Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review

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The Call of Duty series is back with the first all-online game in the series! Find out what we thought in our Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review!

Release DateOctober 12, 2018
GenreFirst-Person Shooter
PlatformsPC/PS4/XBO
DeveloperTreyarch
Price$59.99
ESRB RatingMature
Players1-88 Players

 

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Activision for review purposes*

As you’ve probably heard a hundred times by now, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the first game in the series to not feature a single-player campaign. I instantly thought that I would miss the campaign quite a bit considering I usually go through those first before ever touching the multiplayer component of these games, but that wasn’t quite the case. After playing through each of the modes for a little while, I can say that this year’s edition of Call of Duty feels like a return to form for classic fans while adding enough new features to capture a new audience.

I’ll dive into the newest game mode to the series first with the introduction to Blackout. I’ll say first that I was pretty annoyed that Call of Duty was going into the Battle Royale genre with this offering. I didn’t feel like the series needed it and it felt like a cash-grab to me. With that being said, it might be my favourite Battle Royale game to date. I love that it continues in the first-person view unlike other games on the market so it retains the same feel of the rest of the game modes. The map is huge and diverse with different vehicles, shelters, and open areas to explore. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
Hiding in the grass in Blackout.

Blackout loads quickly and smoothly and I didn’t have any technical issues whatsoever playing it. That was pleasantly surprising for such a massive area. It seemed like a more lively experience as there was always someone fairly close-by. I also experienced a lot more teamwork in Blackout compared to other games. Even without mics, every game I played in quad matches saw my squad stick together. Of course, there are solo, duo, and squad game types like most games in this genre. 

One thing I really like about Blackout is how fluid the movement is. If I see someone in the distance, I can drop prone to the grass in half of a second. If someone is chasing me, I can jump over a wall or through a window just a fast. You can be a run and gun type player or stick to the shadows and be as stealthy as possible and still have the same amount of success. You can also heal yourself while running which allows you to save yourself from certain death in perilous instances. The vehicles move just as well as your actual characters do too. Most vehicles in games like these feel like a disadvantage more than an asset, but the helicopters and land vehicles manage to be very valuable to your overall game especially if you’re playing in duos or quads. Nothing is more terrifying than seeing a convoy of vehicles stop outside the house you’re rummaging through. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
There are lots of instances of water you can swim in in multiplayer.

The diversity of the weapon drops has been pretty good in the experiences I’ve had with Blackout. If you search a few houses, you can usually find the type of weapon you want. I didn’t find nearly as many attachments for my guns, unfortunately, but there’s still usually a scope or grip lying around for at least one of your guns. I will say that there is no option to just pick up all the ammo and picking through a dead enemy’s loot takes a bit too long in a game where every second counts. There are some cool zombie-designated areas on the map that you can also go to to get special loot like the raygun. This was a nice way to spice things up a bit and a good reward for players that are brave enough to go into those areas.

Blackout incorporates the bullet drop mechanic which is common in Battle Royale games. This is something that players may have to get used to and it took me a few rounds to really get it right. Basically, gravity pulls your bullets to the ground and the impact becomes greater at longer distances. This won’t matter much at short distances but those long shots might take you a while to compensate for the travel speed and bullet drop. It’s a more realistic mechanic and one that’s served well in a game mode like this where death is permanent.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
Test your luck and get a cool new weapon.

Zombies mode in Black Ops 4 is full of content this year even if that content feels just a bit daunting for my taste. This year’s zombies mode allows you to play the game however you’d like to play it. This is a great feature, but I always enjoyed the ability to just pick up and play mindlessly which isn’t as easy as it has been in years gone by. 

There are 3 maps available at launch and a fourth Classified map if you purchased the Black Ops Pass. The new maps follow a new story-arc called the Chaos Story that is split into two parts with 4 new characters. Voyage of Despair takes place on the Titanic while IX takes place in a gladiator arena. The third map, Blood of the Dead is a Black Ops 2 remake that follows the Aether story arc featuring the original four characters. I was happy with how diverse the Zombies maps are and how Treyarch managed to included different story arcs even if one is a remake. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
Voyage of Despair recreates the Titanic.

There is a quick tutorial you can play through if you have never played a Zombies game before. There’s even an advanced tutorial for all perks and special abilities available to you. The tutorials take place on the Voyage of Despair and have some comical commentary that walks you through everything step-by-step. After you’re finished with that you can select Classic Zombies (with Casual, Normal, Hardcore, or Realistic difficulties), the new Rush, or a custom game where you set the rules. 

One of the nice features, once you get accustomed to Zombies mode in Black Ops 4, is the Create a Class feature. You can choose over 30 elixirs which give you temporary buffs much like the Gobblegum in Black Ops 3. You choose these elixirs before even entering a game instead of finding gumball machines in a level to try and get the perk that you want. You can choose four of these elixirs per game. You can also choose which perks you want to spawn on the map and where. It’s an interesting addition and something you can use to add a bit of strategy to your games before you even set foot on the map. Some of the perks are gone like Juggernog and Double-Tap, but they’re replaced with things like Stamina-Up and Death perception which allows you to see through walls. You can also choose one special weapon that deals massive damage, but has a cooldown. 

The newest addition to Zombies mode is called Rush mode. In this game mode, it’s fast and frantic action as you earn score multipliers by mowing down zombies to unlock new parts of the map. The great thing about this mode is that you don’t need to pay to access new areas like traditional zombies. The only objective is to stay alive and follow the Rush markers to defend the required areas. I liked this mode because I could jump into it quickly if I had 10-15 minutes to kill. I found it to be a great complement to the regular game mode and a nice contrast from it.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
Just one of the types of zombies.

Treyarch did a great job with Zombies this year. I’m normally not too invested in this mode, but I found so much enjoyment out of it with the plethora of options available to me. It is a bit much when you first get into it, but once you play the tutorials and start to understand all the moving parts, there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

Black Ops 4 multiplayer makes its return to “boots on the ground” combat which is a welcome change for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the jetpacks and other crazy things that the series was getting into. Instead, we get a game that brings the gameplay back to its roots. There are still some crazy perks like a grappling gun and a robotic soldier, but it’s a lot more realistic of a direction than the past games were starting to go in. The gameplay is faster than WWII, but it manages to not go super-speed like Infinite Warfare. The pacing seems perfect to me. I also really liked that you have to heal yourself with a stim-pak when you get hurt. It’s nice to be able to get in a battle and not be dead to rights when jumping into the next one. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
Gotta get past the shield!

Multiplayer focuses on Specialists as it did with Black Ops 3 with Ruin, Battery, Prophet, Seraph, and Nomad returning from that game. Each Specialist comes with their own unique weapon and special equipment that can be used (on a cooldown). The great thing about using these particular specialists is that you can use different ones depending on the game mode. If you’re defending an area, you might want to use Nomad’s mesh mines that can create a trip wire to take out an enemy or Torque with his razor wire to block off an area. If you’re on offense, you might want to choose Ruin for his devastating gravity spikes. You can change characters on the fly, but only so many of the same ones can be on the field at once (one of each in 5 v. 5, two of each in 6 v. 6).

Your traditional Call of Duty game modes return, but Team Deathmatch is now featured in the Chaos TDM playlist. The objective-based game modes have been cut back to 5 v. 5 which is the reason for this change. There are two new game modes and the first we’re going to talk about is Control. Control is a mode that kind of combines a little bit of Hardpoint and Domination from previous games. There is a point A and point B and each of those points does not move. Your team must capture and defend these points. The kicker here is that each team has a pool of 30 lives between them. You can win rounds by holding the points or just killing off the other team until they have no lives left so it’s up to you to figure out the best way of taking down the other team. I actually like this mode a lot and I think it puts a new spin on what were becoming stale game modes.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
The loadout screen for Heist.

Heist is the other new game mode and this one is pretty interesting, to say the least. In this mode, your team is trying to steal a bag of money before the other team does and bring it to an extraction point. You can choose to kill all of the opposing team members if you’d rather win that way as well because this is a no-respawn game mode. This mode doesn’t give you the standard Call of Duty classes. Instead, you’re given a pistol and $500 to spend on your loadout. Of course, this gets you nowhere so you have to earn more cash each round to buy better equipment, scorestreaks, and weapons. It’s a really fun game mode that requires a lot of teamwork and I know I’ll be spending a lot of time in it. 

There are 14 multiplayer maps available at launch with 4 being remastered throwback maps and 10 that are completely new. My favourite so far has been Morocco which is a village with tons of hallways and rooftops and it makes you feel like an enemy could be anywhere. I feel like there’s a map for every type of player and they’re really detailed with a lot of hiding spots, water areas, and sniping vantage points. There are also emotes and tags that the player can do to add some personality to a match, but I found it to be more of a novelty than anything. 

Multiplayer is the best it has been in years thanks to a more traditional approach from Treyarch, some good variety in maps, and fun Specialists to make things interesting.

ProsCons
Well-rounded MultiplayerNo single-player campaign
3 Zombies levels 
Blackout proved to be a good addition to the series