Back when Treyarch announced that the Battle Royale genre was coming to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, no one was surprised and most were hyped. I was sitting in the room, mere feet from David Vonderhaar himself when he mentioned the news, and the crowd erupted in cheers. At the time, I mentioned that while the multiplayer was cool, Blackout was going to be the deciding factor for a lot of people, including myself, on whether or not the game would be worth playing. Now, months later, I’ve been diving deep into the mode’s beta, and finally ready to give my thoughts: Blackout is bringing some serious competition to the scene of Battle Royale games.
While it’s not perfect by a long shot, and I certainly don’t think it’ll take down the genre’s reigning king, Fortnite, my time with Blackout was full of surprises, heart-pounding moments, and just plain fun, which are three essential factors in making a Battle Royale game good.
Easily the thing I liked the most from the mode was the map itself. In my opinion, it features a great mix of both classic areas that fans love and new areas to keep things fresh. One concern I had from a few weeks ago was that I didn’t want the map to feel empty, and boy was I wrong. There was never a moment where I felt like there were no places to go or things to see. From top to bottom, the map is filled with iconic locations from past games like the original Black Ops and World at War, so long-time fans will feel right at home.
Some areas have even been expanded to incorporate completely new elements. For example, while the Turbine area includes most of the multiplayer map of the same name from Black Ops II, it also includes new buildings, mountains, and more for fans to explore. Another area is Nuketown Island, which sees the small map expanded in ways only Nuketown can deliver, with more houses, underground bunkers, and other secrets.
That being said, the map also includes brand new areas made specifically for Black Ops 4, and each of them feels great as well. Rivertownis an old small town filled with wooden shops, dirt pathways, and more, while Construction Site is a multi-level skyscraper with plenty of loot. While I’m not sure the exact number (there are countless easter eggs found around the map), it seems like there’s an even split between old maps and brand new areas.
While maps and areas are all great, it doesn’t exactly make or break the mode; the gameplay does. From what I played of the beta, Blackout succeeds in taking the fast-paced Call of Duty gameplay that fans know and love, mixes it with a slower-paced, more tactical style of gameplay that Battle Royale games have become known for.
While the TTK is certainly not close to the level of PUBG, Fortnite, or even Battlefield, it’s slow enough that fans won’t feel like they are dying too easily, especially when you combine it with Trauma Packs, armor, consumables, etc. In addition, unlike other Battle Royale games, loot is plentiful in Blackout. No matter where you land, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something that you can use to defend yourself.
While I think that the fundamentals and standard features of Blackout are great, I do think that certain items need to be tweaked in time for the full release. One thing that keeps on popping up, no matter how many times Treyarch changes it, is the armor: most people are strictly focusing on the Level 3 armor, which I do agree needs to be nerfed. However, I also think the other levels also need to be looked at, as I almost feel there’s no huge difference between wearing Level 1 armor and Level 2 armor at points.
After having now played Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s Blackout mode comes the age-old question: do I think this mode is good enough to challenge the two juggernauts in the Battle Royale genre, PUBG and Fortnite? Absolutely.
Now, what that means, I don’t know. We could have a situation where Blackout stands alongside the other two evenly, or we could see it taking down PUBG. I don’t think Blackout has the chance to take down Fortnite, but I do think they’ll exist side by side. One way or another, I think Blackout has the potential to bring Call of Duty back to what it once was in terms of popularity. Ultimately, that will be up for the fans to decide.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 12th, 2018. If you’re looking forward to picking up the game like I am, you can head over to Amazon and pre-order the game now.
What did you guys think of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s Blackout mode? Let us know below in the comments.
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