With the beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 coming to an end, many questions have arisen. From not having a single-player campaign to adding on a battle royale mode, this title already feels like a strange departure from previous entries. New Modes Multiplayer was the central focus of the beta, including two new modes, Heist and Control. Heist is a five-on-five match which pits players against one another to either steal a cashload or defend it. It was a bit confusing at first, due to only spawning with a pistol, but as the match progressed, it became much easier. A new currency system for obtaining new weapons, similar to Zombies, is featured and it’s exclusive to heist matches. This mode is fun but it feels like a lesser version of Rainbow Six: Siege. It is very tactical and squad-based, so playing without a microphone or friends can pose a challenge. The other new mode is Control. Here, players must attack and defend two separate objectives on the map, similar to Hardpoint and Domination. However, each side only has 25 lives, so as soon as those are used up, the match is over no matter the score. This is a nice blend of popular modes in the series but it drags on over time. One side has to win three rounds in order for the match to be over, making matches lengthier than others. Control was a definite highlight, yet it could be made much better with just two rounds. Returning Features Returning are the popular modes, Kill Confirmed, Domination, Team Deathmatch, and of course Search & Destroy. This is where the beta absolutely shines and allows gamers to truly see the differences in this title. Matches felt fluid and fast-paced but still a bit different than previous entries. Specialists make a return to this title as well, so players can experiment with which one works best. However, this aspect was expanded so much that it felt more along the lines of Overwatch’s hero system. There was a variety to choose from with varying abilities. One of these does have a jetpack, so it’s possible to see players zoom around the map despite being “boots on the ground.” Creating classes was a key feature that had plenty to offer. Wildcards make a return along with perks. Thankfully, there are lots to choose from, so loadouts must be tailored to fit individual styles of play. One feature that was interesting to try out was the no health regeneration system. Gamers must now conserve their health so simply hiding to heal can’t be done. Healing is possible once every 15 seconds but it has to be executed from a button command, not automatically. This mixes up gameplay and forces encounters to be more tactical. A Lost Identity Treyarch’s recent beta was a fun experience but had it not been called Call of Duty, it would have been received much better. It plays too tactically and borrows heavily from other popular titles. Not only this but Black Ops 4 goes back to what made the series’ hype die down, it’s too futuristic and unrealistic. Last year’s WWII was able to fix many of the problems found in recent entries, but this goes right back to the root of the problem. Maybe a break from being an annual release, similar to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, is what is needed to correct these mistakes. Activision obviously senses a problem for the long-running franchise and is trying to save it through any means necessary. Borrowing from other popular games such as Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch, and even Fortnite is not the solution. These other titles are overshadowing this franchise only because Call of Duty hasn’t been the same for quite some time. By chasing these trends, the series loses its purpose along with its identity. Innovation and creativity are needed, not taking from competitors. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is an obvious step backward for the franchise. It offers new gameplay aspects but in doing so, loses what made the series great. Treyarch has borrowed too much from other popular titles that it no longer feels original. The upcoming Blackout battle royale mode doesn’t do any favors either. Hopefully, things are able to change before launch, but with its release just around the corner, this seems to just be wishful thinking. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 releases worldwide on October 12 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. A beta for the upcoming Blackout mode is planned for September 10 first on PlayStation 4.