Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII – Blackout Impressions
All around the industry today you can’t seem to get away from the generation that seems to be dominating most gamers time, Battle Royale. From H1Z1 to Realm Royale and everything in between has really begun to flourish since the boom in popularity of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds and the soon after the domination of Fortnite Battle Royale. With the insane player base that these games have generated, it was only a matter of time before a AAA company came knocking on the door with their take on the Battle Royale. Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII Blackout mode is giving us just that, so let’s dive in and take a look at what happens to battle royale when in the hands of a powerhouse developer.
The premise of Blackout is essentially the same as we have come to expect from the battle royale genre. A huge amount of players gather on one map, queuing up either solo, in a duo or a team of four. They are then dropped into the map from a helicopter to wing-suit down to a location on the map to gather weapons, items and armor to defend themselves from other players. Weapon types range from pistols to LMG’s and there are plenty of healing items or special boosts that can give players that extra advantage in certain situations. After a few minutes, the map begins to close into a smaller and smaller circle, forcing those who remain to get closer and closer to each other until only one player or group is left standing. This is all pretty standard when it comes to battle royale as a whole, but what makes Blackout different?
First, the Blackout map itself has a few unique features of its own. All of the locations on the map are made up of the previous Call of Duty Black Ops maps with some changes and some even combined together. Probably the best part about this layout is the inclusion of zombie maps. When players drop in these specific areas such as the Asylum or the Lighthouse, zombies will begin to spawn around the area and attack players adding an additional enemy to have to worry about. When you kill the zombies, they do tend to drop items which make them worth hunting. The map is not as big as the one in Battlegrounds but feels just the right size for 80 players where there are enough places to hide out and have a bit of breathing room but will most likely eventually run into another player even before the map closes down too much.
Being a derivative of one of the most popular FPS franchises in history, the gunplay of Blackout stand out above all the rest of the battle royale games. Guns have weight to them and when you hit an enemy there is solid feedback to the player. This is very useful when leading enemies and compensating for bullet drop. There are also a number of useful items for players to find around the map such as the grappling hook, recon car and my personal favorite, the sensor dart which will ping enemies in your immediate area.
There are also packs you can find that contain perks which are a cornerstone of Call of Duty multiplayer. These will give your character a special ability for a certain amount of time and a limited amount of uses that can make all the difference during the game, such as Iron Lungs which increases the amount of time you can hold your breath while steadying sniper shots. All of these features add up to what makes the game feel so unique: creating a functional and polished battle royale game without sacrificing the feeling of a Call of Duty game.
After playing Blackout, it has been hard to go back to Fortnite and Battlegrounds. The game is so much more polished and it is clear to see not only the budget, but the care that was put in to making this a stand out experience in the battle royale genre. For me personally, this is the first Call of Duty game I have been truly excited about in a very long time and for good reason. If battle royale is your cup of tea, this is going to be a must play when it launches on October 12, 2018.