Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Review – Xbox One X

Last year Call of Duty took us back to the familiar theater of WWII. Personally, I found it to be the best game in the series since Modern Warfare and the lack of jumping, wall running and the like was a welcome shift in the franchise. Black Ops 4 continues the trend of “boots on the ground” but they’ve done a few different things this year. No formal campaign. As someone who loves a good story, I was more than a little miffed at this revelation. Instead Treyarch opted to but strong laser-like focus on the multiplayer aspects of the game and a new Battle Royale mode Blackout.

Black Ops 4 takes the already strong multiplayer foundation from previous games and adds a bit more of a tactical spin by introducing specialists. The game features 10 Specialists, (Ruin, Prophet, Battery, Seraph, Nomad, Firebreak) each one has their own unique strengths and special attacks. For example, my favorite specialist is Nomad is a K9 unit who uses a special mesh mine to dispatch unsuspecting bad guys as they break the plane of the laser connecting the mines together resulting in some fantastic kills. A notable change is the inclusion of administering health shots. Automatic health regeneration is gone and while I was skeptical of that change at first, I found it to be a pretty fantastic move by the devs.

Black Ops 4’s gallery of multiplayer modes are pretty well the same as any COD player would expect to see. TDM (Team Death Match), Domination and hardcore mode to name a few. Again just as previous games in the series, if you’re familiar with the franchise you already know  exactly what to expect. Fast paced run and run action that rewards players who manage to rack up piles of kills with the ability to call in kill stream rewards. Thankfully, I believe that Black Ops 4 has sorted out the constant gripe I’ve had with the series. Quick scoping – the act of perfectly timing a shot with a sniper rifle to kill someone regardless of whether they’re in target or not. However, now we’re seeing a lot more people doing what many refer to as “Halo Jumping”. Which is basically people jumping around when getting involved in a skirmish. It can be a bit annoying but once you accept that it’s happening, you’ll make adjustments to your play style and produce some truly satisfying kills. One thing to note, in my experience, it really doesn’t matter which specialist you choose. They all play well and I didn’t find that any of them felt particularly over powered. I will say that I can see how putting together a squad of friends who properly communicate with each other and strategically picking their specialists could come in nice and handy as some specialists would really compliment others nicely. I’ve yet to experience a well oiled war machine yet but I am genuinely excited to try and make it happen.

This year Treyarch really brought their A game to the table with this years installment of the fan favorite Zombies mode. Now you get 2 different stories to follow. Chaos, features 4 new characters and Aether takes place across multiple World at War maps using time travel to link the plot points together . I’ve still not managed to get past level 15 but from what I’ve been reading and hearing from friends is that I have a lot of work to do to find all the Easter eggs and objectives that need to be correctly identified before I can learn more about what’s happening. Challenge Accepted Treyarch. Further to the aforementioned Story modes for Zombies there are 3 more maps to work through. IX, is set in an arena similar to what one would find set in the ancient Greek times(the zombie tigers were especially haunting), Voyage of Despair throws players onto the Titanic as it slowly sinks down to the bottom of the ocean and Blood of the Dead which is set in Alcatraz. The core mechanics of Zombies is the same though. Fight off waves of undead, earn money, open doors, buy weapons and ammo rinse repeat. Getting a squad together is great and is sure to provide hours upon hours of fun for you and 3 others or, if finding those 3 other players is proving to be a daunting task, now you can play with the help of AI characters a widely requested feature that Treyarch listened to and delivered to the masses. Strangely enough, the AI is more than a little competent. They won’t perform any of the major objectives but they’re more than capable of assisting you and reviving you making the experience as a single player highly enjoyable. A few more new additions to the recipe is the introduction of elixirs and special weapons. The elixirs are nothing more than temporary power bonuses that you can mix and add to your load-out. The special weapons are fantastic and insanely helpful when the tough gets going you summon in the weapon and can dish out some major damage.

And now that brings me to the single biggest change to Black Ops 4. Blackout.

What can I say about Blackout? It’s easily my favorite game mode with Black Ops 4. Blackout is the latest and greatest in the Battle Royale genre. Take the best aspects of PUBG and give it the shine and polish that Call of Duty brings and honestly that’s what you got. But it’s all done so much better than anything else I’ve played. Even the inventory system is just better. Right from the announcement I knew that COD was going to change the landscape for the Battle Royale genre and it has. One of the more interesting spins they’ve brought to the table are the perks. While looting buildings or the dead bodies of your fallen enemies you will come across perks that can give you a temporary advantage over your opponents. Some of the best perks in my opinion are: Awareness – Enemy footsteps are louder. This is especially handy when getting closer to the end of a round. Outlander – Reduces damage and increases movement speed outside collapse. Always good to get the drop on your enemies. They never expect you to come from behind after the storm has closed in and Skulker which allows you to move faster when crouched or in the prone position.

While I do miss having a proper campaign, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is a big win all around. They’re giving us all kinds of great content and providing plenty of opportunity to play with your friends. Blackout is the stand out best thing of the game. When you get down to the short strokes of a round the adrenaline coursing through your veins is simply intoxicating and whether you win or lose, you’ll find yourself coming back for more over and over.

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