The Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Beta was released for Xbox on August 10th, and available to anyone who preordered the game. I was excited for the new Call of a Duty well before it was announced, as usual, so this day was in my calendar for a while. However, after spending almost 48 hours downloading (rural internet speed), I was greeted by nothing but a black screen. Slightly frustrating, but it’s a Beta, after all. While exhausting my options for potential fixes, and waiting to see if I would hear back from tech support, I decided to at least take a look at what other people were saying about the game.
Opinions expressed by Call of Duty fans are a pretty mixed bag. For every person praising what they’ve experienced so far, another only sees faults. Beta testing is a time to provide valuable feedback, both positive and negative, so the game is (hopefully) smooth on launch. There seems to be a lot of that taking place, with players interacting in a productive way with Activision Support, who have been tirelessly responding to people on Twitter over the last few days. Not every bit of feedback is productive, however. Some comments are matters of opinion and taste, or issues that simply can’t be fixed (we know there’s no campaign, but thanks for pointing out for the millionth time that you think that sucks). Features enjoyed by some may very well be hated by others. While I can’t definitively say whether I agree with any of it until I have a chance to play (I will certainly be following up once I can), here is what I have gathered about the game so far, based on gameplay and response on social media.
Call of Duty maps are pretty hit and miss. After so many games, it’s hard to make maps that feel new and interesting. From what I’ve seen, the multiplayer maps in Black Ops 4 have the same look and feel of all those that came before. Even shooting underwater could be done in Black Ops 3, they’ve just expanded on that particular feature to make it more integral to the game. So far, everyone seems to be saying that the maps released with the Beta are nothing new or spectacular. Like slapping some new paint on the same old formula. To be honest, it’s not like much about the maps can or should be innovative. I have favourites, but those are specific to my playstyle. I like small maps because I hate running for ages just to get shot when I finally reach where I was heading. Other people prefer big maps, that offer more opportunities for sniping. As long as there is a good variety in the map styles, they can be status quo and they’ll do just fine.
Specialists are back, after being introduced in Black Ops 3. I was a fan of the specialists, so I’m looking forward to trying out the new faces, and the new single-player missions surrounding all of them. I almost exclusively used Ruin in Black Ops 3. Just based on descriptions, I’m honestly not too interested in the new characters, so I’m ready for Ruin to be my go-to again. The people of the internet are divided on this subject, too. Some praise the return of an enjoyable feature, while others are telling the developers it sucks and they need to get rid of it. After complaints that Call of Duty multiplayer is always the same, you would think players would enjoy when they switch things up a bit.
Health. No one can seem to decide what to think about health. Should it be higher, or lower? Was it a good addition, or a sad excuse for an innovative idea? I’m interested to see how it adds to the game, because right now I’m on the fence. Manual healing should hopefully come as easily as reloading, but it’s at least something to blame when I die from one shot as the other team takes full clips.
Heist is the new game mode that was introduced this weekend. The premise is a bit more complex than other modes. Each player starts with a pistol and has to earn cash in order to purchase guns and equipment. There is no respawning during the round. The aim is to capture a package of cash or eliminate the entire enemy team. It seems like an amped up version of capture the flag with a cool twist. The more I watched, the more I really wanted to play. It has all the fun of party modes like Gun Game or One in the Chamber, but with the addition of a competitive goal.
Overall, from what I’ve seen and heard, the game certainly doesn’t look groundbreaking, but that isn’t what I expect when a new Call of Duty gets released. I just like uncomplicated, boots on the ground fun. The Beta seems to indicate Black Ops 4 is on track with those expectations, and I’m sure I’ll love every minute of it, once I can finally play.