Hasn’t it always been the coolest feature to make your own decisions in a game? And not just follow along a path the game has set for you? This is what the new Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War brings to the table, a ‘sense of free will’ which the previous games in the franchise could not achieve.
Where does it allow for the ‘free will to be executed’, you may ask? Right at the very end of this series, when it falls upon you to decide to be the savior or the evil annihilator of Europe.
While there have been games in other franchises that did allow for the concept of ‘free will’, nobody allows you to reach the zenith of evil as this game does. Not only that, players are calling it one of the darkest endings in any game franchise. Now, a deep dive through the layers.
What happens when you don’t lie to Adler?
You regain your consciousness in a CIA safe house and are confronted by Adler immediately. Now, Adler and others start explaining to you what actually happened and reveals your true identity.
You start placing memories and it all begins making sense to your character ‘Bell’. Adler asks you for the location of Perseus; you can either reply honestly or send them the wrong way.
The honest answer is ‘ Solovetsky’; if you give Adler the right answer, you have to accompany him to Solovetsky to destroy Perseus and stop Russian plans of nuking every European city. You band together with Adler and destroy the Perseus Base, laying waste to their plans.
After this, you meet Adler on a cliff where he thanks you and affirms that ‘it was never personal’; then he pulls a gun on you and turns out you were ready for it with an immediate pull-out of your gun too. The screen goes dark and you have no idea who shot whom. Undoubtedly, this is the canon ending of the game.
What happens when you lie to Adler?
When presented with a choice of lying or being honest, you choose to lie and send Adler to ‘Duga’. Adler trusts you and asks to accompany him to the location. Now, you are free to roam around the safe house where you see the option of setting up an ambush at Duga through radio.
After reaching Duga and finding it practically empty, Adler starts questioning if you lied to the team. There are many responses you can choose from, but none hide the truth from Adler. Eventually, you have to put out a signal for the ambush which injures Adler’s team and brings out NPCs to be your backup.
A fight ensues and your objectives change to killing off your former team. You go into the base in pursuit of Adler and find him injured.
Here, Adler asks you for a lighter lying by his side. You stoop to pick it up when Adler attacks you with a knife that you counter and kill him instead by stabbing him in the chest.
Now, you turn around to find that the soldier who accompanied you into the base is none other than ‘Perseus’. He gives you the radio and the chance to order the nuclear strike yourself (evil decisions, indeed!). After you have done that, he surprises you by talking about how Perseus was never a single person but an organization; and how the Americans failed to realize that.
The next scene shows us the aftermath of nuclear strikes in the whole of Europe. The depiction is an unparalleled scenario of destruction. The scene cuts to the US president having a word with the intelligence officials, who he asks to ensure that the tragedy is not traced back to them.
This can never be the canon ending as a prequel cannot destroy the grounds on which a series has already been made. But that’s not what we are talking about here; no one expected Call Of Duty to allow the lead character to become so deviant as to launch nuclear strikes. The story goes somewhat differently than the usual first-person shooters.
Nevertheless, this is a brave step into the expansion of a character’s free will and allowing fans to explore within a story mode. Kudos to the developers for making this happen!
Which ending did you choose to go for? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Screengrabs via: YouTube/eColiEspresso