It’s been a few days since Call of Duty Black Ops 4 came out, so it’s basically how I have been spending most of my free time. Other than a few forays into Blackout and Zombies, I’ve mostly just been hitting that multiplayer hard. If you’re a Game Savvy regular, you may recall that I missed out on the multiplayer beta because it just wouldn’t work. I’d written about the game based on what other people were saying, and discussed my expectations. Now that I have had the full experience, I want to see whether I stand by what I said before. It’s time to revisit!
I can summarize how I feel about the maps in Black Ops 4 by saying “this seems familiar”. Every map I have played so far, other than the ones that actually are previous maps, feels eerily similar to maps from the previous game. Whether it’s layout or theme, none of it is particularly new. It was what I had expected in my article about the beta, but I still maintain that there honestly isn’t much that can be done about that. After 18 games, there just isn’t much room for innovation without cost to gameplay. I genuinely enjoy the maps in Black Ops 4. There is variety in the layouts and size, and there is the usual mix of locations including industrial areas, nature, and cityscapes. Some old maps return too! Jungle and Firing Range are back, along with Slums (Black Ops II) and Summit (Black Ops), two of my favourite previous maps. Summit is honestly such a good map. It’s classic; building in the middle, two good starting bases, and the ability to take the high or low ground. Perfect set up. I like being able to play on familiar territory once in a while, as I get used to the new layouts.
I stand by my opinion that it’s nice to change things up once in a while. After COD WWII, which had pretty traditional gameplay and the typically generic soldiers found in most Call of Duty titles, the specialists are a nice break from the mold. You can still create weapon classes and use score-streaks, but the specialists also have unique equipment that is usable as abilities, adding a new dimension to matches. For example, one of the specialists called Torque has razor wire and a barricade you can set up that emits a microwave field to essentially fry your enemies. I’ve mostly been playing as Battery, because she has a cluster grenade and a War Machine grenade launcher for her equipment , and I miss being able to equip grenades (the grenade slot has now been occupied by the special equipment). A new introduction with the specialist classes is specialist missions. They serve as both a story component, and a training grounds to try out and get the hang of the assorted abilities. Honestly, for me this just felt like a tease at a story that I won’t get to experience to its full potential. The missions just feel like tutorials. They are pretty take it or leave it for me. I like the backgrounds it gives for each specialist, however. It makes them feel more like characters and less like placeholders.
The two new additions I touched on in my previous article were health and the game mode Heist. I actually like the addition of needing to heal. It makes for complex quick decision making and prioritization. Do I want to take cover and use that time to heal up, or should I reload my gun and keep going? It needs to happen in a split second if you don’t want to get shot first. It takes a bit of getting used to, because if you are a frequent Call of Duty player the muscle memory is already in place. It also means you need to make sure your shots hit, because if your opponent can heal in the time you reload, you’re toast. This is a good example of little ways to innovate the game while still keeping it fun. I’m less of a fan of Heist. My dislike of the new match type might be mainly logistical, because matchmaking never seems to work and the game always glitches, but from the few matches I have actually played to the end without ending up back in the main lobby, it honestly wasn’t that fun. In theory it’s a fun mode, but bad matchmaking means most of the players might be spectating for a significant amount of time. Hopefully, it gets better as time passes, but in terms of games that don’t have respawning I would rather play something similar to Prop Hunt (essentially hide and seek) from COD WWII, where spectating was at least exciting.
There are other little features in multiplayer that have been added that I like. Kills are reported as EKIA, when you die your nemesis stats are reported for the player who killed you, and there is the ability to see where players are on the map before you respawn (in some cases you can choose respawn points as well). Overall, there have been little tweaks, a few changes, and a few issues that will be resolved as patches release, but at the end of the day it is still Call of Duty multiplayer and it is fun as hell. Tell me your favourite maps and game modes in the comments below!