Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Blackout beta shows potential (Review)

Official still for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Blackout Battle Royale trailer; image courtesy of Call of Duty.
Official still for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Blackout Battle Royale trailer; image courtesy of Call of Duty. /

After spending a few hours with the new entry in the Battle Royale world, Blackout, we have some thoughts about the early build of the game.

Call of Duty has officially entered the Battle Royale genre with Black Ops 4. Blackout is the new playable mode, which is replacing Call of Duty’s annual campaign. Although some fans aren’t happy with this decision, Activision and Treyarch Studios are in the money-making business. As of right now, Battle Royale is dominating the gaming scene, so it would be smart for every developer to test the waters.

Although it’s hard to emulate what Epic Games is doing with Fortnite, we’re open to seeing what others can do. A beta was made available for Blackout and here are our first initial thoughts.

The good

Being that Battle Royale is very well-established at this point with a number of games, what stands out the most about this iteration is how it still feels like a Call of Duty game. The movement and fast paced action, the weapons, the various locations on the map, and so on. Treyarch was able to deliver the same Black Ops feel we know and love while still adapting something new.

A big component of Battle Royale is the huge map you play on. One big advantage the Call of Duty series has is the extremely popular and iconic maps from past games. With this being another entry in the Black Ops series, we see maps being integrated into the map from every game in the series. For example, as you travel around, you’ll see maps like Raid, Nuketown, Array, and Stronghold. What makes it even more interesting is how some of the maps are mixed with others, which is something very innovative.

Another enjoyable element is all the different kinds of weapons, attachments, and vehicles. Vehicles in Call of Duty multiplayer isn’t something that’s very common unless it’s for kill streak purposes. It’s a new direction, but it’s something that makes sense for this kind of game mode. Vehicles such as ATV’s, trucks, and helicopters are all available to use.

It takes some getting used to when it comes to the weapons and attachments. In regular multiplayer, you simply create a class with your desired weapon, perks, and attachments. In Blackout, you have to find everything on the map and you have the option of picking it up or leaving it there. It’s familiar in Battle Royale games so this was expected. Not a bad thing by any means, of course.

The most entertaining part is playing with friends. You have the option of running solo matches, duos, or quads. In this aspect, it’s very similar to Fortnite, and grouping up with buddies will translate into some memorable gaming moments.

The bad

Keep in mind that these are thoughts based on a beta. There’s still plenty of time for tweaks and updates to roll out before the full build of the game. At the same time however, this is why developers release betas in the first place. They listen to the player feedback and use that to cater to the fanbase and deliver an improved experience.

When it comes to the weapons, some of them feel very inconsistent at times. This may be connection-related, but there’s a ton of bullet lag at times. This makes for frustrating confrontations with other enemy players. The bullet registration can be off at times as well. Sometimes, you’ll be aiming straight at the person, but none of the shots are landing.

Another tedious mechanic we have to deal with in every single game is the parachute. Prior to landing on the map, a parachute is deployed, which helps guide you to a specific location. As in every Battle Royale game, the player has the option of choosing exactly where they want to go. Sadly, this parachute isn’t very good. It’s very hard to control and in some cases, you don’t land where you were intending to. Hopefully, this is changed.

Lastly, it would be beneficial to the overall game if the max number of players would raise to 100 rather than 80. It’s still fun, but part of the whole experience of Battle Royale is the chaos and being better than your opponent. You have to get to certain locations first in order to get a better shot at grabbing loot and positioning on the map. With 100 players, we feel it would be a better representation of this genre since more players would be battling, in essence, to survive.

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Final thoughts

At its core, it’s still Call of Duty and it’s a good game at that. It also has the potential to be a great addition to the Battle Royale family. If some tweaks are made, it could very well rank among the best. Even in its current state, you can still find a ton of enjoyment, but we’re sure Treyarch isn’t satisfied with merely being okay.  Let’s see if they listen to the feedback and respond with an even better version of Blackout.