Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Mature, violent shooter offers hours of exciting action.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 35 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 81 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The heroes in each mission are trying to save the world from terrorists, communists, and zombies. To do so, they use violence and other means, but also put their own lives at risk for the sake of the mission.

Positive Role Models

You mission is to save your country and the world. To do this, you use violence, stealth, and, on rare occasions, some unsavory tactics. You also risk your own life to save others, and sometimes have to make life and death choices that allow you to do the wrong thing...

Ease of Play

The controls will be familiar to fans of this series and this genre. The game has five difficulty options ("Recruit," "Regular," "Hardened," "Veteran," and "Realism") as well as a dozen optional perks that can improve specific skills.


Players use a variety of guns, knives, and explosives to kill people and zombies, resulting in a lot of bloodshed and gore. There's an option to censor the graphic content, but violence is a massive focus for the gameplay.


There are signs for "XXX" peep shows, with images of women in lingerie.


The dialog includes such curse words as "s--t," "a--hole," and "f--k," though there are options to censor the dialog and any text messages players send to each other. Online interaction isn't moderated, which could expose players to inappropriate content.


This is the latest chapter in the long running Call of Duty franchise. While there will be add-ons available for this game later, they will be free.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

During drug missions, players pass packages and piles of white powder.There's also scenes of hallucinations because of medical substances.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarineCat636 November 18, 2020

Just as mature as the other games in this series but not as mature as Common Sense says

Parents need to know that there are three different modes in this game: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies. There isn't very much blood or gore except in t... Continue reading
Adult Written byJohnGreen November 29, 2020

Turn off Blood/Bad language

This game is not gory at all as you can turn off all blood/bad language.
Teen, 13 years old Written byGo Dodgers November 17, 2020

Amazing game can turn off gore highly recommended

Love the game back to the good old call of duty games I highly recommend it and make sure to play the campaign it is really fun. There is an option to turn off... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bya kids POV December 29, 2020

18+ is a bit of stretch

Cold War is bloody and there is swearing, but there is no reason for it to be 18+. A 14 year old or even a 13 year old should be able to play this phenomenal ga... Continue reading

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?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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