This is impressive. Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War manages transitions between generations and provides excellent performance even when playing games on a PS5 or Xbox Series console. Premium machines also benefit from two key features: 120Hz and raytraced shadows, both of which transform the experience. Microsoft’s new pint-sized console, the Series S, is also impressive enough, but it seems to lack the next-generation features offered by more expensive compatible products.
Let’s start by delving into the ability to separate Series X and PS5 from all other versions. That star is a ray-traced shadow that replaces the baked shadow map you enjoyed in other versions of the game, as the video below shows. When it comes to overall effectiveness, RT Shadows are often overlooked, but their Cold War effects are extraordinary, as if the game’s art design was technology-centric. Scenes that look perfectly good on a traditional shadow map will look very good with raytraced shadows enabled. It spreads softly at a distance and closes up very sharply as it should. You can download the 11GB RT pack in Series S, but there is no option to enable it in-game. However, I asked Activision for an explanation.
RT is only available as an option when the game is running at standard 60 fps, but another major next-generation feature of the Cold War is 120Hz support. This allows both PS5 and Series X to target and actually 120 frames / second. In fact, in multiplayer mode, 120 fps is a lock on both systems (especially when combined with keyboard and mouse support, the game changes on its own), but the entire campaign plays at 120 fps (or very close). The fact that it can be done) is an impressive feat. It’s not perfect for solo play and is certainly not locked, but it’s run perfectly for many experiences.
All of this leads to the topic of pixel count and performance. This has always been a tricky topic for Call of Duty titles, which rely heavily on dynamic resolution scaling and temporal reconstruction. Therefore, when discussing pixel counts, only certain observable elements of the current frame are considered. Most of it actually consists of the newly generated frame and the details of the previous frame. Anyway, the standard 60Hz experience runs in dynamic 4K and achieves resolution and performance goals in 1800p-2160p DRS windows when raytracing is enabled. The Cold War can be scaled horizontally or on both axes, depending on the load. There may be “instantaneous” fluctuations in the number of pixels, but if so, no substantive evidence could be found here. In reality, the Series X and PS5 exist in the same way.
The frame rate is solid for most of the time, whether you use RT or not (advice: definitely use it), but I found one area that could drop to 45 fps on the PS5. But Series X remains solid. Curiously, the PS5 may bounce back to 60 fps when rebooting to the checkpoint. Therefore, this may be a minor bug that needs to be resolved. However, this single loss of performance occurs in the unplayable part of the game, so it’s not very important to how you play the Cold War. The Xbox Series S also uses dynamic resolution for non-RT presentations, with an upper limit of 1440p and a lower limit of about 1200p.
Going back to the 120Hz support topic, if 120Hz is selected as the refresh rate for the dashboard display, it will appear as an option on the Xbox Series X. simple. However, the situation is a little more complicated on the PlayStation 5. The newly patched Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition and Dirt 5 allow PS5 developers to turn 120Hz output on and off, but in the Cold War, users can use the features in-game on the PS5 front. Set the “performance mode” at the end. Both consoles have no RT, the resolution drops to about 1200p, and in some cases bottoms out at 1080p, but runs the game well at the target of 120 frames per second. It effectively swaps physical and temporal resolutions, but it looks and feels beautiful and smooth, especially in multiplayer mode.
Both the Series X and PS5 offer a great experience at 120 frames per second, with no issues in multiplayer mode, and minimal slowdowns in the campaign. However, strangely enough, in this 120Hz mode, the PS5 keeps the lock closer than the target frame rate. Series X. However, thanks to support for variable refresh rate displays, the Xbox Series X can smooth performance in difficult areas (currently at least not possible with the PS5). VRR actually benefits both 60Hz and 120Hz modes. I sincerely hope that a “future update” of Sony’s system will come sooner or later.
Ultimately, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a great release. Cross-generational isn’t easy, but this effort is far more accomplished than its predecessor, Call of Duty: Ghosts, which wasn’t very effective at leveraging next-generation hardware at the time. I am. With an impressive set of options, great campaigns, and the legally impressive use of high frame rates and RT features, it’s hard to discuss the quality of the packages offered here. There is also an interesting use of the Sony DualSense controller with adaptive triggers that are used to simulate the sensation of pulling the actual trigger (the sensation that changes depending on the weapon used). It’s a great effect for the campaign as a whole, but it can affect the reaction speed of the multiplayer component and should be disabled.
Anyway, it’s rewarding to see such a wide cross-section of next-generation features unfolding in a very cross-generation title: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is definitely a PS5 and Series X recommendation. Purchased but missing Bell and Whistle, it’s still a great game to play on the less capable Series S.