Booting up a new Call of Duty game often conjures up a feeling of deja vu. Part of me is teleported back in time to 2009, playing hours on end of Modern Warfare 2 on a warm school night, crafting makeshift aluminium Wi-Fi boosters to maintain a faster connection. Fortunately, a lot has changed. Gone are my internet difficulties and gone is the infamous ‘noob tube’.
Yes, Call of Duty has changed too. Black Ops 4 is arguably the most different a COD entry has been in a while. It’s perhaps a sign of the times; there’s no shortage of multiplayer games competing for your attention. The best-selling franchise has frequently been criticised for relying too heavily on a more-or-less unchanging formula. Any changes were often pegged as superficial marketing points, attempting to lure millions back every year. It would be unfair to lay the same charge against Black Ops 4. Whilst it feels familiat, this is Call of Duty finely tuned, aware of the current trends, proud of its past, striding confidently into the future.
To hear Black Ops 4 wouldn’t include a single-player campaign was a disappointment. More often than not, they were surprisingly good despite their shooting gallery linearity, stringing together high-octane set-pieces and explosive drama with the satisfaction of a big budget, Hollywood action flick. The Black Ops series was no exception.