Black Ops: Cold War’s new 40-player “Fireteam” mode is addictive chaos that requires teamwork and good comms.
Thursday was the start of the early access crossplay beta that let players across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC get hands-on with the multiplayer for the upcoming Call of Duty, if they digitally pre-ordered the game. The Black Ops: Cold War open beta begins on Saturday for everyone else.
Last week’s PlayStation 4 exclusive multiplayer beta was mostly a positive experience with lots of new features for Call of Duty’s multiplayer, including a ping system and an FOV slider setting for console players. This week’s crossplay beta adds fresh game modes and maps to the playlists, including Treyarch’s new squad-based “Fireteam” 40-player mode, which has quickly become my favorite mode in Cold War.
Fireteam: Dirty Bomb is a point-based objective game played on large maps, pitting 10 teams of four against each other in a race to detonate several radioactive explosives. Players must fight to stay alive, while looting enough uranium drops to deposit into the explosive canisters and activate the detonation. Points are obtained for each squad by earning kills, depositing uranium, and by detonating a dirty bomb. The first squad to reach 500 points wins the match. Unlimited respawns keep you coming back into action, and I can’t really recall having any boring or quiet moments.
You can choose how your squad wants to go for the win. You can try to make an early push to a bomb site for a quick deposit and detonation, or you can ambush another squad and take credit for their hard work. Each bombsite tells you how much uranium has been deposited and when a team is detonating. If you play your cards right, your squad can swoop in and clear a bomb site that another team has worked to fill with uranium, and detonate before they can redeploy and retaliate. Once a dirty bomb is detonated, you have to flee the area before the radiation kills you.
“Ruka” and “Alpine” are the two Fireteam maps available for the beta, and interestingly, the maps and mode look designed more for Warzone than Black Ops: Cold War. Fireteam: Dirty Bomb uses the armor plating system from battle royale, and there’s also similar respawning with a redeploy that lets you parachute down to your desired location.
These Fireteam maps also have interactable doors just like the buildings featured in Modern Warfare and Warzone, which are not present on the more traditional maps featured in Cold War’s standard multiplayer. These doors can even be blown off their hinges with enough force, which my teammates and I learned the hard way.
We were playing on Alpine, a ski resort location with firefights and explosions happening on the snowy mountainside. On that map, some of the bomb sites are located in small cabins. This can make for a frenzy of close-quarters combat. My squad shut the cabin doors and quickly worked to deposit our uranium, but an enemy tank—because Cold War’s large-scale modes support tank combat—obliterated the doors on both sides of the building. And sadly, an enemy squad overpowered us in the cabin and took over the detonation. These high-level engagements and unpredictable moments are what keeps me coming back to Fireteam: Dirty Bomb.
I’ll admit that it can sometimes reach frustrating levels of chaos when multiple tanks are occupied by enemies. There are also plenty of killstreaks that can be obtained by the luck of looting supply caches around the map. It’s best to have someone on your team running a loadout meant to counter all the tanks and air support.
I’d like to see the killstreaks dialed back before launch, as the drop rate for lethal streaks seems far too high. Players use them to call in too many choppers in the first few moments of the match. The powerful, player-controlled chopper gunners might be a little too much for the mode.
Otherwise, I love the chaos of Fireteam: Dirty Bomb. This mode could be a good fit for players who want to enjoy large-scale warfare with a squad but get easily bored with simply outlasting opponents in battle royale modes or securing Domination capture points.
Anyone can jump in to try Fireteam: Dirty Bomb or one of many other multiplayer modes when Cold War’s crossplay beta opens on October 17. The beta ends on Monday, October 19. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is scheduled to release across PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on November 13.
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