At a Call of Duty community event in Los Angeles today, many aspects of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 have been unveiled.
Black Ops 4 features grounded combat, "boots on the ground" for those familiar with the franchise. This means (with some exceptions due to special abilities on the "specialists" or classes) that there won't be any boosting around or wall running. Instead, weapons get some additional time in the spotlight - each weapon will have unique attachments (instead of broad attachments for a family of guns), including an operator mod. Operator mods add a good deal of differentiation to a weapon. For example, one operator mod might enable suppressing fire that could inhibit enemy vision as the gun lays down a salvo.
Predictive recoil is in - meaning, you can sit and learn exactly how a gun is going to respond and master a weapon's kick. Healing is NOT automatic as it is in most other Call of Duty titles, and must be manually initiated, leaving you vulnerable to attack as your heal ticks up. Some specialists, like the medic, can assist with healing on the fly. Fog of war plays a role on the minimap – things like surpressed weapons are even more valuable since they won’t break the fog, and another specialist, the recon, can help disperse the fog for the whole team. Another specialist can lay down invaluable cover and razor wire to thwart enemy movement into an area. Still other specialist abilities include the reactor core ability which lets you punish any enemies in an area, allowing you to effectively practice area denial. All of these specialist skills look to help competitive multiplayer CoD become more of a team effort and less of a killfest. Don’t worry, scorestreaks are still there! Learning to play a specialist? Single-player missions server as both tutorials and story vessels for those looking for a bit more narrative before digging into multiplayer mayhem.
Zombies, Zombies, and more Zombies
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launches with three distinctly different zombie modes. This is a brand new zombie storyline with new characters that draws upon both real and mythological history. Zombie modes feature a 4-player cast as is the standard, but now there are a slew of customization options and a difficulty selection option. Don’t want to play online? No problem, you can now play with bot pals and make your way through the mysteries. If the default difficulty of zombie modes turned you off in the past, you can now select a range of difficulty options to make the undead massacre a touch more friendly. Looking to compete? Zombie players can now use sharable codes (similar to seeds) that let them handle the same challenge and compete for the best scores. In addition, constant updates are scheduled to roll out to zombie mode over time, including seasonal events known as callings.
In one mode, we see our protagonists battling in a gladiatorial arena with melee weapons against a swarm of zombies that seem to have been summoned by an ancient sun-worshipping Egyptian cult. The protagonists use maces, swords, and more as a giant boss zombie bursts into the fray. Treyarch didn’t comment on any details on this mode but as is the standard for Treyarch zombies, it looks massively bizarre and quite interesting.
We get a slightly better look at another mode called the Voyage of Despair, which takes place on the Titanic. Things go a slightly different than the historical iceberg tragedy as a heist turns into an insane barrage of the undead on the ship as the crew are turning into abominations. Showcased are various player abilities that lead me to think that in this mode each character may have its own special skills instead of just being a voice and an avatar.
The last zombie mode is called Blood of the Dead, and we don’t really know anything about this one yet.
Battle Royale Time
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s battle royale mode (current player support count unknown) is Blackout. This mode features a map 1,500 times larger than your typical Call of Duty multiplayer map alongside characters from the entire Black Ops franchise (including zombies). Even more interesting is that this mode includes vehicles of all kinds – ground, air, and sea. In an extremely short teaser trailer, we do see some helicopters dishing out some firepower - but it was more conceptual than anything, and we'll likely have to wait for any footage or details for this mode.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is releasing on PC on Blizzard’s Battle.net platform, the first for the series and the only game other than Destiny to currently share the hallowed halls of Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and more. This has exciting prospects for social support and systems, and even more exciting is that PC players can expect uncapped framerate. Aww yeah.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may not have a traditional single-player campaign, but I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of a CoD serving up a wealth of multiplayer modes that have tons of depth. We’ll see what happens as we head toward release on October 12.