Hands-on: Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 multiplayer

First impressions of the new first-person shooter.

Call Of Duty multiplayer remains one of the most popular ways to play online, and the upcoming Black Ops 4 has given the mode a polish to try to preserve that fact.

Set in the period between Blacks Op 2 and 3, the basic narrative of this year’s multiplayer mode is to offer a backstory for each of the game’s Specialist characters.

With no single-player story mode to speak of, Black Ops 4’s multiplayer is at the centre of the new game and developer Treyarch has looked to change the tactics of it as a means of keeping the mode fresh.


In a departure from Black Ops 3, multiplayer this time around is very much “boots on the ground” – as Treyarch describes it.

Movements such as wall running and thrust jump have been done away with, keeping things much more basic in terms of combat and the tactics around it.

The health system has been simplified and made more hands-on too – now players have to manually heal themselves. It’s a decision that requires careful consideration in the midst of a firefight, much like when choosing to reload.

As a result, multiplayer combat now feels more considered – you can still “run and gun” if you want and rewards are there for such an approach, but with fewer elaborate moves on offer to miraculously escape a tight space, many players might find themselves tweaking their approach.


The unique abilities of the Specialists also offer further tactical options to take advantage of, with each of the characters having their own special weapon, blockade tool or ability to help team-mates or foil the enemy.

Combing these abilities across a team can have a devastating effect too, with remote turrets and barbwire blockades a handy way to stop enemies in their tracks when you’re trying to stay in control of areas of the map.

Even before the battle begins, players can toggle with the class and weapon settings of characters so they can ensure they go into the fight with an arsenal that suits how they want to play.

The Pick 10 mode makes a return here, allowing players to fill the 10 slots in a character’s inventory how they see fit, which lends itself to some creative choices to those that way inclined.

In more general terms, Black Ops 4 is a very colourful Call Of Duty game – the maps glimpsed in the hands-on were bright and interesting compared to the sometimes washed-out landscapes that can mark many a Call Of Duty map of years gone by.

It means that alongside the heightened sense of a tacitical approach and thought needed in the fight, the surroudings in which this all takes place are increasingly engaging.

Though the Zombies and new Blackout battle royale mode are still to be seen in action, the early signs in multiplayer are that Black Ops 4 will be the most accessible and replayable Black Ops game to date.

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