The Call of Duty series returns back to the stage again, which as you know, it is Treyarch this year to offer us the fourth installment of the Black Ops series that has become, on its own merits, one of the FPS fans favourite from Activision.
Since the company announced Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, this new release has been in the top news for better or worse, it was criticized for being the first Call of Duty that does not include a campaign and, subsequently , being praised by fans of the series who were delighted with the Blackout beta, its Battle Royale mode .
Controversies and news aside, the truth is that, as we are going to tell you in the next lines, we are facing the most fun Call of Duty of recent years in its multiplayer mode, finding us with a game faithful to the style of the series, with your feet on the ground and with an enviable gameplay.
The best multiplayer always comes with Black Ops
Those who play Call of Duty already know what you’re coming up with, so we’re not going to give too many laps explaining that Black Ops 4 is a frantic title, full of fast movements, and action, having its own playable formula that moves away from others FPS and that, in Black Ops 4, is the best in its own, in offering us adrenaline and frenzy chutes that will make us hook up in its multiplayer mode as if there is no tomorrow.
In this multiplayer we will find an interesting playable proposal that does not revolutionize the series, but that brings it closer to the genre of the hero shooter thanks to a twist to the specialists who will have two special skills at their disposal that will be activated as we advance in the match and that will allow us to perform different actions.
The first “special ability” of our specialist will be related to the equipment and can be activated quite regularly during each game. With it, we can deploy a barbed wire to hinder our enemies entrance toa certain area or leave assault packs on the ground so that our teammates can collect ammunition.
The second is our ultimate skill and, as a general rule, we can only use one or, at most, twice during the game, so it will be really important to use it at the right time. With it, we can cure our whole team, cover us with a huge tactical ballistic shield or call a K-9 unit to accompany us in combat and more.
Each specialist will have exclusively these skills that will serve them to occupy a specific role within the multiplayer, being useful for what situations or game modes, one specialist has the ability to perform as a tank, called Ajax, there is another one who is a healer called Crash, passing through focused specialists. If you like brute force then you can play as Battery and others that are is for infiltrator can pick a support specialist like Seraph.
As you can imagine, the importance of the specialists and choosing the indicated one depending on each game mode or map is tremendously important during our games and gives an interesting touch to most of the multiplayer modes.
In addition, although the “special abilities” of each specialist cannot be changed, what we can modify to our liking is the weaponry, creating our customized sets with weapons, accessories, advantages or devices.
In total, we can create a total of 6 custom classes that we can use together with all the specialists present in the game. When it comes to customizing our class, the only limit we will have is the already famous maximum of “10 objects” for each class, which includes weapons, accessories and everything mentioned above.
The new form of cure
One of the details that we liked the most about Black Ops 4 since we were able to try it for the first time in Los Angeles is its new healing system that, on this occasion, renounces the automatic health regeneration that had become so common in the series during the last years.
Instead, now we will have some stim shots that will be recharged in a matter of seconds and that we will have to use manually, pressing a button on our controller or a key on our keyboard to regenerate our whole lives.
It is an interesting turn that will make us aware of our life and that will also promote being in a constant movement since we will not need to be crouched waiting for our health to regenerate anymore.
Of course, while we apply the stim shot we can not do anything else and, although the process only lasts a little more than a couple of seconds, performing the action can cost us our dear life, since an enemy can take advantage to end our life with ease.
Control and heist modes bring fresh air to the multiplayer
Most of you know all or almost all the multiplayer modes of the Call of Duty series as Domination, Kill Confirmed, Team Deathmatch and a long etcetera of classics that have been present in the franchise (along with its variants in Hardcore).
To give some variety to the multiplayer, Treyarch has opted to include two new game modes for us, are a success for the series, providing much fun during our experience with the final build.
The first one is Control. In it, one of the teams must defend two zones while another has to attack them and conquer them in a certain period of time. If the attacking team manages to conquer an area, the countdown of the time of the game increases and, if it manages to conquer both, wins the round.
In addition, both teams will have a maximum number of respawns. If one of the two teams loses all their “lives”, they will automatically lose the round, seeing how the opposing team rises with the victory.
The second one is Heist, a kind of a cross between a Capture the Flag united to the competitive games of CS: GO, the FPS of Valve. At the beginning of each round, each member of the team must buy weapons, ammunition, armour or other utilities to face what is to come. The money available for this will depend on whether it is the initial round or the result obtained in the previous round, among other factors.
Once the shopping phase finishes, the round begins and our objective will be to take a bag of money located at some random point on the map and carry it to another place where we will extract the money to win the game. In this mode there are no respawns and, if one of the two teams loses its five members, then they lose that round.
This is a very interesting turn to the usual concepts of Call of Duty and, at least we, we have enjoyed our games with Heist quite a bit that will be a very promising way for the gaming community, with all its mechanics.
Ten new maps and four old locations
Together with the multiplayer, the specialists and the new game modes we have 14 maps that Black Ops 4 offers us from day one, among which we find ten completely new maps and four old ones that will be recognized by the fans of the Black Ops series
Each and every one of the maps are well made both on an artistic level and in its design, offering us different areas to use skills for each and every one of the specialists and balancing both teams during each match.
Perhaps we would have liked to have a broader catalogue of new maps instead of getting 4 old maps to complete the catalogue, on this occasion, it seems that Treyarch has wanted to bet on the quality and balance of the maps (something that is undeniable), rather than by the amount and having to touch them to make adjustments to the first change.
Blackout: Long live the Battle Royale
Leaving aside the most classic multiplayer side of Call of Duty we find Blackout, the bet of Activision and Treyarch for the Battle Royale that has managed to make its mark among its community and that, in fact, is enjoying very good reviews on the part of Many regular Call of Duty players.
The premise of Blackout is similar to that of other Battle Royale, we fall into an area of the map, we equip ourselves, and we eliminate the rest of the enemies that we are encountering while the size of the map is reduced until only one survivor remains.
To play we can do it alone (facing 87 players), by duos (with a maximum of 100 players per server) or by teams of four in games of a maximum of 88 players.
In general, there are many elements that Blackout shares with other Battle Royale since in the battlefield we will find weapons, accessories for them, ammunition, protections in the form of armour and even vehicles, whose presence in Call of Duty until now was merely anecdotal
However, Treyarch knows very well that despite offering a Battle Royale this cannot lose the essence of Call of Duty and, therefore, also offers us playable elements typical of the series as, without going any further, winks and even traced areas to maps of previous Black Ops deliveries such as the Nuketown area.
In addition, Blackout also has its own elements to differentiate from other Battle Royale , adding details such as special perk packages that allow us to activate, for a while, the most particular skills that will allow us, for example, to walk without making hardly any noise during a couple of minutes or even hear a special sound, an alert, when someone is pointing and is about to shoot us.
Also available are some objects not common in other Battle Royale but that are very present in Black Ops 4 as barbed wire, RC-XD or cluster grenades.
Blackout also includes some new mechanics for Call of Duty players, such as a fairly realistic bullet drop system that will make us see how the projectile goes down as it moves away, as its name suggests.
Another interesting point is the areas plagued by zombies that we can find in Blackout. In these areas, we will find a lot of equipment and even weapons or special objects that we will not see in another area of the game. The problem? That we will have to do with a handful of zombies, that other players also want that booty and we will make a lot of noise by giving away our position.
Blackout proposes a fairly faithful experience to the original idea of the Battle Royale with its own colour and with high doses of action, tension and adrenaline, something that all fans of this genre will like.
Maybe the PC player, with Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds or other alternatives is not so tempted to enjoy Blackout but we believe that, especially on PS4, Blackout can make good shadow to Fortnite or, at least, prevent Call of Duty players end up going to the Battle Royale of Epic Games.
Of course, in Blackout, Treyarch still has things to polish like the behaviour of vehicles (they are too fragile and we can not run over other players) or the interface , two aspects that we believe are quite improvable in a way that, by fixing these couple issues, it is very fun and satisfying.
Black Ops Zombies
Finally with the “fan-favourite” third mode; Black Ops 4 Zombies mode that has become a classic in the Call of Duty franchise and this year is committed to offering more content than ever.
Treyarch has put the piles of the pretty thing with the zombies to try to offer all its fans a great experience with spectacular production values , both in the design of the stages as in the weapons, the history that surrounds this particular campaign of zombies and other small details, probably the best zombies in a Call of Duty.
We can discover a new story composed of three different chapters, each in a different setting, starting with an adventure on the Titanic shortly before colliding with the famous iceberg that caused its shipwreck to travel to Roman times and then visit Alcatraz.
Overcoming the challenges of each level will not be easy and, in fact, the collaboration of the four players will be crucial, so it is advisable to enjoy this way with your own party instead of complete strangers through the network.
The three great scenarios, all the details, and secrets and all the alternatives offered by the zombies are an almost complete game experience and probably a way to excuse for the lack of the campaign.
Of course, although as we have said the levels of production are high, the AI that accompanies us if we want to play alone needs improvement, may give you some headache during your session.
No story campaign, but you get a backstory for each specialist
One of the most criticized aspects of Black Ops 4 is the absence of the single-player campaign for the first time in the history of the Call of Duty series, something that has not been well taken by many of the game’s most purist fans.
Of course, we miss this feature, especially if we take into account that, in general, Call of Duty: Black Ops campaigns had always left us with great moments, especially in the first installment of the series.
To somehow replace this campaign, Black Ops 4 offers us a small story thanks to which we can get to know a bit of the argument of this delivery and the stories of the different specialists. We will have to complete the tutorials of each and every one of the specialists, which is very short and can’t fill the absence of a campaign mode.
Only time will tell if Treyarch has hit, or not, with the absence of the campaign in Black Ops 4, wish we could get a campaign to be included in the game, regardless the percentage of players who enjoyed it was too low says the developer.
Graphics and Sounds
To perform this analysis we played the PS4 Pro and the PC version of Black Ops 4. For the first time in the history of Call of Duty, PC version leaves Steam to embrace Battle.net, the Blizzard platform that seems to become the new place of reference of the games of Activision in PC, something quite logical, on the other hand.
Treyarch wanted to give a special approach this year with the computer version and, for this, has had the help of Beenox to develop this version of PC that also has the supervision and advice of Blizzard, which has guided both studios towards the right direction
It is, without a doubt, the most polished version of Call of Duty for PC of the last decade, with a great behaviour when it comes to pointing with the mouse (the sensitivity is traced to Overwatch ) and with an excellent performance in most occasions
With our high-end gaming tower setup, we have been able to enjoy the game, without problems, to more than 144 fps in Multiplayer and Zombies and 120 frames in Blackout, which, as you know, is temporarily limited to this rate of fps to stabilize their servers, something that will be eliminated later.
At a graphic level , the game is not the best in the market and remains a bit behind if we compare it with other great releases that have come out for PC or that are released in 2018 but, even so, it is attractive enough at the graphics level except for some textures in Blackout that should be improved to enjoy a better PC experience.
In addition, we have experienced some “lag” during our test with the PS4 version that, surely, have more to do with the online code of the game than with the performance of Black Ops 4. They have been very specific problems that probably will not take long to fix.
If we go to the sound we find great work in everything that has to do with explosions, shots and other effects, although at this point there are areas that can be improved such as footsteps, which do not sound as they should, depending on the proximity of the enemy.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is, without a doubt, the best Call of Duty multiplayer that we have been able to play in recent years, taking the pros from the Black Ops 3 to offer us an addictive title at a playable level that, in fact, it has surprised us for good and it has kept us hooked to its servers while we were preparing this review.
The great importance of the specialists, the new self-healing system and the new modes Control and Heist are both good additions to the multiplayer that does not represent a revolution but that does have a perfect combination of fresh air with the game “boots on the ground” that fans of the series so demanded.
As for the Battle Royale, Blackout, Treyarch knows how to give us an experience faithful to this particular game mode that is now a trend, all this without giving up the frenzied and agile formula of the Call of Duty, leaving its mark since we jumped from the parachute. We will have to see its evolution and how the title complies with everything promised, offering new regular content for it, but, at least for now, its result is remarkable.
Zombies mode will be a delight for all fans, offering the best levels of production that this mode has ever had and that could be if you want, a spin-off, a completely different game away from Call of Duty.
With these three pillars so solid, we have to also comment on the absence of the campaign. Would we have liked if a story mode is included in the game? Yes, but despite its absence, Black Ops 4 is simply offering hours and hours of fun in this new installment.
Are there things to polish and optimize? Of course, but Black Ops 4 has managed to surprise us and, against the criticism of many, stand as the best Call of Duty (multiplayer) of recent years and, probably, of the current generation of consoles despite the absence of a campaign mode.
We have prepared this review with a download code provided by Activision.