Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 by Treyarch, the latest installment in the famous series can best be described as a game with the guts. This label doesn’t refer to the quality of its gameplay or its quick-paced action, brutality, diversity of its modes and everything else that makes an ultimately satisfactory shooter experience (although the game is great on all those accounts). It refers to the fact that after long, restrained, even slightly timid progress, its creators had finally gathered the courage to make the next step in what was obviously always the main direction in the evolution of the Black Ops franchise – multiplayer. True, over the years Call of Duty franchise had got us used to a certain format which they repeated without significant variations, with a single-player campaign as its apparent centerpiece tying down everything else in a cohesive gaming bundle.
However, it was noticeable that the single-player campaign got increasingly smaller until it was reduced to a relatively short, action-packed curtain-raiser which served as an introduction for the thrills and greater challenges of the multiplayer. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 stands on the top of the shooter evolutionary ladder (or, at least, one of its main branches) as a game which finally made the gutsy move and fragged its single-player campaign. Now, without it single-player campaign as a distinct, unifying theme Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is no more than a collection of several different modes. However, that’s not a major flaw – in fact, it’s no flaw at all because not only that every single one of those modes is great by itself, but together they make a cross-section of several most popular trends in the shooter genre of today, which will undeniably ensure it a lasting popularity among various gaming demographics.
The first and most basic of these modes is what developers themselves had dubbed as Multiplayer. This does sound almost self-explanatory since you know that it includes classics such as Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Kill Confirmed, which you doubtlessly had the opportunity to try out countless times in some of the previous Call of Duty games. However, Black Ops 4 introduces two brand new modes which are bound to instill a breath of fresh air into its multiplayer option and give you the necessary motivation to pursue it in the long run.
The first one is called Heist and gives you and your teammates the mission to secure a bag of cash and bring it to an extraction point. Of course, the opposing team has the same objective, so you’re sure to clash and exchange some lead with them in the process. Although the bag of cash is the primary goal of the Heist mode if you prefer it that way you can also muscle your way through the game by simply exterminating the rivaling team. The difficulty is somewhat upped in comparison to your run of the mill modes since each team member starts the game armed with the pistol and 500 bucks, and the only way to procure additional weapons perks and other is by purchasing them – of course, you’ll get the money by successfully completing different in-game actions such as killing the enemies or winning the rounds.
The other mode is so-called Control. As its name suggests, you’ll win the match by taking control over two predetermined areas, or, just like in the previous mode, eliminating the opposing team. However, in this case, there’s a catch: each team will have a shared life pool of 25 lives in total – reduce it to zero, and the day will be yours. If you want to be successful in both of these two modes, the best recipe for success is to put your Specialists to a good use. Black Ops 4 currently supports 10 types of Specialists (which doesn’t mean that developers won’t add new ones later) with unique equipment and skillsets, so they are particularly useful in different combat situations that are difficult to solve with brute force. For instance, Recon is equipped with Sensor Dart which will discover all nearby enemies and Vision Pulse which discloses all enemies on the map, which makes him great for tactical planning. Torque has a couple of special abilities which makes him practically indispensable for Control mode. He has the ability to set up the Razor Wire which damages and slows down the opponent players, as well as Barricade which provides added protection. Rash is perfect for a support – he has the ability to provide you with the additional ammo with special properties and heals his teammates. These 10 Specialists provide a nice balance between offensive and defensive capabilities, as well as adding a few pretty unique and fun too. You’ll be able to learn more about each of them thanks to cuteness in the training mode.
Introduced all the way back in the Call of Duty: World at War, Zombies is a supernatural multiplayer co-op extravaganza which skillfully plays with zombie tropes and adds a welcome comical relief in what was otherwise a totally serious franchise. Of course, a wild premise which includes missing relatives (father, to be more precise), powerful antique artifacts and ancient secret organizations bent on ruling the world, as well as the fact that you’ll face the zombie hordes in several “historic” settings doesn’t influence the fact that this mode sometimes can be gruelingly challenging. Zombies offer 4 playable characters lead by dashing Scarlett Rhodes who searches for her missing father, again each of them with its unique set of abilities. Naturally, since you can’t hope to overcome supernatural foes with just ordinary weaponry, Zombies mode offers several weapons which pack a paranormal punch, such as Chakram of Vengeance, Hammer of Valhalla, Scepter of Ra and Viper and Dragon. And, yes – all those weapons are exactly as weird as they sound. Just like Multiplayer mode, Zombies have several unique maps which will make your scuffles with zombies more interesting and authentic. IX will see you go back in time to the age of ancient Rome and pit you against Zombie hordes in the setting of an oversized Coliseum stacked with enemies like the black plague boils with pus. Voyage of Despair is set on the famous RMS Titanic. However, icebergs will be the least of your troubles here since your search for mysterious artifact will result in transforming the whole crew and passengers of the unfortunate vessel into zombies. Last but not the least of Zombies maps is the Blood of the Dead which will continue the Aether storyline and provide even more zombie action.
The final piece of the Black Ops 4 puzzle is so-called Blackout mode, a Treyarch’s take on massively popular battle royale genre. It takes place on a vast map with a large number of different locations, some of which you may remember from previous Black Ops games. You and other players (100 in total) will start the mode by jumping from the plane with nothing but your parachute and your iron will to survive. You know the rest: find the best spot to land, rummage through surroundings in search for equipment, and gear up as best as you can. If you see someone walking on two legs shoot him dead, and that’s the entire philosophy of this mode. Of course, this wouldn’t be Black Ops if developers haven’t included something unique to the franchise, so during your long walks through huge Blackout map, you can expect to discover items which will endow with different perks for a short time duration.
As you can see, the fact that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is the first game in the franchise that decided to ditch it’s previously unavoidable single-player campaign hasn’t diminished its playability and overall value. The game is jam-packed with content which varies from serious battle royale mode to pure carnage and supernatural insanity of Zombies mode. Most importantly, each of these modes and its respective maps has its own identity and character, which promises huge replayability, especially since we expect that developers will periodically add extra content. As can be expected, technically the game is superb with great visuals which simply shine, especially in the weirder modes such as Zombies, a tour de force of shooter genre which will certainly leave its mark on the future development of the Call of Duty franchise.