Black Ops: Cold War has shaped up nicely since last month’s playable alpha build, which allowed players to play an assortment of maps and modes for the upcoming Call of Duty release. The beta already feels like a good improvement, especially thanks to the addition of some key features, including console players finally getting an FOV slider.
Early access to the beta went live on PlayStation on October 8 for players who pre-ordered digitally, or anyone lucky enough to score a beta code. The open beta will begin for everyone on PlayStation this weekend. Xbox One and PC players will have to wait until next weekend for Cold War’s crossplay beta.
Prior to the beta’s launch, Treyarch released really detailed patch notes to show the changes made from the alpha’s feedback. One of the most notable adjustments should tune weapons so they feel a little more balanced than they did in the alpha. Those tweaks include a nerf to the insanely overpowered AK-74u submachine gun. Recoil patterns were apparently “reworked and rebalanced” for all guns.
Cold War’s Gunsmith weapon customization system was already a nice upgrade over Modern Warfare’s. The new game’s version shows the exact positive and negative impact that each attachment would have, along with more detailed stats to help you make the best of your gun customization. Weapon customization can feel overwhelming with all the attachments you can choose from, so this can better guide you.
Another important adjustment comes to the game’s Scorestreak system. Black Ops: Cold War’s scorestreak system no longer punishes you for dying. You earn score multipliers for achieving multiple kills in the same life, but you also continue to earn your lethal scorestreaks after death by playing the objective. In the alpha, it was too easy to get top-tier streaks like Chopper Gunners, so Treyarch tweaked the formula for scorestreak rewards. You’ll just need to go on higher streaks in a single life now to earn those high-end rewards.
Another beta tweak: the motion blur setting was bugged out in the alpha, so it would reset to the default setting after each match. I’m happy to report this was fixed, so if you’re like me and sensitive to motion blur, it’s good news that the beta will require you to only turn it off once.
There really are lots of positive adjustments to this version of Cold War, and it’s worth taking a gander at the patch notes. But it’s the new features added that are really stealing the show in the beta.
For the first time ever on console, Call of Duty players can change their field of view. Modern Warfare allows PC players to change their FOV, but this is something I never thought we’d actually see on console. You can adjust the FOV setting from 80 to 120. Despite performance concerns, the increase in the field of view worked really well for me. I’m sure this is being added for Cold War due to the beefy specs of the next-gen consoles, but I tried matches at 120 on my PlayStation 4 Pro, and the experience seemed pretty solid. I can’t speak for the standard PS4 consoles though, and some players might experience a drop in frame rate or other graphical issues.
There’s also the option now to customize your heads-up display. Some players might prefer seeing the enemy health bars or gamertags, but several options are available to disable individually, if you don’t want to clutter your screen with the extra information. You can even go hardcore and disable the crosshairs and hit marker indications.
Black Ops: Cold War also brings a locational Ping system to all multiplayer modes, which was previously limited to Modern Warfare’s 2v2 Gunfight mode and Warzone. By default, Ping is mapped to D-pad on PS4, but you can change the button layout in the settings. Not everyone is going to be a fan of the Ping system and the ease for which information can be doled out now, but I think this is a win for more accessible communication. So, now you don’t have to shout out comms to randoms, if you’d prefer to stay muted.
The downside to the Ping system is that it might get annoying if Treyarch doesn’t implement a cooldown between pings. You can spam the button and ping the same thing over and over. This includes marking specific Domination capture points, enemy locations, and scorestreaks. Apologies to all my teammates I pestered on Thursday for the purpose of writing this.
Packed with these new features, the beta’s map variety is pretty much the same as the alpha, but now “Cartel” has been added into the mix. Set in the jungles of Nicaragua, Cartel is a map designed for both 6v6 and 12v12 modes. This is a new map, but it definitely gives me vibes from older maps from Treyarch’s Call of Duty: World at War.
At first, there won’t be much change to the modes offered for this beta. You get a mix of the staple Call of Duty modes, including Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, and Domination in the 6v6 playlist, or you can play the larger maps of 12v12 Domination.
However, this weekend will introduce Treyarch’s new “Combined Arms: Assault” mode, which I’m really excited to try. Combined Arms: Assault will be 12v12 matches that pits two teams against each other for the control of one central capture zone. Once a team captures that point, the next location will open up deeper into enemy territory. If neither team captures the enemy’s final zone, I’m assuming within a time limit, an overtime round will be initiated. This sounds similar to World at War’s War mode, which I remember playing quite a bit of, but that mode had round changes to give both teams a chance to attack and defend. I’m curious if this mode will feel better or worse for not having the set rounds.
Next week’s crossplay beta will also introduce something new to try, with Treyarch’s ambitious Fireteam: Dirty Bomb mode, which will have 10 teams of four fighting to secure uranium caches and detonate bombs for the win. So far, Treyarch has implemented lots of positive changes to Black Ops: Cold War, and I’m excited to try the new modes that Treyarch cooked up.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is scheduled to release across PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on November 13.