Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout is going to change the online gaming aspect, and there should be very little doubt that it’s going to happen.
Public testing before launch is usually done for a couple of important reasons. First of all, it’s a good way to determine if the infrastructure will support all of the players and to iron out someone balancing issues that are bound to show up.
Secondly, it’s also the perfect method to gauge the interest of the community and to create the all-so-necessary hype. The Beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was put forth in batches, with different aspects of the game being tested.
Since now we’re in the age of battle-royale, as no one calls it, everyone is trying to do something along these lines. There were some games in the past few years that tried to do something similar, and that was to put a lot of players in the same map, but it never really worked.
The first one to nail it, from Early Access nonetheless, was PUBG or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. It was soon followed by Fortnite, another massive success. And, since then, developers from all over the world have been trying to duplicate that success. Some managed to do so, to some degree, but a contender hasn’t emerged just yet.
Gameplay and obvious comparisons
Call of Duty is usually a beast, and that’s because it’s backed by one of the biggest publishers, Activision. Everything about the game screams big budget, and the same can be said about the latest Black Ops 4. Starting from the menu and ending up with the most basic animations, it’s all put together to impress the players.
Of course, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is still being worked on, and there are a few things missing. The most obvious would be the landing animations; for now, the players drop with the wingsuit all the way down to the ground before getting deployed, and the parachute looks terrible when it’s actually used. All of these will most likely be fixed until the launch, and have no relevance for the gameplay.
Now, if you’ve ever played a battle-royale game, you should already know pretty much all of the basic concepts. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout follows the recipe to the letter, and they have a very good reason for that. The developers and Activision want to gather as many users as possible from PUBG and Fortnite, along with the new players.
In fact, many of the players in those two games come from the Counter-Strike community. It’s a group of players that try new things in search of diversity. And since Counter-Strike has been the same since forever, the battle-royale genre seemed like the perfect fit.
If you never played Fortnite, PUBG, or any of the multiple variants out there, it’s not difficult to pick up. If you think about it, battle-royale is the opposite of what we’ve been playing until now. Take Deathmatch, for example, which is one of the most iconic types of multiplayer imaginable.
A Deathmatch takes place on a small map, players have access to a small arsenal, and they get to respawn when they die. In a battle-royale type game, players are dropped in a huge map, they have access to an extensive array of weapons, items, and all sorts of enhancements, and once they get killed, they stay dead and have to go back to square one.
It would seem like a crazy idea if you were to pitch it as a gameplay concept. Who would want to risk getting killed in a few minutes, only to have to work again right from the start? Well, it turns out that a lot of people like this idea, but it also helps when the game is well balanced and when you’re part of a team.
In Blackout, players can choose to go in alone, with another user, or in a band of four. As you can imagine, the more people you have on your team, the better the chances to survive. The other players will be able not only to provide cover fire but also to revive you. As long as one member of the team is still alive, there is a still a chance.
All types of weapons are scattered around the map, and you will be able to find them soon after you parachute. If you’re in a team, ideally you need to communicate with your friends in real time so that you don’t land too far from each other.
Also, you have to make sure to find a backpack as soon as possible, because it extends the inventory considerably. And since there is stuff all over the place, that space will always be put to use. There are two weapon slots, but there is no right recipe. It’s best to get particular roles in the team. For example, you should always have a sniper since most of the map consists of open areas.
In fact, many times you will be dying from far away shots, and you’ll never see it coming. And, of course, there are always people on the map that seem to have been playing forever and will find you even if you think you can trick them.
Graphics and performance
I played the Beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on the PC, and the game looks pretty much the same in Blackout as it did in the smaller maps, with a couple of exceptions. Since the map is extensive, most of the more minor details no longer exist.
While playing in the deathmatch levels, for example, you will notice that there's debris everywhere and all sort of subtle details are present. On the other hand, the textures in Blackout are a little bit blander, houses are pretty much empty, and there are some rooms that have just doors and nothing else.
The grass is not that tall to conceal players, and movement can be spotted from a mile away. One of the reasons for this issue is that the lack of details, which will make moving characters pop out much easier.
As for performance, I have to say that I really impressed. It worked perfectly, at 1080p and 60FPS on a system with medium hardware. That means that most people will be able to play it, even on older computers, and that can only be a good thing.
I know that it’s still just a game and that it’s not supposed to be a very realistic one, but Activision is now venturing into the land of battle royale, and players are much more stringent. Even if the community loves what they’ve seen until now in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, it’s not a guarantee that they will like everything else or the finished product.
All I can say is that if Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 remains at least at the current level of details and performance, both PUBG and Fortnite are going to have a serious contender.