REVIEW: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

 

REVIEW: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Dubai - Battle royale will get you desperate to survive - and don't forget about those zombies

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Mon 19 Nov 2018, 12:15 PM

Last updated: Tue 20 Nov 2018, 8:42 PM

The last Call of Duty game I played was Ghosts (an eternity ago, isn't it?). Seems my job can and will prevent me from ever happily slouching in front of my game console for more game time, huh?
Well, as a good CoD welcoming back party for me, I was able to try out Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the 15th title in the popular long-running franchise by Activision.
The game is divided into three modes, all of which will stoke interest in the shoot-'em-up gamer in you. But before we get into the specifics, there's one thing that's really noteworthy: unlike previous installments, there is no single-player or solo campaign in this adventure. That will most likely make fans of this mode frown... including me.
Nevertheless, it's another slam-bang affair with Black Ops 4.
Multiplayer

Prepare to defend and capture
There's a good reason why the solo campaign was ditched for this installment: Black Ops 4's developer, Treyarch, says that they built this game on the premise that it be more cooperative and "friendly", AKA you have to have your friends in it to maximise the fun. While this idea will indeed work for those who thrive in online and multiplayer environments, this may tend to rub those on the other end of the spectrum the wrong way (again, including me).
But anyway, go ahead and select this mode and let loose. Ah, that great feeling of letting it all out on a game console, huh?
You'll be able to choose from 10 Specialists - six from Black Ops III plus four new ones - from the get-go, each with his or her own unique abilities and gear (special-issue equipment and weaponry, to be specific). Choose wisely, depending on your playing style; some are suited for pure combat, while others can have an advantage using additional gizmos or are better off tactically.
For example, Firebreak has a Reactor Core that wounds enemies and prevents healing, Prophet's Seeker Shock Nine Recon's sensor dart reveals enemies within its proximity, and Crash can supply ammo packs. If you fancy a K9, Nomad's your man with his attack dog.
Now if you really want to play solo, head over to Specialist Headquarters. It's basically a training ground for the Specialists, complete with back stories and cutscenes within the narratives between the events of Black Ops II and III. Offers a good break from all the action.
One of the biggest changes in the gameplay is the fact that your health won't regenerate automatically - you'll have to do it manually. Be sure to keep that in mind; I've been used to shooters having auto-health, and forgetting this cost me a good number of lives in this game.
Blackout

Yes, it's an all-out royal rumble
You may get the idea what this means. But for the sake of this review, here it is: if you're one of those going nuts for Fortnite or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, then Blackout is for you.
Translation: it's a battle royale, shoot-or-be-shot, last-man/team-standing bonanza. You can just imagine how desperate your opponents are just like you (unless you're a real dead-shot oozing with confidence).
The drill is simple: parachute into the map - the biggest ever in a Call of Duty game - and try to survive the fight. You can campaign solo, in pairs or in fours, depending on your liking. Of course, you can scour the area for any goodies that you can use - and make sure you do so, because you may need everything to come out alive.
Vehicles such as choppers and ATVs are also available so you can cover more ground. And the map you're in on this mode is basically a mash-up of locations in previous Call of Duty games.
Added bonus: you can also choose characters coming from the entire Call of Duty series. Even more fun: zombies will also spawn in certain areas, and they would drop some pretty neat weapons for your taking.
Zombies

I never recall these on the RMS Titanic...
Ah, zombies. Why are we so fascinated with them? Seems nothing is complete without the undead, huh?
Well, in Black Ops 4, you get to enjoy trying to survive the zombie apocalypse once again. Only this time, it's more fun and more innovative - and don't be surprised if you pull your hair often out of frustration when zombies lunge towards you by the dozen.
And there are two story modes, Chaos and Aether: the former introduces four new characters, while the latter, featuring the original protagonists collectively known as Primis. Both are fun and thrilling, but you need to pay close attention: as you progress, more back stories are revealed.
Chaos is actually divided into two parts: Voyage of Despair, set on the RMS Titanic, and IX, which takes place in an ancient arena in Rome. Aether, meanwhile, circles back to the original Aether story arc.
I personally like the Zombies mode best; there's a lot to explore in the areas. I also like the idea of acquiring weapons and items or unlocking doors by using points you get from blasting the hell out of those zombies.
The rest of it
Black Ops 4 has very nice graphics, has a smooth and intriguing storylines, plus fairly good controls; I didn't find any outrageous combinations - though that change to self-healing did me more bad than good at first.
But it isn't without its hitches. At first - especially when loading modes for the first time - there were significant lags. They were eventually and apparently ironed out, but there were still times when I had to wait for longer-than-usual periods. I did crash twice, particularly when trying to load the Specialist HQ, but after prolonged play, it never happened again.
AND SO...
Traditionally, Call of Duty has always impressed, and Black Ops 4 is no different. Its combination of smooth graphics, various adventures and overall gameplay has always been a winning formula. Though if I were made to choose which mode gets my attention the most, I'd go for Zombies.
Banded together, however, it's a really all-rolled-into-one saga. When I get teed off with all those really good players (bots or otherwise) flooring me again and again in Multiplayer or Blackout, I just switch over to Zombies and let out all my frustrations on them. Imagine how 
And the removal of the solo campaign is sure polarising, but you could see the true intent to that: trying to convince loner-gamers like me to be "friendlier" when handling that controller [insert grinning face smiling eyes here].
- alvin@khaleejtimes.com



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