Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII (PC) Preview

By David Lovato 14.08.2018

Review for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII on PC

Call of Duty is a staple of the first-person shooter scene, and probably the first franchise to come to mind at the mere mention of the genre. While not all of the title's connotations are positive ones, the series is among the most successful, and there are clear reasons for that. Lately, Activision has a few studios taking turns with the series, now split into various sub-series, and Treyarch's Black Ops games are up to bat this year. After Cubed3 tried out the PS4 Private Beta, now it is the turn of the PC edition to see how it's shaping up so far.

Starting with the elephant in the room; yes, this is indeed the first Call of Duty title to be multiplayer-only. The game features no campaign of any kind, which is somewhat disappointing. Previous entries have actually had pretty good campaigns to them, and often featured writing, voice, and motion capture work from big names in Hollywood. A Call of Duty title foregoing the single-player campaign is not an inherently bad choice, but calling it Black Ops IIII was. If any of the series' sub-arcs were most well-known for its story, it was probably this one, so removing that component from it seems strange. Due to this, as well as various changes to gameplay, Treyarch and Activision should have just come up with a different title. The bottom line is that this is very much a Call of Duty title, and very much not a Black Ops title.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII on PC

Naming gripes aside, Black Ops IIII is shaping up to be exactly what everyone expects of a Call of Duty entry. There's a persistent meme that, much like the Pokémon series, nothing changes between each release. Meanwhile, avid fans can list off all of the subtle changes at the drop of a hat. This is both a blessing and a curse for the franchise; there's a delicate balance to be struck between bringing new things to the table and not ruining the formula established by previous titles.

Having not played much Call of Duty since Black Ops II, which was very impressive, this new version seems, at least based on personal experiences, much more akin to the Advanced Warfare line, with players sometimes jet-packing or grappling hooking around the map, although not too often. At its core, it still feels very much like a Call of Duty title, and it was able to jump in and hold your own, despite only going off of my past experiences. It's a very fast-paced multiplayer shooter with tight gun controls and the ability to jump right back into the action after every death.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII on PC

The most foreign feature found was that auto-healing is gone, and healing must be done manually. It doesn't take long at all, but there's often a split second where one has to choose between healing, reloading, or even just pressing on, and it adds a surprising layer of depth to the game for such a simple change. It also seems to borrow the hero-based class system of competitors like Overwatch, where classes are more or less bound to specific characters. This is an interesting choice and it is unsure if anyone was clamouring for unique player characters in a Call of Duty experience. These ones are easily forgettable and often only stand out based on what campy-sounding lines and jargon they shout out.

Also returning is the plethora of confusing menus and customisation options. After levelling up, new class options are unlocked. How do you select or apply them? Sadly, it is not possible to say as during the beta more time was spent jumping into the next match to really dive into the menus and try to set things up the way players may want, and even changing some of the key-binds somehow led to accidentally re-binding the "fire" key and being unable to shoot, in this instance. This is all easily fixable with a little time and effort, but for people wanting to stay in one lobby and have yet to memorise the UI and layout of the game, options might as well not exist.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII on PC

The levelling system is similar to that of previous entries, although it feels far less punishing. There were still moments where less regular players will clearly just be plain outclassed, pumping lead into an enemy for several seconds only for them to turn around and one-shot you with a shotgun from fifteen feet away as though they were casually swatting a fly, but these moments in the Beta were far fewer than in previous versions, where the first several levels of progression seemed to exist for no reason other than to weed out people looking to get into it. Nearly all of the deaths during this preview session were due to user errors, rather than opponents simply having access to objectively better equipment.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII on PC

Final Thoughts

At this current stage, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII is, like most Call of Duty titles, a continuation of the games that came before it, with a few differences sprinkled in. Returning fans will feel right at home, and while this isn't likely to attract anyone not already interested in the franchise or genre as a whole, it's also not likely to push existing fans away. Zombies mode will also be returning, as well as a new Battle Royale mode, and it will be interesting to see what changes these bring to the table. For now, the bottom line is that it was probably silly to call this Black Ops IIII due to the campaign removal but, besides that, it's everything anyone would expect from a Call of Duty experience.

Also known as

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Developer

Treyarch

Publisher

Activision Blizzard

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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