There are three certainties in life. Death, taxes and a yearly Call of Duty release. What is never certain is the quality of that Call of Duty release. Does Treyarch’s 2018 effort match up with the Modern Warfare classics of the past? Or is it back to the dark days of advanced warfare? I’ve spent over a month with the game now and sunk plenty of hours in. This isn’t your typical rushed review.
Release Date: October 2018 – on sale on PS4 until November 26th!
Size: 42.35 GB
Genre: First-person shooter
Developed By: Treyarch
Published By: Activision Blizzard
Story & Presentation
There isn’t a traditional story mode here. The interesting thing is it doesn’t feel like the game ever misses one. Each multiplayer character, ‘Specialists’, are given missions with cutscenes that slightly flesh out their character. It adds a nice layer of depth as well as giving the title some lore. On top of this, there are the incredibly cryptic Zombies mode storylines. These are interesting and fun they’re just very over the top and a challenge to follow. They engage you as a player though and invite you to learn more.
The presentation is at an all-time high. The menus are very clean with large boxed rectangles representing every option. Different modes are shown off in a very aesthetically pleasing manner. The true winner is the title screen though. It gives a very visceral look at some of the gameplay you’ll experience and the 3D effect will really pop, especially in 4K.
Gameplay is king in this package. I’ve already spoken about the multiplayer extensively right here. For starters the content on offer is superb:
– Multiplayer with fourteen maps
– Blackout mode: Call of Duty Battle Royale
– Zombies: XI and Blood of the Dead have huge sprawling maps with multiple storylines and secrets to discover as a team
– Specialist Challenges for each playable character
Not only that but the depth in each mode is far superior to the depth in entire games. We’ll start with multiplayer. Not only do new additions like Heist add something totally different that COD has never tried before but they fit in seamlessly and manage to stand apart as fun ways to play. Each gun feels like you’d expect and the shooting is best in class as you’d expect from Activision. Whether you’re sprinting at enemies with a shotgun in hand or standing still at a perch with a light machine gun providing continuous cover fire. The slight changes to the way points are scored is a nice touch as well. Kill-stealing is a concept of the past as kills will now be shared. Modes like Search and Destroy and Domination can be tactical battles whereas free for all or team deathmatch can be much faster more intense affairs. The variety in game modes is excellent and keeps the title fresh.
Next up is Zombies. Some people see this as the flagship mode, to the extent that Activision launched a standalone Zombies game last year. Black Ops IIII puts plenty of emphasis on these modes. Not only do you have the magnificent XI but also Blood of the Dead and the wonderful Voyage of Despair. These maps have an abundance of secrets, from teleporters to hidden artefacts as well as characters that absolutely shine. XI and Voyage of Despair play incredible homage to renowned historical moments. The addition of a tutorial and AI companions are excellent steps in the right direction that add a much needed entry point for single player only gamers. It’s still best in co-op though. Organizing a team, working through objectives while fending off hordes and upgrading your weapons using the pack a punch to reach godlike power is more satisfying than ever.
Multiplayer is a success. Zombies is a success. How’s Blackout? Battle Royale is all the rage after all, how does the mode stack up to the competition? Well, it’s definitely going to place even if it isn’t taking the Victory Royale or Chicken Dinner. It’s a magnificent middle ground. You’ll get the intense Fortnite fun as well as PUBG’s slow tactical approach. What makes Blackout a, ahem, standout, is that it is truly the first AAA battle royale. Everything you expect from a big budget game has been painstakingly compiled in this mode. The attention to detail is incredible, from the uses of equipment to the varied guns and the massive intriguing map. What does intriguing mean? Well from zombies to ray guns to Nuketown to helicopters you’ve got it all. This is the premiere battle royale experience so far and if you’re a fan you should definitely make the investment.
Graphics and Sound
Anyone who’s ever played a Call of Duty title will not be surprised to hear that it’s a gorgeous game. Even the series troubled efforts (Infinite Warfare) were stunning. Black Ops IIII’s looks are an even grander achievement when you consider that it’s a multiplayer title. The features on the maps all look not just realistic but colorful. The characters are all superbly animated and thanks to the smooth frame rate the action is consistently and constantly visceral. The Zombies maps are the highlight here though. The Colosseum and the Titanic are brought to life excellently.
You’ll be equally shocked to know that sound is equally impressive. So not shocked at all. Treyarch really has poured a lot of care into these ‘quality of life’ aspects of this year’s COD. Guns sound exactly as you’d imagine, small rapid pellets are sharp and fast whereas large high calibre rounds are booming and explosive. Yet again though Zombies comes along and totally steals the show from the rest of the game. Each creature sounds terrifying and the noises really grab your attention as the player.