Call of Duty Blackout BETA Review

By Chris Tunn on 20th September 2018

This is Blackout - David Vondehaar 17:5

And thus his words where spoken. Lord Vondehaar revealed to the world that, unsurprisingly, Treyarch were producing a Battle Royale Call of Duty game. After the unfathomable success of Fortnite, this decision was predicted. EA has followed suit with their own in Battlefield V, along with rumours of Red Dead Redemption 2 containing something similar.

This influx of BR game modes are a testament to how well the genre is doing. Fortnite creators Epic Games are currently making upwards of $250m profit per month. It's popular, there's no denying it.

So let's talk Blackout. If you played the Black Ops 4 beta a month ago, the controls and new healing mechanic will come easily to you. It starts with a drop in the 'Staging Area'. This is typically a random location on Blackouts map. The map itself is fairly large, but it's not the scale that's the impressive part. It's a culmination of years of Black Ops maps. Fan favourites Firing Range, Standoff, Raid are all included as well as multiple locations from various zombie campaigns. Each corner of the map is a different throwback to all your favourites from Treyarch. Of course, some of the areas are more popular than others, with Firing Range and Asylum tending to be the favourites. Oh, and Nuketown Island. Yes. Nuketown ISLAND.

From the staging area, you're transported across the map in a huge fleet of aircraft. The only choice you have to make is when to drop. From there, your wing-suit is deployed and you dive into combat. Once your parachute is pulled and you land at one of many attractive locations, you need to find some loot. Now let's talk about the loot, the ever-present, crucial part of any BR game. Blackout has A LOT of it. Various weapons from the current iteration of Black Ops can be located in many places. Weapons, Armour, Grenades, Mines. If it's been in Call of Duty Black Ops, it's in there. Of course, weapons are the main thing you want to grab first. There are a plethora of different weapons, attachments and sights for you to equip yourself. SMG's, AR's, LMG's and Snipers are the mainstays of your arsenal, and they all do the same thing very well. There are a few weapons that seem a little stronger than others, but at the correct range they all work good enough to take people down fairly quickly.

COD Blackout First Impressions with Tunn - Fortnite is Done

Some would argue that the Armour is a little more important to pick up first. A very powerful piece of loot, Armour allows you to take a few extra bullets giving you a massive upper hand in every gunfight you take. Of course, this armour depreciates with every shot you take, but at the time of writing it is a fairly common pickup. With armour, comes my first complaint. Armour has 3 levels, (1, 2 and 3) and the complaint is against the level 3. Never mind a few extra bullets, it takes nearly a full clip to get rid of level 3 armour. It's so powerful that it makes you really think about what gunfights you want to take. It's just a little too strong for my liking and can be picked up from random loot positions. It needs to either be removed or become SUPER rare.

Let's move on to the game-play itself. There were some initial concerns when the game was announced that as a BR, Call of Duty could be a little bit chaotic. It is absolutely chaotic but in the best way possible. It's super speedy from the word go. You fall on to the map at what feels like light speed, and you're thrown into the action even faster. It's a race for the guns and armour for the first 5 seconds, then all hell breaks loose. Shotguns, although poor in the late game are supremely powerful when nobody has armour or attachments on their guns. Explosions go off as players try to stick frag grenades to your torso as most people don't have armour to protect them. It's an absolute brawl for 60 seconds.

Then, very quickly, it settles into something different. A calmer mid game where players must move tactically into strong positions within the collapsing circle. Oh, did we mention that this collapsing circle REALLY hurts? The zone is unforgiving, ticking fairly high early and it seriously hurts you in the late game. Moving into the late game, a sniper and AR tend to be the load-out of choice (Koshka and the VAPR are my go to's). Again, it slows further. It becomes a game of who can snipe better if players are out in the open, but be wary of players camping in small rooms. For all the aggression and speed that Call of Duty offers, there's always some people who want to slow it down to their pace, and the game can work in their favour. Running around like a lunatic at this stage in the game is nearly a death sentence.

How to Get Easy Wins on COD Blackout

Ultimately, Blackout just works. It's what PUBG aspires to be. It's polished, it's fairly well balanced (outside of armour), it's fast, it's fun. It's Call of Duty on a huge, aggressive, chaotic scale and it just works so well. As said, there are issues like Armour, that does need further balancing and sometimes on a standard PlayStation the graphics are a little slow to render at range (A PlayStation Pro does help the aesthetics of this game), but remember this is just the BETA.

At its core, Treyarch has outdone expectations with this game on every single level. Call of Duty BR has begun, and it will be here to stay for years to come.

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