Name: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Developer: Treyarch, Raven Software, Beenox
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Call of Duty is back yet again with a new release this year. This time, it’s Treyarch’s turn to please the Call of Duty fanatics, including myself. Have their new approach to the genre achieved this?
Specialist HQ (A somewhat story)
It came as a big surprise and upset a lot of people when they announced that this year’s Call of Duty will miss a campaign mode. And the familiar linear story isn’t present in Black Ops 4 as they promised, but they did, however, add a minor story in the form of a tutorial: the multiplayer. With that I mean, they added cutscenes to each character you can choose between in multiplayer, showing us their backstories. To see the cutscenes, you actually have to complete tutorials in using special abilities and equipment to each character. And then play a normal multiplayer match against CPU’s (playing against the computer offline). This is a good way to give us a small brief of their backstories, but also a nice touch to newcomers. Learning how to play and how each multiplayer mode works. And getting the gold star on each character is somewhat a replay value for offline players. But then again, the decision to exclude the singleplayer is very noticeable, and for me as a long time Call of Duty fan, felt like this title misses something.
The graphics in Black Ops 4 isn’t groundbreaking or extremely noticeable changes from previous titles, but that doesn’t need to be a bad thing. Character models, weapon design and sound design are incredibly detailed. But there is one thing I noticed in Black Ops 4, where also Call of Duty: WWII struggled as well. The environmental graphics in the multiplayer mode and Blackout (battle royale mode) seems to have more blurry textures than the Zombie mode and Specialist HQ. One thing that really irritated me, was the huge amount of frame drop while using the split screen feature online, this might suits better in the gameplay section, but hopefully, this will be updated.
But overall, everything from lighting, map-design, sound design etc is great.
Treyarch has gone all in on releasing a Call of Duty game that depends on multiplayer only this year. Unfortunately, the regular multiplayer mode is the weakest mode in this Black Ops 4 package, but yet entertaining and will consume tons of hours of gameplay from me anyways.
The biggest change every Call of Duty player will notice is the small change of gameplay mechanics. Treyarch has approached a more strategic/tactic gameplay, like Rainbow Six: Siege and Overwatch. You choose your character at the beginning of each match, and each character has their own set of abilities and “Supers”. Some are offensive, defensive, support, medic and more. This approach really works in Black Ops 4 – not only did it give Call of Duty a fresh look at the series, but the gameplay is more stressful now than before when 11 years old boys rushed you with bunny jumping and screaming. Now you actually have to do some teamwork and communication to win the match.
Weapons and gunplay work as you expect from a Call of Duty title, the arsenal is great and tons of customization options, but the launch maps and bugs holds this mode back a bit. As for maps, I mean map design and spawn locations. When playing Domination or the new mode Control, it’s pretty easy to corner your enemies at their spawn (spawn killing as we might say). This is an issue and might frustrate a lot of people. Speaking of new modes, Control and Heist are the new things, Control is more tactical approach than Heist, but Heist mode might be something Counterstrike players will recognize. Earn cash each round, buy weapons, ammo, armor, equipment etc hunt down the enemy and collect the bag of cash. I’m not sure why, but Heist mode is more appealing to play for me, but I always end up playing in either Control or Domination every single time.
Zombies haven’t changed that much from previous titles, besides that Black Ops 4 launched with more maps and even more customization options. Besides maybe one change, it might just be a little more challenging to survive. Rush mode is a nice entry to the mode, you simply collect coins all over the place and rush to specific locations to survive, and of course killing every zombie on the way. The best part, you don’t need to think about spending points on opening doors or doing specific tasks, only surviving. You do of course have the regular zombie mode as well, with hidden easter eggs, and some sort of a story mode. It’s incredibly satisfying having Richtofen back! Treyarch also celebrates 10 years with zombies, (yeah I’m getting old..) and this zombie mode might just do the trick to really mark this milestone. So get your Juggernaut and Quick Reload perk ready!. The gameplay mechanics, sound design and overall design are present and great, sadly I can’t say that they did any mind-blowing new stuff, so it quickly felt like I’ve played this before.
Call of Duty’s battle royale entry is by far the best experience Black Ops 4 has to offer. Not only is this the first time ever a Call of Duty game includes driveable vehicles, but also a large scale map with nostalgic locations, such as Nuketown and Asylum. I only had a few minor issues regarding weapon balance etc, but as I’m writing this review, some of these have already been patched. The biggest issue, but again is something you get used to, is the “kill time” on the console. In my beta playthrough, both on PC and PlayStation 4, I found it much harder to kill my enemies on the console than on the PC. Again, this is something that has been greatly improved since the beta, and the game is updated all the time as the community provides feedback. Overall, Blackout is by far the mode I spent the most time on, and I simply fell in love with this mode. (I can’t stop! Help me!)
There ain’t much to say about the controls besides that the control schematic on the PlayStation 4 is the same as before. It works, it’s responsive and really easy to learn. However, I did experience that my right joystick didn’t respond at all. A reset did the trick, but this happened a lot. Hopefully, a patch will fix this.
As a multiplayer only game, the replay value is high because of the progression system. As well as hunting down the trophies, easter eggs in Zombie mode, finding out how to unlock character skins in Blackout, and before I forget – achieving #1 Victory in Blackout!
Besides that, there ain’t much more to do than playing this Call of Duty title until the next one releases next year. (Most likely, if they don’t take one year break)
Specialist HQ 6
Replay Value 10
Each mode in Black Ops 4 could have been standalone titles, which means Black Ops 4 doesn’t lack content or things to do, even though the campaign mode has been removed. The new gameplay mechanic approach with a more tactic gameplay, giving players more to think about than rushing enemies is a great touch, which also provides a fresh look at the series. Blackout is by far the best mode, even though the Zombie mode and regular Multiplayer feels like same, it stills provides tons of hours of fun.
User Review( votes)
- Strategic approach on gunplay/specialists
- Great content
- Map design on launch maps (Especially spawns)
- Zombie mode doesn’t feel new
- Minor control bugs (PlayStation 4)
- Framerate drop in Split Screen