Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review – Something Old, Something (Technically) New

Black Ops 4 Innovates the Franchise in the Laziest Way Possible

Isaiah Simeon ‘22 // Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Treyarch’s newest installment in the massively popular first-person shooter video game franchise, certainly shakes things up for the notoriously repetitive game series, with the addition of a battle royale game mode, titled Blackout, and the decision to not include a single player campaign, a staple, yet typically disregarded aspect, of past installments.

In the wake of the massive success of battle royale games such as Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Treyarch shamelessly hopped on the bandwagon with Blackout, a game mode practically identical to that of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground but with cleaner mechanics and slightly less bugs.

In the buildup to the game and its initial release, all the attention was being placed on the Blackout game mode, which is fair, since it is the first new thing Call of Duty has done since adding a Zombie survival game mode in Call of Duty: World at War in 2008.

Photo Credit: Activision

But ‘new’ is hardly the correct term since the game mode is a carbon copy of countless other battle royale games that have flooded the market in recent years. Roughly 100 players are dropped onto a massive map where they must hunt for supplies and weapons while eliminating other players until only one remains. The game mode is enjoyable and well made, but Treyarch’s blatant copying must be noted. They do not add anything new to the formula, and that’s bad practice.

The map for the Blackout game mode consists mostly of small maps from previous installments of the Black Ops saga stitched together on a massive canvas, including Nuketown, Firing Range, Raid, and more. This is neat, and it is undeniably fun to stumble across a recognizable area, but it does come across, yet again, as lazy on behalf of Treyarch for recycling old designs.

For the most part, the old-fashioned multiplayer game modes have taken a backseat to Blackout. Black Ops 4 features eight base-game modes, from classics like Free for All, Search and Destroy, and Team Deathmatch, to the new additions of Heist, where teams must secure bags of money and deliver them to extraction sites, and Control, which rings similar to an Overwatch game mode, where one team defends two separate points while the other attempts to capture the points.

Photo Credit: Activision

The multiplayer modes are enjoyable, for the most part, with Hardpoint and Control being the highlights, but is clear that this is a neglected area for the game which makes it difficult to warrant the game’s base price of $60.

The first three installments in the Black Ops saga had ten game modes. The new one has eight. It cannot be denied that Treyarch is shipping a product with less game modes for the same price.

The Zombies game mode features three maps, one on the legendary Titanic ship, another in a lab beneath Alcatraz prison, and a third in a roman-style coliseum. The new maps are interesting and new, with new features and new foes.

Photo Credit: Activision

An admirable aspect of Black Ops 4 that deserve recognition is the subtlety of its greed. While it is slated to roll out its ‘Black Market’ store next week which will be riddled with microtransaction opportunities, it appears to be restricting itself to cosmetic-only products to buy. In addition to this, the purchases will not be gambles like in Overwatch and last year’s Call of Duty: WWII. This is not ideal, but it is undeniably better than other games on the market.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is an enjoyable experience that fans of the franchise will undoubtedly be satisfied with yet again. However, with such a strong emphasis on Blackout, players who aren’t fond of battle royale games should think twice before shelling out the price of the game for eight non-revolutionary multiplayer modes and Zombies. The same is true on the flip-side for players who only intend to play the Blackout might benefit from sticking to one of the numerous, and far cheaper, battle royale alternatives.

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