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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review: War Games, now with battle royale!

  Players made it in new blackout mode.
/ Players play in the new Blackout mode.

Call of Duty is like video game war simulations generally trapped in a paradox. It never changes and yet it changes every year. A new Call of Duty, especially from the multiplayer area, is a small challenge. How important are the various iterative changes and do they manage to make meaningful changes to the core of the game? Call of Duty has long been a game of rapid and shooting guns; What makes the latest version worth to be played over the dozen plus iterations before?

To be fair, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is changing more than most. The highly choreographed, extravagant kinematic single-player campaign that was indispensable for the entire lifespan of the series has been canceled. This makes an uncomfortable hole at the heart of the experience that developer Treyarch has filled with blackout, an 88- to 1

00-player Battle Royale mode in the style of Fortnite or PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds . The rest of the game modes – the standard multiplayer suite and the ridiculous but addictive zombie mode – line up around blackouts to create a three-level experience of hyper-violence and militaristic energy.

Black Ops 4

is the largest single-game change for the Call of Duty franchise at times. But it is still, when it comes down to it, just another Call of Duty .

"Where we crash, soldier?"

Black Ops 4 does not present its content in any particular order. As a player, you can jump freely between its three modes, and nothing – except the player progress in each mode – is gated from the beginning. The natural starting point, however, is Blackout, the latest installment of the Call of Duty package, which is both the derivative and the most pronounced mode. On a sprawling map assembled in Call of Duty & # 39; s multiplayer past from locations and motifs, Blackout closely resembles every other Battle Royale game, both in concept and execution.

The rhythms of play is functionally the same: dripping, rinsing, fighting. Or, depending on your mood, hide with a white grip on the best weapon you can find. Not long after the start of the game, a safe zone will appear, shrinking steadily, forcing players into ever-closer clashes until only one remains. In Black Ops 4 there are no chicken dinners for winners, but there is fame and the sweet, sweet smell of experience points.

Blackout is arguably the first true AAA version of the Battle Royale experience – the first to be made with the budget and complexity expected of major games. Still, the differences between the new mode and the existing Battle Royale competition are pretty subtle. Gun handling and movement are fantastic, precise and fluid, built on the core Call of Duty experience that gives a level of brilliance that other games in this genre often miss. And there are the obligatory bells and whistles that come with a production of this size – you can break windows, bullets can penetrate walls, and you can swim and even fight underwater (which I would not recommend, based on my experience).

But the biggest difference to other games in this genre is the tempo. Call of Duty is known as a series of fragile players. In multiplayer game jargon, this is measured in "time to kill" – the amount of sustained fire needed to turn off another player. In Call of Duty this measure is lightning fast. This means that Blackout can feel capricious and restless, unlike other Battle Royale games. Most of my deaths in Blackout occur suddenly and unexpectedly, as a stray burst of fire interrupts me from a distance.

This creates an interesting atmosphere for this type of game, which is the continuing tension and terror of the omnidirectional free-for-everything. It gives the procedure a paranoid, lonely weapon that very much matches the aesthetics of Call of Duty . But this also makes the mode a bit more inaccessible. Blackout may pull existing Call of Duty fans into the Battle Royale experience, but it seems unlikely that she will attract anyone else.

Boots on the Ground

The other two game modes, while compellingly correct in their own, are less remarkable. The normal competitive multiplayer tries new things, but the extent of its modifications is less significant than it may seem.

Within the standard set of Deathmatch, Capture-the-Flag and Free-for-All modes, Black Ops 4 implements two new systems purporting to significantly change gameplay. The first and most striking is a manual healing system. This is done in the form of a rechargeable health package that the player uses at will and replaces the auto-replenishing health of older titles.

The goal of this change seems to be to slow down the game, and it works – a little bit. A change in the health system makes recovery a strategic consideration, and such complications are always welcome. The ability to dive behind cover and heal if necessary makes players a little harder to kill, and in some situations even allows you to armor the damage to get a retaliatory attack. But players can still do enough damage, in my opinion, so the strategic importance is often worrying, especially for less experienced competitors. The difference may not be significant enough to really change the game rhythms for most people.

The other change is the introduction of a class-based system in which each player selects a character with specific abilities. While most players could immediately compare this with Overwatch the better comparison is with Rainbow Six Siege which uses a similar combination of military aesthetics and high-tech military technology capabilities to play with a variety of unique characters. These abilities range from the offensive like a powerful cluster grenade. on the defensive, like a massive anti-person shield; plus additional supportive skills, such as the ability to create a new spawn point for your team.

The class system threatens to turn Black Ops 4 into a completely different kind of shooter, but mostly not. While the abilities are important, they are limited enough and slowly recharge so they merely complement rather than define the game. This is less a new kind of Call of Duty than it is a new flavor – an additional set of note notes that go beyond the same experience you remember. Functionally, these are good additions and make the game more accessible to new players. They also contain the only true story in the game, scattered throughout the tutorial missions that teach you how to play each character. It's Classy Black Ops stuff – a futuristic world of terrible violence – and while it's skinny, at least it's nice to have it.

In the meantime, Zombies mode has been what it has always been: an eccentric, lighter, and dodder version of the formula with some intriguing and obscure puzzles for the hardcore. On the surface, it's an irresistible player-versus-environment experience with exaggerated characters and lots of zombies to kill. Go a little deeper, and it's wonderfully mysterious, with hidden puzzles that reveal a sophisticated and bizarre tradition and intricate sets of card-specific mechanisms that are pretty funny – playing with someone who knows what they're doing.

Something Old, Something New

So this is Call of Duty Black Ops 4: a competent, carefully crafted, but ultimately secure iteration in a long, traditional franchise that, frankly, a lot has better entries. But it's also one of the most clearly Call of Duty games, an obvious bid to turn the series into a multiplayer extravaganza from a single source – the only game Call of Duty fans ever … need. Until at least next year.

What this means is that it is hard to recommend Black Ops 4 while it is also hard to discard it directly. If you like the series, there are interesting things here. If not, nothing will change your mind. What, I assume, is equivalent to the course? And hey, there's always next year.

The good

  • blackout begins, which is the best thing about this Battle Royale genre.
  • New multiplayer mechanics are subtle, making multiplayer accessible to more players.

The bad [19659033] The package feels strangely incomplete without a single-player campaign.
  • Blackout is tough, especially for players who do not follow the pace of ordinary Call of Duty
  • Zombies are as obscure as ever and make no sense if you do not already know what you're doing ,
  • The Ugly

    • At the end of the day just another Call of Duty .

    Verdict: Try it with a few friends.

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