If you are a millennial gamer, chances are you grew up playing or being around people who played Call of Duty. Throughout middle school and high school, this was the proving ground for many friend groups. Around 2010, Call of Duty: Black Ops was released. Many have argued that this game is the flagship title in the CoD series due to it’s fresh take on story, multiplayer, and the popular zombies mode. Since then, Call of Duty has released an entry almost every year, but game after game, the dominant player of the shooting game industry seemingly became more and more irrelevant as games like Fortnite came to play.
Eight years after the first Black Ops game came out, the fourth entry was released with an almost similar effect.
The thing is, I can’t just drop a review of this game. I feel responsible to drop three separate reviews of the game modes: multiplayer, zombies, and the new mode, Blackout.
Multiplayer is more or less the same from Black Ops 3. We are introduced to a handful of new “specialists,” soldiers that replaced those unnamed randos you would play as in older Black Ops titles. Each of them has their own unique equipment and abilities. I almost feel as if the specialists this time around are dumbed down, but maybe it was for the better. Black Ops 3 introduced a character system in multiplayer which made it confusing to players who are used to just playing as the same generic soldier. When they were introduced, each of them had their own bells and whistles, but it made the battlefield saturated with mostly the same characters. In Black Ops 4, a lot of their moves have changed into a more simple approach, and only one person can play as each character (on each team) in every game. Aside from leveling the playing field, it also banks on nostalgia, introducing a bunch of new maps, but mostly it on refurbished, “classic” Black Ops maps (I will admit that I was excited to play in these maps because I memorized them in eighth grade). I rate this mode 3 out of 5.
Let’s talk zombies. While most of the gameplay is the same ol’ mystery box/boarding windows/perks/pew pew shabang, Black Ops 4 reinvents the game by throwing a bunch of curveballs at us. A new set of characters are introduced on the Titanic in Voyage of Despair and an ancient, Greco-Roman coliseum in IX. So far, they are far more entertaining than those old men in past CoD zombie-games. A new “deity” system also comes to play, as you are able to customize your “Perk-a-Colas” before jumping in. IX is by far one of the most interesting maps I have ever played on, and Voyage of Despair is one of the most entertaining things in my entire life (there’s a lot of Rose and Jack references here). Black Ops 4 lacks a campaign, but the story in the zombies mode really makes up for it. The gameplay feels classic but also refreshing, adding elements to the already standard gameplay. This mode gets a 4.5 out of 5.
As I mentioned, Black Ops 4 ditched the campaign mode altogether, probably to make room for their newest mode: Blackout. Which is literally Fortnite, except you don’t have to build anything, and if Fortnite was a Call of Duty game. Let that sink in. That’s literally it. There’s nothing much that’s “new” to the battle royale gameplay. For someone like me who just wants to focus on the bang bang aspect of Fortnite and hates the architecture part, this is an ideal game mode. It does feel very hollow, though. There’s not much else to it. This mode gets a 3 out of 5.
That’s an average of 3.5 out of 5 for me. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is loads of fun, and while the zombies mode offers something unique and exciting, the rest of the game feels like it’s trying too hard, especially Blackout, who wants to be Fortnite really, really bad. But you can play Fortnite for free to have the same, if not better, battle royale experience. You can play literally any other CoD game and multiplayer will have the same effect on you. Black Ops 4 almost brings CoD back the spotlight it’s lost over the years, but doesn’t quite put it center stage.
But don’t worry, there’s plenty of time for them to try again. Year, after year, after year, after year . . .