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Smaller teams make for better matches in Cold War's new Dropkick mode

Call of Duty: Cold War Dropkick
(Image credit: Activision)

Since Warzone and Cold War merged in December, it's been a busy time for Call of Duty fans. The best Cold War guns have found their way into Warzone, and the battle pass integration has seen me flitting between them as new content releases. This week, it's Cold War's turn with a beefy mid-season update.

It's been just under a month since Call of Duty: Cold War Season 1 began, but we're already entering its 'Reloaded' phase. There's a new multiplayer map, a shiny new sword to unlock, and fresh Zombies content that anyone can dive into for free until January 21. However, the mode that kept me playing into the early hours of the morning today was Dropkick. These frenzied 6v6 matches challenge teams to fight over a tiny briefcase in an attempt to hold onto it long enough to unlock some launch codes for a nuke.

Dropkick takes place on regular multiplayer maps like Garrison and Cartel, so if you know these maps well, you'll know which areas have the best cover for protecting the briefcase. When a teammate picks up the satchel, you start gaining points, so it's a good idea to hang around nearby and cover an angle to stop the other team stealing it from you. However, teammates who die while the case is in your possession will not respawn until the carrier dies. To make things even harder, carriers can only use a 1911 handgun to ward off opponents, so there's a relentless, scrappy to-and-fro between the teams as you battle for control.

The best part about the mid-season update so far is that it focuses on shrinking the teams in its new modes. Dropkick houses twelve players, while the new Face Off playlist is a 3v3 take on popular quickplay picks like Domination, Kill Confirmed, and Team Deathmatch. Compared to its 40-player Fireteam: Dirty Bomb mode—which Rich thought was a complete mess, but also kind of amazing—playing with smaller teams has made Multiplayer even more fun than usual.

While Fireteam: Dirty Bomb offers a hectic atmosphere that has its own charm, I'm already really enjoying a more strategic approach to Cold War's Multiplayer. Every year, I have serious gripes with Call of Duty's Kill Confirmed mode. While I enjoy the additional challenge of having to scoop up dog tags after downing another player, I'm painfully aware that the majority of the server isn't interested in collecting tags and completing the objective. Matches revolve around ranged sniper battles, and it's not uncommon to finish a match with more dog tags than eliminations. In Dropkick, however, people are noticeably eager to help each other, and the quality of the matches really stand out.

Running around the larger maps means that you really need to coordinate with the rest of the team to cover all angles, but even with comms switched off this is far easier to accomplish when there's just six of you. I saw people filing into position behind various cars to cover our briefcase carrier on the Mall at the Pines map, and diligently regrouping when things didn't go our way. This is a nice change from my regular Multiplayer games, where everyone has one eye glued to their K/D, even when this means ignoring the strategies that would benefit the team and actually win matches.

Similar to a competitive bomb defusal match, where dying forces you to spectate your team, Dropkick quickly teaches you that you cannot play recklessly when your team has the briefcase. While you'll only miss out on the action for 30 seconds to a minute, it's enough to remind you that your decisions impact the wider team. Every time I saw the other team grab the briefcase I knew it was partially my fault. Overall, Dropkick's competitive elements and smaller teams ensure its matches feel exciting and engaging, while keeping things casual enough that you won't feel exhausted afterwards.