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– by Shockey

In November of 2010 the world was introduced to Call of Duty: Black Ops and took the gaming world by storm.  The seventh installment of the Call of Duty series brought revolutionary ideas to first person shooting.  With a multiplayer system that had multiple objective-based game modes with 14 different maps included in the game.  Let’s not forget the revamped zombie mode that allowed players to kill zombies as John F Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro. Eight years later we are now onto the fourth installment of the Black Ops series.  For game developer Treyarch it has been a tough challenge over the years to keep gamers engaged and energized for a new Call of Duty game.  Over the past couple of years games like Overwatch and Fortnite have overtaken the multiplayer community leaving the Call of Duty franchise playing catch up.  For most in the gaming community most would agree that Black Ops 4 would have to be on par or better than these two games to get the title of best multiplayer first-person shooter.  Well Treyarch took their first steps towards reclaiming that title this past weekend.

The first round of Beta testing for Black Ops 4 took place this past weekend for gamers who pre-ordered and some media.  If I had to describe the overall experience from this past weekend of beta testing it would be “Intense”.  Once the match gets started you are thrown into a small map that guarantees you will be in conflict in a matter of seconds.  Keeping in style with the previous Call of Duty’s this iteration maintained is 60fps frame rate and spawn kill die dynamic to give gamers a familiar feel.

Where this version of Black Ops differentiates itself are subtle changes like starting off the matches with a higher health gauge (150 instead of 100).  This allows players to last longer while under attack making attacks more tactical and cooperation among teammates if you want to survive longer. Killing an opponent will require a healthy amount of direct hits meaning that if you get the drop on an enemy it is likely you will come out wounded if you don’t land direct shots.  This makes cooperation among your team peril to succeed, especially going against a team that is ranked higher.

Your choice of weapons becomes crucial to your style of fighting.  Mostly everyone that was playing chose the MX9 submachine gun until they were promoted to the Spitfire.  This gun has such a high-fire velocity it almost became unfair in some matches where teams were mismatched and getting demolished.

The biggest improvement from the last Black Ops is the specialist system which allows you to choose from 10 different skilled characters, each with two unique attributes.  This is something heavenly influenced by the success of Overwatch.  With team sizes mostly small, 5-6 players, this became an important decision for survival and winning.  During the beta session you could tell players were testing themselves between certain missions and games trying to find their perfect combination.  For the avid CoD gamer this will be hours of testing and scheming to climb to the top of the rankings.

The change everyone noticed were the five compact maps not allowing players to really run and hide to collect ammo.  The map that was the most enjoyable was Gridlock, a Japanese city demolished by war making for a tight maze that saw very little safe spots.  The other maps were consistent to the previous Black Ops games with amazing scenery and a lot of interactive spots.

Overall after one beta session it is safe to say that this version of Black Ops doesn’t feel like its predecessors.  It’s intense and tactical, get ready to die a lot your first couple of hours.  Unlike previous multiplayer CoD games this one will force you to work with your team in order to survive.  Long gone are the days of plowing through 20-30 kill streaks.  The best kill streak we saw during our sessions was eight.  This is a much needed upgrade for the Call of Duty franchise in order to survive another eight years.

The Black Ops 4 Beta continues this weekend with Xbox One players getting their first crack at the game.  While this has been a good taste of the new Call of Duty, it is safe to say that everyone is waiting for Fortnite inspired battle royal mode that will be added on.