Est. April 2016. III Version 2.0. III
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4
It’s a blackout.
By JAY TEE
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 feels like the biggest evolution of this stalwart smash hit franchise in years. There’s an enormous amount of subtle refinement and big picture adjustments that make this stand out in a way previous entries like Advanced Warfare and WW2 failed to achieve.
The lack of regenerating health is an interesting wrinkle; combined with the absence of wall running (‘boots on the ground’) the whole thing feels slightly more tactical and deliberate. You won’t come up against stupidly unbalanced perks in multiplayer nearly as often, which is a pleasing improvement.
The ‘back of the box’ headline grabber is definitely Treyarch’s take on Battle Royale; an 88-
THE BASICS -
The Look -
The Feel -
The Sound -
The Experience -
Blam blam shooty time.
Armour balance continues to be an issue, which can make player encounters frustratingly lopsided. The map itself is pretty unremarkable, although the nods to previous Black Ops titles are appreciated. There’s a lot of asset repetition, and a distinct lack of cover, which feels at odds with Call of Duty’s usually tight, thoughtful design. One frustrating choice is the inclusion of non interactive ‘prop’ cars and trucks, alongside a smattering of driveable vehicle types. I often got caught out in the heat of battle, assuming I’d make a quick getaway, only to realise that most of the vehicles are just for show. Very odd. So, Blackout is a bold first step, but one that will benefit greatly from further iteration.
Competitive multiplayer is a delight, with well optimised load times, a selection of excellent maps, and a welcome ‘back to basics’ vibe that compliments the more experimental Zombies campaign. The three included stories are pleasingly varied, but I couldn’t help feeling that the lack of a traditional single player is disappointing. I realise most COD players don’t even touch the campaigns (and I’m sure Activision has player data that will back this up), but Black Ops 3’s narrative co-
The biggest takeaway for me is that Treyarch have taken some risks. They don’t always pay off, but I appreciate their effort. They’ve messed with the core formula, but retained the tight gunplay. They’ve dipped their toe into battle royale, and doubled down on what fans enjoy about Zombies. It may not be perfect, but it’s easily the best Call of Duty of this generation, and a real shot in the arm for a series that ran the risk of turning stale.
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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the best in the series this generation. Treyarch’s willingness to mess with established tradition and evolve the gameplay was absolutely the right approach.
*PS4 review code provided by Activision*
The competitive multiplayer is as polished as ever, but the engine creeks in Blackout. Framerate remains very stable, but detail takes an obvious hit.
The shooting mechanics are still ‘best in the biz’, and the lack of wacky movement mechanics shows welcome restraint.
Sound design is superb across the board. This is a game that demands you play using headphones.
PICK N’ MIX
Blackout could do with some work, but the core multiplayer offering is smashing stuff.
THE FINAL SCORE:
We use a simple “out of 5” rating criteria for all reviews.
4 out of 5 is GREAT.
You’ll have a fun and varied experience, with plenty of reasons to invest. Even if it’s just shy of perfection.
OUT OF 5
THE LAST WORD: