By: Nick Farinola
I haven’t played the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Beta yet, and yes, I’ve bought every single Call Of Duty title since the third entry. The beta drops this Friday for Xbox owners who have also preordered the game for its October 12th release, while PS4 users have been playing since this past Friday, August 3rd. I am completely unbiased when it comes to not only Call of Duty games, but also to other game series and movies. Once I’ve played the game, and gotten a feel for all of its mechanics, then I can make up my own opinion based off of replay value and overall quality. It’s pretty hysterical to see all of the ‘CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS 4 BETA SUCKS!!!’ all-caps titles slapped on my YouTube feed this weekend. To be fair, Call of Duty’s history has arguably been pretty shaky. The earlier parts of the series crafted a franchise known for its tight controls, action-packed campaigns (some better than others for sure), fun and expansive multiplayer, and ever evolving nazi zombies modes. Call of Duty 4 was one of the most successful FPS games ever, and for good reason; it brought the series to a modern setting while delivering a fast-paced, M-rated narrative, and also delivered a multiplayer that set the standard for all FPS multiplayers. Other developers tried to make their games like Call of Duty. Unfortunately, now it’s the other way around.
Beta out now for PS4 users, August 10th for Xbox and early access PC, August 11th open PC [Credit: Treyarch]
Entries like Ghosts and Infinite Warfare were, in my opinion, bland titles that did little to reinvent the wheel we see every single year. This brings up another point – Call of Duty is an annual game developed by three different developers: Treyarch (Black Ops series), Sledgehammer (WW2) and Infinity Ward (Modern Warfare series). Every year brings a new game along with a different developer of the three, giving the other developers three years to wok on their own Call of Duty project. That’s a good amount of time to think of something new and change up the formula, don’t you think? It’s unfortunate that not every year brings a particularly inventive game. Assassin’s Creed was on track to die after the awful launch and mediocre reviews of Unity, but the studio decided to take a year-long break after Syndicate (which served as a solid entry in the series, offering two playable protagonists in the early 19th century England). This break ultimately gave us Origins, which not only reignited the franchise, but also made it into an RPG, where one person’s Bayek was different from another. I’m not saying Call of Duty should take a break: I’m saying that the developers should really give us their all each and every year if they want the franchise to stay afloat…and it will because, well, it has a massive fan base that spans across all demographics.
Think Black Ops 4’s battle royale mode will live up to games like PUBG or Fortnite? [Credit: Treyarch]
Let’s talk about the beta for Black Ops 4 – you know, the one I didn’t play? As August 10th approaches, I find myself more and more eager to get my hands on it. I’ve seen all of the trailers, and I’ve watched a good amount of streaming, BUT I am worried. A ton of videos, and I mean a sh*t ton, explain that Black Ops 4 is a recycled version of Black Ops 3 that was supposed to be something like Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege or Blizzard’s Overwatch, but something happened during the three-year development cycle that forced Treyarch to scrap those ideas along with their campaign (which could have not worked out narratively), and create something that, on the outside, looks like the skeleton of its previous entry in the Black Ops series. On top of that, people are complaining that the TTK, or the ‘time to kill’ is ridiculously long, and that’s not taking into consideration any additional armor in the game. The maps, to many PS4 players, feel uninspired, ranging from good to bland. The beta comes with six modes and six maps, so hopefully we will get more than half of new maps, considering we won’t be getting a campaign mode (which still is so disappointing to me). Okay, that won’t be difficult to tweak for the final release, right? I mean, it is a beta after all! It’s designed for the community to get a taste of the game and offer valuable feedback to the developers. The maps, on the other hand, will be a little more difficult of a problem. The game releases almost exactly two months from now, so there is still time for change, but according to ReviewTechUSA on YouTube, “After doing that [buying the games] five or six times like an idiot, I finally learned that the series is not gonna change…they refuse to innovate, and I refuse to give them anymore money.” Sheesh, tough pill to swallow for Call of Duty fans. I’ve seen gameplay from the beta, and though it doesn’t look “new” in the slightest bit, sometimes you just have to play the game in order for it to feel different. All of the people that hate the game are obviously allowed to hate it because they have actually played it! Personally, I dig the strategic self-healing mechanic, as well as the heightened pace of the action, but I am worried about all of the problems listed from streamers and content creators. Faster movement could lead to spawn killings and a whole other slew of problems, but I am going to remain optimistic, and try it out for myself this Friday.
The Mystery Box edition is fully loaded for $199.99 at select retailers [Credit: Treyarch]
I also wanted to quickly touch base on the Battle Royale mode coming to Black Ops 4 titled ‘Blackout.’ On the website, it reads, “In Blackout, Black Ops comes to life in one massive battle royale experience, combining Black Ops signature combat and the biggest map in Call of Duty history. Play as fan favorite characters and battle through iconic settings from the Black Ops universe. It’s a collision course bringing together the worlds of Black Ops in an all-out survival and elimination experience featuring weapons; equipment; lands, sea, and air vehicles; RC-XDs; traps; and even zombies in an experience that is uniquely Black Ops.” I’ve taken the liberty to bold the word ‘experience’ that was used three times in this intro. I’ll be honest, it’s insanely ambitious. I would love to see Call of Duty’s tight controls and fun combat come to a battle royale-type game, but again, I’m a bit worried. Think about it though…this could be the sole reason that Black Ops 4 could be the biggest and most profitable game of not only the year, but of the series, but it could also be the opposite if Blackout fails along with its multiplayer. Oh! Zombies looks cool, and it seems to be more character and narrative focused this year based off of the trailers. That’s all I’ll say about that.
So what do you guys think? Will Black Ops 4 be just another generic entry in the franchise, or will Blackout make it a standout? Let me know, and hit me up on twitter @FickNarinola!
Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 releases on October 12, 2018 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Blackout Beta releases at an unknown day in September.