Call of Duty going multiplayer only was the fresh start the series needed

You might have spent the last month living under a rock. You might have just not been connected to the internet. If you were offline you’ve missed a ton. The Good Place series 3 started and it’s better than ever. Netflix canceled Luke Cage. Doctor Who is a female now and the Daily Mail nearly imploded with sheer bigoted hatred. There’s also the small details of Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII grossing over half a billion dollars in three days. Three days. A weekend. It takes me about three days to choose which game I want to play never mind actually commit to one. According to Activision a few more records were set:

“Through its first three days of release, Black Ops 4 set a new Call of Duty® franchise record for most combined players, average hours per player and total number of hours played, on current generation consoles. The combined number of Black Ops 4 players across its three modes of play during those first three days tops both last year’s Call of Duty: WWII, as well as Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (single player, multiplayer and zombies), respectively, for the same period of time.
The first Call of Duty release on Blizzard®, Black Ops 4 on PC continues to be significantly above last year, as the number of players is more than double year over year through its first three days.
Additionally, based on minutes watched, the title delivered the highest level of viewership through launch weekend on Twitch in franchise history.”

So one thing is immediately very clear. One thing that we all knew but some people did not want to admit. Call of Duty doesn’t need a single player campaign. Call of Duty has far surpassed its status as a video game series, it’s now essentially a social hub. People can form parties and spend time with friends both in real life and digitally while co-operating or competing. This focus on both co-operation and competition is what has allowed Call of Duty to finally take the next step. We can all be honest, COD’s campaigns have bombed in recent years. They lost the level of intrigue and emotional impact that they built on after the mega success of Modern Warfare over a decade ago. By shedding the campaign and the amount of time investment required to successfully build this, the brand has been able to focus on the areas where players spend the most time.

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Activision Blizzard hit an absolute gold mine with Overwatch. Not only did the title see superb sales, but it also has a passionate fanbase who continually support and return to the game. The developers return this favor by continuously providing support and adding to the game. It’s a perfect cycle. Clearly, Activision has sought to replicate this in their flagship Call of Duty series. So what does Black Ops IIII offer? Well, more content than Overwatch for a start:
– 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
All of these modes have their own aspects of progression. For a multiplayer-only title, there’s a lot of content on offer and also a lot of varied content on offer.

You can immediately see what Activision wanted from Black Ops IIII. As soon as you turn it on you’re met with a blocky, simplistic menu which allows you to find anything you’d want to play. You’re never more than two clicks away from any mode or from partying up with your mates. This social aspect of the title is fantastic.

It’s easy to get into a party and jump from mode to mode. Even if there’s only two or up to four of you, if you’re having a streak of bad luck in domination it takes seconds to jump to Blackout. Get a few rubbish finishes? Jump to Zombies instead. Only reaching round 10? Go try Heist, it won’t take long. There’s not only always an option, but there’s also always a fully fleshed out and fun option. By stripping the single player the developers have been able to make the multiplayer a fine-tuned experience that’s accessible to everyone, from the Modern Warfare purists with the slightly higher kill times to the Fortnite loyal with their Battle Royale obsession.

Call of Duty hasn’t just created three modes for you to play. They’ve created three fully realized genres and stuffed them into one AAA title. Rather than charging $25/$30 for one smaller game, such as the popular battle royale title Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds or having a pricing model revolving around $10 seasons and microtransactions, COD allows you to immediately buy your way into the ground floor with one purchase. There is something for everyone in this package.

If you’re a single player gamer then Zombies has something for you.
If you’re a co-operative gamer then Blackout has something for you.
If you’re a multiplayer gamer then surprise, multiplayer has something for you.

The best part is that these three intersect. You can play alone online, you can play co-operatively in Zombies and so on so forth. This year’s Call of Duty is first and foremost a multiplayer paradise. However, if you enjoyed the COD campaigns of old then there is still plenty for you to enjoy. The top-notch gunplay is still here as well as several interesting characters with backstory.

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Our full Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII review will launch next week. What I’m fully confident in saying is that if you are even remotely a fan of multiplayer gaming then this title is for you.

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