With another year, comes another Call of Duty title – this time with the return of the Black Ops sub-franchise. While the lack of a single player campaign may turn some fans away, there's still plenty to look forward to. Here are five reasons we reckon you should be excited for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Here it is, the big one. Prior to Fortnite, the Battle Royale genre was led by PUBG. A janky mess that slowly evolved into a less janky mess (on PC at least), PUBG is still played by millions, even with its cartoon-ish competitor's meteoric rise in popularity. Never one to leave money on the table, Blackout sees Activision jump into the genre with both boots on the ground.
So could we see a new champion? Blackout is more fluid than PUBG and available on PlayStation. Compared to the arguably more "child friendly" Fortnite, it's grittier and more mature. It also makes smart changes to the Battle Royale paradigm – imagine fighting off adversaries only to succumb to a group of zombies that have snuck up on you, or using a helicopter to get the drop on a sniper. There are a wealth of possibilities to be explored in Blackout.
Sweeping changes to multiplayer
Spawn, shoot, kill, die, spawn, shoot, kill, die. If you're anything like us, this gameplay loop will be familiar to you. Black Ops 4 shakes up the series' running and gunning with a persistent health system – no more ducking behind a box and miraculously feeling much better. You'll need to heal manually, adding a new consideration in the midst of a firefight. You'll have to earn every killstreak, and ensure you finish off enemies lest they heal up and come back at you.
While you're killing and dying all over again, your XP will also unlock new tiers of attachments with more dynamic changes to the weapons they're applied to. For example, one grip may improve your recoil, but its levelled variant may negate it entirely.
A laser sharp focus
With the removal of the single player campaign, Treyarch have been able to incorporate more into Black Ops 4's multiplayer than any prior game. With 15 maps at launch, ten specialists to choose from (each one capable of adding an Operator Mod to weapons), and a 'Solo Missions' area to hone the skills of each, there is plenty of strategy and longevity to be found outside of the usual Prestige climb.
With Treyarch being the first Call of Duty developer to sneak those pesky undead into its game, you'd be right to expect big things from Zombies this time around. On the disc at launch, there's not one, not two, but three Zombie campaigns, each wildly more varied than the last.
One takes place in an Ancient Roman arena, while one takes place on a boat you may have heard of called The Titanic. Finally, there is a remake of Black Ops II's excellent 'Mob of the Dead' included, too.
Boots on the ground – mostly
Much was made of the addition of boost jumps in Advanced Warfare back in 2014, but with the subsequent Black Ops 3 and Infinite Warfare iterations drawing more ire from the fanbase, Treyarch have followed last year's WWII in removing jetpacks and boost jumps.
That said, Black Ops 4 seems to strike a decent balance between realism and fantasy. You may not be wall-running, but you can wing-suit down onto a moving vehicle in Blackout, or grapple-hook Batman-esque across a street with a shotgun in hand in Multiplayer.
What are you most excited about in Black Ops 4? And will you be picking it up even without a single player campaign? Keep your boots on the ground in the comments section below.