As expected, Activision lifted the veil off of its latest Call of Duty game in a community presentation earlier this morning. Black Ops 4 looks to be Treyarch’s biggest entry in the series to date, despite the fact that it’s lacking a traditional single player campaign. But the team has promised to make up for that with narrative in its Zombies mode, as well as a better focus on multiplayer and the debut of a new Blackout mode.
While Blackout and Zombies weren’t available to play at the event, the company did introduce two different builds of multiplayer. The one this article will focus on is PC, which the developer has a heavy emphasis on. In fact, it called upon fellow studio Beenox -- the team usually responsible for the Spider-Man games Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time -- to create its multiplayer experience from the ground up. And while it may not be for everyone, devotees of first-person shooters on laptop/desktop will be quite pleased with how it’s coming along.
First off, the performance of the game seems to be up to speed. The game runs at a fluid 60 frames per second throughout each match, with nary any hints of slowing down. Even when your character ends up incinerated -- more than likely by the hand of specialist Firebreak --the detail is impeccable.
But performance aside, Treyarch has managed to balance the gameplay into something more intense with Black Ops 4. That’s because it has done away with tricks like the rocket jump and wall running in favor of more boots-to-the-ground style gameplay -- and fans seem right at home with that.
It definitely paid off more in the matches that we played, as we took on enemy soldiers without having to worry too much about verticality, instead focusing on a firefight on the ground. This created some intense face-off scenarios, especially when it comes to capture-oriented modes like Control and Hardpoint. Sure, we died a bit (welcome to Call of Duty, bruh), but the balance of the gameplay feels just right.
Then there are the variety of modes within the game. We tried four different ones in all, and while they only had slight changes to the overall rules, they’re sure to be fan favorites. Control was a particularly challenging mode in itself as you have to maintain holding on to three points on a map while using a limited amount of respawns. Once your team runs out, they pretty much lose the match.
Domination is a familiar mode that fans will enjoy, as it works like Control but without the life limitation. It’s a good mode where you try to maintain the three main points while watching out for enemy opposition.
But then there’s Hardpoint, and here’s where Call of Duty fans will likely be most at home as they rush for control points on a map, highlighted by a beacon and a countdown meter. Fighting for these points is a whole lot of fun.
Like Black Ops III before it, BO4 has a huge emphasis on specialists. Some make their return from the previous game, but there are some new ones introduced into the fold. Probably the best one that newbies will become acquainted with is Ajax, a specialist who knows his shielding. He can practically build a barrier in seconds flat, making him good for holding defensive perimeters.
For that matter, I really liked Firebreak too. What he lacks in shielding, he makes up for with robust tactics. He can actually set down a nuclear core and incinerate enemy soldiers that happen to be in a close range radius, but he can only hold it down for so long before he actually hurts himself. Likewise, his special ability enables him to wield a flamethrower, which can fry any sort of opposition within seconds.
Of course, perks are a big plus in Black Ops 4; whether you call upon a chopper from above to rain down gunfire or drop a big ol’ missile on a portion of the map, blasting opponents into the middle of next Tuesday. We’re pretty sure there are more where that came from. But for now, the game definitely has that Call of Duty feel when it comes to attaining extra goods that can help turn the tide in a match-up.
Oh, and the map designs thus far are impressive. One features a seaside Italian-style town where you can run in and out of buildings -- ranging from a large church-like structure to a small winery in the corner of the city -- in an effort to get a jump on the competition. Another features a snowy winter base with a few chambers to run through, as well as internal facilities where you can weave around obstacles and beat enemies at their own game. These maps are well designed overall -- and we’re pretty sure we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
PC fans will have nothing to worry about when it comes to their version of BO4, as it seems to be running efficiently thus far, with a smooth frame rate and excellent performance levels. Of course, we still have yet to see the rest of the package and how it comes together (looking at you, Blackout) but our time will eventually come over the next few months.
We'll also be talking more in-depth about the lack of auto-heal in another article, since it's a whole new ballgame to the series.
We’ll see how the final game fares when it drops on October 12 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4!