The Beta for Call of Duty Blackout, started today on Xbox One. Here are five things I already love about it.
Everything about Blackout is stunning. Even small details like the fire burning in the background on the character selection screen, or the smoke on the loading screen, are high quality. This is a game that looks good. The scenery in game is fairly high quality, particularly when compared with other similar games. The quality of graphics for each character is also pretty spectacular. This is a big map, and I haven’t seen a section of it that doesn’t look sharp.
2. Smooth Gameplay
From the moment I first delimited my character, I knew the game was going to be a much better experience than the other Battle Royale games I was used to playing. Everything loads seamlessly; no buildings coming jerkily into focus or items taking minutes to appear like you get in PUBG. Picking up and equipping items, reloading, and equipping weapon modifications are almost instantaneous. There isn’t any lag while moving or opening doors. Even for a Beta, it all feels incredibly smooth and well tuned. That extends to the menus and interfaces, which are intuitive and also incredibly smooth to navigate. Hitting a button and having it just work immediately (while hearing a satisfying noise) might seem like a silly thing to be happy about but it takes the overall experience up a level.
3. It’s Call of Duty
Blackout feels like Call of Duty. Before you say “well yeah obviously”, I mean that it really feels like the spirit of every Black Ops game before has seeped into the foundations of Blackout. From the music and sound effects to the characters, and of course the guns. I pick a gun up off the ground and I feel comfortable because it feels like every multiplayer Call of Duty match was preparing me for this. The guns handle the way you would expect them to in any Call of Duty multiplayer match. My bullets also do no damage at all, while I get shot, just like in any other Call of Duty multiplayer.
4. Typical Battle Royale Elements
Blackout, when you strip all the above points away, is just like every other Battle Royale game. It has all of the elements PUBG: selecting where to drop, the safe zone, and buildings full of things you can pick up. You can play alone or in a group. There’s really nothing about the game style itself that seems all that new or different, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. There is no point in messing with a system that works.
5. A Perfect Blend
What makes Blackout stand out to me is just how well it blends Call of Duty gameplay and a traditional-feeling Battle Royale game together. Treyarch took the Battle Royale skeleton and infused it with the essence of Call of Duty multiplayer. From the characters that are available to play (so far classic Black Ops characters and the multiplayer specialists features in Black Ops 3 and 4), the items you can find and use, and the map areas that take their inspiration from well known Call of Duty settings, players will definitely find the game familiar in a comforting way. I typically play PUBG in third person, but first person in Blackout felt so right that I was comfortable with it the minute this game started. It’s like a love letter to Black Ops fans, woven together with gunfire and insanity. This is Call of Duty Battle Royale, it is phenomenal, and I am hooked.