Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 review: A promising new future

Treyarch Studios
Treyarch Studios /
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Call of Duty Black Ops 4
Credit: Activision /

Black Ops 4 Multiplayer

Treyarch claimed to have reworked Black Ops 4‘s multiplayer with various changes designed to emphasize a “focus on tactical gameplay and player choice.” For the most part, they’ve succeeded. Call of Duty will never be the team-based game as, say, Battlefield, but there are smaller, individual decisions you can make that will ultimately impact how a match unfolds on a more personal level.

This includes selecting a Specialist – of which there are a total of 10 to choose from – and creating a class based on the Pick-10 system. Disappointingly, there are only four new Specialists to choose from – Recon, Ajax, Torque and Crash. The remaining six – Ruin, Prophet, Battery, Seraph, Nomad, Firebreak – were all featured in Black Ops 3. Specialists don’t really define your experience, as their abilities – which most I find to be underwhelming – are mostly designed to complement your playstyle or class.

As for your class, this is ultimately what determines your playstyle. With the Pick-10 system, you can customize your loadout to whatever your liking and I’ve yet to see anything that is “overpowered” or “broken.” While SMGs and assault rifles are the popular choices, most weapons generally feel balanced, and I’ve even managed to succeed at making a powerful close-range shotgun build.

Activision /

Let’s be real though, the choices you make have little impact on “tactical gameplay” from a team perspective. It’s hard enough to get a random team of players not to bicker, let alone all work together for a common goal. So when they say “tactical gameplay and player choice,” it really only applies to your individual experience. And yes, you can still very much take the lone wolf approach and carry your team to victory.

Perhaps the most noticeable and welcomed change is the removal of wall-running and thrust-jumping in multiplayer. Although you’ll still find players who rely on jump-shooting, it’s not nearly as annoying as in past games. Black Ops 4 still feels fast-paced, and movement is still fluid; it’s just not as ridiculous as before.

Another big change to multiplayer (and all subsequent modes) is the removal of Call of Duty‘s signature automatic health regeneration system. Instead, Treyarch has opted for a more active system in which you control when to heal yourself with a press of a button. Upon activating the ability, you’ll pull out a syringe and stab yourself, resulting in your healthy regenerating at a fairly quick pace. In doing so, you leave yourself vulnerable to attack and in a fast-paced game like Call of Duty, deciding when to heal or not can prove to be the difference between life or death – especially in one-on-one encounters. Manual healing adds an incredible layer of strategy to your overall match experience. 

Black Ops 4 is lacking a bit in the maps department with only 14 maps available at launch. On top of that, four of them are remakes of older maps. While the season pass will add 12 multiplayer maps, bringing the total to 27, it doesn’t take long for the 14 original maps to get stale.