Surprisingly enough the Black Ops 4 beta turned out to be pretty decent (that is for a Call of Duty game).
Right from the start it showed a little bit of its ugly side though. Textures on the characters loaded in extremely slowly, and the first map I got into also took a while to load in the full detail.
While, graphically, the game isn’t overwhelmingly gorgeous, it isn’t bad to look at once it loads in properly. It has that typical Black Ops 2 & 3 style to the graphics.
At times friendlies seemed be very jumpy; almost like the session was lagging badly, but enemies rarely had this rubber banding going on.
The new self healing mechanic is weird at first, but after some getting used to it, it seems like a welcome edition. It feels like it adds some strategy and thought to when to hide and heal and when to engage.
Shotguns have been moved to the secondary slot which makes them feel underpowered, and SMGs feel extremely underpowered. Assault Rifles feel like the strongest weapon tier easily, but LMGs and snipers feel fair to use as well. Tactical rifles have their own section, and in the current map selection they feel too weak. The current map selection favors medium and short distance fights, but these don’t work very well in the shorter ranges.
Specialists and their equipment are fun to use and decently balanced. They are also much improved on from Black Ops 3. They feel like they actually affect the flow of the game now, and that your choice of specialist could make a difference in the outcome of the match.
The gameplay this time around feels like it rewards smart play much more than fast play. The changes to health really push this as well as some of the specialist equipment.
The new vision system feels like a vast improvement over the standard Call of Duty map vision. It works a lot more like a MOBA now; on the map you see what your teammates have vision of as well as any sensors deployed (these work like wards but are only available if you have them equipped to your class/specialist).
The spawn system in the game has been tweaked, but still retains its core. When you die you get shown the kill feed then a full map. The map shows all the vision your team has in real time, and give you the option to auto-spawn or spawn on specialist tactical insertions (if they are equipped and deployed).
While it has its quirks (some slight hitching here and there and the slow loading textures) it ran well for the most part; only dropping frame rate once on a PS4 pro.
This Call of Duty definitely has some potential, if it can dish out a decent amount of content. If there aren’t many more guns and maps than what’s available, then this could end up being a disappointment in the multiplayer mode, but we still have the “Blackout” mode to test out this September.
(Plus there’s Zombies (I really like the zombies mode))
Check out Main Menu Games in October when we review Black Ops 4.