These are written from the perspective of frequent gamers, so if there’s a term or acronym you don’t recognize, here’s a helpful resource. You’re welcome.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Metacritic score (as of Oct. 15)
PS4: 87 | PC: 83 | Xbox: Not yet available
High: 95 (Game Informer)
The Post says …
Mike Hume (@MikeHumePost)
Originality is not the strong suit of Black Ops 4, but frankly, I don’t care. Multiplayer maps may be rerun and/or revamped, but getting to engage on throwback battlegrounds with new dynamics is interesting enough to justify the buy for me. And that doesn’t even get to the new Battle Royale Blackout mode, which highlights my top takeaways from a weekend of gameplay.
• Blackout is pretty, pretty, pretty good. Opening up the map is everything I’ve wanted for this franchise for as long as I’ve been playing it (Modern Warfare). I’ve long felt the Battlefield franchise was the superior tactical game due to the more expansive maps and diverse terrain, not to mention the ability to blow up walls and flush out reluctant combatants. Call of Duty meanwhile remained confined to (mostly) impervious, sometimes claustrophobic maps that rewarded quick-scopers and campers far more than strategic thinkers. And since I’m not exactly the fastest digital gun in the East, I greatly appreciate a format in which I can get an edge by getting the high ground and setting ambushes.
• It’s sometimes quite hard to figure out what equipment is worth grabbing and what’s not/redundant. I’m sure Reddit boards will help there once some time goes by, but you shouldn’t have to read a Reddit post to figure out if you should snag a particular item or not.
• Traditional COD multiplayer remains just as strong as ever but it took me a while to reorient myself with all the specialist abilities and tech after playing COD: WW2 the past year. Getting familiar with the loadout screen also threw me a little more than I remember in past versions of the game.
• The cymbal monkey still freaks the hell out of me. And if you use it, don’t do this.
• I get the appeal of zombies and the initial experience in Black Ops 4 is more robust than ever, but I find it a poor substitute for the campaign mode, ditto the narratives around the game’s specialist characters. The campaign scripts were consistently excellent in the COD franchise, and particularly so for the Black Ops titles. Does Blackout make up for it? Probably. But I still miss those stories, which were often movie-like in quality.
I understand $60 seems a bitter pill to swallow when other BR titles like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds ($30) and Fortnite (free) are the current leaders of the genre, but Blackout is so much smoother than PUBG and I no longer have to worry about my complete ineptitude at building anything. Add in traditional multiplayer modes and the full package is worth it for me as someone who’s embraced the full line of COD games.
Amateur advice: Be mindful of what equipment you end up picking up while looting and make sure you equip the right piece of gear when you can. It’s difficult to quickly equip anything if you’re in the thick of a firefight and you’ll want to have your frags and flashbangs (which are devastating) at the ready.
Lindsay Testa (@LTesta_)
I should preface this with the fact I am a Battle Royale player, but not a huge COD player. I have played COD in the past, but rarely.
• It is clear that COD’s only attempt to market new players is through the existing Battle Royale pool of players. With the lack of campaign there is no other attractor. The Black Ops 3 campaign was actually incredibly cerebral, and it helped me get invested in the universe.
• Given that so many of the maps are based off historical COD maps there can be problems with experienced players camping spawn points.
• With the fact that so many maps are from older games it leads me to believe there will be a ton of DLC map content for more money in the future.
• The looting system in Blackout requires a good chunk of time to understand the differences in guns. Oftentimes I found myself not even sure if I was carrying an assault rifle or an SMG.
• The leveling system is annoying given that you have to wait until level 20 or so to start getting new skins. I found that frustrating more than aspirational.
Wait until there are more original maps and the price is in line with other BR titles. The $60 tag is a steep price, but for many shooter fans who are just looking for the smoothest BR experience with realistic tactics, this is the ideal option.
Amateur advice: The Trauma kit doesn’t just heal you fully, but it actually increases your health from 150 to 200.
Wish I’d known before I played ... : The competition level will be much higher than other Battle Royale games. The COD community adapts quickly, so newer players may be in for a lot of losses before they catch up to the bar set.