It's only been two years since Treyarch gave us Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, so some of you might have feared that the talented studio wouldn't be able to deliver the same kind of polished multiplayer it's known for in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Well, I've been lucky enough to spend three hours with the multiplayer, and there's no need to fret.
You needn't worry because this is the same Call of Duty we've always loved. The controls are pretty much perfect, the feel of the guns fantastic, and the sound booms when it needs to and it's nerve-wracking when a shot swoops by your head. So what's new? Obviously, the maps.
I'm a big fan of maps that suit different play styles, something this build of the game had plenty of. Where Miami offered the corridors and halls of hotels and casinos for those who prefer close quarters, the city streets and promenade gave sharpshooters ample opportunities to kill anyone unfortunate enough to go past a window or crossing the street at the wrong time.
Still, my favourite is without a doubt the Armada map in the North Atlantic Ocean. This one puts us in the middle of the titular sea where two (three if you count the half-sunken one) big ships and a submarine offer a plethora of options both vertically and horizontally. Having the option to zip-line between the ships, swim or use a jet ski really highlighted the sense of freedom while running through the narrow decks as echoes could be heard all around was thrilling.
Prefer larger maps with long sightlines? You'll love the three-laned map that has a giant frozen lake in the middle of it. I never set foot on the ice after the first two times my head was blown off by a sniper. You can see all of the maps I got to play in the gameplay videos.
Within the gameplay clips, you'll also see the new VIP Escort mode. This new mode has one team trying to safely escort one of its players, who only has a handgun, smoke grenade and spy plane, to one of the two extraction choppers while the other team is tasked with eliminating the target. Playing this on the large snowy map quickly became tedious, as the defending team would either use the snowmobiles to just rush to a chopper or would be easily taken out by the attackers in the open areas if they took the careful approach.
That said, taking the action to the smaller maps changed my opinion, because it made every second more intense. Not knowing if the opposing team was waiting just around one of the many tight corners, watching at the wrong chopper, or flanking you - well, it was an absolute thrill, especially since it allowed the VIP to have a higher chance of defending themself as well.
Top these things with the return of the Gunsmith system, new special gear options, and more customisation options for your character, and there's no doubt that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War should be at top of the wishlist of anyone looking for some intense and entertaining multiplayer this November.