For the last fifteen years the Call of Duty franchise has been offering gamers some of the best multiplayer combat experiences you can get. The games have also been whipping players from the Second World War into the distant future, provided some of the most well-crafted single-player first-person-shooter games ever made. I’ve often said that many of the Call of Duty single-player campaigns are some of the best movies that I’ve never watched.
Treyarch’s latest addition to the Call of Duty franchise throws fifteen years of single-player narrative gameplay out the window. For whatever reason, with Call of Duty Black Ops 4, we only get a multiplayer game.
Alternating bi-annual releases between Infinity Ward, Treyarch’s Black Ops continued the story started in Call of Duty: World at War. Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare storyline wrote itself into a corner, or rather into outer space, with jet packs and rocket boots. The outlandish sci-fi plot was only remedied by the WW2 reboot, last year. Treyarch’s Black Ops games had pretty-much followed suit with Cold-War escapades leading to a near-future sci-fi setting. With nowhere, narratively, to go dropping the single-player campaign certainly got them out of a scrape.
Still, even whilst widely considered to be the weaker of the COD single-player campaign series, I can’t say that I approve of Black Ops 4 only being multiplayer.
In saying that, there is a kind of campaign, in the form of a training / intro session for each of the ten specialists. Players are treated to an intro cut-scene, showing off the specialist’s abilities, followed up by an onboarding training mission. Then there’s AI-filled skirmish in one of the match types to get you ready for multiplayer. Each session gives players the specialists particular back-story.
This doesn’t make up for the lack of a proper single-player campaign. It does, however, show effort on the developer’s part to introduce players to the multiplayer game and various characters.
About that multiplayer. It would seem, in an effort to avert the spite of folks like me, desperate to pore scorn over the game for the single-player absence, Treyarch have pulled out all the stops.
All your favourite Call of Duty modes are there, Team Deathmatch, Domination, my personal favourite, Kill Confirmed, etc. But each mode has been distilled, each Level tuned to perfecting, no snagging on ill-placed scenery, no awkward jumps required to keep your momentum going. Matches are fast and rewarding. If you die, you deserve to die, if you win it’s because you earned it.
The specialists offer ten customisable classes for players to hone their skills.
Black Ops 4 continues the COD zombies mode, which, to be honest, I’m not usually a fan. This time players get two stories to play through. As with the main multiplayer game, you can play through zombies on your own with bots instead of real people. Not as good, but at least you don’t feel bad leaving a game early.
The inclusion of its own take on Battle Royal, Blackout is a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The developers have taken the likes of PUBG and given it the COD treatment. Make no mistake, Blackout is Call of Duty Battle Royal.
From the tutorials to the slick gameplay, Black Ops 4 delivers. The whole package is just so polished. The graphics are fantastic, especially the architectural modelling.
There’s no denying my disappointment with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 having no single-player campaign. But, far from being half an offering, the developers have gone all out in creating one of the smoothest Call of Duty multiplayer experiences to date.
With the recent addition of the classic Nuketown map, now available free to owners of the game across all platform, it looks like they are just getting started.
Released: October 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC (Windows 10)
Genre: FPS, Action