Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Reviews

  • MaurickShepherdMaurickShepherd332,328
    13 Nov 2018 13 Nov 2018
    8 3 5
    After last year's Call of Duty (Call of Duty: WWII), I had high expectations for Treyarch's sixth Call of Duty since they began with 3 in 2006. I look to them for the most daring, most wild Call of Duty experiences in the franchise. Guys flying planes in Vietnam while driving through insanity via mind algorithms. Surviving tsunamis in war-torn Asia. Their ambition sometimes gets the better of them, but they've never failed to make a solid entry in a series known for its basic, if sightly unchanged, formula. But with Black Ops 4, the standard for this long-running series has been reset in terms of quality and replay value.

    The trifecta, for the first time in this series' fabled history, no longer includes a single player campaign. Although it includes a Specialist Headquarters tab that helps train on all 10 specialists (coupled with a borderline hilariously cheesy ministory), the main series of gameplay cores are Multiplayer, Blackout and Zombies.

    With Blackout, we're given the first AAA-made game with a battle royale mode. For many, this will be seen as a simple piggy back off smaller titles such as Player Unknown's Battlegrounds or Fortnite. This was my initial thought going into it. However, after playing this for 50 games+, it has fit me to a tee and I'm addicted to it like no other. The pace of the game is significantly quicker than the aforementioned titles, dropping players in a map fit just big enough to give players the option to drop in large locations or find a more quaint location to peacefully begin the game. Once boots hit the ground, it feels like Call of Duty, through and through.

    There are more vehicles scattered around the map to allow almost any player the option to transport themselves, their duo partner or four-man squad somewhere else. The gun selection is great for a battle royale game, but disappointing for a Call of Duty (24, opposed to WWII's 31 at launch). In a mode filled with 100 players, action is never more than a minute's run time. I've been able to play much better on Blackout than PUBG due to the close proximity that battles take place. Whereas in PUBG I die by someone sniping from far away almost every other death, Blackout it's a rare occurrence that maybe once a day I will. For some, this may actually be a negative, but I personally enjoyed this more intimate style of combat.

    What sets itself apart is the variety in design of both map areas and enemies. Treyarch brought out several maps they've made from the past and made slight changes to fit the map, ranging from Verrucht (a World at War zombies map) to Cargo (a Black Ops II multiplayer map). Some of these areas spawn zombies, whose presence usually entails good loot can be found should players clean out the area.

    Alone, Blackout could be its own full-priced game, seeing that other games do the same. However, the fact they've attached it to a game with two other game modes that are similarly stacked with content gives me the sense the game is more than just a copycat of other industry trends. Whether players are figuring out overly complex zombie easter eggs for hour-long play sessions or are grinding through the ranks to prestige in multiplayer, players rank up in each mode separately. Prestige Mode is still a thing even in these modes, and it's a smart choice from Treyarch.

    All three modes are strong, and can stand on their own proudly as competently-made game modes. If there was a weak one, it would surprisingly be the multiplayer. A majority of the maps are redone over from prior Call of Duty games and spawns still need to be fixed. I spawned randomly several times and was immediately killed by either a killstreak or a player waiting around the corner. It's frustrating, but thankfully it doesn't happen enough to ruin the experience. I also miss the popular War mode from World War II. Although it could make an appearance via DLC, I think it's almost a must considering how successful and well-made it was in World War II.

    Without mincing my words, I was really annoyed to hear Treyarch decided to return to the future after WWII. Even without boost packs or laser weapons, I wanted games to return to either modern warfare or an era never touched. But after putting in many hours in all modes of this game, I walked away every time angry at losing, thrilled about clutching a 1v3 Blackout battle, or immersed in the lore of the four available zombie maps. This is easily the most controversial Call of Duty ever relesed: you either absolutely love it or despise it. For me, it struck all the right chords and then some. Although lacking a campaign, I don't think it needed one. Treyarch is known in the community for trying different things to great or lesser effect, and with Black Ops 4, they've come out the gate with their best ever game to date, and one of the most memorable entries in the franchise.
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    I have a lot to play atm but I might look at it at xmas
    Posted on 16 Nov 18 at 12:26
    KanchanaburiThis has been the best COD experience since MW2 for me. Blackout is never old. I have picked up a few sniper head shots here and there, but most of the fighting is medium range. Pretty accurate fire fights.
    Posted by Kanchanaburi on 17 Nov 18 at 01:41
    MaurickShepherdIt’s one of those things where I didn’t want to overly sapp over Black Ops 4, but I really do like it, perhaps enough to agree that it’s the best one since MW2
    Posted by MaurickShepherd on 17 Nov 18 at 14:00
  • Mild GonoliniMild Gonolini345,326
    07 Nov 2018
    10 12 3
    As somebody who has been playing COD since the beginning, I feel somewhat qualified to talk about this game. As the fourth entry in the Black Ops series, this game had a lot riding on it, with many devout fans (myself included) excited to see the direction this game would take. Perhaps the worst part of the game was revealed before launch, there would be no campaign, the first COD to do this. From a business standpoint, I get it, most players are focused only on multiplayer, and the campaign takes a tremendous amount of time and resources to complete.

    This game featured 3 full fledged modes: Multiplayer, Blackout, and zombies. I've put several hours into each of these to get the full experience.


    The multiplayer is in many parts, the standard COD affair, but does try to separate itself from others. The story of this multiplayer takes place between the events of Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3. Because of this, there is no advanced movement like there was in Black Ops 3. Despite the community's outcries for boots on the ground multiplayer, the movement system in Black Ops 3 was fantastic. It was deliciously fluid, added a ton of skill to the game, and made the experience significantly more fast paced. It helped contribute to why I maintain that Black Ops 3 had the best Call of duty multiplayer (which I'm sure many would contend). So, it was very upsetting to see them completely do away with this movement system. This is not to say this is a completely boots on the ground system. You can slide to gain some speed, and you jump much higher and mantle easier than other games, as well, the character of ruin has a grapple hook allowing him to traverse the maps more quickly.

    Perhaps the biggest change to this multiplayer is the health mechanics. For the first time, the health has been upped from 100 to 150, meaning there is a noticeably longer time to kill in general. As well, no longer do you magically heal your bullet wounds, any damage you take is permanent until you manually heal yourself with a syringe. I think the increased health is a decent enough change of pace, but the manual healing is annoying. For one thing, it means you are forced to get rid of a grenade slot, meaning you can only have a tactical OR a lethal grenade. As well, it is kind of frustrating to need to remove yourself from the fight for a few seconds after every single engagement. A huge change from BO3, where the quick movement meant you could avoid damage with skilled movement while you quickly heal. This forces you to play much more cautiously and stick with your team mates, which is just not something I want to do in Call of Duty. I also want to comment on the time to kill. I find it is in the sweet spot of being both too low and too high at the same time. It doesn't feel like a game like Overwatch where the option to retreat is present in most 1v1 battles, so if you're in an engagement, 90% of the time you will either kill or be killed, there's no strategy beyond that. As well, it is too high to allow someone to pull of a quick flank and take out 3 or 4 enemies. It takes so long to take out the first enemy that the rest of the team will be able to easily turn around and take you out, making killing more than 2 enemies very difficult. Those moments are the most satisfying in Call of Duty games, where you outclass an entire team and get these insane multi- kills. This is certainly possible in Black Ops 4, but the game is designed to prevent that. They are aiming for a much slower "tactical" shooter.

    Black Ops 3 introduced the mechanic of specialists, I thought this was executed well in that game. Effectively an ultimate ability, doing well charges a powerful weapon or ability which can be used for a few seconds. They overhauled that concept in BO4. Many of the same specialists returned, but the system is much different. Every character gets an ultimate ability which functions in much the same way, but in addition they get an ability. These abilities range from things like powerful flashbangs to deployable barbed wire. The issue is, they are on a timer in the same way as your specialist ultimate, and this spans across re-spawns. So as a result, 75% of the time, all you are using is your gun. There is the option to exchange your specialist ability for a generic grenade, but I usually don't do this since it consumes a create a class point. The specialist abilities cool down lasts way too long, the characters are built up to revolve around this ability, as if the characters would mesh with each other. But, since you get so few uses of your abilities in a game, it's almost irrelevant which specialist you choose. There are no such things as "team compositions", almost every fight will come down to who is better at shooting or who plays smarter.

    All these aspects add up to something fairly obvious; BO4 really wants to be a hero shooter. I understand this idea, people like hero shooters, the issue is, they don't go full out. It's still just COD, but because they sprinkled in a bit of hero shooter mechanics, it feels like a hodgepodge of underdeveloped ideas, which can't decide what it wants to be. The increased health pool, lack of healing, and specialists with game play preferences make the game feel like you want it to be played tactically. That to win you need to group up, communicate, and have a solid team composition. Doing this is way too boring though, the game feels like it is dying to played like past CODs, running around and gunning people down, if you get killed, respawn and do it again, that's what I want to do in a COD game, but the game doesn't want me to do it.

    This multiplayer also introduces a pseudo- campaign. The story behind the multiplayer for Black Ops 3 and 4is explained, with some familiar faces from the series being shown. If I’m being honest, as cool as this was, it was completely unnecessary, and just served to confuse me rather than explain things. You get to see the origins of the specialists as you complete a tutorial for each of them, but ultimately this entire part of the game feels like it was made so it would feel like there is some kind of story going on.

    Now, I know I've been harping on this multiplayer hard, but to be honest... it is actually alright. The gun play is just so much fun and getting kills is incredibly satisfying. You get a ton of points towards score streaks when playing objectives, plus every time you use your specialist weapons and abilities you get a sizable amount of score streak points and assists also now always count as kills. This all means there are a ton of score streaks to go around, which certainly makes the gameplay more enjoyable. The bottom line is, when you spend most of the time just shooting guys, and shooting guys feels great, the game is going to be pretty fun.

    While at its core, there is something inherently enjoyable about BO4 multiplayer it struggles with its identity as a game. Too many ideas which are individually underdeveloped makes it lack direction and a clear way to play, the majority of what made the game so great in the past has been stripped down and replaced. I'll give this multiplayer a score of 2.5 stars.


    I've been a fan of zombies since the beginning, and I can confidently say this zombie mode is... decent. It is similar tonally to Black Ops 3, but really mixed up the core of zombies. Perhaps the most noticeable change is the inclusion of an interesting create a class system. You now need to select the perks you want for the game before the game starts. You select your 4 perks and can only purchase those 4 perks in the game, so you must decide what you're doing that game before the game even starts.

    A major change to the perk system is the removal of some previously essential perks. Juggernog, speed cola and double tap have all been removed from the game. In the past, you would be crazy to not buy juggernog as soon as possible, but now that option isn't even available to you. I was initially terrified of this and wondered how it would be possible to even do anything without juggernog, thankfully it is not too bad. To start, you have enough health to last through 4 zombie hits, and you can build a shield which will protect your back. There are also perks which can help to some extent. One perk will give you basically an extra life if you lose all your health and allow you to become invulnerable when your health reaches 0, another let's you protect yourself from all sides while you're holding a shield, finally there's a perk which grants you extra damage mitigation while standing still.

    The gobble gum system is back as well, but it is tweaked slightly. Now, instead of gum you craft "elixirs" which are basically the same thing. However, now you have access to all 4 of your equipped elixirs from the start of the game, you don't need to hit a machine to get one. This means that in dire situations, you can quickly activate an elixir to save yourself, which you have access to again after a cool down. The elixirs are much weaker in general, which I think is a good thing. Certain elixirs must be randomly obtained from toolboxes and only have one use, just like Black Ops 3. The issue with Black Ops 3 is those who were willing to spend money could obtain some incredibly powerful gum and make zombies a breeze. Now though, even those willing to buy elixirs won't get a huge advantage, as some of the best gobble gums (like perkaholic or shopping free) have been removed.

    Black Ops 4 launched with the largest zombie outing to date. With 3 full maps on disc, plus an additional map for season pass holders. I can appreciate the effort they went to in order to compensate for the lack of campaign, there is a ton of zombies here. Each map is a unique experience, with very interesting locations.
    -IX takes you back in time to a gladiatorial arena in ancient Rome
    -Voyage of despair puts you on board the RMS titanic.
    -Blood of the dead let's you join the primis zombies crew to Alcatraz in a remake of Mob of the dead, but with a significantly larger map.
    -Season pass holders can play "Classified" a remake of Black Ops 1's "Five" which puts the primis zombies crew in the pentagon.

    The large number of maps means it is hard to get bored of this zombies mode, and with more Easter eggs than you an shake a stick at, zombies fans will be more than satisfied with this outing.

    The story is as gripping and confusing as ever. After Black Ops 3 I got completely lost in what the plot of the zombies was, it's hard to pay attention when there is multiple time lines and magic evil Gods fighting over the universe. This zombies continues the Black Ops 3 storyline with blood of the dead (which takes place between maps in Black Ops 3), as well as the classified map, which I think actually takes place between the maps shangri- la and moon in Black Ops 1. In addition, the maps IX and voyage of despair introduce 4 new characters with their own unique storyline, which is nice considering we've been extensively following the original primis crew for a decade now.

    Perhaps my biggest complaint about this zombie is that you can no longer hold zombies at the end of the round to progress with Easter eggs. Anyone who has completed Easter eggs before knows just how important saving a zombie at the end of the round while you complete steps is. Unfortunately, in Black Ops 4, the last zombies of the round will bleed out after about 10 minutes. This makes getting things done needlessly difficult, as you have a limited amount of time to get it done.

    Beyond this, I have no real complaints. This feels like zombies but is different enough to keep players hooked. We have been getting a new zombies mode every year for a long time, and I'm getting somewhat sick of it. It would be nice to get a different 3rd mode for COD. So, while I do think this is a pretty good entry in the ever expanding COD zombies story, it is still another zombies mode, so if you were never a fan, or have grown sick of zombies, you won't love this mode.

    The vast number of new maps, different and exciting game play mechanics which force you to alter your play style, a continuation of the story with new characters and exciting maps, and a departure from a high insistence on the rarest gobblegums makes this zombies mode a fun, albeit challenging, experience. Despite its inherent similarities to the previous zombies, I personally found it unique and challenging enough to warrant me playing it, making me excited for zombies again, which I haven't felt for quite some time. I'm giving this zombies mode a score of 4 stars.


    Finally, we get to blackout, Call of Duty's shot at a battle royale. This is the first new mode COD has introduced since extinction mode in COD: Ghosts, since then it has always been campaign, multiplayer and zombies. It is painfully obvious this mode was shambled together last minute to capitalize on the popularity of games like Fortnite and PUBG. If there is one thing that COD has really sucked at in these last few years, it is being original.

    Now, I should mention, I am not a fan of battle royales. I think the entire game mode is massively flawed at a fundamental level. I played Fortnite when it came out and never enjoyed it whatsoever, it felt like a chore to play, something I did only because some friends of mine wanted to. So, understand that I went into blackout expecting to hate it.

    The inherent problem with any battle royale is, the game ensures the most exciting thing is done the least often. You spend an exceptionally small amount of time fighting, and the rest either looting or running, and the looting and running alone is barely even a game. There’s a “strategy” sure, in that certain areas will have better loot, so it’s smarter to run to these areas. At the end of the day, a game should try to ensure the thing most exciting about the game is what you do for the majority of the time. Running from one area to another is boring, but that’s okay if it’s not something you do very often, you need to travel from place to place to place in a video game. All these problems are more than prevalent in Blackout.

    Blackout sees you dropping into a large map with no weapons or items and forcing you to desperately loot weapons and ammo to take out your opponents, while the area of play gets increasingly smaller forcing you to move. If you've played a battle royale before, you've played Blackout, it does nearly nothing to distinguish itself from the competition. Gameplay wise, it is borderline identical to PUBG. I kid you not, the literal only differences between PUBG and Blackout is the inclusion of consumable perks, and zombies. Essentially, you can loot perks which can be consumed to give you a buff that lasts around 2 minutes in game, this problem is, the perks are all but useless, even the best perks are only ever useful during rare situations, so the chances that you happen to have activated a perk and found a use for it before it runs out is exceptionally low. The zombies are interesting enough, but encounters tend to be rare.

    To begin, I'll explain the few things I liked about this mode.

    Fighting is decently fun, getting in battles is effectively just a mini multiplayer game. The guns all transferred over from multiplayer, so they have the same enjoyable feel. There is a wide array of unique gadgets and grenades which can give you an advantage in certain fights, of course, most of the fights are just going to come down to who the better shot is. A major issue is however, the fact that the guns are all projectile based, not hit-scans. Bullets now drop and have a travel time, making hitting far away enemies very difficult. And of course, if you die, that's it, no re spawning. This forces you to play incredibly conservatively, meaning gun fights are few and far between.

    The map looks very nice. It's not too big (about the size of Fortnite), but it has many varied terrain and environments. As well, parts of the map are entire maps from previous multiplayer and zombie maps in the series. There's Nuke town, firing range, Verruckt, the lighthouse from Call of the Dead, and more. It's cool being able to traverse these areas freely, not being confined by the small map.

    The zombies. In certain areas of the map, specifically zombies maps, zombies will spawn. Killing them can give you powerful weapons, and if you take out every zombie in the area, you can gain access to the mystery box, which gives you some great weapons (possibly even the ray gun).

    Now onto the bad.

    The inherent problems with battle royales are, of course, very prevalent here. You spend a shocking amount of time running or driving around and looting. If you see an enemy, maybe you kill him, maybe he kills you, and all that looting and running around was a waste of time. It is unbelievably boring.

    Every game feels like the same thing. Either you drop in somewhere crowded and likely get destroyed or drop somewhere less crowded and run around for 15 minutes before getting sniped in the back. Every so often you get far, it never really feels like it was earned. You just happened to run into fewer people that game. Winning does not feel rewarding, it feels like a roll of the dice.

    Unlocking new characters is ridiculous. Blackout lets you unlock new characters to play as in game, these are visual only, and have no game play advantage. These characters include all the specialists from multiplayer. To unlock a specialist, you need to randomly find a specific item in the game, these typically spawn in supply drops or crates, ammo boxes, or medical bags (as well as some other means). The spawn rate of these items is exceptionally rare. Once an item has been obtained it will give you a series of challenges which you must complete in the same game. The fact that you have such a low chance of finding these things and must complete the challenges it gives in that same game means it is exceptionally difficult to complete. Obviously, this does not change the game play at all, but it is the only real form of progression in blackout.

    The armor system needs work. You can pick up armor of levels 1, 2 and 3 in this mode which will reduce incoming damage until it breaks. The issue is, it breaks incredibly fast. Winning a gun fight in other battle royales is inherently rewarding because you may get their superior armor and weaponry. In blackout, if you get in a gun fight, your armor will be shredded in just a few hits. Additionally, your opponent's armor will be nearly gone as well, so despite winning the fight, you're usually much worse off then when you started, because you now have lessened armor. This encourages very passive play, which makes the mode even more boring then it is by design.

    Now I should mention, if you like battle royales, you will very much enjoy this mode. It just feels like a smoother version of PUBG, and the problems with it are (for the most part) overshadowed by the positives. The community in general seems to be very fond of this mode for this reason. To me, however, this is yet another unoriginal game designed to cash in on the latest gaming trend. It brings next to nothing new to the table and still massively suffers from the problems which have ruined battle royales since the beginning. Considering this was the replacement for a campaign leaves me pretty upset. Black Ops campaigns are usually short bursts of fun and tell some interesting stories. Because I must suffer through this mode instead of enjoying a campaign, I'm left with a sour taste in my mouth regarding blackout, and I'm giving it a score of 1.5 stars.

    The state of this game

    There is one thing I neglected to mention from the beginning, it very much overshadows all the positive things I have had to say from the beginning; this game is a completely broken mess. This shouldn't come as much of a shock. Considering the game was initially planned to have a campaign, a significant portion of time was spent on the development of that, until it was all scrapped to make Blackout. What's more, the game's release was pushed forward a ton in order to come out before Red Dead Redemption 2. What resulted is easily the most bug filled, content dry release in COD history.

    Naturally, quite a bit has been fixed/ added since release, but I'll cover just how empty this was on release.

    -0 character customization. There were 5 odd sprays and emotes, and no ability to unlock more.
    -Only a few characters in blackout could be unlocked, the rest showed up as "unlockable”, but the game said their character mission was not yet available.
    -No form of black market or ways to obtain more cosmetics
    -No place to spend COD points from previous games or for buying the season's pass.

    Then we move onto the bugs. The state of this game at launch is completely unacceptable, here are a few bugs that I personally encountered, although there are many more.

    -In blackout and multiplayer, I could randomly not heal myself until I died or re-spawned.
    -In blackout the sounds of enemies are completely broken, it is impossible to discern where enemies are located based on their sounds
    -Random blackout games would drop frames like mad and run at around 15 FPS for the entirety of the game
    -In zombies, when my team mate revives someone else, the revive symbol shows up on my screen.
    -In zombies, removing all the attachments from my pistol makes the game think I still have 2 attachments equipped, so I now permanently can't run full attachments.
    -A potentially game breaking glitch in zombies, which happened to my friend in 3 consecutive games on 2 different maps. After downing with the starting pistol, they can no longer buy ammo for that pistol, and any guns they buy in that game to replace the pistol will also have no ammo and can not get more. They are forced to use one gun for the remainder of the game.
    -Several Easter egg steps on the map IX require all players to interact with something at the same time, frequently takes 5+ minutes of fiddling around before it works.

    As I said, the game is being slowly fixed, but is still in an awful state glitch wise. Several cosmetic options have been added to the game, but they are hidden behind a tier system similar to Fortnite's battle pass (for once I'd like to see COD come up with something original, this is getting embarrassing). This entire system is perhaps even more anti- consumer than their previous loot box systems. The tier system is on a 2 month "season”, so you have a limited amount of time to progress through the tiers to get all the items. Earning XP in multiplayer and Blackout progresses you through the tiers. The issue is, it takes an ungodly amount of time to do so. From what I understand, about 250+ in game hours to get to tier 200. That means, you need to spend about 1/6 of your time within the 2 months playing this game to unlock tier 200, that's an average of 4 hours a day, everyday, for 2 months straight. That would be a struggle for even the most hardcore fans.

    Of course, Activision will allow you to buy your way to the top. Going from tier 1 to tier 200 is 200 USD. So, to unlock all cosmetics without playing, it would cost $1200 US a year on top of the price of the game, that excludes all DLC maps, that is just the cost of cosmetic items in a single year. The fact that they throw this shameless and predatory system onto a game so broken is beyond disgraceful. Call of Duty has certainly fallen from the public's good graces in recent years, but this is not how you win back the public's trust.


    Call of Duty is a dying franchise which is really starting to show its age. So desperate are they to make a buck that they shamelessly cash in on every discernible trend in gaming. Haphazardly throwing together a derivative and unoriginal battle royale, poorly focusing their multiplayer to more resemble a team-based shooter and ripping off the tier system to squeeze more money out of their game. While the zombies mode is a good time, and something I expect I will be playing a whole lot of in the coming months (especially when the bugs get fixed), it does not excuse the current state of the game. Delaying this game's release would have done wonders for it, but they instead rushed it out as something more resembling a beta than a full game. Here's hoping the game reaches a better state, and soon, and that future Call of Duty titles try to do something original.

    So, what do I rate this game? Well averaging out all 3 scores it would come out to about 2.5 stars. This score is putting aside the massively unfinished nature of the game and the unforgivable black-market system. With that in mind, I feel I must remove an entire star for a final score of 1.5 stars. I really hate to give a series I have loved for a decade now such a low score, but whatever good grace they may save with their zombies mode, the removal of a campaign to throw in a battle royale mode is extremely upsetting, combine that with the less than stellar multiplayer, the plethora of bugs, and the insulting tier system, I feel it deserves a score that low. I imagine the bugs will be patched out mostly in the coming months, which will certainly raise the score, but they would need to completely overhaul their black-market tier system for me to bring the score back to a 2.5.
  • Removed Gamer
    Gamer has been removed
    10 15 0
    A wise man once said "Multiplayer ruined video games", and I find it very hard to disagree. Mainly because I said that here on this very site in 2013, at the apex of companies shoveling in useless multiplayer to games that had no need for it such as Bioshock 2, Spec Ops: The Line, The Darkness, TimeShift, Chronicles of Riddick, and many others. These were games designed from the ground up to be single player experiences, featuring an engaging story with interesting or unique gameplay experiences in order to draw the player in. The multiplayer was often saved for the last minute, if not outsourced to a smaller development team entirely to do a slipshod job of creating some forgettable and barebones multiplayer. A sad time indeed, but what if the game industry took things a step further? What if that dull, unbalanced, repetitive, barebones multiplayer experience wasn't just some lazy trash bolstered onto a game to "complement" the story, what if that's all there was? Welcome to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

    Now it's no secret that Call of Duty campaigns aren't usually in the running for "Best Screenplay" at the Oscars, and it's generally been accepted that the quality of the series' campaigns has gone down over the last few entries with some occasional spikes of decent effort being put into them. Alas, the likes of Kevin Spacey or Kit Harrington weren't enough to leave good impressions on the public and interest in the campaign side of the series waned. So what was Activision's response to this? Was it to refocus their efforts on creating more memorable scenes like the nuke in Modern Warfare? Was it hire better writers, putting together a creative team that can craft a psychological thriller similar to the original Black Ops? Was it to take a year off to regroup and decide what course to take next, a strategy that seemed to work for Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed? No, it was to scrap the campaign altogether and make Black Ops 4 a fully multiplayer experience.

    The developers may argue that there is single player in the game in the form of "Specialist missions", which can be accessed by clicking on the tiny little "Specialist HQ" square hidden in the horrible menu interface that looks like a Windows 8 start menu mixed with failed Xpadder support. These missions allow you to test drive the characters you can choose in multiplayer, playing multiplayer modes on multiplayer maps with all other players replaced by AI. It's as fun as it sounds.

    Onto the multiplayer itself, which includes all the gametypes you'd expect from CoD at this point. TDM, FFA, Domination, S&D, you get the idea, in both standard and hardcore modes. The maps are also nothing special, nothing memorable like Makin or Shipment to be found here. The game modes and maps aren't really the problem; the gameplay is. "The gameplay?" you may ask, bewildered. "Call of Duty multiplayer has been the same for more or less 12 years, how could the gameplay be the problem?" Because we aren't playing Call of Duty anymore, we are playing Rainbow Six Siege. The classes throughout CoD history have not really impacted gameplay much. As soon as the average person unlocked the ability to make custom classes with their own killstreaks, perks, and weapons they decided to do that and adapt to a playstyle that was best for them. Black Ops 3 introduced classes that could eventually earn enough points to unlock a brief special weapon, which has been expanded on here. You now get to choose a character hero shooter style, picking Firebreak every single time because he is a horribly broken character, or settling for someone else when he gets snatched up first. This completely kills the balance of a game that has never had real balance issues before since it's inception, and the mistake shines through the entirety of multiplayer. Firebreak in particular is a hard pill to swallow, because his specialist equipment attack (RB) is infuriating to deal with. It has a huge blast radius, can hit through walls, kills extremely quickly, and prevents the affected player from using their own equipment for quite a long time. Using it kills Firebreak, but one death after completely wiping out or crippling the enemy team isn't really a big deal.

    The other change brought about in multiplayer that left me scratching my head was the inclusion of manual health recovery. Since Call of Duty 2, health has always regenerated over time if the player managed to avoid damage. For some reason, Black Ops decided to add a health stim which you must manually activate with LB in order to recover. The stim recovers almost immediately, but while using it there is a second of delay to register and you can't run or reload while healing. This adds nothing to gameplay since it grinds the pace to a screeching halt, since you have to hide after every fight to reload and heal, something that totally takes away from the spirit of the game itself. I also seemed to have a constant problem with running, I'd often click the stick to run but nothing would happen. This is a very common occurrence and just another little annoyance to add to the pile.

    There's another factor that completely kills the balance of this game, and it's pay to win lootboxes. A recently added weapon called the 9MM Micro MMG is probably the most broken gun in multiplayer gaming history. It fires after only a second of delay and behaves like a Death Machine. Anyone facing this weapon will be absolutely shredded, throwing off game balance. It is not earned through progression, medals, or any actual test of skill. It is only earned through random loot boxes or "bribes", which require premium currency to purchase. Other powerful broken guns and melee weapons are also available from the beginning to people willing to spend, meaning the whales flourish while the minnows get swallowed up.

    That about covers the multiplayer, the next selling point about this game was Blackout. This is a Battle Royale mode, basically a copy/paste of PUBG. Of course, while this does come down to preference, I find Battle Royale to be unplayable. It is completely luck dependent, the winner usually determined by seeing who dropped in closest to the best gear on the map. The menu is ugly and unintuitive, something that never meshes well with the fast paced nature of Call of Duty. The map is large but relatively bland, full of houses that may or may not contain items that will help you kill other players and win the game. There's not much to say here; if you like spending 40 minutes scavenging around desolate houses looking for guns and crawling away from the circle of death before getting shot in the back and dropping out to try again you'll really like this. You'll also really like living in Detroit.

    This brings us to the last bit of "content" found in Blops 4, zombies. I always found it funny that Call of Duty zombies, zombies in pop culture, The Walking Dead, and the Romero zombie all have the same thing in common: They just don't know when to lay down and die. Nazi Zombies was created as a fun little easter egg you got for beating the World at War campaign in 2008, the following year Treyarch decided to kill the horse by charging $15 per DLC to get more zombies content. Over a decade later and that dead horse is still being brutally beaten, despite there being nothing but a red smear on the ground where it once was. Zombies is no longer about survival, it's about completing a set of horribly annoying and nonsensical tasks that can be failed at a moments notice and wasting 90 minutes of your life. It's the same process year after year, map after map, never improving or changing in any significant way. When Advanced Warfare and WWII tried to shake things up a little bit by improving on the zombies formula, Treyarch decided to take 10 steps back and just release the same tired drivel over and over again. The best part is that in Black Ops 4, it literally is the same tired drivel. Out of the 8 zombies maps included in the game, 4 of them are reskins of previous zombie maps. In a game with no campaign, a basic multiplayer, and a ripoff of PUBG, you'd think they'd have more time to dedicate to the only other mode in this shower. But no, you are given the same maps you played before, with the same weapons, the same concepts, the same frustration and the same issues that have plagued zombies since they crawled out of the ground a decade ago.

    So what's the word? Black Ops 4 is the worst game I've ever played. It's cynical in it's presentation, being some Frankenstein's monster mashup of Call of Duty, PUBG, and Siege all at once. It's cynical in its monetization, hiding the best weapons in the game behind bribes and loot crates that cost premium currency while still charging $60 for an incomplete game. It's cynical in its lack of content, modes, and regard for the consumer. It's cynical in every way, and it makes me cynical every time I remember it exists.

    19 Oct 2018
    4 23 4
    Starting off strong, I would like to say that my review here may be biased slightly because I am a die-hard CoD fan.

    Starting with Blackout, the gameplay is absurdly garbage. The amount of highly unskilled players killing me because of Tier 3 armor bugs the hell out of me. I can tell the gamemode is not "3 Years" worthy because the amount of content in Blackout bores me enough to not play it at all

    Multiplayer, the one thing I cannot stand is the manual healing. I am used to classic run-and-gun playstyles and having to adapt to healing while trying to run-and-gun is what throws me off. None the less, that's something you can do well with time. The gameplay isn't garbage but it can use some tweaks in the "Domination" department. The constant ICR-7 Spam really does ruin Bloodthirsty streaks because it has Grip II

    Zombies, where do I begin? I would like to say that having no Jug and instead having "Dying Wish" really sucks. Not only that, some of the classic perks like Double Tap and a few other isn't even present in Black Ops 4. It almost boggles me that they removed some of those perks that made Zombies as fun as it was in Black Ops 3 and other Black Ops games. The map designs and the intent to bring specality weapons into zombies is actually pissing me off. Nothing like that makes the game fun, if anything makes it talored to new player