Black Ops 4 is a Return to Excellence for Call of Duty

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” is the 15th title in the Call of Duty series, and it departs from the traditional Call of Duty formula of having a single player campaign. “Black Ops 4” forgoes continuing the maligned story of “Black Ops 3” and instead replaces it with the series very first battle royale mode entitled “Blackout”, and its map features call-backs to previous multiplayer maps from older games. Each mode stands alone from one another with stats and ranking being exclusive to each. Although there are small bugs and issues that need to be fixed, the game brings hours of entertainment because it has a new story to explore in the zombies mode, a refined multiplayer mode, and one of the best battle royale modes in “Blackout”.

Zombies is just as solid as it was in the original “Black Ops”. With a new cast of characters and maps that stray from the established formula, the mode got a much-needed refresh after years of the mode remaining stagnant. There is variety between the new maps, and the fan favorite “Call of the Dead” map has returned in the form of “Blood of the Dead,” a remake and expansion of the original that allows for players to explore previously unreachable areas. The new maps also stray from the old tradition of just killing zombies with new objectives and easter eggs available for players to do. Additionally, the new “Chaos” story involving the new characters Scarlett, Stanton, Diego and Bruno, and the hunt to find Scarlett’s missing father brings with it tons of new hints to help solve the engaging mystery. While there were issues with the game crashing and closing itself when players try to redeem points in the laboratory for temporary power ups, they were fixed only a few days after the launch, and as a result, it feels more polished than ever.

The multiplayer mode feels rejuvenated and much more in line with older, beloved games like the original “Black Ops” and “Modern Warfare 2”. The scorestreaks are much improved over “WWII’s;” they are much more balanced as with the guns. Instead of everyone using an identical set up, people are able to play the game however they want, which is more fun for the players. Additionally, there is an excellent mix of old and new maps that are all colorful and unique. By far the best thing to come with the multiplayer mode is the brand new heist mode. Rather than the run and gun style in line with Call of Duty’s team deathmatch mode, it is a best of seven more in line with the search and destroy mode and other strategy based first person shooters. The currency system that rewards good play with more money at the start of the next round forces the players to plan more strategically. The rest of the modes are the same as they have always been, but with all the gimmicks that had spoiled previous games removed, what remains is a very solid first-person shooter that can bring hours of enjoyment playing alone or with friends. The addition of 150 health points was a choice that took a little time to get used to but now feels second nature. The variety of modes enable people to play as casually or as competitively as they want without becoming upset or frustrated.

“Blackout” is currently the best battle royale mode on the market. While its map is new, it pays homage to maps from previous games throughout it, and while the map is large, the variety of transportation modes, which include helicopters and ATVs, allows for players to travel quickly without getting bored with the monotony of running everywhere. “Blackout” also fixes issues that other battle royales have by allowing for healing items to take significantly less time. It does not allow building and instead allows the focus to be on the players’ shooting skill. The only real issue with the mode is stability. As of right now, random crashes and lag spikes can occur within the mode that can lead to some frustration, but they will most likely be fixed over time but still do not ruin the fun that can be had in this mode.

Treyarch and Activision have made Call of Duty fun again, and has brought with it mystery and discovery that had been missing for some time. The introduction of “Blackout” and the refinements made to the other modes have shot life into a series that has grown stagnant. Every mode has clearly received a lot of time and attention, and while there are some very minor issues, they are all capable of giving players hours of entertainment.

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