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July 15, 2018

Call of Duty Black Ops 4: Everything you need to know

by John_A

Boots are back on the ground.

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It wouldn’t be a year in gaming without the annual Call of Duty release blessing the fall launch schedule. The last title we got was a non-Black Ops game, which means we’re due for another from the talented team over at Treyarch.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is poised to build on the previous game by implementing changes inspired by fan feedback and introducing some interesting new game modes that’ll change your expectation of what a Call of Duty experience is supposed to be. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?

This is the latest game in the Call of Duty series, and, specifically, the fifth such game made by Treyarch, the studio which got its start with Call of Duty: World at War and exclusively made Black Ops games ever since.

Black Ops games have never followed traditional Call of Duty standards in terms of story. They’re set in a dystopian-like universe that explores alternate realities. One of the games even straddled the line of supernatural, with Black Ops 3’s events all taking place inside someone’s head.

While the original Black Ops game was set in a period during the Cold War, subsequent titles have gone for a more futuristic setting so as to introduce interesting new gameplay mechanics.

Is there a story mode?

Earlier Black Ops games featured original stories, but Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not. In fact, this will be the first ever Call of Duty game that doesn’t have a single-player campaign.

It was originally rumored that Treyarch had started on a campaign for the game, but scrapped it during development as it wouldn’t be finished in time. We later learned that this wasn’t the case, and it was instead a conscious decision by the team to focus their time on multiplayer as a majority of players don’t finish the single-player campaigns in Call of Duty games.

If you love a good single-player campaign and nothing more, it’s wise to skip this one. But Treyarch has mentioned that this isn’t necessarily the start of a trend and that single-player campaigns can and will return to future Call of Duty titles.

Gameplay

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With multiplayer being the sole way to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Treyarch wants to ensure they make the deepest shooter possible, and also looked to address some of the more unpopular things they tried in Black Ops 3. Jetpacks and wall-running have been completely removed from the game.

The fan cry for “boots on the ground” has been quite loud, which is why many were ecstatic for Call of Duty: World War 2’s launch. Treyarch’s removal of the feature is a testament to their ability to listen to feedback and not only understand what their fans want, but take action on it.

A lot of the good stuff is returning, though, including the game’s use of Specialist characters. These characters are unique and feature special traits, abilities, and finishing moves. We’re getting four new characters with this launch for a grand total of 10:

  • Torque: This is the builder of your team. You can make barricades to control firing lanes in the game, as well as more advanced deployment of barbed wire. Torque’s barricades have heat and distortion fields built-in, so anyone looking to challenge the area you’re denying will have a tough time.
  • Ajax: When you need someone to push into an enemy zone, Ajax is the pick. He has a shield, and the shield has a hole in it, so whoever uses him can still be a deadly force. Ajax also has a flashbang that can be cooked, and the longer you cook it, the more flashes it will set off.
  • Recon: A new fog of war mechanic means enemies won’t always show up on your radar whenever they shoot, so Recon’s goal is to reveal them.
  • Crash: Medic fans will love Crash. He can not only heal allies, but he can also buff them in certain ways. And if you’re wondering why he has to heal anyone, it’s because Black Ops 4 will not have regenerative health.

All of these specialists share much of the same weapon and equipment pool, but there will be some mods and attachments specific to each character. And not all attachments will be made equally, with tier 2 versions of mods offering greater benefits than their standard ones.

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Speaking of which, gunplay is getting a big upgrade in Black Ops 4. Treyarch has implemented predictive recoil patterns for each gun, which means you’ll have a rough idea of how your gun will react whenever you shoot it. The recoil mechanic in previous games was based on RNG, something Treyarch felt was important to eliminate as they wanted all of the game systems in Black Ops 4 to be learnable.

Scorestreaks are back. This staple Call of Duty feature nets you game-changing perks and bonuses as you rack up kills. Treyarch hasn’t yet revealed any new scorestreaks or changes to existing ones.

Players will do battle on a number of maps, five of which are fan favorites from previous Black Ops games that have been remade. Those include Jungle, Slums, Summit, Firing Range, and, of course, Nuketown. The former four will be available at launch, though Nuketown will arrive a bit later.

When you want to take a break from multiplayer, you can play Solo Missions, a collection of missions that’ll let you test your skill with any of the specialists. These missions will contain light backstories for each specialist if you’re interested in learning more about them.

It’s clear Treyarch wants more for Call of Duty than its roots as a simple twitch shooter. The continued focus on unique character abilities and an upgraded ballistics system puts it in league with the likes of Rainbow Six: Siege, and should help position it well to become a fun game to follow and play for eSports.

Zombies

What’s a Black Ops game without a zombie mode? Zombies in Black Ops 4 will have the most launch content we’ve seen yet. This coop mode lets you and up to three other friends take on a horde of zombie enemies across several big maps, with each wave being interspersed with time-sensitive objectives.

Black Ops 4 will feature three such maps at launch, two of which are entirely new and one that has been remade from a previous game. The new maps – Voyage of Despair and IX – have a short storyline of their own to follow, and will feature all-new original characters Scarlett, Shaw, Diego, and Bruno.

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The remake is Blood of the Dead, which is based on the Mob of the Dead map from Black Ops 2. Its story will feature the original Primis gang, including Nikolai, Takeo, Richtofen, and Dempsey. A fourth map made for the Primis characters named Classified is also on the way, but will only be available for Black Ops Pass owners and anyone buying the Special Edition versions of the game.

You’ll get more customization than ever before, as players can now customize their starting loadouts before each game. And the game at large can be played to your exact liking with over 100 variable “mutations” that can be applied. These mutations can alter things like zombie speed, health, damage, and overall difficulty.

And to give players a reason to keep coming back, Treyarch will run events called Callings. These limited time events may offer rewards or introduce new gameplay twists to help keep things fresh.

Blackout Mode

Peg Call of Duty as another game jumping on the Battle Royale bandwagon. Black Ops 4 will have its own royale mode called Blackout, and it’ll feature the single largest map we’ve ever seen in a Call of Duty game. It’s said the original test map for Blackout mode was 144 square miles wide. We don’t know how much it’s been shrunken or enlarged since then, but it sounds massive either way. The map will have iconic locations from previous Black Ops games, and it can be traversed by land, sea, or air.

Treyarch doesn’t seem to be touting any crazy twists on the genre. The teaser trailer for the mode suggests players will parachute down into the play area to find their starting loot before the game eventually shepherds players into tighter areas. Their whole selling point, then, is that this is a Battle Royale game with the tried and true gunplay, smooth controls, and fast-paced action that Call of Duty is known for. They’re also taking care to ensure each game feels different through the mode’s core mechanics, something they hope will keep players hungry for more.

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In the mode, you’ll be able to play as series favorites Alex Mason, Raul Menendez, and all of the original Primis crew, among other characters. Treyarch didn’t have much to say regarding how, exactly, the mode will operate, but we do know the company is looking to incorporate bullet drop, a first for a Call of Duty game.

Black Ops Pass

Treyarch is trying a different monetization model with Black Ops 4. Instead of offering up new maps in flat-rate map packs, you will now have to buy a Black Ops Pass. The pass will offer up access to new content as soon as it becomes available.

Pricing information for the Black Ops Pass hasn’t yet been revealed, but we do know that the pass will eventually offer up 12 additional multiplayer maps, four exclusive characters to use in Blackout mode, and four Zombies maps throughout 2019, as well as the Classified Zombies map at launch.

Activision has also confirmed that you will need to buy special editions of the game starting at $100 if you want the Black Ops Pass at launch. They have plans to make the pass available separately, but not until a later date.

Beta

Yes, there’s a private beta, and you’ll be able to play it by doing one simple thing: pre-order the game. Treyarch hasn’t ruled out other ways to access the beta, but this is your safest best to try it out early if you don’t mind committing your money to a pre-order.

A beta launch date has yet to be set, but previous rumors suggest we’ll see it at some point in August. An open beta is also still a possibility leading up to the game’s launch.

Pre-order deals

There are lots of good things to be had for pre-ordering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. All standard edition pre-orders will be in line for a Black Ops 3 map pack that will feature Jungle Summit, Slums, and Firing Range. You’ll also get access to the private beta in August.

See at Amazon

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Get the Digital Deluxe Edition for $100 and you’ll get 2,400 Call of Duty Points and the Black Ops Pass to go along with it.

See at Amazon

The Digital Deluxe Enhanced Edition is the same as the Digital Deluxe Edition, but comes with 8,500 Call of Duty Points. It’ll run you $130.

See at Amazon

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Finally, there’s a $120 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Pro Edition that adds in a steelbook, a pop socket, 10 specialist patches, three Zombies-inspired collectible art cards, 1,100 Call of Duty Points, and a Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) calling card. This version of the game is available exclusively at GameStop.

See at GameStop

When can you play it?

The boots hit the ground for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on October 12th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Let us know if you’ll be joining in on the fun.

PlayStation 4

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