Like millions of other gamers, I spent all weekend playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Whilst I’m still in the process of writing my review, there’s little doubt in my mind that there’s something special about this game. Having had a love-hate relationship with the franchise, Black Ops 4 feels like a game very aware of the current trends, but not afraid to put their own spin on them.
Perhaps this is no more apparent than in Blackout, the game’s take on the massively popular Battle Royale game mode, popularised by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and, of course, Fortnite, a game I have been shamefully addicted to. Blackout is comparable more to the former than the later; it prioritises realism and more grounded gameplay. It steers clear of any building mechanics and instead of asking players to juggle weapon attachments and equip armour in the fight for survival.
In doing so, it’s also the most different COD has felt in a long time. The tight, close-quarters maps synonymous with the franchise’s frantic multiplayer matches are tossed aside in favour for wide-open landscapes. With sparse cover, it’s the most vulnerable and tense I’ve felt playing a COD game. Scary as that may be, it’s a nice change of pace from Fortnite. It’s fast, tactical, edge-of-your-seat type of stuff that asks you to ditch the typical run-and-gun COD tactics that are, by now, second-nature.
Given the option, I’d rather play Blackout over Fortnite right now. Don’t get me wrong, Fornite has a charm that I’m sure will see my squad return to it from time to time. It’s early days, but there’s something really exciting about Blackout. It’s a new, immersive and challenging experience that has sunk its hooks in me. Evidently, Treyarch has played close attention to the competition and built upon it nicely, creating something that feels fresh as Fortnite’s seasonal changes fall a little short of shaking up the gameplay. Every other Battle Royale out there should be nervous. Very nervous.