Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 First Hands-on

Ned Jordan
In Short
Hands-on with the first multiplayer modes revealed for the first time to the public at Hawthorne, CA.

At the Black Ops 4 reveal event, Treyarch revealed a number of new things about the next Call of Duty game. Probably the most surprising announcement was that Black Ops 4 will not have a single player campaign, the first game in the Call of Duty series not to have one. I was a bit disappointed to hear that news as I have been a big fan of the Call of Duty campaigns from the very beginning. The lack of a campaign doesn't look like it will mean that there will be an entire lack of a story in Black Ops 4, though. A sneak peek at the new Zombies mode offered through a couple of trailers indicates that Black Ops 4 may be offering the most expansive Zombies mode to date, giving players different challenges occurring in multiple timelines.

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Treyarch also revealed that Black Ops 4 will include Call of Duty's first ever Battle Royale mode, but not much information was given on the mode beyond the fact that it will be a part of the game. The primary focus of the event was on Black Ops 4's multiplayer mode. Black Ops 4 will mark a return to 'boots on the ground' gameplay ' the boosting, wall-running gameplay of recent Call of Duty games set in the future is being replaced with more traditional grounded combat. There will be some verticality in the game, but you'll need to use more traditional means like stairs and ladders if you want to get a higher firing position. Also making its return is the Pick 10 system, which lets you set your loadout with any combination of weapons, attachments, grenades, and perks up to a total of ten.

Black Ops 4 will use a specialist-based character system rather than a class-based one. Specialists each have unique special attacks, weapons, or capabilities, but you're free to arm them with whatever class of weapons that you want to use. Some specialists have an affinity towards a certain type of weapon class that works with their special abilities, but you're free to customize them to your playstyle using the Pick 10 system. From a team perspective, though, you'll have more success if each player utilizes specialist skill sets to fulfill a role on the team. It will also be a good idea to try out a few of the specialists and get comfortable in more than one role as each specialist can only be selected by one player on each team.

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Black Ops 4 is introducing a new healing system that will change the way you manage health during a match. Health does not regenerate automatically and there are no health packs in the game. Instead, you'll have the ability to heal yourself using an injection, but you won't be able to fire a weapon while healing and once you heal you'll need to wait for the ability to recharge before you can use it again.

After the stage presentation I was able to get a little hands-on time with a few of the multiplayer modes. There weren't any surprises as far the mode types playable go, they cycled us through matches of Hardpoint, Domination, and Control. There were a pair of maps available for play ' one was a tropical three lane map with water along one edge that extended into the map that you could swim through to try and keep out of sight, and the other was an urban setting with a central church with a tower overlooking an open courtyard. Those longing for a return to Call of Duty gameplay that emphasizes tactics over maneuverability will be pleased with Black Ops 4 if my limited time with the game is any indication. The specialist abilities add additional tactical options to the game without drastically altering the core gameplay. You'll want to hold off on using them until the right moment rather than the instant that they are charged and ready to go. For example, Firebreak has the ability to unleash a radioactive attack that can penetrate walls ' not that useful in the open, but if you need to clear a defender from a hardpoint without entering the room and exposing yourself to fire it's a potent weapon.

My hands-on time with the game was brief, but enjoyable. I didn't find myself missing the boost abilities, and really liked the return to a more tactical style of play. I'm looking forward to getting more hands-on time with the game in the future.

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Transmitted: 6/13/2024 7:50:00 PM