This year’s annual Call of Duty title has arrived in the vein of Black Ops 4, the next installment in Treyarch’s sub-series for the long-running franchise. With this comes a new Battle Royale mode, alongside its Multiplayer and Zombies modes, which are staples to the series. One staple that has been taken out is a single-player campaign, however, the game’s developer included a Specialists mode that attempts to make up for this. Despite this, Black Ops 4 is one of the series’ bests since 2012’s Black Ops 2. 

Black Ops 4 Review


For starters, Multiplayer is as good as ever. In the beta, many problems had arisen, mostly in regards to the execution of new additions to the game. As it hit launch, this was all forgotten and felt incredibly welcome. Specialists initially felt overwhelming, but thanks to the fully-fledged mode dedicated to them, they’re much more fleshed out. It helps to understand their backstory more, as well as providing experimentation with each one. All of them have different special attacks that can fit varying types of gameplay. For instance, Ruin can zip around with a grappling hook and can perform radius blasts to kill off a nearby swarm of enemies. Special powerups also were not as constant as it was in the beta, there wasn’t spamming and only showed up every once in a while.

Health is placed at 150 compared to 100, with armor able to boost it upwards to 250. This initially was a nuisance but after multiple matches and adjusting to the self-healing system, it felt okay. It was a normal occurrence to sink a whole clip into an enemy, only to be killed off though. To make matters worse, killcams displayed that they had been knocked down to 2 health. Instances such as these were frustrating, but the healing system helped counter it out. Healing oneself was quick and didn’t take too long to activate after a use while also being efficient.

Black Ops 4’s multiplayer can appear as an extremely tactical approach, but it’s not implemented so much that it changes the entire experience. There are the new modes of Heist and Control for those looking for a more advanced style of play, but classic modes such as Kill Confirmed, Team Deathmatch, and Domination are all present which can provide the more traditional Call of Duty style. In addition to this, plenty of classic Black Ops maps occur and look great for modern consoles. However, the true highlight are the new maps that are introduced. They all have an abundance of areas that can feature either long-range gun battles or more close-quarters combat. No matter the player’s preferred style of play, Multiplayer is able to adapt and offer a more easily accessible experience.

Black Ops 4 Review


Treyarch was the first Call of Duty developer to introduce the popular Zombies mode to the franchise back in 2008 with World at War. Every title since has brought new changes and additions to enhance gameplay. More recent iterations branched off into a more technical approach that emphasized its story-based easter eggs instead of pure survival. Black Ops 4, though, finds the perfect middle ground between the two. An easter egg process is present in the game’s three base maps, but never did it make gameplay too complex. Fighting to higher rounds and warding off endless waves felt flawless. Classic elements were all there and so were a few new additions.

Mystery boxes, wall guns, and boarding windows return, of course, but new options help mix things up. This year’s title brings the most customizable settings yet. For the first time, more than just the standard style can be selected. A rush mode can be found, as well as adjustments to the game’s difficulty. Rush lets gamers tackle high scores by executing combos under a set amount of time, while also dealing with hordes of zombies in specific areas. This provides for a new style of gameplay that helps breath fresh air in this long-running game mode. The difficulty settings are just the cherry on top of an already expansive area of play. Non-skilled gamers and hardcore veterans of the saga are all able to try their hands at zombies with whatever style fits best for them.

Customization is a truly emphasized point for this year’s Zombies iteration. In addition to selecting the difficulty, players can choose which Perk-a-Cola machines will appear throughout the map, providing a more adaptable game style. Runes are also available to be swapped out, which have abilities to help players emerge unscathed from tricky situations. Maps are also at their absolute best in the series. A Roman-inspired Gladiator arena, San Francisco’s Alcatraz Prison, and the unsinkable Titanic ship are all playable and look stunning. They are incredibly welcoming and allow for many different styles of gameplay. A more involved approach can be found, in addition to simply rounding up and eliminating hordes. Not only this, but the original four Zombies characters Richtofen, Dempsey, Nikolai, and Takeo have a new chapter that can be played, which is perfect for longtime fans. Treyarch has created the best and most accessible Zombies mode in recent memory and provides new challenges that series faithfuls can enjoy.

Black Ops 4 Review

Battle Royale

The newest addition to the Call of Duty franchise is its Battle Royale mode, Blackout. Gamers were able to get their hands on it before launch, thanks to a beta, but the final product feels much more polished. In the beta, framerate was a bit shakey and games lagged enough to be noticeable. With the launch of Black Ops 4, this is almost completely gone. Joining matches was done quickly and there was never enough lag to hinder any chances at earning a “#1 Victory.” Treyarch’s polishing of the game was noticeable and helps pay off as matches became more intense.

Blackout is able to carve out its own piece of the Battle Royale pie and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with. This experience can become incredibly immersive and allow for skilled and tactical play. It feels like what a 1 vs 100 scenario should feel like, lonely and intense. One mistake could result in being on the receiving end of a brutal attack, but it’s how it’s done that makes it special. Unlike others in the genre, there aren’t any cheap mechanics that must be mastered for late game or bad graphics that make it difficult to spot enemies, instead, it boils down to player decision and technique. Dropping into houses and picking up items was quick, but there were times where raiding an area resulted in only ammo and attachments rather than a weapon. Despite this, there were so many areas that could be ransacked that it quickly became a non-issue as gameplay went on.

An extremely apparent issue, on the other hand, was its emotes. Players could be able to use an emote, such as clapping their hands, in order to enter the third-person point of view, doing this allowed for a larger field-of-view that exploited where enemies were even though they could be well hidden from sight. One interesting thing to note, though, was the enclosing circle. When it first began to close, if players were decently far out from the safe zone, it was nearly impossible to outrun it, yet in later circle closures, it was much easier. Damage from the circle also increased as matches progressed, which gave a higher sense of urgency and caution. This aspect was very much appreciated and doesn’t allow for hiding outside of the circle for a victory. Blackout is a definite highlight for Black Ops 4 and gives more of a reason to keep coming back for more.

Black Ops 4 Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is one of the best in the series and should not be overlooked simply because of its lack of a single-player campaign. This is a true celebration of what makes the Black Ops sub-series so great thanks to its inclusions of familiar maps and characters. Both longtime fans and newcomers can enjoy this title as much as any other while also providing plenty of replayability. Treyarch has proven once again why they are one of the best developers for the series.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Review
Treyarch's Black Ops 4 is a celebration of what makes the Black Ops series so great. New additions and more refined gameplay helps enhance the overall experience to keep things fresh.
Overall Score9
  • Intense Battle Royale Mode
  • Redefined Multiplayer
  • Varied Zombie Maps
  • No Single-Player Campaign
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