Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 Blackout Beta Impressions

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If you’re a fan of Call of Duty or have heard about the franchise, then you must be aware of the newest addition to the franchise – Blackout, a Battle Royale mode! Yup, there is a huge lack of battle royale games in the market recently, so Call of Duty decided to innovate, by dropping the story, and adding in a battle royale mode. Whatever the case may be, this is the first time a AAA developer has taken the battle royale genre into account, which may mean a big future for the battle royale genre. Blackout is action-packed, and pretty fast paced – and may just be the addition required to bring Call of Duty back in the spotlight again.

We tried out both the closed and the open beta on the PC and the PS4, and have accumulated our findings in one neat impression package. Black Ops 4 is an upcoming FPS, developed by Treyarch, Beenox, Raven Software and published by Activision. The latest multiplayer only iteration in the Call Of Duty franchise will be releasing on the PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 12 2018.


Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 Blackout Beta

Impressions


Blackout is a battle royale mode

which pits 80 players against one another. Players land in the map, pick up weapons and try to kill everyone else till only one player or team survives. The mode can be played in solos, duos or squads (up to 4 players each squad). You have limited health, but in order to extend your lifespan in the game, you can use medical items like boosters and med kits, or use attachments to improve the performance of the guns. Blackout does very little to change the essence of a battle royale, but it does change the gameplay mechanics, making it feel like a game of its own, rather than being “just another battle royale”.

The main change in the gameplay is that the speed of gameplay has increased, and that’s no joke. This was one of the major disadvantages of the other battle royale games trying to find an audience. This is especially seen in the speed of movement, which makes games feel much more responsive as compared to the sluggish movement of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, or even Fortnite, which are supposed to be the leaders of the genre. This gives players the ability to react much faster, making the game feel like an arcade shooter. This might be a debatable issue among many players, but personally, I prefer the flexibility the ‘arcade-y’ mechanics bring in the game. This also makes games much shorter, so you get to jump into another game once you’re done and dusted.

When the game starts, players arrive in a troupe of choppers rather than one plane carrying everyone. This means that depending on the location of the choppers, players can be at an advantage or at a disadvantage in the game. It becomes the player’s duty to use their spawn as an advantage and turn the tide on the others. The map feels like a number of known Call of Duty maps clustered together in a single, large map. Perhaps the designers ran out of ideas, or perhaps it was done to bring in the older players? One can never know.

The inventory screen

feels a little clustered as if a lot of information is presented in one place. The clustered UI becomes more problematic when you’re trying to loot a dead enemy’s stash. However, one gets used to it, it actually proves to be an advantage than a disadvantage. You can see ammo as well as gear and other items separately in the inventory screen. Looting from a downed player’s stash feels painfully slow, partly due to the inventory UI. This does pick up when you gain a general idea about what items to look at any phase of the game. A general piece of advice – don’t try to loot a downed enemy’s stash when his friends are nearby.

The gunplay

does not follow the realism of the other BRs, but sticks on as an ‘arcade shooter’ style. The experience might vary for different people, but for me, it was a refreshingly new experience. This means that the game lays more focus in being able to react instinctively to a situation rather than plan it out situations from before. This does reduce the learning curve while sacrificing strategic depth. This makes the game more accessible to players new to the franchise while being a demeaning experience for the veterans. The hit registry needs some work though. In my experience, there were multiple times where clear shots didn’t hit the target, that too at close range.

Gun attachments help improve the performance of all guns in many different ways, depending on the attachments being used. This is saying something, since recoil and bullet drop is almost negligible, which reduces the realism of the setting. Many battle royales, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS included, try to sell their game by the realism, which includes realistic recoil patterns as well as bullet drop. Blackout’s recoil is very low, but there is some bullet drop at distances which can be controlled with some practice. This is where attachments prove to be a huge boon. All attachments are automatically attached when you’re picking them up – which helps boost the speed of the action. This is useful because it helps you react faster, especially when enemies are near you. If you feel the need to change attachments, you can do it from the inventory screen.

The graphics

aren’t a sector that Blackout excels in. The IW engine has become quite dated, and it fails to hide its flaws in the game too. However, the lack of excess graphical fidelity is compensated for the excellent optimization of the game. Except for a few occasional hiccups, the game runs flawlessly. The lack of graphical clutter means that you can spot enemies easily, without having to worry about moving stray pixels in the distance one-shotting you to death. The game does run into some peculiar crashes sometimes, and there is no way to reboot the game and jump back in the match. This creates problems in a squad or duo games, where the other player(s) are left at a disadvantage.

Overall, Blackout lives up to its hype as a battle royale, albeit it still has a bit of Call of Duty in every mechanic. Despite the ‘arcade shooter’ mechanics, the game may as well prove to be the last one standing in the battle of the battle royales. In fact, considering its possibilities, it might be better for Activision to release Blackout as a standalone game, with everyone preordering the base game getting access to it. Considering the many ways the game tries to make battle royale a mass phenomenon, this might be something for consideration up at Call of Duty HQ while they iron out the bugs and gear up for October 12, the game’s official release date.

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