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare/Warzone, we were finally presented with the latest update to the game, being spoiled with yet another overly inflated patch size for the community to get stuck into.

Warzone is now branded Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War/Warzone, (flows nicely right?), as the weapons and general presentation aspects of the most recent Call of Duty title have been integrated with the battle-royale game-mode. We have certainly known this was coming for some time now, yet the repeated delays and secretive nature of the new season began to cause concern amongst myself and many others. “Would the game engine remain the same? Would the map completely change? Would they please take out the dragon’s breath shotgun?”, being just a few of the questions circling the ever-growing fanbase. Thankfully, the integration has arrived and seems to be a shockingly smooth transition, delivering on some new ideas while keeping the core gameplay loop the same as well as setting up a promising future for the title.

Seven seasons in, most players know what to expect at this point once the 20Gb update is slowly downloaded. Upon starting up, we are given another short yet impressive CGI cutscene that sets the Season’s narrative arc in motion, with familiar faces from Cold War being present. I am hesitant to label it as a ‘narrative arc’, as the previous seasons in Warzone seem to present no other purpose than to create a vague backdrop for the new operator to be contextualised within. It is a shame, as there is certainly a gap for Warzone to attempt something similar to what Epic has been doing with Fortnite, linking each season together with a bombastic yet entertaining through-line, whereas, with this integration, it seems wholly disconnected from previous seasons, which I suppose makes sense given the difference in the time period.

Regardless, Season 7 of/Season 1 of Cold War delivers the standard affair with Warzone seasons, a few new weapons, new operators, and some new cosmetic items via the purchasable battle-pass. Of course, with the integration of Cold War comes an entirely new batch of weapons, bringing over every available gun from its respective multiplayer modes. It is initially jarring, seeing multiple MP5s on screen, with the create a class menu feeling overwhelming with the new inclusion, yet thankfully there is plenty of ways to navigate the menus to ensure you see the content you are after. Being able to filter out Cold War guns/operators is a small yet appreciated touch, as it allows for the entire menu layout to keep that familiar feel that fans will be so accustomed to at this point. 

Speaking of that regular battle-pass, this time around the pass comes that bit closer to delivering on some more fun content that makes the entire grind feel worth it, rather than the typical sprays that, let’s face it, no one cares about. From the very first tier unlocking some iconic music from the original Black Ops title right up to the highest tiers allowing you to drive around Verdansk as you Rick Roll everyone through the sweet sounds of Rick Astley, there seems to be a great deal more charm with this season. Most of it still boils down to random weapon skins and other various trinkets, but this could be a step in a more fulfilling direction for future seasons, perhaps with more tongue-in-cheek content down the line.

Of course, the main attraction here is the addition of a whole new map in Warzone, with the Alcatraz based Rebirth Island. Only being available via the new playlist ‘Resurgence Trios’, the new map plays entirely different to Verdansk thanks to the incredibly small-scale warfare that it opts for. The formula remains the same, with forty-five players in teams of three dropping into the map fighting to be the last team standing, aiming to gather as much firepower and defences to boost their chances. With the map being so small, the games certainly run very short, with your team potentially being out the game within a matter of seconds depending on how skilled you might be. With the gulag gone in this mode, the only way back is the waiting game, if one team member can stay alive for a short period, you can jump back into the action to help them out. The mode makes for a nice addition to the game, offering a more short-burst experience when compared to the extensive longer-form games had with the traditional mode. With a few challenges sprinkled into the mode to allow for some exclusive unlocks, there is plenty of reasons to give the new mode a bash while it here for the next few weeks, what the mode means for the future of Warzone remains to be seen.

Some changes appear in the standard mode too, with the gulag being completely revamped into a slightly larger 1v1 setting based upon the dead horse that is Nuketown, as well as the new Cold War guns being available as ground loot. The latest season of Warzone certainly doesn’t shake the formula up in any mind-blowing way that we might have anticipated, yet it surely proves that the mode has legs to keep it going for a long time, providing Activision do not abandon it at any point that is.

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