Call of Duty is taking a different step with their upcoming title, ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ Blackout and the game is now ditching the good old single-player campaign mode to shift the focus on more online modes like a brand-new Zombie mode experience which will give you three sub-modes and the much talked about, Blackout which will be a Battle Royale mode for the game.
After the huge success that games like PUBG and Fortnite have seen with Battle Royale, it was time for titles like Battlefield V and COD: BO4 to introduce the mode in their new game and the best part, the Beta is already underway and if you were living under that luxurious rock of yours, and you’ve just come out to realize all the fuss about the new game, then worry not, in this post we will talk about everything that there is to know about Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and the new Blackout Battle Royale.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4′ Blackout’ Game Launch Date & System Requirements
The game’s official launch is set to be on 12th October 2018 and currently, the game is available for Beta testing. But before we tell you how to get into the Beta, let us have a look at the system requirements for the game.
Consoles & Other Platforms
The game will be made available on the Xbox One platform along with Sony’s PlayStation 4 which means Activision has got the major platforms covered. While there is no word on releases on other consoles, we can’t really expect it to release on the other consoles since Activision mostly focuses on the platforms that have enough power to run the game.
On the PC part, it looks like Activision has optimized the game well and it does run on an older 2nd gen Intel CPU and a low budget card such as a GTX 1050 or AMD Radeon HD 7850. Even the recommended requirements don’t seem too demanding but the RAM required does seem a bit on a higher side which has become normal for current AAA titles.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Beta Timeline
The PlayStation 4 got the exclusive Beta access on 10th September which will continue until 17th September 2018 while the Xbox One got the Beta access on 14th September which also ends on 17th September. The console Beta access was provided to people who have either pre-ordered the game or received a code from a specific list of streamers or game journalists.
The PC Beta for people who pre-ordered the game for PC started on 14th September which is a day earlier than the PC Open Beta. The Beta timeline for all the platforms ends on 17th September 2018 which does feel like a very short amount of time for the Beta access.
Moving away from Steam on PC to Battle.net
Activision took an interesting decision to move away from Steam which is Valve’s game marketplace for PC users and the company has decided to shake hands with Battle.net which is a subsidiary of Blizzard. This is a trend that we have seen also with Destiny 2 which moved away to Battle.net instead of Steam.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Blackout Battle Royale
Let’s talk about the Battle Royale mode that was made available through the Beta. As mentioned above, the PC platform got the Open Beta access where users didn’t need to pre-order the game. The game is open and free to download until the Beta is open which is, you can download and try it out by 17th September, 10AM PT or 5PM GMT.
The download takes up a huge bandwidth of 17GB and you have to download it using Battle.net.
The Blackout Battle Royale mode will have a specific list of features and things that players can do in the game. One match will have 88 players at once and the mode is surprisingly well made and is very fun to play. You can expect the mode to have zombies, weapons and equipment from across the series, air, sea and land vehicles, and characters that will be reintroduced from across the series.
Just like PUBG or Fortnite, the mode lets you go solo, duo or in teams and just like the mentioned games, you will be able to buy a season pass, that Activision calls the Black Ops pass which will offer you four exclusive characters and other perks as the game goes on.
The contents of the pass cannot be bought individually and as per Activision, the bundle will help them regularly update the content, thereby making the gaming experience uniform for everyone who decides to buy the pass. While this decision has created some controversies, other group of users are welcoming the new season pass system that the company has introduced.
Personally, I feel this strategy feels a little forced in 2018 where the already existing titles are providing maps and modes for free in order to attract a large chunk of potential spenders to the game. Even EA, the company known for its PR blunders has gone ahead and ditched the season pass plan for their Battlefield V which will also have a Battle Royale mode.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Blackout Gameplay
As soon as you enter the game, you will be dropped on the map from the sky and you land with a parachute which has become the standard entrance for Battle Royale games. The map looks a lot similar to a PUBG map and once you land, you will be mesmerized by the fact that everything looks so realistic and beautiful. The terrain has been divided into different categories like industries, agricultural and more.
The buildings, the elements, and everything looks distinct, unlike PUBG where the assets are reused and you might see the same buildings and terrain covers. Blackout does it differently and even though it is not clear whether they are reusing the assets or not, the graphics look amazing and non-repetitive.
Areas in the game like graveyard allow players to prey on lost enemies and the whole area looks like a spooky old abandoned mansion with a lot of places where one can camp. Expect the area to be populated by Zombies and creepy sounds that come on the side. All this makes graveyard the best place to perform ambush when you’re playing in teams.
The 88-player Battle Royale mode works really well and when I was testing the game, I didn’t really feel any lag or frame drops. This might be negated by few players over at Reddit who have been reporting low frames on high-end setups.
When it comes to the network-based performance of the game, the game actually doesn’t feel laggy or jittery. In my tests, there was no sign of player rubber-banding or loss in ping. The gameplay worked quite well and the whole match felt like a Call of Duty match on a larger scale – which is a good thing, mind you.
Compared to PUBG, the game feels a lot of refined and with Call of Duty’s rock-solid multiplayer backend, Activision has done a great job with the Blackout mode. There are a few things that I do miss on Blackout which are present on PUBG. For example, leaning around the corners and then zeroing down upon a strategy for the game seems a bit tougher.
Blackout also fixes one of the major annoyances of PUBG – the inventory management. I think we can all agree to the fact that PUBG’s inventory management is garbage whereas Blackout has made things very simple and instead of manually picking up weapons at the start of the game, Blackout lets you pick up the weapons automatically and the additional weapon accessories are automatically applied on the weapons that you pick.
Healing in Blackout can be done mid-fight thanks to the X key being the main hotkey which applies the required stuff. Doing the same in PUBG is very risky and usually results in the loss of the chicken dinner.
The game also lets you access a bunch of power-ups that will help you get different abilities. Grab the green cases and they’ll have power-ups inside. You can have:
- Paranoia: Alerts you when another player is aiming at you
- Stimulant: Helps you raise your health by 100 extra points
- Skulker: You will be abler to sprint even when you’re crouched
- Awareness: This makes the footsteps from enemies louder, making it easier for you to hear them.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Blackout Map
When it comes to Battle Royale, the map is one of the most important factors in making the game interesting and this is exactly why a game like Fortnite gets a map update quite frequently. But Blackout seems to take a different path with an approach that users must take a tactical approach to the game which makes the gameplay a lot more serious and tenser as compared to Fortnite.
The map has several elements and locations to make things interesting:
- Construction Site
- Nuketown Island
- Cargo Docks
- Firing Range
- Fracking Tower
- Train Station
- Hyrdo Dam
Every place in the map has a place for a specific player type. For example, the warehouses will be the perfect place for a sniper to set up their camp which makes things even more interesting since the place will be raided by other players who will also need to have a close combat with other players.
You will find farmhouses, barns, a Silicon Valley mansion, hills and even a helicopter that you can fly. The Blackout map has been made 1500 times larger than Nuketown which was a favorite among the players of Black Ops. The Blackout map size is under the size of a Fortnite map.
Blackout Battle Royale – The Good & The Bad
- Activision has nailed it on the head with the addition of zombies which appear only in certain locations and they add an unexpected scary and tense element to the game where you might be attacked by a zombie when you’re least expecting it. But keep in mind that these zombies can be used for your advantage as well.
- The map has been really great for the game and for a Call of Duty player, the map does make you feel at home without being boring and adding new elements. You have so many places that you can take advantage of.
- The heads-up display or HUD has been designed quite carefully and provides a great outlook on the current game stats and your position which you’re trying to survive. It does have a bit of a learning curve but once you get used to it, you will know how well it has been designed.
- Expect all the land, sea and air vehicles to work really well and if you have ever flown a chopper or an ATV in a Call of Duty game, you will feel right at home.
- Small details like the loots, the way you pick up items, the way you use the grappling hook and more make the game a great thing to experience. Even the healing process is fast and you have the ability to carry a lot of items to help you heal.
- Picking up the loot wasn’t as seamless as it used to be but with the recent updates, the game has fixed the issue else it would definitely have been an annoying experience for the players since looking down properly at the items and then picking them up will definitely be a pain even in intense situations.
- The game pace isn’t as good as Fortnite but as compared to PUBG, the Blackout mode feels far more superior. This might be fixed with the addition of more players in the game but that is something that only tests would confirm since having about 100 players in one game can create an early game chaos and then slow things down later, like PUBG.
- The map looks washed out but that can be something that is only an issue in the Beta and will be fixed in the official release. We can only hope that Activision irons out how the map looks right now. It is full of colors but it looks a bit pale making it feel like the map is disabled.
- There are no horses in the game but don’t be surprised by the loud and weird footsteps. That is something that is very weird in Blackout and as soon as you keep your feet on metal, the footstep sound worsens.
- The Ladders: How hard is it for Activision to fix the ladder use and why can’t one go down a ladder without falling down?
- Friendly fire is on by default and there is no option to disable it. This is something we see on other Battle Royale games too but come on, this should have been an option.
Wrapping it up
Even with the omission of the single-player mode from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the game looks promising with the multiplayer modes especially with the Blackout Battle Royale mode. I have already mentioned my views about the season pass as a bundle thing which is definitely a bit annoying in a game in 2018 where most games work on providing maps for free but we will see how it goes.
I’m also not very affected by the move from Steam to Battle.net but yes, it is kind of annoying to keep several gaming clients on a computer but keeping these obvious issues and a few knick-knacks otherwise, you can expect the game to be quite enjoyable.