Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Multiplayer Hands-On Preview: Back to Basics
There are two games that dominated my multiplayer gaming hobby over my long career in video game playing, and those were Gears of War and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The latter in particular really sucked me in and got me on the Prestige train hardcore, but after that entry the Call of Duty devs started to toy with the formula that made it so addicting, that I passed on most of the multiplayer modes that have been featured since Modern Warfare. My declining FPS skills are to blame as well, but once matches became more about future war tech, wall running, jet packing, etc., I lost interest altogether.
I have always tried to dabble in a little COD multiplayer with every new title, but none since Modern Warfare has been able to get me hooked. That trend may change now though thanks to some hands-on time I had with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s multiplayer at E3 2018. I got to sample a Team Deatmatch game, as well as a Control match, and both felt as if they went back to their roots by stripping away a good part of the future tech, quasi cybernetic enhanced gameplay that has been featured for the past few years. I’m not saying Black Ops 4’s multiplayer has returned to Modern Warfare form just yet, but it’s the closest I’ve felt to it since that life sucking game released many years ago.
What I appreciate the most was the fact that the focus was more on the shooting and gunplay than how well you are at bouncing around the map with rocket boosts, wall runs, and other parkour-esque maneuvers. There are still many future war tech innovations, which is evident in the two special moves each character type can have, but overall the experience was more about having solid aim and hip fire excellence than getting cute with player movements.
I sampled two classes in the two matches I played, and found both to offer fun ways to play. The first class features a grappling hook ability that needs to recharge before uses, but once charged you can use it to zip your ass out of sticky situations quick. The other ability featured a devastating ground pound that could take out all enemies in your near vicinity. This too is on a recharge, so neither power can be abused, in fact they’re better off suited for strategic use only, which I appreciated because I found them to truly be game changers if used properly.
The other class I used had even more devastating special abilities, which included the ability to radiate a zone with pure radiation to take out anyway who is in said zone, as well as a big ass flamethrower. This class in particular worked great in the Control game type, because you could essentially turn it into a radioactive wasteland that killed any attacking or defending player within seconds of hitting a control point.
I just found the matches to have an old school, but modern feel to them, and I hope that formula continues into the finished product. Stripping out some of the future weapons nonsense definitely made a difference in my enjoyment factor, so if you too were a bit turned off by all the parkour, you just may want to tune into this latest COD offering. I still would prefer it to also come with a campaign, but from what I played I’m definitely a fan of the changes the team made and want to experience more modes when it ships this fall.
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