Call of Duty: Black Ops is one of the most well-loved sub-franchises in the Call of Duty dynasty. The first two games were, for the most part, some of the best-received entries by critics and fans alike. Most players, however, were turned off to the whole series when Black Ops 3 dropped a few years ago. The trademark smooth multiplayer was bastardized with jetpacking, wall running, abusively loud colors, in fact, many players went out of their way to avoid the game altogether. As someone who fell heavily into that last category, I am happy to say Black Ops 4 has made me fall in love all over again. As someone who avoided the past several games in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops 4 is a breath of fresh air that feels like a brand new launching point for the series. It isn’t a perfect game not by any stretch of the imagination, but it is superbly crafted and gets to claim the title of “Smoothest Server Launch” in quite some time for the franchise.

In order to get through as much of what this game has to offer and to bring a little order to this review, it has been broken up into specific sections for the game. There is a lot to cover here, more than enough to make this game worth the sixty dollar price tag, so let’s get to it.

Multiplayer-

The multiplayer in Black Ops 4 has regained it’s former glory and signature feel while bringing in a refreshing spin on some older mechanics. The basis of the gameplay is back to boots on the ground, no more wall running, no more jetpacks, it’s beautiful.

While the former glory and feel are there, the multiplayer part of the game is still far from perfect. The biggest pain in the ass of the entire game is the spawn system. It would be safe to wager that in any given objective based game mode that spawn trapping happens seven times out of ten. As an example, in a Domination match objectives, A and B are held by one team while C is being held by the other. That team that holds C will almost always spawn at Objective C, giving the other team the perfect opportunity to rush up and pick them off seconds after spawning. It is such a problem that I almost refuse to play that game mode now. It’s not to say that doesn’t happen in another mode, because it does and it’s arguable that it is the biggest nuisance in the multiplayer mode. There are a few different ways to fix that and I hope Treyarch at least attempts to fix that.

The guns, in general, seem a little more tuned than they were in the beta to the game. There also seems to be a rework of some of the sights to weapons, the ELO sight was available for almost everything in the beta and to my knowledge still works on everything in Blackout. There are several guns that the sight would work wonders for, as the ICR, yet they are completely unavailable for. Quick scoping still proves to be an issue, despite past claims that the developers of Call of Duty were working on a fix for it. While the maps are in general are well constructed there are several long hallways and choke points some low skill player can just sit and mindlessly snap in and kill.

Cosmetics are actually enjoying this time around. They aren’t quite as obnoxious as Black Ops 3’s were with the neon and almost squeaky dog toy aesthetic. I have seen some seemingly Day of The Dead inspired gear and some that also looks like special unlockable skins from Gears of War. The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be a way for regular players who don’t have the season pass to unlock them.

That kind of feels like a huge middle finger to the base of players who can’t afford the pass. It is entirely possible that I overlooked some area of the menu system to find it, though that seems unlikely. As a fan who will likely be unable to get the season pass I really wish Call of Duty and other developers would take a page out of Rainbow 6 Siege’s book and make season pass items grindable for all players who don’t have the pass.

In an attempt to wrap up the multiplayer section of this review, there seems to be a huge problem with a handful of perks and scorestreaks. There is one perk called Cold Blooded that is SUPPOSED to make you harder to find by overhead streaks such as the attack helicopter. It never works that way, and I frequently found myself murdered in spawn by the sky-high hellfire. It felt like it just snapped to my location too. In short UNSEEN should actually mean UNSEEN. I’ve tried mixing in the other stealth perks as well and nothing changes.

Blackout

This is the best thing to be added to a Call of Duty game in a long time. This mode could have been its’ own stand-alone game. At the time of this writing 85 players drop into a decently sized map and scavenge for supplies then fight to the death. Last player standing wins. The map is full of locations from past entries of the series from both multiplayer and zombies. Zombies locations also bring something new to the BR genre, actual zombies. At any given, one of these locations on the map zombies will spawn and attack players adding a new threat to players. The Mystery Box also appears randomly at these locations, allowing players access to special weapons including the Ray Gun.

The inventory system works really well in this mode, allowing players access to their gear without interrupting the game at all. Players can still defend themselves while still trying to equip perks and explosives. Speaking of perks, those are found in little containers scattered around the map and players can have up to three equipped at a time. Having the right set on can make all the difference in the fight.

The gameplay overall is solidly balanced. The guns don’t seem super overpowered, even the golden guns scattered around the map. Those guns are usually fully kitted when found, complete with sights, stocks and all the trimmings that players usually have to scavenge for. This mode also doesn’t really have the same problem I have in most other BR games. In games like PUBG, the background is so massive and drab looking I can’t really distinguish players at distances. Thankfully that isn’t much of a problem in Blackout. Armor tiers are really the only big issue. Tier 3 was scaled back in the beta and has been touched up since but it continues to be a huge detraction in the game making players feel like baby terminators.

Unlocking new characters to play as is a huge attraction for players right now and I think the developers did a great job by making it possible for all players to unlock them, sans one character. At first, it was a total mystery as to how unlocking these characters happened. Some are naturally unlocked through leveling up, but others require bonus steps. For instance, Woods requires finding a bandana, Takeo requires swords, some of them even require winning while holding specific items. Players may have to use a guide to figure some of the characters out, as groups of them are linked to achievements.

Zombies

Zombies were surprisingly fun, even if I did run it solo most of the time. The game now allows players to fill empty spaces in a lobby with bots, which works wonders for me as I did not have anyone to play this mode with. It made IX (The name of the map) way more enjoyable. The bots are intelligent, I was worried that I would have to spend most of the time picking them up while trying to avoid a pain train of the undead. The only thing that bothered me was they constantly opened up doors and pathways before I was ready to proceed from the area. That was a bigger problem on maps like Voyage of Despair where it would be round ten and five different pathways have been opened throwing off the whole run. Voyage of Despair is a nice additive to the zombie’s lore, featuring a group of ragtag treasure hunters on the Titanic the night it sinks. Things don’t go as planned with the heist and zombies flood the ship. I am looking forward to seeing runs of the map that figure out the nuances of the map and the story.

IX takes that group and throws them in a cultist gladiator arena. At first, I had wished there was a bigger push on melee, with it being a gladiator set. The intricacies of IX are intriguing. The main area is surrounded by four towers, each dedicated to a God, like Odin, each containing one of the perks available. They all link up in an underground section that brings the fighting to a close quarters feel especially in the main underground room. In order to pack a punch a weapon on this map, players need to complete challenges from a banner in the main section.

After knifing the banner open several challenges in the player MAY get a pack-a-punch weapon. It definitely keeps players on their toes to know they don’t have the ability to always rely on a special weapon. That doesn’t mean IX is insanely hard, the bots and I made it round 45 before the game crashed, with relative ease. It just means players have to be more self-aware of what happens. Keep a better eye on ammo, watch out for stronger enemies and special fire/electricity enemies and tigers. Yes, I said tigers, they will swarm the player from time to time.

Another thing that chaffs my peaches is the fact that the developer put achievements into the game that you can’t unlock without the season pass, on day one. In fact, the achievement list as a whole rubs me the wrong way, they seemed to lean really heavy into the zombies mode for achievements. There are achievements listed for the ‘Classified’ zombies map which is not available to all players, only those with a season pass which again feels like a huge “screw you, pay me” to the players.

Another grievance with the list is how not spread out it feels. Instead of leaning so heavy into zombies which are notoriously convoluted, they could have balanced it a little bit better and in multiplayer put specialist specific achievements for their equipment, such as get a quad kill with Battery’s grenade launcher. They also could have had a ton of fun with it and said “Get a kill with a basketball in Blackout” but sure let’s go build some weapon in Alcatraz but it’s slightly different this time and we want you to have to escape before you can get this other achievement.

Moving on, one of the things that worried some players about this Call of Duty was the lack of a story mode. For those who are still concerned the story is still arguably there. It is just hidden in the unmentioned Specialist HQ. In this section, the player can run through a mode similar to Terrorist Hunt. It really shows the player the basics of the game as well as offer looks into the individual operator’s skills and some of their past as well. The entire thing is also narrated by Woods and delivers some hilarious lines. He tries to use current slang and it just sounds hilarious coming from him.

In closing, I wish I could give a review score to each individual piece of this game. Overall multiplayer feels like the weakest part of the game, I would have to give it a seven overall if I could. Zombies feel pretty fleshed out and overall I feel like it deserves an eight or close to it. Blackout is the strongest of the group and could have been its’ own entity.

I really hope it sets a new standard going forward and interrupts the cycle of Call of Duty games. Instead of the current cycle Blackout can go on for YEARS and be continuously updated. That being said I feel it could earn an eight and a half on its’ own. Since I can’t do that I feel the score below reflects what this game earned. It is a new direction for the series and it is a promising one.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
TheGood
  • Feels New Despite The Old Boots On The Ground
  • Blackout is a Breath of Fresh Air
  • Endless Hours of Entertainment
The Bad
  • Armor in Blackout and Multiplayer
  • Bad Spawn System
  • The Game Crashes Every Three To Four Hours
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel