Yes, yes, it doesn’t have a campaign, but what’s in there is more than enough!
When it was announced that Black Ops 4 would not have a Single Player Campaign, shifting the focus to Multiplayer stuff only, I was a little upset. I have loved every Call of Duty campaign since ever. Bombastic action, exotic locations, and badass characters, who doesn’t like that? I liked that well, apart from the Black Ops 3 story which was utter rubbish, but the rest top-notch experiences.
However, I have to say I really like what Black Ops 4 offers, three and a half modes of really good stuff. Half mode? It’s called Specialist HQ and it’s nothing more than just a glorified tutorial for the weapons, scorestreaks and the specialists, with tiny bits of story thrown from the Black Ops universe in there, trying to tie everything together. I really liked this since I learned a little bit more about the specialists, their abilities, tried all the scrorestreaks, cause in multiplayer it’s stupidly difficult, but more on that later and I kinda learned how some of the maps flow, that would serve me later in Multiplayer.
The next one I tried was Zombies. Each Call of Duty iteration since World at War has had some kind of a cooperative mode, mainly Zombies or that Aliens one, but I have never been really a fan of those modes. I tried them once or twice, just for the sake of the reviews and that was it. But I really got into the Zombies mode in Black Ops 4 and I don’t really understand why. I like it, I just do. Maybe it’s the cool interesting maps, maybe the flow of combat and strategy, maybe it’s that this time around it feels like the game mode has a story and the characters talk with each other, poke fun at the whole Zombies concept or maybe it’s just that on the 5 last times I played I got a Ray Gun since round 2 or 3. I don’t know what it is, but I really like it.
I mean in one map you are on a floating destroyed Titanic, trying to survive and you fight hordes of zombies in the tight corridors where Rose and Jack used to run, you hear references from the characters and how “stupid” the whole experience is. I laughed so hard when one of them said something along the lines “Yeah, sure pay a wall to get a weapon… makes total sense” or that bulky guy shouting something like “Wall, help me”. IX is also interesting since you are transported to an old Roman Colosseum of some sorts and you have to fight zombies, big gladiator zombies and fucking possessed tigers…what?! It doesn’t make sense, the game knows that and it all for the better.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing it in anyway whatsoever. Of course, there are hardcore fans out there who know every bit of story and lore about the zombies, the why, the who and the whats. And I am sure that these guys and gals, will enjoy finding every easter egg, unlocking every secret etc. using their knowledge, but that doesn’t mean that my lack of this information diminishes my experience. Nah, it a ton of fun to just mow down waves after waves of zombies especially with the new god-like weapons. Much like a Destiny super, after a while, you can use a powerful weapon like Thor’s Mjolnir which demolishes zombies in one hit or Ra’s Staff which shoots fricking laser beams. These are perfect for when the shit hits the fan and you are surrounded by well, death. The progression is also great, the more you play, the more stuff you unlock, new weapons, new grenade types, new perks, new potions you can drink mid-game to boost you and new perks you can buy in the statues or soda vending machines. And as usual, you can customize all of this before each match.
Now, Multiplayer. It’s really good, I like it a lot. Now, when they announced the game and released the multiplayer details, they made it sound like Call of Duty will shift to this more “tactical” gameplay style, with the whole improved specialists mechanic. They kinda made it sound like Call of Duty would play similarly to Rainbow Six Siege and a lot of people thought of that, I included. But after playing the multiplayer well, that’s not really true, at all.
This is still a Call of Duty game, through and through. You cannot be tactical when you run, jump and slide like crazy, shoot someone for what it feels like an "eternity" or drop missiles from the sky on top of enemies heads via an extremely hard to get scorestreak... that doesn’t really sound tactical to me. But again, the changes that Treyarch introduced to the multiplayer create a somewhat new different kind of experience, one which I really like.
There’s no more regenerating health, you get shot, you have to tap a button to get your health back. You cannot grenade spam anymore, as you don’t really have throwables as those are tied to the specialists' abilities. Each specialist moves the same, feels the same and can use every weapon, but their special abilities make them unique. You have a guy that can throw a 9-bang to blind the enemies then drop his massive shield and just mow down everyone from behind the safety of his massive shield. You have a gal which can throw a grenade that sticks to surfaces which when detonates launches more tiny grenades which can clear areas and if that is not enough she can wield a massive grenade launcher which is devastating. You have a guy which can call an attack dog and place instakill trip-mines. You have someone who can see enemies through the walls and launch sensor darts to spot enemies on the minimap and so on.
Ten different specialists, each with unique abilities that might or will synergize with each other, but it’s way too soon to talk about this as the game is just 3 days old. The minimap is also changed, there a fog of war there which it’s momentarily cleared only by your of your team members cone of vision. It changes the flow, as before you just saw the minimap, saw a red dot which meant that someone was firing and well, you headed towards that direction. Now you can’t really do that, which helps with the whole “being tactical” vibe. Of course, people still run like crazy, cause this is Call of Duty after all, but on some modes, this is more apparent than in others.
A mode where this change is very apparent is Heist, which is a new mode Black Ops 4 introduces (maybe). In this mode, you don’t start with your loadout, instead, there’s a screen where you can buy your equipment, weapons, attachments, ammunition, and perks. Then both teams have to steal a bag of cash and extract it. You win a round either by extracting the cash successfully or depleting the enemies respawns by killing them. First to four rounds wins the match. It was kinda funny to play this mode the first few times cause everyone played like any other mode and we kept just sucking. Then I and someone else from my team decided for a more tactical approach… the same thing did the other team. And it was a slow, yet extremely tense session. Someone was using a sniper to scout ahead and shoot from afar, another one went all Sam Fisher style with a silenced pistol while I approached crouched with my trusty Rampart rifle… the other team destroyed us, but it was awesome as I have never felt this way during a Call of Duty match.
Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the new battle royale mode, Blackout. Long story short, it’s really good, but I don’t like it. I was and still am surprised at how well the mode just works in a Call of Duty game. If you have played a battle royale game, you know what to expect. You jump out of the helicopter and glide to where you want to land. The map is really big, detailed and it’s filled with random loot all over the place. You can pick up weapons, gear, equipment, grenades, and perks as consumables. The more loot you gain early, the better your chances of survival in the late game. The circle moves in and it forces the players into an increasingly smaller zone until a player or their team are the final survivors. It’s good and really I have nothing bad to say about it maybe the inventory system can be a little bit more user-friendly, but I don’t like it cause it’s not a genre for me, at least on a console.
I played H1Z1 like 3 times... blah. The same thing goes for Fortnite, of course, I played more matches than the other game, but I still don’t enjoy it. Maybe it’s because you can die from any direction without seeing the enemy, maybe I don’t like the whole run around for 4-5 minutes with nothing happening, maybe it’s because I am bad at this genre or it’s the combination of all of these. Maybe the more I play it, the more I will enjoy it since I will learn more about the weapons, which one is effective from what range, how fast does it kill someone or break down a level 3 armor. If I put more hours into it, I will become better, of course, I will learn to assess each encounter better and decide which approach would give me and my team the best result, but I don’t want to invest my time into that.
If you personally enjoy battle royale games on consoles, then you will love Blackout. Of course, the mode has some bugs here and there, lag is terrible sometimes and it has hard crashed on my PS4 Pro more than e few times, but Treyarch will improve it. Add more stuff, maybe change the map as Fortnite does, add weekly and challenges, more skins even though you don’t see them as you play in first person perspective, but maybe they can add a third person camera, who knows? I am excited to see where and how far Blackout can go.
Black Ops 4 is a full package, it has a lot of stuff to offer and the three main modes feel like 3 totally separate experiences. Does it suck that it doesn’t have a singleplayer campaign? Of course, it does, but does that mean that it undermines the rest of it? Heck no! Thanks for reading!
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is available now on PS4, Xbox, and PC. A special thanks go to Activision for providing the PS4 review code.