The Esquire Review: Call of Duty Black Ops 4
There’s a new Call of Duty out each and every year. You can almost set your watch to it, but this year something feels different.
Yes, it’s late October, and the new game has dropped as per usual. Yes, the franchise has the same fast-paced multiplayer, killer weapon customisation and zombie-fragging. And yes, it’s also being heavily marketed – as per usual – and will probably go on to sell by the bucket-load.
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But this year is a strange one for the franchise; for the first time, the game has shipped without a single-player campaign, something that many Call of Duty games are known for. It’s also got a brand new Battle Royale style mode – aiming to take advantage of the online world’s obsession with rivals like Fortnite.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 – what’s new?
So the single player has gone, but it hasn’t been totally forgotten. There is a hefty solo tutorial section that introduces each specialist, which is a huge part of the overall multiplayer game. New multiplayer modes – such as control – rely on a team picking the right mix of specialists, each with their own special skills such as grappling hooks and ballistic shields.
It’s not quite Overwatch, but the multiplayer is certainly moving in that direction. Combat is also a little less hardcore than previous iterations and makes it easier for shooter newbies to have some fun instead of becoming bullet fodder.
Obviously, the big news this year was the Blackout Mode – Call of Duty’s version of Battle Royale. It drops you along with ninety-nine other players onto the map – which is essentially a greatest hits of popular maps in previous games – to fight it out until there’s only one man standing.
Elsewhere, the popular Zombie mode returns. This time with a bit more story, and a lot more depth to combat
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 – is it any good?
The regular multiplayer modes are fantastic, and Call of Duty fans will be pleased with the changes. Casual fans too will find they can get more involved – which is handy for people like us, that like to drop in and out of games, instead of grinding away at a game until you’re good enough to compete.
BlackOut too is a blast, and we’re pleased to see how much this game borrowed and improved upon the original Battle Royal concept. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s some of the most fun we’ve had playing a Call of Duty game in recent memory – especially if you play with a friend in tow.
But the real winner here has to be the new Zombies mode. New classes, perks and elixirs make the sideline add-on a lot more of a concrete game. And for the first time, we’ve clocked more hours playing zombies than the actual game.
Does it do enough to warrant getting rid of a single player campaign though? Probably not.