Blackout is the Battle Royale mode in Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 and I have been playing the beta currently only on PS4 with Xbox and PC to follow on Friday 14 September and all 3 systems will then have their beta tests all weekend. At first glance Blackout looks very much like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and it is pretty clear that it is Treyarch’s strongest influence. Only PUBG is a buggy, broken mess a lot of the time with pretty poor graphics and terrible frame rates. And yet PUBG is the game I have poured more hours into than any other this year, such is the great and addicting hook of the battle royale game mode. Blackout unashamedly steals all of PUBG’s best ideas, gives everything a heap of large budget AAA polish with a pretty damn smooth 50-60fps frame rate and the same satisfying silky gunplay the COD series is known for.
It is not just PUBG with bottomless budget though. Treyarch have added their own distinctive COD flavour to Blackout that sets it apart. For instance the map is much smaller than PUBG’s and even smaller than Fortnite’s map. It is still pretty damn big and takes a long time to traverse but it takes way less time to get into the action. Loot is way more common too with great guns and equipment readily availabe pretty much where ever you drop. There are 80 players in the beta although Treyarch have said they have pushed it to 100 and even up to 115 but will see what is the best number for balancing the gameplay. From what I have played 80 feels very good. Matches are over a lot quicker than PUBG where it is pretty common to be traversing the map for 10-15 minutes and never see another player.
In Blackout there are also vehicles like PUBG but it also has helicopters which I think is a first for the battle royale sub-genre. They control very well feels very nice to drive and simple enough that it’s fun and easy to pull off some sick manoeuvres all while your team mates in the back lay down fire when your playing duos or squads. Treyarch also lends their excellent map design skills to Blackout here. The map is excellent with great locations that are a ton of fun to fight in. The main named locations are based off of popular maps across the Black Ops franchise. Like Array, Turbine & Nuketown. There is even an area called Asylum based off one of the locations from the zombie mode campaigns and it even has hordes of the undead wandering around in this area. Killing zombs will drop good loot and there are even chests in the Asylum that has some of the special weapons found in Treyarchs zombie modes such as the raygun which I have yet to get myself but sounds ridiculous and fun.
So far I am loving Blackout. It has the same tense, tactical gunplay as PUBG, with fast fluid and satisfying gameplay of Call Of Duty, great graphics & performances and some unique flavourings that sets it apart. I can’t wait to wing suit back into the action!