Fall is here which means it’s finally time for Activision’s new addition in the popular “Call of Duty” franchise. The newest game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4”, released last Friday to much fanfare. Many gamers eagerly picked up their copies without even questioning the quality of this year’s release. So I had to wonder if the game could live up to the hype that past releases have built.
“Black Ops 4” has three main game modes that players can spend their time in: multiplayer, blackout and zombies. Multiplayer is the traditional online shooter experience, made up of eight different modes. Blackout is Activision’s answer to the battle royale craze started by “Fortnite” and “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds”. Zombies is the return of the popular player versus enemy mode where players fight endless hordes of the undead and survive as long as they can.
This is the first of the series to ship without a single player campaign, meaning if you don’t have online services such as PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live, most of the game is unplayable. Multiplayer can still be played offline with two players, and zombies can be played offline with four players. While some fun could still be had with these game modes offline, I can’t recommend buying “Black Ops 4” unless you have access to online services.
Multiplayer is where many players will be spending most of their time as it is the core “Call of Duty” experience that players are looking for. Multiplayer’s eight different modes include: control, domination, free for all, hardpoint, heist, kill confirmed, search and destroy, and team deathmatch.
Domination, free for all, kill confirmed, search and destroy, and team deathmatch all have hardcore versions with players’ health being cut from 150 to 30, making the modes much more difficult. These game modes are all fast paced and fun, with heist being a personal standout. Maps for the mode are a mix between classics from old “Black Ops” games and new ones, each being fun and well designed.
Blackout was the mode that had my personal interest most piqued. I was very intrigued to see Activision’s spin on a battle royale game mode. Disappointingly, I don’t think that this will be the “Fortnite” killer that many were expecting.
The mode feels very similar to “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.” The large map is mostly boring with no large landmarks to set it apart from any other battle royale map. The gameplay is very similar to a normal multiplayer game, which I thought would add to the appeal, but is actually a detriment. Games end very quickly if you are spotted by another player, leading to many games that feel short and unfulfilling. Blackout is a mode that I see many picking up and playing a lot initially, but its appeal will not last nearly as long as it’s battle royale competitors.
Zombies are better than they have ever been in “Black Ops 4”. The game launches with three different maps: IX, voyage of despair and blood of the dead. Each of the maps is fun to explore, with secrets and Easter eggs hidden throughout. Fighting zombies and upgrading your weapons and skills feels great, with the game allowing for a large amount of customizability in skill loadouts. Zombies is enjoyable by itself but is most enjoyable with four friends all trying to survive together.
The main complaint I have for “Black Ops 4” are online difficulties I have been having with it. I was unable to connect with 9/10 friends online. This was not a problem that I had because of my internet connection, as each and every person that I spoke to faced similar issues. This made the game much less enjoyable as playing with friends is where a bulk of enjoyment for this game comes from for myself.
Even with some online issues, a lackluster blackout mode and no campaign, multiplayer and zombies are strong enough to carry the game. While it isn’t the best the series has ever been, “Black Ops 4” will still scratch your yearly “Call of Duty” itch and give you a fun online experience.
This game was reviewed on an Xbox One.