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Not So MMO: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review

By David Holmes on October 23, 2018 | Columns | Not So MMO | 0

The latest in the long line of Call of Duty games has finally come out to play. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 marks several firsts for the series. It’s the first to be featured on the battlenet launcher, the first to not feature a single player campaign and the first to have Battle Royale AKA Blackout. WIll all these firsts make for a new mark in the CoD series or simply be a footnote in gaming history? This is or Call of Duty Black Ops 4 review.  

While Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is breaking from the mold by not having a single player campaign, it comes with several modes of play. You can play the classic multiplayer games in matches like Team Death Match or Domination which should be familiar to fans of Call of Duty games, the new Specialist operations that feature each of the multiplayer characters with some story, cutscenes and tutorials, the now ever classic Zombies horde mode and of course CoD’s version of Battle Royale: Blackout.  While each of these on their own may not merit their own game at the current price tag, the question remains if together they combine to make a great game? 

Let’s start with what would be familiar to Call of Duty players. The Multiplayer featured in Balck Ops 4 runs the gambit of its various modes like Domination, Free For All, Search and Destroy, etc. You play and gain experience to level up and gain access to make customized loadouts of the various weapons, gadgets and perks with some vanity unlocks along the way for your weapons and yourself. This has been the standard formula that Call of Duty has used for years keeping it’s players on the hamster wheel of XP grind to get that next sweet scope unlock for their favorite assault rifle. The limiting on this is only being able to have 10 items. Whether it’s a perk, an add-on to a weapon, a secondary weapon or gadget; all those add up to your total of how much you can carry. Meaning having to manage and hopefully keeping people from using overpowered builds. The various modes of multiplayer are generally fast paced in small maps with varying spawn points keeping for a faster FPS style of play. It’s been a formula that has generally worked for Call of Duty and they didn’t veer away from it much in its current model. 

There’s no campaign this go around, instead, we are given a quasi-story littered with cutscenes as you play through the tutorial like sessions with the various “Specialists” learning their skills and how each map mode works. The story in it is haphazard at times with names popping in that will be familiar to fans of previous Black Ops games. While a nice take on a tutorial, it in no way replaces what some people miss, the single player story experience. It’s a nice addition, but it leads you to wonder what they could have done had they instead made a campaign or perhaps if it would have been better to not include this ghost of a story at all.  

With those things being said it’s time to dig into something that has become the meat of the Call of Duty: Black Ops series, Zombies. Several maps and scenarios were included with the base game giving the player some good choice on how to experience the horror and grind of surviving wave after wave of undead and other ghastly horrors as you try to unlock powerful weapons and the secrets of the map that help reveal the story interlaced within. The gladiatorial timeslip was a blast to play with its varying unlockable levels, all themed to the era (minus all the guns and zombies).  Or you could take a trip down memory lane with some of the classic Zombie mode characters digging deeper into the story of the lore that has evolved around this game mode. The horde-based survival of Zombies can be quite fun and thrilling with the various weapons and potions to power your character up with. Couple that with all the secrets and how good it feels to keep winning with a great team and it leads to a fun experience.   

Last but not least is the newest addition to the franchise, Blackout. Love it or hate it, the Battle Royale genre has made its mark and is the current hot flavor of gaming. TO not be left behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 features its own take on it. This isn’t some slapped on last minute thought either, it’s though out and developed. While there have been some latency issues and tweaks, Blackout delivers a solid take on the Battle Royale experience. It features a faster pace style of play with faster drops from the beginning and it includes various gadgets and perks that you can find in the CoD games. Perks working as inventory space takers while active until their time limit is up and gadgets ranging from area markers to RC cars that can explore ahead of you safely. The weapons themselves can be upgraded with various add-ons or you can find fully upgraded versions of several of them in the wild in boxes that ready to help you rip through your enemies. The single map available at release is fairly big and offers a good variety of landscape (including a Nuketown with a population sign that stays accurate with how many people are on that particular island). Blackout is a swing and a definite hit for Call of Duty.  It gives a fast-paced and fun experience that hopefully they will continue to evolve over time.  

Those are the parts that make Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 the game it is. The combination of everything above can make it a fun game IF you take the time to experience everything. If you’re spending the money for just one mode, you may find yourself disappointed. The lack of a solid campaign this go around makes everything feel a bit off (the ghost of a story included was nice, but left me wanting more). If you take the time to try out a little of everything Black Ops 4 has to offer you won’t be disappointed. It’s a fun ride that can offer hours of enjoyment along the way. 

Score: 8.5/10


  • Blackout is a great entry into Battle Royale type games and feels fun
  • Zombies gives several different experiences at launch with some nice touches to it
  • Nice introductory mode to multiplayer play modes and skills
  • Multiplayer that feels good to play
  • A good deal of content available at the basic edition level
  • Ease of use on Bnet to join friends in parties
  • Victor Reznov


  • A tutorial that leaves you wanting a single player campaign
  • Grind, weather you’re playing multiplayer or zombies you will be grinding for the things you want
  • Some latency and hit scan issues
  • Level 3 armor in Blackout seems silly overpowered


David Holmes