Call of duty: black ops 4 review: a great shooter that isn’t afraid to copy

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gọi of Duty: Blaông chồng Ops 4 is as impressive sầu as it is anomalous. The game contains very little that hasn’t been done first by others, but it approaches those features in a way that’s so polished & chất lượng that it doesn’t really matter if they’re particularly original. It also lacks a single-player mode, marking the first ever modern COD game lớn strip itself of a story chiến dịch — và it’s become more focused and fun as a result. Blachồng Ops 4 could have sầu been a mismatched jumble of ripped off game elements, but developer Treyarch has instead reinvented the franchise in a way that may have sầu lasting effects on how people play điện thoại tư vấn of Duty well inkhổng lồ the future.

To be fair, the narrative sầu around COD was one of lowered expectations. For a while, it’s seemed lượt thích publisher Activision & the small army of developers it employs to lớn make COD games each year had simply run out of good ideas. The series remains a best-seller as new installments continue khổng lồ make gobs of money from its diehard fanbase. But starting roughly around 2014’s Advanced Warfare, COD began to lớn stagnate creatively, forcing its creators to lớn turn khổng lồ increasingly unrealistic và far-out ideas. Jetpacks & exosuits? Sure. Cybernetics and AI? They went there. Space warfare? Why not.


By the time Activision announced that last year’s entry would return to WWII — after a particularly vocal online backlash against the sci-fi Infinite Warfare — it seemed like the franchise had hit a dead kết thúc. Meanwhile, innovation in online multiplayer games was changing everything.

Bungie’s Destiny opened up all new avenues for treating shooters like persistent, online services. Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege delivered unprecedented levels of strategy & customization through its use of a robust class system. Blizzard’s Overwatch completely rethought the competitive sầu team-based shooter, creating a global phenomenon & e-sport almost right out of the gate. And perhaps most importantly, PUBG & Fortnite helped establish battle royale as the new, hotthử nghiệm genre in the industry.

And now there’s Blaông xã Ops 4, a game that takes elements from all of the above và remixes them in a clever way khổng lồ create the most cohesive sầu, forward-looking COD game in a long time. It’s still very much COD at its core: the game is brutally fast & overtly militaristic, and it’s designed solely for the hyperactive teenager in all of us. (Sometimes it feels like it’s primarily for those that are literally hyperactive teenagers.) But setting aside its aesthetics và the untouched core game design, Blaông xã Ops 4 is a creative và fascinating deviation from the formula. It is no surprise that the title is topping the Twitch charts in its first week, giving mainstays FortniteLeague of Legends a run for their money và keeping the competitive sầu community in thrall. Casual players seem khổng lồ be returning in droves, too.


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Image: Activisiobn
None of that would really have been possible without Blackout, Blaông xã Ops 4’s standout addition. It’s also the reason the game is likely khổng lồ be played for many months to come. Blackout is Treyarch’s take on battle royale, and while the comparisons to lớn Fortnite are obvious, the mode is much more like PUBG in tone và feel. Immediately, you’ll see it looks like PUBG, but with better graphics & performance. Even the solitary Blackout bản đồ cribs liberally from PUBG’s introductory Erangel sandbox, with its rolling green hills, abandoned manufacturing plants, and seaside towns.

Fans of battle royale games will instantly recognize the basic thiết đặt. There is a damage-dealing circle that shrinks khổng lồ dictate the intensity & direction of the fighting, và you still parachute — or in Blackout’s case wingsuit — down to lớn the surface of an abandoned island full of supplies và firearms. But the way it’s played và how it feels is chất lượng, letting Treyarch carve sầu out its own space in the market. For one, Blackout is much faster paced. You die quicker, run faster, & fight in much more intense và quickened bursts of action. You can also heal & revive sầu in just seconds, making these battles much more frenzied and long-lasting if you’re strategic và crafty enough.

There are ground vehicles, lượt thích trucks & quad bikes, that let you get inside the next circle faster. There’s also a helicopter that allows you lớn circumvent the entire maps in mere minutes khổng lồ find the best position. You can even wingsuit from tall structures down to lớn the surface, making long-distance fighting atop skyscrapers & bridges more appealing. Blackout also adds quite a few features from the main multiplayer mode, including mechanical grappling hooks, deployable shields, and RC cars for remote scouting.


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Image: Activision
The mode feels vibrant & dynamic, và just playing a handful of hours this past weekover was enough to hook me in a way that feels reminiscent of my first few Fortnite PUBG sessions. The big difference I’m seeing with Blackout — & what I think will help it stay relevant lớn a uniquely large audience that doesn’t typically like battle royale games — is the skill gap & the necessary tools it takes to win.

PUBG matches are long, arduous, & can end in a flash if someone gets off a couple lucky shots from half a mile away. You can often die without ever seeing it coming, and in situations where you simply couldn’t have done much of anything about it. Many newcomers to lớn the game, even when it first launched last year, found it hard lớn secure just one kill per game, let alone make it to lớn the final circle & win. And because the matches are so long, practicing is hard & improving your play takes serious time và effort.

Fortnite, on the other h&, now relies almost entirely on your ability to build structures & sharpen your aim until it’s lightning-fast and accurate. Epic continues to lớn add zany new items lượt thích a structure-destroying ATV, deployable fortresses, and invisibility stones lớn set it up. Yet unless you master the core skills of building, quiông chồng aiming, and maneuverability, you’re unlikely lớn ever win a Fortnite game as the average player is much more skilled than they were six or even three months ago.


Blackout is a different story. Sure, the best of the best will always be able lớn aim better, move faster, & out-maneuver their enemies. But the playing field feels more màn chơi, và not just because the game mode just came out. By its very nature, combat in a COD game is more flattened — it’s easier to kill & get killed in almost every situation. That gives less skilled players an opportunity lớn beat opponents & even secure victories by playing smart & getting lucky.

I can of course see the player base getting better at moving around the map, using strategic positions, & relying on the most effective firearms as the mode matures. But the learning curve here is much more inviting. Blackout is like playing a standard first-person shooter, but in a different context và at bigger scale. That’s a whole lot easier to lớn manage than building structures out of thin air or maneuvering an environment for 20 minutes without seeing a single opponent.

There’s also a lot of room for the mode to grow. Treyarch plans to lớn add new modes, vehicles, & items that shake up the combat & change how players get around. Even right now, players are finding ways khổng lồ take out opponents with basketballs, the tomahawk projectile, và by crashing vehicles into lớn another. Over time, there’s a good chance Blackout can become the more polished và accessible version of PUBG, yet with Fortnite’s willingness và capability khổng lồ constantly evolve sầu.


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Image: Activision
While Blackout has certainly dominated the narrative around Blaông xã Ops 4, the standard multiplayer remains largely intact and refreshing. Now, players choose not just between a phối of custom loadouts, but also special subclasses that grant you abilities và a more powerful ultimate-style ability, like you’d see in Destiny or Overwatch, that charges up over time. These existed in Black Ops 3, but Treyarch is leaning harder into them here, adding new specialists và letting a lot of the late-match combat revolve around strategic ability use.

Those abilities also have sầu heightened importance considering game modes are now more objective-based & not simply about who kills more of the enemy team. Control, Hardpoint, Heist, Search and Destroy, và Domination outnumber the traditional kill-or-be-killed modes, of which there are just three. It’s clear Treyarch is encouraging players to try the objective-based modes by giving them prominent placement in the featured danh mục. Attached lớn the mode is the same progression system we’ve come to expect from COD, but with even more unlockable cosmetics, weapon skins, and other vanity items lớn keep players hooked và fixated on goals & milestones, including the ever desirable prestige emblems you get from maxing out your cấp độ and starting over anew.

A lot of the changes you’ll recognize as the influence of Rainbox Six Siege, with little bits of Destiny Overwatch sprinkled in. But no one element feels so prevalent that it dilutes the core COD experience, which is still about running around as fast as you can và racking up a high kill count while (hopefully) achieving an objective sầu for your team. Players who’ve liked past COD games, especially the recent ones, will still find this one enjoyable, while those lapsed players that maybe haven’t played since the Modern Warfare or Blachồng Ops 2 days should be able to acclimate just fine with a few hours of practice.


Rounding out the experience is a revamped Zombies mode, which sends wave sầu after wave sầu of AI-controlled undead at you & a team of strangers or friends. There are now two distinct storylines to Zombies, Aether và Chaos, that have different maps & characters, & it’s clear the mode is designed khổng lồ st& in for a traditional campaign as the story is fleshed out through dialogue và secret cutscenes locked behind Easter eggs. It’s a far cry from the Hollywood-style stories COD has delivered in the past, but Zombies should, for most people, get the job done & scratch the single-player itch.

It’s too early to tell how big Blackout will become, or what the future of COD will look lượt thích next year, when it’s developer Infinity Ward’s turn khổng lồ release the next entry as part of the franchise’s three-year development cycle. But Blaông chồng Ops 4 will have an undeniable and outsized impact on where this series & the genre it dominates goes in the future, if only in cementing the battle royale mode as a must-have for any big-budget online shooter.

We might see the return of a story chiến dịch next year, while Zombies fades into lớn the background until it’s Treyarch’s time to shine again. But I can’t see COD fans eagerly buying another entry unless it does everything & more that this game has accomplished, Blackout included. For a franchise that’s older than many of its players & hasn’t stopped annually releasing a game since the PS2 era, that’s quite the accomplishment. And while Black Ops 4 might not be a Fortnite killer, it’s certainly proved that the sluggish, risk-averse shooter industry can still take a big leap when it wants khổng lồ.