A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a first-person shooter for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows PCs. This is the latest chapter in the long running Call of Duty franchise. Players use a variety of weapons -- including guns, knives, and explosives -- to kill human enemies and zombies, resulting in a lot of blood, gore, and dismemberment. The dialog includes such curse words as "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole," and there are signs for "XXX" peep shows that have images of women in lingerie. A mission that involves a drug cartel shows both piles and bags of a white powder, while another has you hallucinating during a medically-induced flashback. Online communication between players of the multiplayer and co-op modes isn't monitored, possibly exposing players to inappropriate comments. There are options to censor the graphic content, the cursing in the dialog, and any curse words players use in text messages they send to each other.
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What's it about?
The story-driven campaign of CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS COLD WAR is set in 1981. After taking out two Iranian terrorists connected to the Iran Hostage Crisis, players learn an infamous Russian spy known only as Perseus may be planning something bigger that could cause chaos in the world. Meanwhile, in the co-op "Zombies" mode "Die Maschine," you're sent to investigate a former secret Nazi lab in Poland, only to find it's infested with zombies. Played from the first-person perspective, both modes -- as well as the online multiplayer ones -- have you shooting numerous bad guys while taking on a globe-trotting mission, a scary quest for survival, or fellow gamers around the world.
Is it any good?
By setting the action in a previously unexplored decade, this first-person shooter series is doing something new for the first time in long time, and is all the better for it. In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War's story-driven campaign, the search for terrorists connected to the Iranian Hostage Crisis leads you to a series of covert missions across the globe. But the 1980s time frame doesn’t just change what kind of guns you use to shoot Russians and other bad guys. The setting carries over to the game's ever-popular online multiplayer modes and the co-op "Zombies" feature, the latter of which has you and your friends fighting to survive when you're attacked by hordes of Nazi zombies that have managed to survive for decades after the war ended. Even this game's version of "Dead Ops Arcade," a top-down, twin-stick shoot version of "Zombies," has an '80s feel (though, admittedly, these kind of arcade games always do).
But there's more than just setting this series in a past that isn't World War II that makes this feel fresh. While the campaign still has the kind of harrowing firefights and explosive action this series is known for, being set during the Cold War requires that you sometimes use stealth to do your job, and not go in guns first like you usually do in shooters (though you often leave under heavy fire). Campaign missions also give you choices when it comes to what you say to people at pivotal moments, as well as some life and death decisions that affect the story. Meanwhile, multiplayer remains as solid as ever, with "Team Deathmatch" being the same kind of fun and frantic firefight it's been for years, and "Domination" still requiring you to be as quick on your feet as you are on the trigger. The only bummer is "Fireteam," a new mode in which eight to ten teams of four players each search massive areas for uranium, but it has the downside of players frequently geting killed by guys on the ground who shoot you as you parachute into the level. Even "Zombies" benefits from having you use guns from the '80s, because the mix of firearms feels pulled directly from the action movies of the time period. The surprising and very enjoyable game mode is "Dead Ops Arcade," where unlimited ammo and crazy power-ups equal a good time for all with a retro vibe to the gameplay. While there are some minor issues -- like how your character doesn't automatically reload their weapon, which can leave you vulnerable in the middle of a firefight, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War still manages to be totally tubular to the max, for sure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War affected by the fact that you're fighting against extreme situations to save the world? When you shoot, stab, and blow up human enemies, as well as zombies, do you feel differently when you're killing a living person, as opposed to someone who's undead? Why do you think that is?
In Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War , you have to make choices, including whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing, so which option did you choose? Why did you pick that one? What do you think that says about you?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: November 13, 2020
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: August 26, 2021
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