The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Alpha has come and gone and I have some brief thoughts about what I think about the game and what changes should be made in order to deliver the best version possible before release.
I’m just going to get straight to the point with this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the alpha. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had playing pubs (online multiplayer) in a Call of Duty game in a very long time. It’s obviously evident it’s an early build of the game, but for it to be this fun in its current state speaks volumes. I feel the recent entries in the series haven’t delivered in that front, especially Modern Warfare. Don’t get me wrong, Warzone is fantastic and practically saved that game, but even before that, I can say I haven’t really enjoyed casually playing a game since Black Ops III. Now, I feel we have a lot to look forward to with Cold War.
To go into some details about what makes the game fun, I believe the highlights are the gun-play and the movement. The movement feels extremely smooth. I can only imagine what it’ll feel like on a PC, considering the alpha was exclusively on the PS4. It’s also pretty fast paced compared to the recent entries in the series, which, at least for me, is a good thing. Of course, it depends on the play-style of certain players, but I don’t mind it. What also feels great is how many viable guns there are to choose from. I assume the final build will have two or three guns that’ll be levels above the rest, but I found myself using plenty of different ones in the alpha, such as the MP5, AK74u, AK-47, M16, and the snipers. Compared to Modern Warfare, the maps were fun to play on. They didn’t feel random and most of them felt structured rather than having random buildings and camping spots in different locations. My favorites were Satellite and Moscow.
The game isn’t perfect, of course, but that’s what it’s an alpha. I assume improvements will be made leading into the beta in two weeks. The features that need to be worked on, for me, vary. What stands out the most is the SBMM (skill-based matchmaking). If I wanted to sweat incredibly hard while playing a game, I would switch to a ranked playlist. Most people play pubs just for the fun of it. Instead, with SBMM, you’re facing off against people who are trying just as hard as you are and it makes the experience overwhelmingly tedious and annoying. The matchmaking should just be random. I don’t need to be playing against absolute try-hards every single match.
This also leads into the kill-streaks/score-streaks. Score-streaks are back, and I think it has the community split on it. For one, it basically rewards the players who are playing bad. Before, you had to earn your kill-streaks, which I believe is the way to go. If you have one kill and 25 deaths, you shouldn’t be getting any kind of score-streaks. It basically kills the purpose, honestly. I understand it may be a way to balance the game, but I think it encourages poor game-play and complacency from the players since no matter how bad they’re performing in-game, they’ll still be able to get back on track because of the score-streaks. Let’s leave the streaks for the players who are actually playing well and earning them rather than gifting it to players who are the bottom of the list on the scoreboard.
Some other fixes I would hope to see are mostly the game mechanics. First off, the sliding. The sliding feels nice, for the most part, but it can definitely be exploited. It’s almost too good at times. You shouldn’t be able to slide incredibly far either. I’ve seen some clips where the sliding is overly exaggerated and I expect it’ll be nerfed a bit. Secondly, sniping is far too easy in this game. The developers and creators have already addressed this and some fixes are coming, but wow. I don’t remember sniping ever being this easy in this series. Lastly, there seems to be a delay when throwing grenades. I’m not sure if it was just me on the first day of playing because it seemed a bit inconsistent. There are times I didn’t notice it and others times, it was very apparent. Regardless, I wasn’t the only person who pointed it out while playing, so I assume a fix to the nade-throwing is coming as well.
Overall, it was a fun time and I’m looking forward to playing more of the game at its full potential.