Should you buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?

COD Black Ops Hero
COD Black Ops Hero (Image credit: Activision)

Best answer: If you have ever enjoyed Call of Duty multiplayer, the answer is hell yes. This is Call of Duty at its best; boots on the ground with an evolved formula, and tons of competitive content.

Amazon: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 ($60)

What's so good about Black Ops 4?

Call of Duty's unique brand of twitch first-person shooting is a mainstay of the gaming industry, launching every year to massive sales and widespread praise. Personally, I haven't really enjoyed Call of Duty since the time of the original Black Ops, switching over to Battlefield for the promise of dedicated servers. Thankfully, in recent years, Activision has finally begun taking its server infrastructure more seriously, with the studio confirming to us in a previous interview that Black Ops 4 uses dedicated servers across both console and PC. That means no more server host migrations and reduced latency for smoother games, particularly for people with rough connections.

Black Ops 4 puts "boots on the ground," dropping some of the mech-inspired sci-fi gameplay of some previous Call of Duty games for gameplay with more of a classic feel. Black Ops 4 revolves around mercenaries who use customized, near-future gear, which does include some less "realistic" elements, but they're by no means what I'd call sci-fi. And they make for more interesting, evolved gameplay, without stepping all over that classic Call of Duty feel.

Tons of content

In Call of Duty's primary multiplayer mode, Control, teams of five players take turns to attack and defend control points around the map, with limited respawns and time. The best of three rounds wins. The attack and defend gameplay gives Black Ops 4's unique character classes opportunities to shine, all of which have unique equipment to bring to the table as part of a gradually recharging cooldown.

Call of Duty is at its best with Black Ops 4.

For example, Firebreak can irradiate an entire area of the map, denying enemy access to a control point, incinerating them with radioactive burns in the process. Ajax on the other hand sports a near-impenetrable riot shield, perfect for disrupting enemy lines. All of these more powerful abilities are on relatively long cooldown timers, but when they're ready to use, they can make or break a game.

Beyond regular multiplayer modes are Blackout and Zombies. Blackout is Call of Duty's take on the popular "battle royale" subgenre, bringing some much-needed polish to PUBG's pioneering format. You and squads of up to four will fight across a huge map to be the last team standing, scavenging weapons and health kits on-site. Blackout matches can be viciously intense and nerve-wracking as you ascend higher in the remaining pool of living players, as the map gradually shrinks in on you.

Zombies is Black Ops 4's PvE mode, allowing teams of up to four to battle it out against waves of increasingly powerful zombies and other mythological creatures. Like regular multiplayer, Zombies also features its own signature classes with unique abilities, allowing you to lay waste to piles of zombies in an instant or deliver clutch support to your friends.

Black Ops 4 has been criticized for canceling its campaign mode, but as a pure multiplayer experience, there's simply so much on offer across its various game modes that it will easily hold your attention for the next several weeks, maybe months, especially if you grab the season pass. The specialist HQ also has a wealth of narrative "story-like" content, including cinematics and dossiers, for those interested in the story of Black Ops 4.

So should you buy Black Ops 4?

If you've ever enjoyed Call of Duty multiplayer, the answer is yes. Black Ops 4 modernizes the formula without stamping all over what made Call of Duty great in the first place, boots on the ground, tons to unlock, varied game modes, better server infrastructure, and the all-new Blackout mode makes this a multiplayer package that'll keep you going for a long time.

For more detail on Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, read our full review.

If you're already sold on Call of Duty Black Ops 4, it might be worth considering picking up the Digital Deluxe Edition. It's cheaper than buying the standard edition and the season pass separately, and comes with all the same goodies, including 12 maps, more content for Zombie mode, exclusive specialists, and some cosmetic bonuses.

Jez Corden