It’s that time of year again, when Call of Duty produces its latest title. This year brings us back to Black Ops in a way reminiscent of its previous title, Black Ops 3, but in many other ways completely different. Black Ops 4, lead in development by Treyarch, presents a boots-on-the-ground, first-person-shooter experience, but whether or not this experience is worth the $60 tag (or more if you are looking into buying the Black Ops Pass, more on that later) or not, seems yet to be determinable. This review stands to break down what Black Ops 4 is bringing to the table that other CODs have not, and what stands controversial about the game’s contents/playstyles.
This section entails details regarding pre-game lobbies, create-a-class, and specialist selection. The photo above shows the standard, pre-game lobby has a similar look to Advanced Warfare and WW2’s lobby. However, Black Ops 4 only shows the player and their party (if applicable). Create-a-class has returned back to its “Pick 10” system, allowing the player a total of ten customizations options, including wildcards that permit the player to have more than one perk of the same class.
This system is familiar to many long-term fans of Call of Duty, and its nice to see it return in Black Ops 4. However, the new gun classifications of the create a class have caused a bit of a stir. Shotguns are now carried in the secondary slot, meaning players can now run a primary weapon (such as an Assault Rifle or Sniper Rifle) and pack a Shotgun in their secondary rather than a Pistol or Rocket Launcher. Classes can be modified in the pre-game lobbies, as it has been for quite some time. For those familiar with Black Ops 3, choosing a specialist was done in the pre-game lobby and customizable there. Black Ops 4 has retained the ability to customize a specialist’s style in the pre-game lobby, but specialists are now chosen once loaded into a match.
This is due to Black Ops 4 system that only allows two of the same specialists on one team (in gamemodes of 6v6) or only unique specialists per team (in gamemodes of 5v5). When playing with a full team, this newer system is not necessarily problematic, as its easy to communicate and assign roles to team members. However, playing alone can be problematic to those that prefer only playing one or two different specialists, as varying load times among player can result in your desired specialist being taken by another player.
The photo above shows the specialist selection screen a player may encounter. Notice that Nomad had already been selected by another player and therefore unselectable. While this system does bring a new sense of ‘team plays’ to Call of Duty, it certainly does not stand without its complications.
Black Ops 4 brings the traditional gamemodes that COD fans are used to, such as Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and Hardpoint, but also brings two new gamemodes to the table: Capture and Heist. Capture: Capture is a round-based game mode in which teams switch between defending two objects and capturing two objects, both with limited lives, and rotating these tasks each round. If both objectives are not captured before time runs out, then the defending team wins. In some cases, the team’s bank of lives (30 in total) determines the round winner, so every kill counts. Heist: Probably one of the most exciting and new gamemodes to come to Call of Duty.
Heist brings a CS:GO feel to Call of Duty, awarding the player money for kills and objective play. Each team is tasked with capturing and delivering a single objective to an extraction point. When a player is killed, they enter a downed state where if not killed by an enemy player, can be received by a teammate, much like how battle royales currently operate and how it can be suspected that Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode will operate.
It takes a lot of strategizing to determine what and when to buy, which adds to the thrill of the experience. One of the most notable changes to gamemodes comes in the new team numbers. Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed are the only gamemodes (as of Beta) to retain the common 6v6 setup. Every other gamemode in the beta is now knocked down to 5v5. This brings an entirely new feel to Black Ops 4, which is what the game seems to be going after.
Black Ops 4 brings players a new style of play, and the feel of Call of Duty has never felt more different. Almost all aspects of the combat have changed with the exception of the “shooty shooty bang bang” first person gameplay that defines COD. There’s a new specified health system that has a set 150 health for each player that can be modified with Crash, one of the optional specialists and equipment like armor and stim shots. In my honest opinion, a health of 150 is way too much considering the amount of time it takes to kill and that no matter the skill level, if a player gets into a 1v2 or more, the player stands little to no chance of obtaining a shiny double kill medal.
With addition to that, the equipment is the most frustrating, obnoxious, and unnecessary pile of skilless garbage to grace Call of Duty. Some are fun to use but when being on the other side of such bullarchy can make one quite livid. One of the most notable instances stems from the usage of the Seeking Shock Mine, which hunts down a foe with furious intent, and if caught in its electrical snares, God help you.
The gun-play feels nice and controlled, but with the inclusion of the health problem mentioned earlier, all the weapons feel underpowered except the snipers, which feel similar to previous years. The movement has a familiarity to it but is also slowed down due to the one and only Barbed Wire, which seems to be everywhere when you need to get somewhere. With all of these shortcomings, Black Ops 4 has the potential to great with a few tweaks and changes that will overall positively affect the game.
The purpose of a Beta is to introduce a game to its community and create a platform where the community can voice concerns about the game, allowing for a better release of the title, and that is exactly what Black Ops 4 has done. A simple visit to YouTube will show you that content creators across the web are not as pleased with Black Ops 4 as they had hoped to be, but it is this information that aids developers in forging a game that consumers love upon final release, as well as giving the community a taste of what to expect.
It is important to remember that all of the data collected thus far stems from Private Beta gameplay. There still stands much to be unveiled about Black Ops 4, such as its Blackout Mode (battle royale) and Zombies mode (bringing us 3 unique maps at game launch!) and two months for corrections and fixes to be implemented to the game. Drop a follow on our Twitch for Beta streams and Black Ops 4 gameplay, as well as a plethora of other games! The link to our Twitch (and other medias) can be found on our profile page section of GNN, give it a look!