Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review PC
key review info
- Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the fifth entry in the series if that makes any sense, and it’s also the best one so far, probably.
When Treyarch and Activision announced that the next iteration of Call of Duty was not going to have a single-player campaign, a lot of people were upset, and rightfully so. We have to remember that among the Call of Duty player there are a few, myself included, that have been playing this franchise from its beginnings.
I’m not sure how many of you still remember that Call of Duty was splintered off from Medal of Honor. Back in 2002, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault shocked everyone with its debarkation sequence, and it’s a vivid memory to this day.
Some of the creators of that game, including the famous Vince Zampella started its own company named Infinity Ward, which then made the first Call of Duty. It was an instant success and for many years competed with the Medal of Honor franchise, until it basically won.
Somewhere along the line, Activision figured out that it takes a while for the studio to build a new Call of Duty game, so they wanted something in the interim. They contracted Treyarch to develop a Call of Duty offshoot that would keep the gamers occupied between the more important releases.
It took some time, but Treyarch managed to build something that’s just as good as the regular Call of Duty series, if not better. They are no longer considered the second team, and all of their games are given the same credit and attention. Which also means that the Black Ops series is going to be held to the same standard.
As you already know, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 doesn’t has a single player campaign, which is a big letdown. One of the best things about this branch of Call of Duty was the story, and we all loved the characters, but that era seems to be behind us.
But I have a feeling that things will change for the next Black Ops. While it’s interesting that the team chose to focus on the multiplayer aspect alone, I think that the people in charge will figure out that the story makes for a proper backbone for the game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 does have some introductory tutorials and videos that show off the characters, with a minimal storyline, but it’s like it’s not even there. I doubt that players are going to wasted time with that, especially when so much multiplayer content is available by default.
The biggest problem with the single player story is that it takes a lot of time to develop, and occupies a big chunk of studio resources. Ditching that made an impact, and anyone starting the game will notice the vast increase content quality and quantity. It’s so much more than what we usually got, and it’s not an exaggeration.
There are two possible directions for the franchise, at this point, and it all depends on just how well the game will be received. Either they ditch the single player portion entirely and focus solely on multiplayer, or reintroduce it in a future edition.
The thing is Activision already has a case study with EA’s Star Wars games, that went through this exact phase. Players are now asking for a single player campaign as well, which makes it all the more likely to happen with the next Call of Duty.
Gameplay and multiplayer
Let’s move on to gameplay because without the story part, this is all that matters. Players have access to a number of default characters, each with its own perks. I’m sure that the people who tried to figure what perks to give each character thought that they have to complement them, resulting in a well-balanced team.
I found that’s vastly inaccurate mostly because some of the default skills for a few of the characters seem pretty worthless. They might make sense in a void, where everyone moves and acts like robots or AIs, but in a real scenario you're going to find that most people want to be able to place mines, to deploy shields, to be able to see through walls, to have a dogs, and sometimes to be able to use barbed wire.
Occasionally, you’re going to be blinded by a flash-bang, but it happens so seldom that it’s not even something to consider. And I’m not even considering all the powerful stuff that you can unlock once you get past level 5 and you can create your own class.
Even if the skills feel widely disproportionate, the gameplay in its entirety seems to work, and one of the reasons for that is the physics that governs everything. It might not look like an essential aspect because pretty much all current games employ some kind of physics engine.
The most important aspect of the physics engine in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the fact that it limits how the characters are moving around. Usually, in multiplayer games, people tend to adopt a very erratic type of movement, but the reason behind that is logic. You want to avoid getting hit by bullets or other projectiles, so moving around randomly is the best approach.
Unfortunately, hopping around like a bunny on cocaine makes the characters look ridiculous and undercuts the realism. Limiting the way the characters can move and bringing them closer to a human range of motion means that you can hit them more natural, and it’s much easier on the eye. The flip side is that you’re going to be much more exposed yourself.
Of course, it’s far from a perfect system and people still going around the map jumping for no particular reason. It’s annoying, but it’s a self-correcting system. Jumping also creates a lot of noise, which makes it simpler for the enemy to figure out where you are.
As for the multiplayer side of things, the game is basically divided into three equal parts. The first one is called Multiplayer, and houses all the regular modes, such as Mercenary Capture Moshpit, Heist, DeathMatch Moshpit, Search and Destroy, and Hardcore Control.
Except for Heist, they are pretty much variations on the same stuff. Control an area, defend an area, get the money, or survive. The Heist is a little bit different because it allows users to buy weapons and items, just like in Counter-Strike, which is a nice change of pace.
I think that it’s also fair to say that Multiplayer is probably the most played mode, although it can be a subjective perspective. I always found it much faster to enter a match in Multiplayer than in the rest of the modes.
The second mode if the famous Blackout, which is actually Call of Duty’s version of Battle Royale. The idea is pretty simple. You get parachuted into a massive map, without any help or weapons. You gather weapons and supplies and try to survive. The playable map shrinks all the time, so even if you hide, you’re still going to have to confront the other players. This map can be tackled in teams of four or two, but you can try solo as well.
The appeal of Blackout is apparent because it provides users with a much deeper degree of freedom. And, if you choose to go with a team, the odds of surviving are much better. Your teammates can revive you if you get shot, which is something that you can't get if you try going in solo. The stakes in Blackout are higher because there is no respawn. Once you die, you have to start again, in another map.
The final multiplayer mode is the beloved Zombies, which also comes with its own categories. Depending on your level, you can try IX, Voyage of Despair, Rush, Beginners, and Blood of the Dead. The idea is pretty much the same. Try to survive as long as possible while defeating wave after wave of zombies.
Unlike the other modes, Zombie features its own arsenal, rules, runes, altars, and a whole lot of weird stuff. In fact, it’s the only mode where playing the tutorial is a good idea. Unless you understand what you need to do and what’s available in each map, you’re going to be fumbling around before figuring it out.
- Good variety of maps and gameplay modes
- Interesting zombie mode
- The new Blackout is a blast to play
- It could use some balancing tweaks, especially for some of the characters
As it stands right now, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is definitely on the right path, even if there are some weird inconsistencies, which are probably going to be fixed after more data is collected. For example, an odd glitch coupled with one of the perks allows players to do a bizarre crouch and jump that’s not only annoying but also makes aiming for the enemy really difficult. Also, the aerial attacks seem to be much too powerful, and we’re always hearing that players have deployed drones or helicopters. It’s forcing everyone to stay inside, limiting the area of the map.
And there are many more other problems, but they are usually small ones, and they don’t detract from the exceptional quality of the end product. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is really fun to play and the natural progression of the players is a fantastic motivator to keep on playing.
I can really say that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 provides the best multiplayer experience in the franchise, and it’s not going to be a surprise when the next iteration is going to focus even more on this aspect.