I’ve never been very interested in “Call of Duty” games.
I respect their significance in their genre, and absolutely admire the influence they have had on other games since, but for me, the boots-on-the-ground warfare depicted in “Call of Duty” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops” games have always been associated with some of the worst aspects of gaming culture (see: hyper-masculinity, graphic violence, etc.). I’ve also simply never found them very fun to play – that is, for a person who would rather solve puzzles and walk through open worlds than shoot endlessly at waves of enemies – but that’s a personal preference.
However, I happen to love battle-royale games, like “PlayerUnknown’s Battle Grounds” and “Fornite: Battle Royale,” which pit players against each other in a Hunger Games-style battle to be the last man standing.
This week’s Community Reveal Event for “Call of Duty Black Ops 4” felt just like any other year, until the reveal of the new “Blackout” mode, which combines the battle-royale style with “Call of Duty’s” signature combat systems, characters, and even sections of old maps.
I never thought I would say this, but “Blackout” might give me reason enough to return to the Black Ops series – and the “Call of Duty” franchise as a whole – for the first time in years.
Here’s why I’m so excited about the new Blackout battle-royale mode in “Call of Duty Black Ops 4”:
The inclusion of memorable characters and settings from old Call of Duty games makes “Blackout” feel like something the fans have earned after so many years of dedication and replaying.
It feels weird to compare a family reunion to a fight to the death on an ever-shrinking island, but somehow the comparison is fitting.
“Call of Duty” fans have been buying similar games every year for more than a decade, and endlessly replaying those games for hundreds of hours with friends for years after their release.
This game finally feels like a reward for some of that grunt work. The short, relatively low-stakes rounds that battle royale is known for should feel like a victory lap for the players that have stuck with Black Ops since the beginning.
When “CoD” developer David Vonderhaar said that players would be able to navigate the Blackout map with land, sea and AIR vehicles, I audibly gasped.
The thought of getting a better view of the map from a helicopter, or narrowly avoiding gunfire by simply taking off in a plane is really going to be a huge game-changer for the battle royale genre.
The return of the RC-XDs also really brought a smile to my face.
The ability to sneak up on enemies from a distance has always been a great advantage in the games that featured these explosive-strapped RC cars, and they will be especially useful in Blackout, where the ability to stay hidden often literally means life or death.
Both the aircrafts and RC-XDs are brilliant innovations added to the battle royale genre by Black Ops 4, already setting it apart from Fortnite, PUBG, and others that skyrocketed it to popularity.
And, of course, the sheer volume of weapons and other gear seen across the Call of Duty games is going to make for endless possibilities and great variety between matches.
This variety can make all the difference for battle royale-style games, which are sometimes criticised for being too repetitive.
Developers at Treyarch didn’t go into details about cooperative play, but if Call of Duty: Black Ops’ history with multiplayer is any indication, “Blackout” should offer some of the best Squads adaptations the battle-royale genre has ever seen.
The map is probably going to be HUGE.
The creators called this the biggest map they have ever made, which makes sense, because the decision to include boats and aircrafts doesn’t just come from nowhere.
In yesterday’s announcement, Vonderhaar said that the series’ first attempt at battle royale would be as unique to the Black Ops series as possible, and their time-tested combat systems and signature gameplay style puts them in the perfect position to enter this genre.
For the first time in years, I’m genuinely excited to be playing a game “the Black Ops way.”
Check out the full trailer for Blackout mode here:
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