It is not every day that one comes across a COD iteration, or any FPS game for that matter, that offers the player the choices to alter its narrative. Up until now, as long as one could get past the barrage of bullets and explosions, the ever-changing complications of missions on dynamic terrain, and overcome the bad guys at the end of it all, it was all well and good.
But with a new game coming out almost every year continuously for the past decade, some fatigue is bound to set in. So, other than updated visuals and new scenarios, what else could be offered to up the stakes?
Enter COD Black Ops: Cold War with its pliable narrative and multiple endings. The world is teetering on the edge of nuclear destruction, again (seriously COD, enough!), and the choices you make alter the fate of the (western) world. This is one game that is clearly meant to be played numerous times, not just in Multiplayer and Zombie mode, but also in Single Player Campaign.
There are three separate endings that we’ve figured out so far: the good, the bad, and an alternate bad ending. Whether you want to find out what each ending looks like or want to know how to get to the one that you want to see – here is the breakdown of the missions, the choices that you get, and the consequences that follow. Choose wisely!
Choices in Missions
In every mission, usually at its end, you will be required to pick an action or a dialogue that will (potentially) change the course of the game. Here’s a rundown of the missions and what options you have at your disposal.
Nowhere Left to Run
In this opening mission, you (Mason) chase down an Iranian terrorist known as Qasim Javadi. The mission ends up with you catching up with him on a rooftop and trying to find out the whereabouts of one Arash Kadivar. Now, you have three options once he gives up Arash’s location:
- Release Qasim: If chosen, Adler will question your choice, Qasim will beg for his life, and Adler will shoot him in the head.
- Capture Qasim: If chosen, you punch and knock Qasim out and he’s captured.
- Throw Qasim: If chosen, he is thrown from the roof to his certain death.
Brick in the Wall
In the first part of this mission, you are asked to check up on an informant by the name of Richter. Once you kill the agents that have held Richter captive and talk to him, you’ll be presented with two choices:
- Release Richter: If chosen, you’re captured at the end of the mission and the other agent is killed.
- Kill Richter: If chosen, you’re captured still but the other agent survives.
This mission greatly affects the outcome of the ending. Kill Richter if you want to end up with the ‘Good Guy’ version; release if you want to see the ‘Bad Guy’ version.
Once your team saves you from capture after the previous mission, you’ll have the fate of Anton Volkov in your hands. You can choose to either:
- Capture Volkov
- Kill Volkov: If chosen, Adler will agree with you but Agent Park will not be pleased as he could have gathered more information from Volkov.
This mission too will affect the outcome of the ending. Kill Volkov for the ‘Good Guy’ ending; capture for ‘Bad Guy’ ending.
This mission involves you, a KGB mole named Belikov, completing your objective of using a keycard to get Bell and Adler into the KGB building. You have four ways of achieving this goal:
- Persuade the Prisoner
- Reprogram the Keycard
- Frame Charkov
- Poison Charkov
All of these choices lead to the same consequences and don’t really matter much as far as getting to a particular ending is concerned.
Thereafter, you’ll have an encounter with Zakhaev (remember him from the Infinity Ward series?). This is not so much a plot decision as it is a tip of the hat to Modern Warfare. Of course, both Bill and Adler are disguised so he wouldn’t recognize you. But he will ask you whom you report to, to which the answer is Sobol. Here, you can:
- Select the dialogue that says you answer to Sobol.
- Knock Zakhaev out (which will lead to a small scuffle; nothing major).
End of the Line
This penultimate mission will definitely leave you messed up and in a pickle about making a decision to save either Lazar or Park. You three are awaiting extraction on a rooftop when a missile hits and all are knocked out. When you come to, you’ll have to decide on saving one of the two (and be quick about it). If you:
- Save Lazar, you two are safely pulled out while Park is left behind, surrounded by enemy troops and captured.
- Save Park, then Lazar is captured.
If at the end of the game, you opt for the ‘Bad Guy’ ending, you’ll find out that whomsoever you had left behind died. If neither of them were saved for want of time or care, they both die.
The final mission will require quite a bit of resolve, especially when considering that all that you’ve done has led up to this moment. This will determine the ending that you will be left with when the ‘dust settles’. Once you learn of Bell’s true character, it is up to you to decide what you do with your intel on Perseus. You can choose to:
- Tell the truth about Perseus being in Solvetsky, and stop Europe from getting nuked to oblivion.
- Lie and say that Perseus is in Duga. Bye-bye Europe.
If you decide to lie, you can further let Perseus know of their plan, thereby dooming both Adler and his team. If you forego this option, you’ll end up dooming yourself as well. Regardless of whether you tell him or not, Operation Greenlight is still going to move forward bringing death and destruction upon all of Europe.
This is a no-brainer: tell the truth about Perseus’ location and save the world. Along the way, you’ll be involved in disabling AA guns and bombing the radars. However, later, you’ll be asked by Adler to make ‘a sacrifice’, after which both of you will pull guns on each other. Though we’re not shown what happens, it is clear that you two kill each other and Perseus remains at large.
So, what’s the good here? Well, preventing an all-out nuclear attack should be one, even though you end up being the martyr for knowing too much.
This one is also not that hard to arrive at. Just lie to Adler and tell that Perseus is at Dulga.
Thereafter, you can inform Perseus of Adler’s plan with a radio and lead his team into an ambush. Soon, you’ll be hunting down the rest of the CIA operatives, topping it off with a brief knife fight with Adler. Once finished, you’re joined by Perseus who reveals that there is no one ‘Perseus’. He compliments on your achievements while detonating nuclear weapons for the decimation of Europe.
We hear, in the cinematic reel that follows, Reagan telling someone to erase all records of their involvement with the incident. Sure, the nuclear attack is down and out a ‘bad’ ending. But it is quite an interesting thing to note that the good ending requires you to be sacrificed, while the bad one forces you to question whether your actions were right as you survive the chaos that you helped unleash, or at least give the narrative semblance that they were.
As mentioned, there’s another, more sinister ending…
Alternate Bad Ending
This one will require you to lie to Adler about Perseus’ location (just like the previous one). But note that if you want to trigger this ending, do NOT use the radio to inform Perseus about it. You’ll still be going to Duga, but there aren’t going to be any reinforcements. Adler will soon figure out your betrayal and reward you with a bullet.
From here on out, the ending plays just as it did in the other ‘bad’ ending – Europe nuked, Reagan washing his hands off the whole thing, and Perseus devising a new world-order, but without you by his side.
It is a curious thing to die for the world and finding out that it was all for naught, unlike either of the previous endings where you die as a hero, or live as the villain. So, which road are you going to end up taking – the one of heroic death, of necessary evil, or plain, miserable futility?