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Is Black Ops 4 Worth Buying?

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    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

    Rating: 4.0 – Great

    Is Black Ops 4 Worth Buying?

    This is a review for Call of Duty Black Ops 4. I bought the game at launch along with the season pass to get access to the DLC maps. I have played a few different Call of Duty multiplayer games such as Modern Warfare 1/2, World at War, Infinite Warfare, Black Ops 3, COD WW2 and a few different other COD games prior to Black Ops 4. I was a huge fan of COD WW2 despite it’s flaws and played the game extensively throughout it’s life cycle reaching master prestige by the end of the game’s lifecycle. I was excited for Black Ops 4 when it was announced after hearing about some of the changes it was bringing. For example, the longer time to kill, bringing back fan favorite scorestreaks like the AC-130(now called the Gunship in BO4) from MW2 among other things. I felt COD could use some innovation. COD has been in a very bumpy spot with the fanbase lately. The fanbase has felt the older games of the series were better and that the more recent entries have all had major flaws. So is COD Black Ops 4 a return to form fans are hoping for or a disappointment? Read on to find out.

    Graphics: In terms of the graphics, COD Black Ops 4 is pretty decent, but not amazing. The designs of the maps are pretty well done with lots of detail. For example, you’ll run through areas see trees shaking in the wind, water flowing through areas and fish swimming through the water. These tiny details help to bring the art and graphics of the game more to life. However, some of the textures of the game are not so good. Sometimes textures can take a while to load in and you’ll see a character or a texture on a wall and it looks like PS2 graphics before it loads. This is one of the big flaws with the graphics of Black Ops 4. A lot of time textures can take a long time to load which can bring the graphical quality down from time to time. Overall, the graphics for the game are decent. The graphical fidelity is great, but the textures taking forever to load is something that holds the graphics back at times.

    Gameplay: Call of Duty Black Ops 4 has one of the biggest changes to the series. For starters, in the multiplayer you must now choose a specialist character. Each character gets their own abilities. They get one normal ability that goes off cooldown fairly fast and can be used frequently throughout online multiplayer matches. Then there is a ultimate ability of sorts that takes a lot longer to off cooldown before it can be used. For example, the specialist Ruin gets a grapple hook ability he can use to navigate around the map quickly. His ultimate ability is called the Gravity Slam where he can jump in the air and slam down instantly killing anyone around him. The specialists are one of the most controversial aspects of Black Ops 4. Some players think it’s a good change to the series and adds more depth to the gameplay, but others think that specialists make the game easier and allow less skilled players to get kills in situations where they were outplayed. There is definitely a argument to be made for both sides. The specialist abilities including the ultimate ability of each specialist charge throughout the match regardless of your performance. So even if you do really bad throughout a match you’ll still get your ultimate.

    Getting more kills and capturing objectives speeds up the process of acquiring a specialist’s ultimate. Despite this, bad players can still get their ultimates really fast and most ultimate abilities in the game are devastatingly powerful. A lot of them can lead to one hit kills. An example is Battery one of the specialist’s ultimate called The War Machine. She gets a gun that fires grenades. These grenades have area of effect damage, can be bounced off walls and if they directly hit someone are an automatic one hit kill if they don’t have anything equipped that reduces explosive damage. The ultimates and specialist abilities can lead to a lot of scenarios where you get one shotted or killed without being able to do anything about it.

    For example, you might go around a corner and get hit by an ability that temporarily stuns you or one shots you and there was nothing you could do about it. In this regard, specialists abilities are very frustrating and can feel like they lead to deaths where there was nothing you could have done to save yourself. On the other hand, these abilities do add different levels of depth to Black Ops 4. Strategically using these specialist abilities can be the difference between life or death and a lot of them function differently from each other. Some give intel on where enemies are, some cause explosions killing enemies and other ones allow you to navigate across the map in ways other players can’t. I personally think the issue with them is that players who are underperforming in a match can still acquire their ultimate. I think ultimates should not automatically charge over time and should have to be earned by a player getting kills or capturing objectives during matches. Aside from the specialists, there is two other big changes in Black Ops 4.

    The next two big changes in Black Ops 4 is the new health system and the increased time to kill. Healing is no longer done by hiding in cover and regenerating health. Instead you now use a stim shot manually by pressing L1 and you inject yourself with a shot that regenerates your health. This is a good change and adds more strategy. You now have to choose when to heal with the stim shot. This makes for more tactical gameplay. You take down one enemy and then have to decide if you risk healing yourself with the stim shot and being caught while healing or if you want to continue on and check to see if any enemies are nearby. Meanwhile, the second change the increased time to kill is arguably not too good. While dying slower and having more of a chance to fight back is good they took it too far. It takes almost entire clips of ammo to down a single enemy player in Black Ops 4 with pin point accuracy. This leads to you frequently having to reload which means that if you take one enemy player down you’ll likely not be able to take down another enemy teammate who may be nearby. Due to you having to reload after even downing 1 player other enemy players can often just catch you off guard after you take down their teammate and shoot you down easily.

    It’s drastically more difficult in this game to win gun fights where you’re outnumbered because of the increased time to kill. In previous COD games you could take down enemies in situations where you were outnumbered and come out the victor in those situations with enough skill. Black Ops 4 winning against multiple enemies in a gunfight? Good luck winning gunfights where you’re outnumbered. If it’s 1 vs 2 you’ll very likely lose the gunfight unless you play like 5x better then both of the enemy players. This is extremely frustrating in online matches and leads to scenarios where you take one enemy player down and his teammate nearby spots you and just destroys you. I think the increased time to kill was a good idea in theory, but developers Treyarch should make the time to kill slightly faster to give solo players more of a chance. Aside from these changes though, the online multiplayer is mostly standard fare. The game is a first person shooter where you can sprint or move at a slower speed when not sprinting. You can aim down the sights of your gun for improved accuracy when shooting or hip fire with less accuracy. Game modes include modes such as Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint and many other standard Call of Duty game modes. You get placed on a team and play against the other team. Whoever outscores the other team is the team that wins the match. One good thing about Black Ops 4 is the map design. It is a big improvement over COD WW2’s maps which were very hit and miss.

    Call of Duty Black Ops 4’s maps are well designed. I really enjoy a lot of the new maps and feel that they are well balanced. The maps have some cool features such as being able to swim through water to flank opponents. This game’s maps are generally a lot of fun to play on. There’s no maps that I hate in the game unlike COD WW2 where some maps in that game such as Gustav Cannon made me instantly back out of a lobby if it popped up. However, the maps are not without their flaws in Black Ops 4. For starters, some of the launch maps were remasters of former Call of Duty Black Ops 1/2 maps. These maps are Jungle, Summit, Firing Range and Slums. Those are maps that are very good, but it feels lazy that instead of adding more maps they just included remastered maps from previous COD games. A second flaw of Black Ops 4 is repetitive map designs. A lot of the maps follow the same design structure. This design structure is the 3 lane map design. You have a big square or circular part of the map in the middle of the map then three paths to take. One going through the middle of the map and two others on the side. Nearly every map in the game follows this map design philosophy and it is easily noticeable and can get repetitive over time. It would be nice if Treyarch took some risks with the map designs and for some of the new DLC maps deviated just a little from the same old 3 lane map design this game has a ton of. Now I want to talk about scorestreaks.

    Scorestreaks in COD Black Ops 4 are basically streaks you get from gaining score by capturing objectives or killing enemy opponents. Once you acquire enough score without dying, you can call in a scorestreak such an Attack Chopper that’ll shoot enemy players. This is a staple featurer of COD, but feels lacking in Black Ops 4. Treyarch nerfed a lot of the scorestreaks in this game by making them less powerful and cost more points to achieve. Scorestreaks that require you to kill like 10 players in a row to get often feel underpowered and maybe only get 3-4 kills. Even worse is how easy the scorestreaks are to take out, but Treyarch does nothing about this. The Attack Chopper one of the harder to get streaks in the game can be taken down by someone using the Titan Gun and the right attachments on the gun in literally 6 seconds. This is way too fast for a scorestreak that is so hard to get and is supposed to be devastatingly powerful. Scorestreaks are something Treyarch needs to buff big time by increasing their usefulness and making them harder to take out. Next let’s talk about the unlockables, leveling system and microtransactions.

    COD Black Ops 4 uses a similar leveling system to previous COD games. You begin at level 1 and gain EXP from playing matches. Once you gain enough EXP, you level up and unlock new guns and equipment/scorestreaks to use. Also, you get new perks which you can equip on yourself to give yourself effects such as being more resistant against explosive damage or being undetectable by some enemy scorestreaks etc. Like other COD games you can unlock attachments for guns by leveling up the guns. When a player reaches level 55 they can do the prestige option and start back at 1, but with a new icon and calling card. They also can choose to carry over one permanent unlock when doing so. Prestige has been a staple feature of COD. In Black Ops 4 you have 10 prestiges you do and then you go into master prestige. Master prestige goes all the way to level 1000. A big problem with Black Ops 4’s prestige system is crappy rewards for prestiging. All you really get for going through prestige after prestige is just new icons and a new calling card. In other COD games like COD WW2 and Advanced Warfare you had unlockables for getting to master prestige such as unlockable outfits, gun camos, guns and other things like that for going through the prestiges. Black Ops 4 has none of this and is very lacking. It would be nice to see Treyarch add these kinds of rewards like unlockable outfits, gun camos, guns or variants of guns to reward players who put a lot of time into the game and go through the process of prestige over and over again. Adding more prestige rewards would help with player retention by adding incentive for keep players to go through the prestige mode over and over to unlock cool rewards. Hopefully, Treyarch adds more prestige rewards for Black Ops 4. One cool unlockable in the game is the camos though.

    Treyarch added a new type of camo for the guns in the game being the reactive camos. These camos have very cool effects such as glowing, changing colors upon reaching a certain amount of kills and a whole lot of different effects. The reactive and mastercraft camo features added in Black Ops 4 really are cool unlockables and I hope to see them in more COD games. Aside from gun camos, you can also unlock outfits for your specialists to equip and customize them with. Unfortunately though, COD Black Ops 4’s lobby system is very barebones and lacking compared to COD WW2 or other COD games. in COD WW2 and Black Ops 3 you had a cool victory screen after matches where you could do a cool emote and show off your customized character’s oufits/features to other players. You also could see all the players in a lobby in COD WW2 gathered around in their outfits and other items. In Black Ops 4 this is gone. Aside from the lobby where you choose game modes you can’t see anyone else’s outfits or character’s unlocked items unlike COD WW2 where you could see in pre game lobbies etc. This really brings the customization down since you rarely see your character’s outfit and other players rarely see it too. The lobby system in Black Ops 4 was a big step back from COD WW2’s lobby system. Last I want to talk about the microtransactions.

    Microtransactions are a huge issue in Black Ops 4. The game’s microtransactions are very poorly priced. For example, a camo for a gun costed $20. Treyarch actually had the nerve to charge $20 for a camo for a gun which is insane. Even worse was charging for a red dot sight attachment for a gun. These kinds of microtransactions reek of greedy business practices and are very unfortunate to have in COD Black Ops 4. In terms of microtransactions the game is mostly a negative and step backwards from previous entries in a lot of ways. One way they did improve the microtransactions was adopting a Fornite battle pass style microtransaction system and ditching randomized loot boxes. So now you basically go through tiers in the Black Market in the game by leveling through the tiers and playing enough. You can see all the rewards you’ll get at each tier which is good and it removes a lot of randomness compared to past COD’s loot box microtransaction systems. So is COD Black Ops 4 worth it overall?

    Overall: Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is a solid Call of Duty game. It does have it’s problems that stem from some of the changes such as the specialization system and increased time to kill, but the innovations also add some more depth to the game. The game does have relatively great maps to play on and the gameplay being fast paced is very enjoyable. The gunplay feels smooth and the game in general is a lot of fun to play. That being said, improving the microtransaction systems, doing some tweaks to the lobby system and specialists could definitely improve the game though. I would suggest this game if you’re looking for a online FPS to play. It is a lot of fun to play despite some flaws and I personally can see myself playing it for several more months. Overall, thank you for reading my review and have a good one. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 gets a 4/5 from me.

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