After a successful alpha, we review the hotly anticipated beta for Black Ops Cold War!

19:00, 10 Oct 2020

After a hugely successful alpha, the beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has gone live for PlayStation users. The beta builds on what was included in the alpha of the game, with new maps, weapons, game modes, and more arriving onto consoles ahead of the full release on November 13.

Since the alpha, Black Ops Cold War developer Treyarch has been hard at work, addressing numerous issues that appeared, alongside making extensive changes to movement, weapon balance, and the spawn logic on the maps.

With such a vast amount of modifications to the game, we thought it would be a good idea to review the beta and its content ahead of its release next month.



Black Ops Cold War Review

Having played countless hours on the alpha, the movement on the beta has drastically improved. Although slightly slower than the movement of the alpha, it is much smoother when moving from a steady walk into a sprint. The same can be said when transitioning from a sprint to aiming down your sights, enabling players to react quickly when encountering an opponent. 


During the alpha, the ability to slide-cancel was utilised by the vast majority of players. The mechanic enables players to exit a slide prematurely, ideal if an enemy suddenly appears. For many, it was deemed as overpowered, leading Treyarch to take swift action into reducing the effectiveness of the mechanic. Slide-cancelling can still be executed in the beta, but there is a slight pause once you have exited the slide, making it much more balanced.

Overall, the movement for Black Ops Cold War has come on leaps and bounds in such a short space of time. With more feedback likely to be received once the two beta weekends are over, the game has the potential to contain some of the smoothest and most consistent movement ever seen in a Call of Duty title.



Black Ops Cold War Review

Throughout the duration of the alpha, players were quick to recognise that the AK-74u sub-machine gun was the very best weapon out of the ones that were on offer. Thanks to a thorough wave of weapon tuning across the board, the popular SMG is no longer the weapon of choice. The metagame has undergone a radical change, with almost every single weapon in the beta being a viable choice regardless of game mode and map.


Having a solid balance of weaponry encourages players to use a diverse range of weapons that suit their style of play rather than selecting which weapon is the best. There are a range of assault rifles, snipers, shotguns, SMGs, and more that all have their flaws, but are all extremely effective in the right scenarios.

Assault rifles excel in mid to long-distance gunfights, while SMGs dominate the close-quarters skirmishes alongside the shotguns which pack a hefty punch. As for the snipers, they have been toned down since the alpha. Treyarch has implemented aim assist on the weapon category for the first time since Black Ops 2 alongside reducing the overall damage levels. They are still extremely strong when picking off enemies from one side of the map to the other, but the occurrence of a hit-marker when aiming below the waist of a target can prove to be very annoying.


Thanks to the tuning from Treyarch, weaponry on Black Ops Cold War is a lot of fun, with a wide variety of guns to choose from in order to dominate the battlefield.



Black Ops Cold War Review

The loadout creation on Black Ops Cold War is a hybrid between the Gunsmith that featured in the 2019 reboot of Modern Warfare, and the classic Pick-10 system that was pioneered back on Black Ops 2. The alpha was the first opportunity for players to get their hands on creating the ultimate combination to excel versus the opposition.

For the first time in the history of the franchise, a comprehensive breakdown on the influence of attachments appeared. For the beta, Treyarch has gone a step further, adding even more detail to firepower, speed, accuracy, and ammo statistics when selecting attachments for your weapon of choice. With this additional level of depth to the Gunsmith, players can see the impact of each attachment that they choose to equip to their loadout. 

With seemingly limitless combinations of attachments to equip to any weapon, the innovative additions to the Gunsmith gives players further insight into their selections, enabling them to decide on their respective attachments depending on their style of play rather than because it’s the best.



Black Ops Cold War Review

The map pool for the beta remains the same as it was during the alpha. The only new addition is Cartel, a remote compound set in the forests of Nicaragua. This particular map comprises of three distinct lanes, all enabling multiple styles of play to secure control.


As for the other maps, some much-needed changes to spawns on Miami and Armada make the maps feel a lot better. During the alpha, a lot of time was spent running towards the action rather than being placed just outside, leaving minimal time before you find yourself in a gunfight with an opponent. Miami has undergone the most change since the alpha. Improved lighting in some of the darker areas of the map makes it much easier to spot an opponent attempting to lurk in the shadows.

Whether it’s 6v6 or 12v12, the maps on the beta are a bright, expertly created, and are a lot of fun to play on regardless of skill level. It is going to be interesting to see some of them in a competitive environment ahead of the start of the 2021 Call of Duty League season.

Black Ops Cold War - Potential For Greatness

Despite the heavy presence of skill-based matchmaking in the beta, the potential for Black Ops Cold War to be one of the very best instalments in the Call of Duty franchise is definitely there. The number of changes made from alpha to beta has been extremely impressive, and Treyarch will likely continue to refine and improve the game between the beta and its release on November 13.

The weapon balance is excellent, the weapons are a lot of fun to use on all of the maps, which are a welcome return to a more familiar 3-lane design, the movement is fluid, and most importantly, the gameplay is fast, frantic, and always packed full of action.



Images via Activision

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