This past weekend Activision released its private beta for the next installment of their Call of Duty game franchise, Black Ops 4. Talkies Network was extended an invitation and code to join the Beta so we could write about our experiences test playing the developer’s new game. How was it? Keep Reading to find out.
It was a fun experience over-all. It was a little stressful for me because these games are not my forte, so I died about five times for every enemy player I eliminated. The Black Ops 4 beta offers players a variety of game modes and a few maps as well. I didn’t see anything noteworthy about the maps that were included, though there is one exception that will be mentioned later on. Several different classes are offered to players with a variety of weapons and each needed to be unlocked by players as they leveled up.
What game mechanics were kept from the previous entry in the franchise? The ground slides and underwater combat from Black Ops 3 were retained for this game, both excellent decisions on the part of the development team. There was one map where a bridge was placed above a large body of water, with a ladder to climb up placed on each side. If given the opportunity, one or more players could sneak up on enemies and ambush them from either side of the bridge, something I did several times. It is so much easier when they couldn’t see me standing behind them with a gun to their head.
The specialists from Black Ops 3 return, with ten options being available to players. The two I enjoyed the most were the Nomad, who has use of a K-9 unit, and Firebreak, who can emit a radiation field that deals damage to opponents. Their abilities were useful in combat and helped me get more kills when playing Chaos TDM.
One key element of Black Ops 3’s gameplay that was not included in Black Ops 4, which was the ability to launch oneself into the air and the wall running that made the former so distinct. That was a fun part of the previous game that will be missed, but needed to be removed so that the sequel could stand apart from its predecessor.
There was one interesting alteration was how health and damage work in the game. In previous Black Ops games damage caused by taking enemy fire gradually subsides given enough time, whereas in this beta that is not the case. Damage must be dealt with by taking a health shot, which can be done by pressing L1. If the health boost is not used the damage will remain and make you an easy target. The wait time to use the boost is relatively nothing but until you can you are an easy kill. Another thing to note is that when taking the boost, you can’t use your weapon, so you are easier to eliminate. It can be a brief window to catch an opponent with weak health off-guard.
I enjoyed the inclusion of equipment in the game. Examples include a new riot shield, a barricade that you can hide behind during gun-fights and barbed wire. They were an unexpected inclusion but added positively to the gameplay. They were very useful when an objective had to be protected as I could place barbed wire in doorways to slow down and deal damage to my enemies.
A new game mode introduced is ‘Control’, which involves two teams – one to defend two pre-selected areas (A and B) and one to capture them. It is a variation of domination which comes with an interesting twist, each team has a set number of lives. You can win the game mode by either eliminating the other time entirely or by controlling the objectives. This game mode also does not allow duplicates when players are selecting their specialists, which makes for a more balanced game. There’s nothing worse than playing against an entire team that can summon dogs. It was fun and a great addition to the Call of Duty franchise.
There were definitely some bugs that need to be dealt with, but that is why developers have betas. The load time was too long for a match and some of the weapons were noticeably over-powered when compared to others. Nothing really affected my enjoyment of the beta and the experience was a positive one.