Fall is upon us, and along with the dropping leaves and temperatures comes the yearly installment of Call Of Duty. This year it belongs to Treyarch’s Black Ops 4. In a Call Of Duty first, Black Ops 4 is the first of the series to ship without a traditional campaign, but it’s also is the first to include a Battle Royale mode.
As one of the minority’s that enjoyed and played every one of COD’s campaigns, I was curious to see how not having one affected my review score…spoiler alert, it didn’t.
I’ve been playing Call Of Duty since time began, or at least since 2003 when Infinity Ward unleashed what would become one of the biggest juggernauts of video games with a First Person Shooter set in WWII. Like a lot of you though, it was Modern Warfare that really changed how I felt about the series. Despite the fact that Activision has been able to keep up insane sales numbers, the past few years haven’t been kind to the franchise with sales and respect has been on a steady decline.
Call Of Duty now has three different developer teams working on it, Infinity Ward which has recently seen a lot of their key members return after briefly leaving for Respawn Entertainment, Sledgehammer Games, the newest of the bunch who took the series back to WWII and boots to the ground after a brief stint with jetpacks, and of course Treyarch, once thought of as Infinity Ward’s redheaded stepchild. No more though, Black Ops 4 brings Call Of Duty back to its former glory and offers one of the best multiplayer shooters ever.
Black Ops 4 marries the traditional boots on the ground of the past with just enough of the futuristic content from where the series has been recently. Gone are the jetpacks, and wall running, but the movement still feels fluid, and fast enough paced to please fans of both the traditional and Titanfall-esque.
Black Ops 4 Multiplayer
The traditional Player Vs Player Of Black Ops 4 seems to have gone through some sort of internal makeover because I find myself yelling a lot less at the tv due to lag, horrible servers, and overpowered weapons. The TTK (time to kill) seems to be at the perfect balance, and the game seems to offer something for all types of players no matter what skill level you play at.
There are fourteen maps included with Black Ops 4, four of which are remastered versions of classics from the first Black Ops. Now I’m going to call shenanigans on that statement because I find it hard to believe that Hacienda isn’t a reworking of Villa, and Morocco feels like Deja vu, but I can’t put my finger on which map of Call Of Duty past it reminds me of, I’m thinking something from MW2. They are stunning and complex maps regardless if they aren’t entirely new, so I’ll forgive them if I am right.
Did Someone Say Nuketown?
I think it’s an actual law that every Black Ops game must include Nuketown. Don’t worry, it’s coming soon as a free download to everyone very soon. Come on, you know you want it!
Black Ops 4 brings back old friends or Specialists from the last game and introduces a few new ones. In lieu of a campaign, by playing each of the Specialists tutorial modes will unlock a story that includes ties to characters and lore of past Black Ops games.
Check out our guide to all of the Black Ops 4 Specialists.
Black Ops 4 includes a ton of multiplayer modes including fan favorites like Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, and Domination in both the regular and Hardcore versions. There are three new modes, Control, Chaos Team Deathmatch, and Heist which will undoubtedly become a new Call Of Duty staple.
Black Ops 4 Zombies
Treyarch introduced Nazi Zombies ten years when they included a hidden mode that unlocked after credits once you completed the campaign of World At War. Since then the mode has become one of the biggest selling points of Call Of Duty, and Black Ops 4 offers the biggest zombie experience to date by including four different maps with two different storylines to zombies. Actually, it’s three maps with the base game, and a fourth, Classified is only available to season pass holders.
The two separate story arcs spread throughout the four zombie maps are Chaos which takes place in The Voyage Of Despair, and IX and introduces us to new characters, Scarlet Rhodes, Diego Necalli, Bruno Delacroix, and Stanton Shaw. The classic Aether story features, Tank Dempsey, Nikolai Belinski, Takeo Masaki, and Edward Richtofen and spans through Blood Of The Dead, a reimagined version of Mob Of The Dead from Black Ops 2, and Classified which is a remake of Five from the first Black Ops.
With the exception of a few minor upgrades and additions, the new Zombies plays out much the same as it always has, but the new settings are a blast. Fight off zombie hordes on a sinking RMS Titanic In Voyage Of Despair or enter a Roman Gladiator Coliseum in IX.
Zombies in Black Ops 4 for the first time features full bot support. This is good news for those of you that can’t find a reliable crew to take on wave after wave of zombies or, those solo players that like to discover the mysteries and Easter eggs of Zombies on their own. The friendly bots aren’t able to perform map objectives like solving quests or restoring power, but they do a decent job of fighting alongside you and more importantly can revive you if the zombies get you down.
There’s also a new Zombie mode, Rush, which adds an arcade-like experience that simplifies the zombie experience by making the object about speed and building multipliers. Kill the undead to raise your multiplier as you try to avoid damage which causes the number to decrease. Rush is a shorter game mode, great for those who prefer their zombie sessions in small doses versus the often marathon showdown of a traditional match.
Black Ops 4 BlackOut
Brand-new to the Call of Duty series, BlackOut is a stunning addition. Though it jumps on the Battle Royale bandwagon with few new ideas, it provides a welcome change of pace to the more frantic multiplayer modes. Consequently, you need a whole shift in mind-set.
I never got on with Fortnite Battle Royale. It’s that whole building mechanic that throws me. H1Z1 Battle Royale was more my thing with realistic-looking locations and weapons I was familiar with, though it lacked polish. Blackout on the other hand knocks it out of the park to deliver the most realistic and engaging Battle Royale experience to date.
Starting off in a hub, where everyone seems to like smashing theirs fists into your face, the action properly begins as you launch yourself out of a helicopter onto the huge Blackout map.
Like other popular Battle Royale games there are three modes, solo, duos and quads. With up to 100 players competing, the aim is simply to be the last player or team standing. Alongside all the familiar Black Ops 4 weapons, there’s also vehicles that allow you move swiftly across the map, including helicopters and boats.
In terms of gameplay, there’s nothing new here. You start off frantically dashing around in the initial moments looting buildings and scavenging for weapons, armor and ammo. Then the action slows down as you move slowly get forced towards the center of the map as the circle draws in.
In between, there’s tense moments where you might dash for a supply drop to get those all-important end-game weapons, or spot a fellow player or team in the distance and engage in a fire-fight. It’s clear to see why Battle Royale games have become so popular because the pacing feels just right. You get those moments of down time where you’re just focused on getting loot, or slowly moving across the terrain scanning the environment, and then all of a sudden it all kicks-off – it’s exciting stuff!
Though there’s no major new innovations to the Battle Royale genre, there’s a lot to love. What you get in Blackout is the stunning graphics that we’re accustomed to in CoD alongside slick gunplay and smooth 60FPS frame-rates. The map is incredibly impressive too with tons of areas to explore from the Hydro Dam in the North to Nuketown Island in the South.
So far, quads has been the highlight for me. The action-packed moments are often intense stand-offs as you spot a group running across the hills or looting a building and move in to strategically attack or take up a vantage point.
What I like even better is that the CoD community seem to have really embraced Blackout. In recent years on PS4 it seems that – unless you’re playing with friends – gamers don’t chat as much as they used to, or if they do it’s usually trash talk. What I’ve found is that the Black Ops 4 community have found their voice.
In Blackout duos or quads you have to work together, and everyone seems to understand that. Consequently, every match I’ve played so far, the majority of the team have their mics plugged in to communicate. It feels like the good old days when the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six lobbies for full of community spirit with players wanting to work together.
Consequently, I’ve enjoyed many matches with three other players discussing our next moves, watching each other’s back and working together to take down the other teams. Blackout feels great and looks fab, but it’s this community element that has helped elevate it to another level for me. Blackout is a fantastic alternative to the other multiplayer modes.
Overall, Black Ops 4 is not only Call Of Duty’s best multiplayer to date, but I’d say it’s one of the best multiplayer experiences ever. GG Lord Vonderhaar, you and your team at Treyarch have successfully brought sexy back to Call Of Duty!