E3 2018: Hands-on – Call of Duty Black Ops IV

Sometimes you need a specialist to get the job done, and that rings true in Call of Duty Black Ops IV. I got to play two different modes, both 5v5 in the new Call of Duty. The specialists and create-a-class system let you pick a spec that suits your playstyle and I hopped into a match of Control with Ajax.

Ajax is a breacher and has a flash-bang that can be cooked to go off multiple times. Without regenerating health, getting an enemy down to lower health almost always helps your team, as that enemy is either going to be an easier target or is going to have to use their heal ability, which has a pretty long cooldown. Using skills and your ultimate ability gives players that can’t stay alive long enough to use a killstreak ability, or will help you get enough kills to do one later. Ajax can deploy a riot shield and shoot through it with a machine pistol.

I wasn’t able to take down many people using the shield, but I think in a team fight with someone hiding behind your cover could make for a pretty one-sided fight. The game of control was on a nice small map with three points to capture and control. The map updates as you and your team move around with vision cones so that you can see where is clear or where you don’t currently have information about, letting you decide whether to peek around a corner or just go running through an open area. Each side is limited to one of each specialist which makes team play a bit more cohesive at higher level play I think, but with a bunch of people running around like headless chickens, I don’t think I can comment on that really.

The second map we played I picked Firebreak for what is called Hardpoint. In this mode, an area spawns on a map that you need to control. Respawns on this map felt less like we had a specific side to spawn from, which led to some interesting fights. Firebreak is an area denial specialist and his ability is amazing. Firebreak can open a container full of radiation, hurting all nearby enemies, even through obstacles. I killed two guys that were trying to peek around a corner and take me out by running to their cover and opening up the radiation and listening to them melt on the other side of the wall. His ultimate is a flamethrower that made enemies feel like they were made of kindling. I melted my way through people while trying to control a point on the map that moved around every minute.

There was a lot of mad dashing in this map, which was a small area on a ship, full of small corridors, tight walkways and the like. With the point changing so often and not being sure where the enemy was going to spawn and attack from it made for some pretty tense firefights, often involving several people using their abilities to join the dogfight. It had the same frantic feeling as a team fight in a MOBA, with grenades and abilities and ultimates going off, with a killstreak finishing off whoever was left.

The guns feel responsive and smooth, with good kick and recoil. It feels like a lot of detail went into getting the handling of these weapons right and balancing kick vs killing power. The same smoothness is seen in movement and parkour as you vault into windows to get to the shooting and killing. It didn’t take long to start sliding around, trying to catch enemies in my sights. Matches were really fast paced too, with Hardpoint only lasting a maximum of five minutes. Pity, it was only five minutes, I wanted to rain more fiery radiation down on everyone. That flamethrower is such a satisfying weapon too.

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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