With the fourth instalment of the Black Ops branch of the Call of Duty series, the creators have began treading down a slightly different path to the previous games. We gave the title a spin and here's our thoughts on the new direction.
The previous 3 episodes to Black Ops all had one thread in common, the continuation of stellar Call of Duty online multiplayer mixed with a well written single player story experience. However Treyarch/Activision have decided that number 4 should remove one of the key items, the Solo Campaign. This has left the latest release with 3 main game modes, the Multiplayer, Zombies and the new mode Blackout, a Battle-Royale. So let's see how each of the new modes fair.
First off, the online player versus player experience everyone has come to know CoD for, Multiplayer. With the range of standard game modes (Free-For-All, Team Deathmatch, etc) it's quite easy to pick up and jump into the title and either carry on from playing previous instalments or beginning from scratch. You point the gun at the opposition and shoot, you try to secure points and always push for the win. However at launch, it feels a little bare and un-polished. With the slightly more enjoyable 'quirky' game modes missing, such as Gun Game or One In The Chamber and what can only be really put as poor weapon balancing and hit-boxes, it's not as fun as it has previously been. It does give some limit to the enjoyment, but there is easily scope to improve, re-balance and correct any issues.
Rearing it's rotten corpse once again is the Zombie mode, something that started as something so small way back in history, is back and even bigger than before. With the usual slew of Easter Egg hunting, point collecting and gruesome story, grabbing a team of friends of solo slaying is as fun as always. Minor gripes come in the form of a time limit being set to rounds now, losing the ability to train a zombie while trying to complete story parts or purchasing guns and ammo, but overall it is still possible to lose hours sat on a sofa with a friend or online with groups of strangers.
Finally is the Blackout. The brand new Battle Royale mode, inspired by the success of FortNite/PUBG. Many new titles or trying this new 'Last Man Standing' loot hoarding, but it's very rare that a title does it well and succeeds. So when Black Ops completely smashed expectations and made an almost rival experience to the top BR titles, it was a shock to say the least. The mixture of the large map, fluid and experience full gameplay, wide range of weaponry and perks give hours of variety and enjoyment. The player base seems to be rising daily and it feels like the highlight of BO4 will continue to be Blackout for a while to come.
Overall the gameplay does seem to be slightly lacking overall however. There's never been a CoD title without a Story line, and where there is a 'Training-esc' mode with a poorly strung together set of story snippets, it doesn't fill the same void that is left. It gives a disappointment to what is otherwise a great title and those paying full price may feel cheated slightly. But BO4 does give almost the same amount of hours of gameplay through the new Blackout, making up for gap. For those who enjoy the multiplayer of previous titles, this is a must buy, but for those who enjoyed the story, it may be difficult to see the value. But I have enjoyed all of my time on Black Ops so far and I can't see myself putting it on the shelf for a long time to come. 7.5/10