Title: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
The Grade: B+
BO4 Haiku Review
Split into 3 parts
Zombies and multiplayer
New? Battle Royale!
What is it? The return of the most played series in the “Call of Duty” franchise, “Black Ops 4” brings fan favorite game modes and plenty of online action. BO4 marks the first time in the long running franchises history that a single player component has been left out. In its place is a brand new Battle Royale mode called Blackout.
Highs: This year’s version of “Call of Duty” is broken up the game into three distinct parts. The first two, multiplayer and zombies, will be quite familiar to gamers but they’ve both have been given a serious makeover.
Zombies is an absolute blast and features two storylines with new characters. “Voyage of Despair” is set on the RMS Titanic, yes THAT Titanic. “IX” is set in ancient Rome. Each one provides classic “Call of Duty” zombies action but what makes BO4’s version the best in franchise history is the level of customization.
To be honest, I never really got much out of previous zombie modes. It required too much grinding. But now I can tailor the game how I want to get the most out of the experience whether I’m playing solo, with friends or online. It’s amazing how significantly more open zombies is now. The addition of Rush, a more fast paced mode, also helps zombies feel better than ever.
Naturally the place most gamers will head to in “Call of Duty” is multiplayer. This year’s version is a bit more fast paced than “World War II” but not quite as over-the-top as “Infinite Warfare.” Although I loved “World War II’s” multiplayer, the sped up gameplay was refreshing. I also enjoyed the games two new match types - heist and control.
Control is similar to hardpoint, except teams take turns attacking or defending one area. So instead of a constantly shifting location, its fixed. This requires some tactical thinking and real knowledge of a map. In heist, teams grab cash and take it to an extraction site. This makes for crazy gameplay as some players will focus on grabbing cash while others focus on taking out opponents.
The big edition of BO4 is Blackout, the “Call of Duty” version of Battle Royale. This mode plays almost exactly like “PlayersUnknown’s Battlegrounds” but with a lot less lag, an improved control scheme, a better variety of vehicles and locations inspired by “Black Ops” multiplayer maps. I’m a big fan of “PUBG” but Blackout made moving over to BO4 for my Battle Royale fix an easy one.
Lows: I know what you’re thinking. “‘Black Ops 4’ no longer has single player? So what? Nobody played that anyway, so no one is going to miss it.” Sorry, but that’s not the case at all. While BO4’s multiplayer and zombies are strong, and Blackout is a great addition, they all stand on their own with nothing tying them together.
To be sure, you can head to Specialist HQ and play through tutorials of each of the specialists to get bits of a story. However, these segments are so brief there’s nothing to truly connect you to any of the new characters. While Frank Woods has some hilarious lines in the tutorials, BO4 doesn’t come close to having any memorable “Call of Duty” characters like Alex Mason, Soap, Gaz, or Roach, which is a shame.
The Grade: Despite a sorely missed single player campaign, this title is a lot of fun. Multiplayer continues to be reliable and fun, zombies has never been deeper and Blackout is Battle Royale done right. If you love online shooters, “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” is a must own.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.