Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Articles RSS Feed | Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Battle Royale Breakdown: Fortnite, PUBG, Blackout, Apex Legends — Which One Should You Play? Wed, 27 Feb 2019 09:00:01 -0500 John Schutt

Battle royale.

It began as a manga, then it was a movie, and then it was a mod for a military simulation game. But now? It is a full-blown phenomenon.

The battle royale genre has become so ubiquitous that even people who know nothing about video games are familiar with the name of its heaviest hitters. You know them, too: FortnitePlayerUnknown's Battleground, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode.

With Respawn Entertainment's new Apex Legends, there is yet another contender in the genre, which may leave some players asking a question: Which battle royale should I play?

For fans that want to know which game is worth their time, money, frustration, and joy, there are three factors to consider. Once these factors are understood, players can choose the title that is best suited for them.

Let's dig in and see what each has to offer, as well as what types of players each game are good, and bad, matches for. 

Apex Legends

Apex Legends is the newest kid on the block, and it is Respawn Entertainment's answer to everything battle royale. It's clean, smooth, and offers innovations that make it one of the most refreshing takes on the genre in years.


Gunplay in Apex Legends operates at the smoothness we've come to expect from Respawn's games — like expensive butter on an even more expensive dish.

Amidst the gunplay in the four titles analyzed here, I unequivocally prefer the version in Legends. On a purely technical level, nothing beats it. 

Every gun sounds like it could take your arm off — the mechanical sounds are crunchy and visceral, and the incidentals (charging, cocking, casing ejection) are a pure joy to listen to. More than that, every weapon has a personality, much in the same way a PUBG weapon does, but the difference here is the travel time.

In Battlegrounds, you don't wait too long to hit someone at even the farthest distances, but Legends demands a lot of lead from its players. I've heard more than one player mention how the travel time messes with the aim they've come to expect from other titles.

Regarding the various categories of guns, I don't think there's a single one without a game-changer. Even the trash-tier options are viable in certain situations, and the meta is still so in flux that we haven't completely nailed down the god setup everyone should use all of the time.

Overall, the gunplay in Legends is leagues above even what you find in Black Ops 4's Blackout mode, but the skill ceiling is higher. That means that actually "gitting gud" takes a level of dedication and investment many players might not have the time for.

If I could level any criticism against Respawn's instant hit, it would be that players below a certain skill level are just going to lose, a lot, and accessibility is one way battle royale titles make their bones. But hey, it hit 25 million players in a week, so what do I know?



There are a few things that make Legends something of an odd duck when it comes to the loot game:

  1. Each main landing area is rated by the level of loot you find there. That means that the safe, low-rated landing options won't get you everything you might need for later in the game.

  2. The game features a cargo ship. You will have to race against the rest of the lobby for it, and it's filled with good stuff for a squad.

  3. Many of the heroes have abilities that make looting a risky proposition.

These factors make it hard to pin down exactly where Legends sits amidst the other three games listed here. It has elements of all of them and some new ideas of its own that none of the other battle royales can boast.

Like Fortnite, each combat zone is open enough to mean that there is nowhere to hide when searching for loot. Legends takes this a step further by adding Bloodhound's pulse ability to the mix.

Like Black Ops 4, going from gearing up to giving the beat down happens in one smooth motion. However, you're more likely to find a single gun and take the fight to the enemy, rather than fully gearing up, in Legends.

And like PUBG, the loot that you find is just half of the equation. Legends' movement and hero abilities make even the worst guns usable.

Overall, the loot game in Apex Legends is the best kind of insanity. You can take it slow or kill the whole lobby in 10 minutes, and you can do so with both ease and style.

The Hook

This one's easy: the heroes. While I could talk about the ping system, or the team-based mechanics, or the movement all day, the ability to pick a character and build your playstyle around their kit, sets Legends apart from any other BR on the market.

Plus, every character is so different from a usability standpoint. As we talked about in our Apex Legends character ranking, different heroes have different uses and effectiveness, but they also have personality that you can love or hate. And that's valuable.

People love a good story, and if you are attached to a particular character's personality, that makes using their abilities more fun. You can project a little of yourself onto them in ways our other contenders don't allow.

The abilities also create opportunities for new types of gameplay, and different playstyles, depending on how you choose to use your character's kit. Like Fortnite, you can set the pace of an engagement with the press of a button, but rather than changing the world around you, you're using an ability that forces your enemies to rethink their strategy.

Of course, they can do the same to you, so the unpredictability makes playing Apex Legends a real treat.

A Good Match For:

Battle royale veterans and newbies alike. Legends iterates enough on the formula that everyone will have a learning curve, but everyone has something to offer their squad here.

Not A Good Match For:

Players that want an easy experience or don't like hero shooters. Apex Legends is a surprisingly deep game and takes time and plenty of dying to master. And if you don't want in-game characters changing how the game's played, Legends is not for you.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout Mode

Made in just six months, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode dominated the battle royale space for months, giving Fortnite its first real taste of competition. It offers its players the refined Call of Duty experience with plenty of attention paid to every aspect of the BR genre. 


Shooting in Call of Duty has always felt good, and Treyarch has had ample time to hone their gun mechanics to a razor's edge. That fact is as true as ever in Blackout, and, thanks to generous recoil mechanics and plenty of weapon lethality, this entry might be the most accessible battle royale experience on the list.

Like Apex Legends, but to a lesser extent, Blackout's gunplay feels smooth. Every gun on offer, even the joke ones like the lever action or the Ray Gun, handle like dreams. There's plenty of punch behind every trigger pull, and Call of Duty's trademark hit marker sound gives the player instant feedback, regardless of how close or far away an enemy is. 

Weapon usability is also fairly uniform across each class. Every category of weapon has some use.

Overall, the gunplay in Blackout is smooth, punchy, and powerful. That's not surprising based on the series' long history of top-notch mechanics, but nowhere in the franchise has it been this clean, except maybe Modern Warfare 2


Like the shooting, the looting experience in Blackout is smooth. While the availability of the best guns varies by location, no matter where you land, you're bound to find something to give you an edge. 

The transition from a landing, to grabbing the bare essentials, to taking on squad after squad is intoxicating because it doesn't feel like there's been a transition at all. It just sort of... happens

Blackout sits somewhere between PUBG and Fortnite's loot games. Because of the general effectiveness of most of the guns in Blackout, the first thing on your mind does not need to be finding something to get you past the first fight.

Additionally, once you know where to drop at each location, you can establish a route to take you to your initial setup each time.

The Blackout difference is in its speed. You very well might have all of an area to yourself, but with the movement options available to every player and plenty of vehicles, you could have someone on top of you far sooner than you expect. Fortnite is similar, but the destructible environments add that extra layer Blackout lacks.

The reduced complexity doesn't hurt Call of Duty's battle royale mode, because it brings some of the PUBG suspense and tension. You'll know how many people landed with you, not where they are or what they've picked up, and in many cases have no easy way to get to them quickly, even if you have a good guess. Every engagement becomes cat and mouse, with the roles shifting almost every second.

Overall, Blackout's loot game is Silky/10. Just don't let the smoothness fool you. You will die, and quickly.

The Hook

Much like PUBGBlackout is relatively free of gimmicks or complicated mechanics. It's saving grace is the core gameplay powering it: sleek, deadly Call of Duty design.

Optimal movement is essential, and because it's so fast and fluid, players of multiple skill levels can get in and out of trouble with a grace only Apex contests. But even Respawn's effort lacks a certain elegance when it comes to moving around the map. Acceleration becomes a problem, and there's a certain heaviness to some of the movement.

Not so in Blackout. Here, everyone on the map can duck, dodge, dip, dive, and dodge with the kind of style no other battle royale currently offers. 

If there were one aspect of this BR that gives it something of an edge, it would be the perk system. Putting Call of Duty-style perks into an otherwise even playing field was a risky move, and the balance is still a little wonky. However, like making your own cover or using a specialist ability to get out of cover, activating the right perk at the right time can and will win you fights and matches.

Which, of course, is the point.

A Good Match For:

Call of Duty and battle royale fans, or fans of any shooter with a fast pace and smooth feel.

Not A Good Match For:

People looking for major innovations on the established formula. Blackout is BR done well, and it has a few neat tricks up its sleeve, but it does little to push the genre forward like Fortnite or Legends.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

The game that started the current craze, PUBG may have lost its crown as king, but it remains one of the most played games on PC. Nothing flashy here, just pure gunplay on an enormous map.


PUBG's gunplay couldn't be any less like the other titles on this list. It's heavy, sometimes sluggish, and often hard to control. The bullets travel deceptively fast, the feedback is almost purely visual, and the guns themselves can be a little awkward in even the most skilled hands.

What sets PUBG apart is in its consistency. Thanks to its relatively small selection of weapons, when you pick something up, you instantly know what it will feel like to shoot. Once you get a handle on travel time, you can be accurate to stupid distances.

Once you've got the setup you want, you'll know what distances you're best suited for, provided there's no lag (a rare enough thing, I know). Even when few engagements are entirely on your terms, you can have total control of the gun in your hands.

As for the weapons themselves, each of them has a unique character, but weapons within a specific type have a similar feel.

Overall, PUBG's gunplay is responsive, reliable, and weighty. It's a technically proficient system that deserves immense praise for the precision the game requires of its players. While it's difficult to master, those who do are terrors no one will see coming.


There is no tiered loot in PUBG. There are worthwhile places to drop and bad ones. No one will know what you have until they kill you or you get close enough to see their models or hear the actual report of the gun. The weapon you pick up at the start of the game could very well stay with you the entire rest of the match, either because it's a meta weapon or just one you like.

As mentioned above, PUBG is all about consistency. You know what you'll be getting the instant you see a gun. Minus a few attachments, the gun you pick up will work pretty much the same way every time.

That's a real positive. Unlike the other entries on our list, there's very little about Battlegrounds to surprise players, whether they're new or old. Yes, someone who just bought the game won't necessarily know whether they want to use an M16 or an AK, or even the benefits or detriments of either, but they will quickly realize if they like what they have or not.

All that takes some of the bite out of the initial head game of where to drop, what to pick up, where to hide, and so on. 

What it doesn't do is remove the tension. That lack of extra thought only serves to heighten the stress. In Fortnite, you'll probably hear the side of a building go down. In Blackout, you can juke this way and that to avoid fire. In Apex, the heroes have abilities to get you out of a jam.

In PUBG, you have what the game gives you and nothing else. Did that guy who landed across the way find a better gun? Armor? Two guns? Pair those few unknowns with the slower, more measured movement and the looting before a gunfight becomes an exercise in willpower, more cat and mouse than a shoot-em-up.

Overall, PUBG's loot game is Simple is Best/10. Learn it. Live it. Love it.

The Hook

What is the secret sauce that propelled PUBG to the top of the Steam charts, where it remains to this day?

Perfect pacing.

As we've discussed, Battlegrounds doesn't have a lot of fancy tricks to keep players engaged. Its guns are its guns. The movement is sluggish and heavy. The loot game creates tension but lacks flair.

Instead, PUBG fine-tuned the pace of each match until it couldn't take another tweak, then released it into the wild to let players learn how to approach each match.

The ramp up and slow down in this game is a sight to behold. Without additional considerations to make, gameplay can be measured, thoughtful, and precise. The chaos of dropping in a high-population area might feel different than taking the safe route, but no matter where you land, the cat and mouse game feels the same. Your only difference? How many cats and how many mice.

A Good Match For:

Shooter fans who want a streamlined experience built on solid foundations, that feels weighty, takes skill, and creates tension at the best moments.

Not A Good Match For:

Those looking for a fast, smooth, forgiving experience. PUBG has never offered its players favors, and the sluggish movement can be incredibly offputting for some.


Where would the battle royale genre be without Fortnite? It's a question we may never have a satisfactory answer to, but there is no denying the absolute powerhouse that Epic Games has created. From the introduction of building to its constant content updates, it's only in recent days that this game has had any competition for its long-held crown.


The only game on the list with hitscan weapons, Fortnite offers an experience filled with "snappy" gunplay. You aim at someone with anything except a sniper or a shotgun at-range, and you will hit them from any distance.

Hit feedback is instant, colorful, and satisfying, though only to a moderate degree. Where Fortnite shines is in the movement from weapon to weapon. Draw times are fast across the board, making combo-style shots both a breeze and incredibly fun to pull off.

On the whole, Fortnite's gunplay is tight, responsive, and fun. It won't win any awards for innovation, but there's no denying that the technical aspect of pulling the trigger and watching enemies perish is incredibly solid.

The Loot

Fortnite's loot metagame revolves around the tier of loot you can find, and often about who picks up the shotgun first in a given zone. Because of the building mechanic (discussed in more detail below), where you land is also about more than just the guns you want to find. It's about maximizing your materials early on so you can make the cover you need to win. 

Combine those two factors and you have a particularly deep pool of decisions to make at the start of every match. While there are better zones to drop than others, no one will guarantee you get what you want every match.

Because almost everything is destructible, nowhere is safe, no matter where you are on the map, adding another layer of complexity the other three games on our list don't have. 

Add in the sheer volume of every sound in Fortnite and the number of considerations you have to make at every moment is staggering. 

Fortnite further differentiates itself by having dead enemies explode out their loot like confetti, making it both tantalizing to you and everyone within eyeshot. Sure, trading out your green burst rifle for a gold AR is nice, but did someone see you take it, and do they have a sniper rifle?

Overall, Fornite's loot game is Complicated/10. And that's a good thing.

The Hook

This one is obvious: building and environment destruction. Unlike the other three games on our list, every player on the map can determine their terms of every engagement. Getting shot from an off angle? But up a wall. Need to get on top of that hill? Build stairs.

It seems like such a simple thing in theory. Give someone control of how their fights go, outside of even the static environment. Actually implementing such a system is a masterstroke. 

Fortnite's system works so well because the actual building mechanics are so simple. Push button, build thing. Even if there were only one material type and one object type, I believe Epic Games' cash cow would still dominate the market.

But they went further.

Instead, there are three different material types that come from different destructible objects, and you can add doors and traps and campfires and bouncy pads and all manner of additional silliness. Like the split second decisionmaking required at the start of every match, in Fortnite a calm moment can quickly become a spastic build-fest free off the need to find cover and return fire.

No, here you make your cover yourself, and you decide how to engage. Other players will just have to adapt.

A Good Match For:

Anyone with two thumbs and access to darn near any form of playable media. More seriously, Fortnite is great for players with above average reflexes, a love of colorful aesthetics, and some deep mechanics buried beneath an accessible exterior.

Not A Good Match For:

Anyone who wants a more streamlined shooter experience. Fortnite's gameplay takes some getting used to, and though it embraces many of the standards set by other top third person action games, it makes several innovations that more conventional players might not enjoy.


The Final Question

So which battle royale spoke to you? Do you want the simple, precise tension of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds or the insanity and heroes of Apex Legends? Does the chance to redefine the battlefield in Fortnite speak to you, or do you want to be everywhere at once in Blackout?

As I said at the start, I don't think there's a wrong answer, only different choices. The best part about that is, none of these games are going anywhere fast, and if the past is any indication, they'll be evolving for a long time to come. 

See you in the ring.

7 Xbox One Games That Need Mouse and Keyboard Support — But Don't Wed, 09 Jan 2019 17:30:41 -0500 Ty Arthur


While these are the seven games we'd like to see get mouse and keyboard support on the Xbox One, there are easily dozens more that would work well with more input options.


Of course, personal preference plays a large role here; most players tend to agree that Superhot actually works better with a controller than a mouse, for instance.


What games do you want to see make it to the list? Let us know in the comments section below!


Ark: Survival Evolved


You had to know this one was coming, right? Ark may have been on consoles for quite a while now, but a big portion of the playerbase first jumped in on the early access PC version and is much more used to those controls.


When you have such a sprawling, complicated crafting and breeding system like with Ark, it becomes unwieldy when you cram it all into a handful of buttons.


Keyboard and mouse input opens up Ark's options considerably, although it's worth noting the console version isn't terrible by any means. The devs even somehow managed to make Ark work fairly well with even fewer buttons on the iOS version.


Who knows what's going on with that sorcery. 


Cities: Skylines


It almost feels like we didn't need to list this one because it's such an obvious contender.


Any overhead city management sim is always going to have a smoother experience when mouse and keyboard are involved; easily scrolling with a mouse instead of relying on a control stick is always better.


The ability to quickly click options in the in-game list instead of having to scroll through them with a controller just makes the gameplay much more satisfying. That's not to mention the accuracy a mouse brings to the table; building roads can be tricky in the PC version of the game, but it's a nightmare on console. 




This may be an older title, but it's still beloved by many and is a hallowed classic that put Supergiant Games on the map.


If you've played both versions of the game, you probably prefer the PC version over its console counterpart. That's because the weapon control scheme just works better with a mouse and keyboard.


Fingers crossed this one gets keyboard support soon so we can replay this groundbreaking title on our living room TVs. 


Divinity: Original Sin II


By and large, RPG fans absolutely adored this take on turn-based fantasy shenanigans; they even had a great time with it on consoles last year.


However, there was one nagging issue that kept me from deeming it a console classic, even if it was on PC. 


Of course, that was the lack of keyboard and mouse support.


It's beyond clear this style of game is meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard, much like a classic cRPG. The experience just changes too radically when you try to force this type gameplay onto a limited-input controller.


Wasteland 2 


All of those killer old-school, Renaissance-style cRPGs that have arrived thanks to crowdfunding have been making their way to consoles lately. There's no question that they are far better experiences when you ditch the controller.


For a tactical RPG like Wasteland 2, the ability to roll over and click on-screen elements, or to quickly tap keyboard shortcuts, is a huge part of the game's overall feel and style. There's just something lost when playing with a controller. 


Follow-up Wasteland 3 (set in the snowy post-apocalyptic Colorado landscape) will drop later this year, and if history is any indication, we can expect console versions to follow at some point. And all of those should support mouse and keyboard, especially in 2019.


There's really no excuse for them not to. 


Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4


This one is a matter of personal preference, but there's a colossal crop of players who prefer playing FPS games with mouse and keyboard, primarily for increased control and accuracy. With the addition of a battle royale mode, mouse support for the Xbox One version of Black Ops 4 has become even more of a necessity.


It's obvious why Fortnite was one of the first games to receive mouse and keyboard support. If you've played both the PC and console version of the battle royale king, you know it's easier to throw up walls or use items quickly by using side mouse buttons or specific key bindings that you've set yourself instead of relying on the game's vanilla bindings.


Blackout may not have the same building aspects as Fortnite, but there are still plenty of other battle royale elements that would make this a much smoother experience with a keyboard and high-end gaming mouse.


That's not even mentioning the boon this would be for traditional multiplayer matches. 


Halo Wars 2


This one is beyond obvious. RTS games were always meant to be played with mice and keyboards in mind; console controllers were ostensibly tacked on later to varying degrees of success (anybody remember Starcraft 64?).


Players have been begging for mouse control for Halo Wars 2 since it first landed, and this seems like a title that must be in the next crop of K+M-compatible announcements.


It's worth noting that players have actually been hacking together unsupported third-party solutions for this problem since the game released, but they usually get banned when playing online, so official mouse and keyboard support would be a godsend to the player base.


The crossover event we've all been waiting for has arrived: USB mouse and keyboard support for Xbox One is finally here.


Of course, there are some caveats, unfortunately.


While you can plug any USB mouse and keyboard into the console and hope for the best, the only officially licensed device right now is the Razer Turret -- a wireless keyboard/mouse combo that runs at a whopping $249 and was low-key released during CES 2019.


That's a hefty price tag, but it definitely ticks a lot of the right boxes for those looking for a more PC-centric experience on console. Not only does it have the right green/black aesthetic to go with your Xbox One, it also brings the satisfying chunk chunk chunk sounds of a mechanical keyboard to your living room. Plus, it's got a ton of RGB backlighting options to go along with it.


The Xbox One games that support K+M controls are quite limited at the moment, with these games ready to go right out of the gate:

  • Fortnite
  • \n
  • Minecraft
  • \n
  • Warframe
  • \n
  • Bomber Crew
  • \n
  • Deep Rock Galactic
  • \n
  • Strange Brigade
  • \n
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  • \n
  • War Thunder
  • \n
  • X-Morph Defense
  • \n

Quite a few more titles are set to receive support in the coming months, and it seems obvious that some games are more suited for this input method than others. In particular, there are a host of games that were ported from PC and were obviously made with the keyboard and mouse control schemes in mind.


Here, we've rounded up our top 7 Xbox One games that need keyboard support, from RPGs to RTSes and beyond.

How to Make the Most of the Zero Specialist in Black Ops 4 Fri, 21 Dec 2018 11:20:00 -0500 John Schutt

Call of Duty Black Ops 4's new specialist, Zero, was so effective she's already been nerfed. But even with the significant patch that came out earlier this week, she's still one of the most powerful specialists on the field, and in the hands of a competent player, she can turn whole matches on their head in seconds.

Zero isn't the first time Treyarch added a hacking mechanic to their multiplayer. Back in Black Ops 2, the Black Hat equipment played much the same role as her Ice Pick.

With a few seconds, players could destroy or take control of any enemy placeable equipment or streaks. The Black Hat returned in Black Ops 3 much reduced and saw limited use as a result.

The difference for Zero is that she can do all that, and hack other players, too. What in Advanced Warfare was a sometimes difficult to earn killstreak has become all but a certainty if there's a Zero in the match, and even in her post-nerf state, you will see plenty of players making use of her skills.

So how can you take up the Zero mantle and make your enemies' lives miserable? Read on to find out.

Disruptor's Good to Go

Zero's EMP grenade is everything you'd expect: it disrupts enemy HUDs, cancels their ability to use streaks, and destroys all equipment within a given radius.

Brainless, right? Not really. Like Ajax's Nine Bang (itself on the receiving end of a significant nerf), the EMP's use is somewhat situational and takes slightly more forethought to use effectively.

You want to know two things before you decide to toss an EMP:

  1. Whether enemies will be within its radius
  2. Whether its use benefits anyone but Zero

The first point should be obvious. An EMP is worthless if it doesn't connect with anyone, even with its relatively short cooldown time. You'll need to have a general idea of how troops flow on each map and some concept of where they're likely to be in the middle of a round. 

Luckily, few people run suppressors and Fog of War and UAV should give you a good idea of who's where, when.

The second point is purely a personal choice. You can use the EMP as a survival tool, but it's not going to stop someone from shooting you like Torque's Barricade or Razor Wire might. It's not going to blind anyone like the Nine Bang. That said, there's always a chance you'll catch someone off guard just long enough to duck behind cover.

In short, you have to put a little thought into where and when you use the EMP, but don't hesitate to use it when you have it available. It will win fights for you or your teammates.

Zero Day Exploit

The Ice Pick. Perhaps the most powerful specialist ability, capable of affecting almost anything and everything the enemy team could use against you, including themselves.

It has no range limitation, no effective perk counter, and though it has a longer cooldown, once used everyone on the map immediately feels the effects.

It has a few weaknesses: the tablet takes up the whole screen, robs its user of mobility, and the hack takes enough time for spawns to flip, forcing a premature end to any Zero player's plans.

Make no mistake, however. Its strengths far outweigh any of its limitations. That means the next question is:

"Why not use it as soon as I have it?"

Simple. A full team hack is nice to have, but if you can rob your enemy of crucial assets in the air and on the ground, you'll get a lot more out of a single hack than just 60 points.

The best way to use the Ice Pick, then, is to wait until momentum shifts away from your team. The moment you feel like you and your teammates are standing on the back foot, because of killstreaks, equipment, or otherwise, make a point of removing those advantages all at once.

If you feel like the match will remain in your favor regardless of a hack, use it instead as a turbo boost. An enemy on the back foot is more likely to take additional caution when he hears a hack is on the way. Once it goes through, you'll put any streak or equipment resistance on hold.

In either case, you'll want to find a low-traffic area of the map, hunker down, and make the enemy team's life a living hell. For 30 seconds, at least.

Power Through

So we know how to use the EMP. We know the power of the Ice Pick. Now how do you play Zero at every other time, and how does she play with her full kit available?

Like every other Specialist with a focus on speed

Crash, Battery, Ajax, Ruin. If you know what it means to play these Specialists, you understand the value of being in someone's face whenever possible.

Zero is no different. Be aware that a hacked enemy can still shoot you, but everything else about them save their healing is unusable. They are a walking gun, nothing more.

You'll want to focus on weapons you can count on, the fast, powerful stuff that grants mobility without sacrificing firepower. That means SMGs, ARs, and certain LMGs with the right loadout.

Lead an engagement with your EMP, then rush in when your opponent is disoriented. Also be aware that the EMP has a wide radius, so the enemies it hits might be farther away than you expect. 

If the Ice Pick is up and it's a good time to use it, do so and head to a high-traffic area of the map to take advantage of your foes' disorientation. 

When you're playing on a more wide-open map, I would advise against Zero in some cases, especially if there are a lot of long sightlines that make her EMP less of an asset. Thankfully, there are enough close-quarters areas on Black Ops 4's maps you can hang out and make the best use of her kit.

If you must play slow, you'll be hampering Zero's immediate effectiveness. Sure, you might have an easier time getting to the Ice Pick, but you deny your team the more localized EMP support. You're also robbing yourself of the opportunity to make a real nuisance of yourself. 

And at the end of the day, that's what Zero is all about: being the biggest nuisance on the battlefield. Her job isn't holding down a position, clearing a room, or making sure teammates have a better chance of winning their gunfights. 

Her job is ensuring the enemy can't do anything she doesn't want them to do.

What's more fun than control like that?


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 remains on track to be one of the best shooters of 2018 as long as Treyarch can keep from meddling too much in the core mechanics that make a Call of Duty title tick.

Zero comes dangerously close to crossing that line, but her addition manages to shake up the Specialist meta in a way some players won't like, but others will love.

If you're still on the fence about picking it up, check out our review. If you're looking to take your gameplay to another level, read our Specialist guide. And don't forget that there's plenty of other Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 content on GameSkinny. It's all right here.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 New Specialist Zero Gets Nerfed Wed, 19 Dec 2018 14:52:59 -0500 William R. Parks

Last week, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's first major content update brought a new specialist, Zero, to Treyarch's first-person shooter. However, this initial incarnation of Zero appears to have not been long for this world, as the company has just nerfed the specialist in the face of community unrest.

Zero's nerf focuses specifically on reducing the power level of her hacking abilities. Players will now find that it takes longer to hack sentries, attack choppers, gunships, and more, and hacking an opponent will no longer stop their healing cooldown.

Furthermore, Treyarch has increased the amount of time required to obtain the specialist's Ice Pick, the ability that facilitates her hacking. This nerf should further reduce the power of the ability by making it less immediately available.

When Zero was introduced to those playing on PlayStation 4 last week, the player base immediately reacted with indication that she was far too powerful. Not only were her abilities easily capable of single-handedly altering the outcome of a match, by promptly destroying an enemy Attack Chopper, for example, there was seemingly no counter.

Players that were dominating matches would find that all of their equipment and vehicles had been commandeered, or annihilated, by a single specialist. Furthermore, this hacking ability was not something that needed to be earned through performance in a match — Zero players could alter the tide of a battle without any type of participation prior to receiving their Ice Pick.

As a result, some professional players agreed to not use the new specialist in competition. While unofficial, this type of response from some of the game's most vested players is a clear indication of exactly how problematic the first version of Zero was.

Now that the specialist, in her nerfed form, is available to players across all platforms, details on exactly how she is performing will becoming increasingly apparent. While it remains to be seen if this first round of nerfs is enough to bring Zero in line with the other specialists, it certainly seems like a step in the right direction, and Treyarch's prompt response suggests that the company is committed to monitoring her impact on gameplay.

More details on Zero, and her nerf, can be found on EuroGamer.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Seasonal and Weekend Events Live Now Mon, 17 Dec 2018 09:35:47 -0500 William R. Parks

Between the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's first major content update on PlayStation 4 and the launch of the 1.09 title update, which is now available on all platforms, it has been a big week for fans of Treyarch's new multiplayer shooter. However, there is more for players to be excited about, as a slew of special and seasonal offerings are now live as well.

The first of these offerings is a weekend event that offers double XP for players competing in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Multiplayer and Zombies game modes and double Merits for those that are playing Blackout. These boosts are available on all platforms until December 17 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Additionally, a limited-time Blackout mode, called "Close Quarters Frenzy," is now ready to play. In "Close Quarters Frenzy" competitors need to "outrun an even faster Collapse than usual," and they have access to a limited arsenal of weapons, comprised of only SMGs, shotguns, pistols, launchers, and melee weapons.

As with the XP and Merit boosts, this limited-time mode is available until Monday afternoon.

Furthermore, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's seasonal events have begun for those playing on PlayStation 4. This includes a Blackout Holiday Event, featuring snowballs, decorations and holiday-themed Supply Stashes, a Winter Event stream in the Black Market, and a Zombies event called "Winter Calling."

An official date for the launch of these holiday events on PC and Xbox One is not currently available. However, some players expect them to arrive next week along with the "Operation Absolute Zero" content update that went live for PlayStation 4 players on Tuesday.

While Treyarch has made an impressive amount of new content available this week, it is notable that only PlayStation 4 players are currently able to access a great deal of it. This release structure has been thoroughly established for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and is unlikely to surprise many players, however, the double rewards weekend may feel lackluster for those that are not able to apply them to the game's newest content.

More details on the these new offerings are available on Reddit.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies Mode Gets New Story and More Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:09:47 -0500 William R. Parks

For many players, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is about putting their PvP skills to the test in the game's core multiplayer playlist and Blackout. However, a third game mode, Zombies, is available to those that are looking for a more cooperative experience, and a newly released Zombies story offers these players yet another way to play.

Titled "Dead of the Night," this new "undead experience" is now available to owners of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Black Ops Pass. Starring veteran actors Helena Bonham Carter and Kiefer Sutherland, "Dead of the Night" will transport players back to 1912 as they "fight the mysterious force" that has invaded the estate of Alistair Rhodes, a famed relic-hunter.

"Dead of the Night" features new enemies, including vampires and werewolves, and it will put new weapons into players' hands as they attempt to "survive the nightmarish evening."

However, this is not all that Zombies fans have to be excited about, as today's "Operation Absolute Zero" update has also made Daily Tier Skip credits attainable through Zombies. These credits can be obtained, every day, by completing 15 rounds in a game of Classic Zombies. 

Previously acquirable through multiplayer and Blackout, a Daily Tier Skip allows players to advance more quickly through the ranks of the game's cosmetic marketplace, The Black Market. Today's change means that players can now focus on Zombies as they work to acquire the Contraband items they desire. 

Furthemore, Treyarch indicates that this addition is only the "first of this week’s three new Zombies features," and a litany of fixes round out today's update to the co-op game mode. Focusing on reducing crashes and providing a "smoother Zombies experience for all players," a full list of these fixes are available in Treyarch's patch notes.

While only days ago, a cheaper edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was made available without Zombies included, Treyarch has made it clear that it is committed to supporting this game mode. Between the major "Operation Absolute Zero" update and this new Black Ops Pass content, it is a good day to be a fan of the company's new shooter, and of Zombies in particular.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Update Brings Big Changes to Blackout Tue, 11 Dec 2018 15:06:59 -0500 William R. Parks

In late November, Treyarch's Studio Design Director David Vonderhaar indicated that changes were coming to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale game mode, Blackout. Now, with today's "Operation Absolute Zero" update, fans are learning more about what exactly these changes are, and there are indeed quite a few.

Amongst them are updates to Blackout's map, something fans have been inquiring about since the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. This includes some seasonal changes such as a "softer winter lighting," as well as environmental details that will more concretely establish the boundaries of the map.

However, the most impactful of the map's changes are likely to be an increase in the number of areas that can be explored in Blackout. The Hydro Dam, Factory, and Nuketown Island all have had previously closed buildings opened for players to enter, and new structures have been added that will allow for these areas to be navigated in different ways.

Treyarch has also tweaked Blackout's audio "with the goal of creating more predictability around when a player can hear another player’s footsteps." This manifests as the addition of an audio filter that will muffle sounds made by opponents that, while close, are not directly in a player's line of sight.

Furthermore, there has been a rebalancing of the distance from which players can hear opponent's footsteps as well as the opening of garages and stashes. These changes, coupled with an overall decrease to the volume of the ambient noises created by the environment, should allow players the ability to more reliably use audio cues to inform their strategies.

Players will also find that this update has completely reworked the game mode's armor system. In the past, it was common for a player's armor to be fully destroyed after a single engagement, even if they were on the winning side. Today's patch looks to change that by increasing armor durability and introducing Armor Plates, an item that can be used to repair damaged pieces.

These changes make up the majority of the update, there are some weapon tweaks (specifically, reduced SDM and Spitfire damage) and quality-of-life features that look to improve the Blackout experience. These can be seen in Treyarch's full patch notes.

While the post-launch plan for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may not be as elaborate as it is for other new first-person shooters, Treyarch has been consistent with updates, and "Operation Absolute Zero" has a lot to offer. It may take some time for the full ramifications of today's Blackout changes to be understood, however, fans are certain to be excited to rediscover the battle royale game mode in the upcoming days.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Camos and Map Changes Coming to Blackout Thu, 29 Nov 2018 23:06:02 -0500 William R. Parks

In a recent update, new unlockable characters and a bowie knife were introduced in "Blackout," Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle-royale game mode. While these additions may have fans currently occupied, a series of Tweets from David Vonderhaar, Treyarch's Studio Design Director, suggest that there is more on the horizon, confirming that weapon camouflages and map changes are on the way to "Blackout".

Weapon camouflages, or camos, are achievement-based cosmetics that players can use to give their weapons distinct appearances. In Black Ops 4, weapon-specific challenges, like landing headshot kills with a gun, must be completed in order to unlock camos. This allows these cosmetics to function as collectibles, and those that are tied to the most difficult of the game's challenges are prestige items to be flaunted.

To this point, camos have not been available in "Blackout," which may be a result of the way that weapons are acquired in this new game mode. Rather than selecting a load-out, players pickup weapons scattered throughout the battle royale's map as they play. This means that cosmetic changes would need to occur on-the-fly, a potential technical hurdle for Treyarch to overcome.

Vonderhaar did not provide any further details on the introduction of camos in "Blackout," and the question remains if they will be new, "Blackout"-specific cosmetics or if players will simply have access to the camos they have unlocked in other game modes.

Further, a second Tweet indicates that a tweaked "Blackout" map may not be far off:

What these changes might be can only be speculated on at this point. However, alterations to the map are a common conversation in the community, and this simple acknowledgment is certain to get many players excited.

While Black Ops 4 was reported to have broken Activision's day-one digital sales records, a poor showing for physical sales suggests that it might not be the success that the publisher expected. This may be a product of choosing to cast-off a single-player campaign for the entry, giving preference instead to this new battle royale game mode.

If that is indeed the case, it is critical that Treyarch cater to the fans that bought Black Ops 4 because of "Blackout" if they hope to keep player counts up, and Vonderhaar's Tweets suggest that they are going to do just that.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Update Features Safeguard, Map Variants, and More Wed, 28 Nov 2018 14:35:29 -0500 William R. Parks

Aside from the post-launch addition of the Nuketown map and the implementation of the Black Market, things have been relatively quiet since the October launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. However, a new update has brought several goodies to Treyarch's new first-person shooter, including the return of a game mode, two map variants, and more.

Originally appearing in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Safeguard is a multiplayer game mode that is now available exclusively on PlayStation 4. Describing Safeguard, a Reddit post from Treyarch states that players are to "escort the robot into enemy territory and keep the opposing team from doing the same to secure the win."

An exact date for Safeguard's debut on the PC and Xbox One versions of Black Ops 4 was not revealed, however, three new playlists were added to the Featured category on all platforms. Hopefully, this will give these players some respite while they wait for the new game mode.

Additionally, players on all platforms now have access to two new map variants: Seaside Sunset and Firing Range Night. These variants "bring a nighttime flair" to two of the the game's launch maps, and these free additions will be available indefinitely.

Blackout, Black Ops 4's battle-royale game mode, is also receiving some new content. PS4 players can now unlock Dempsey, Nikolai, Takeo, and Richtofen, characters from a map introduced in Black Ops 2, and participate in the returning and retuned Blightfather event. Further, the Bowie Knife, which was released on PS4 last week, is now available to players on PC and Xbox One as well.

This update also comes with a batch of bug and exploit fixes and an overall stability increase for the Zombies game mode.

Black Ops 4 is our preferred multiplayer shooter from this Fall, and it is an experience that our writers have called "one of the most complete FPS packages the series has ever known." 

While players on PS4 are obviously reaping the benefits of this update most immediately, many fans on other platforms will be happy to know that there is new content on the horizon. However, a fix to a bug with the "Prestigious Award" achievement that is preventing players from achieving Platinum may meet more applause at this point.

Full patch notes are available via Treyarch's post on Reddit.

Black Ops 4 Guide: How to Unlock Zombie Characters in Blackout Mon, 26 Nov 2018 10:32:29 -0500 Sergey_3847

The Blackout battle royale mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 currently offers five unlockable zombie characters.

To unlock each of the playable characters, you need to complete three different challenges. Our quick guide below will show you the challenges you need to complete to unlock each of them and tips on how to do it fast.

How to Unlock Zombie Characters in Blackout

Shadow Man character select screen Black Ops 4

Shadow Man

This is the only zombie character that doesn't require that you complete any challenges. However, the only way to unlock him is to purchase the Black Ops Pass.


Here are all three challenges you need to complete in order to unlock Bruno:

  • Required Item: Mug Shot
  • Down an enemy with a melee attack
  • Finish the match with Mug Shot in Inventory

You can get a Mug Shot by opening a supply drop (which isn't always guaranteed to pop). But the best way to obtain Mug Shot is to complete the Blightfather event at the Graveyard, which can be found south of the Asylum.

  • Required Item: Pulp Magazine
  • Down 1 enemy with a headshot
  • Finish the match with Pulp Magazine in Inventory

Getting a Pulp Magazine is easier than the previous item. You can get it by simply killing zombies or by completing the Blightfather event.

  • Required Item: Racing Goggles & Scarf
  • Kill an enemy by driving into them with a vehicle
  • Finish the match with Racing Goggles & Scarf in Inventory

Scarlett can be unlocked just like Diego. You can either kill zombies to obtain the goggles and the scarf or finish the Blightfather event.

  • Required Item: Alchemical Set
  • Kill 2 enemies with either a Wraith Fire or Acid Bomb
  • Finish the match with Alchemical Set in Inventory

Shaw is the hardest character to unlock, as there is only one way to get the Alchemical Set. You can find it inside mystery boxes, which spawn only at blue light beams (refer to the map below for exact locations of mystery boxes).

Apart from the Alchemical Set, you will also find Wraith Fire and Acid Bomb inside a mystery box.

Blackout map showing blue light beam locations

Now you can quickly unlock all available zombie characters in Blackout mode, and for other Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 guides at GameSkinny, take a look at the list below:

TBS To Air Best Plays From ELEAGUE's Black Ops 4 Charity Event Today Fri, 02 Nov 2018 11:46:39 -0400 QuintLyn

If you missed out on the recent Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 x ELEAGUE #CODNATION Challenge for Vets charity event, don't worry. Not only can you still donate to the cause, but you can also catch some of the best plays of the event today on TBS

Tonight at 11 p.m. EDT/PDT, TBS will air an hour-long show focusing on CoD pro Anothony "NAMELESS" Wheeler and his team. During the original stream -- which was also his last tournament as a pro before moving on to casting --  Wheeler and his team competed in several Black Ops 4 modes, including "Blackout" the series' new Battle Royale.

During the livestream of the original event, fans were encouraged to donate to the Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit founded by Acitvision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. The CoD Endowment assists veterans in career placement and supports organizations that prepare those veterans to find work in the current job market.

If you'd like to help with the cause, the donation portal still open on the ELEAGUE site.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news on ELEAGUE.

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Review: Come Back for This One Sat, 20 Oct 2018 11:02:17 -0400 John Schutt

Many players, myself included, put the Call of Duty series on the backburner a number of years ago. Other games came to take much of the FPS community's attention. That doesn't include the myriad other genres vying for our collective time.

The list of worthy distractions would fill an article twice the size of this one, and when I saw my first few glimpses of Black Ops 4, I was skeptical.

I played the beta and stayed skeptical. It was fun, sure, but would it capture my attention like the older titles did? I was willing to give Treyarch one last shot of saving an aging giant, if only for the purposes of this review.

Then I played my first full release multiplayer match.

I was hooked. The claws were back, and I couldn't stay away.

If you've been hesitant about diving back into Call of Duty, now is the time to put those reservations to bed. 

Black Ops 4 is worth the price of admission.

The combination of multiplayer, Zombies, and Blackout ensure hundreds of hours of fun, frustration, and if you can get a group together, friendship-powered destruction.

Multiplayer Review: The Bread and Exotic Butter

Of the three modes in Black Ops 4, multiplayer is probably the weakest part of the triple crown. There's nothing revolutionary about Black Ops 4's iteration on a classic, though the removal of regenerating health and an increased health pool does create the opportunity for hero plays we've not seen in a long time. At the end of the day, everything about multiplayer works, giving players everything they could want.

The gunplay is the same kind of crisp you'd expect from a Call of Duty title, and the recoil on most guns is minimal. The meta right now is mostly based around assault rifles, as their overall time to kill is shorter than almost every other weapon class at any range. They're easy to use, super consistent, and...well... there aren't many downsides, really.

I would be remiss not to mention sniper rifles because at least on PC, they seem to be the easiest to use. The one-shot kill hitbox is generous and the maps offer plenty of sightlines for players to hold down. The number of times I've lost a good streak to a sniper in a power position has a value I cannot properly name.

Submachine guns and shotguns got something of a shaft as of writing, as they take six hits to kill at close range and half of them don't shoot fast enough to make up for the damage discrepancy. It also felt like their hip fire, even with laser sights equipped, is still somehow outdone by a base AR.

There are a couple shotgun builds that make them at least passable, but in almost any situation you're better off using something that works at closer than point blank. The LMGs, by contrast, are all usable, and there aren't any bad options, kitted out or not. 

The scorestreaks are all effective, fun to use, and while I think they take a little too much to earn in non-objective game modes, each of them has a noticeable effect on the flow of a match.

I found the new maps to lack the creativity and variety present in some of Treyarch's earlier work. They stick to the three-lane model too closely and don't present enough ways to move between lanes, leading to map flow that's predictable to the point of mundanity.

Many of them are pleasing to the eye, which is more than can be said for some of the other recent entries in the series, but beyond their aesthetic, I wouldn't call them genre-defining. 

The remastered maps — Jungle, Firing Range, Summit, and Slums — are a welcome return, but they speak to the larger problem I have with the multiplayer portion of Black Ops 4: it's clear Treyarch had to drop everything to chase the Battle Royale craze and at the same time remove the advanced movement systems in favor of a more "boots on the ground" take on combat.

Class customization took a hit too. Weapon variety is fairly limited, with many classes having four or fewer options to choose from. Even though the assault rifles and SMGs boast five unique choices, that pales in comparison to the series' heyday where there were almost 10 you could equip, all of which had their own character and personality. 

Then there are the Specialists, which you can read about in detail in my Specialist guide. To sum up, all of them have a use and each of them presents plenty of new and exciting ways to play, but so many of them are returning members of Black Ops 3's cast that it's easy to see where the corners cut are. The new specialists are perfectly usable and offer some of the most powerful options in the game, but it would be nice to see more new faces.

It's a tough nut to crack because I'm a multiplayer guy at heart and I hate to see my favorite mode relatively gutted in favor of the more timely options. I understand why they did it, and I think there' still plenty to love about the classic Call of Duty experience, so don't disregard it in favor of Zombies or Blackout.

Zombies: Complicated, Crazy Fun

The Zombies story is a tangled mess of plot threads long and short, the mechanics progressively more arcane, and the maps more multilayered and overthought with each iteration. 

Black Ops 4's additions are no different, though there's only one truly "new" map to play: IX. The other three are re-imaginings of Zombies experiences from the three previous entries in the franchise, one of which is locked behind a paywall.

Even with all the new bells and whistles, the core conceit of Zombies remains. You want to find a good gun, probably off the wall, load up on perks, find Pack-a-Punch, and run in circles for hours shooting hordes of the undead. Everything else is just there to get in the way.

The maps themselves are twisting labyrinths with multiple levels, mechanics, and secrets to find, and I think IX is one of the most interesting takes on the mode since Shangri-La.

It's obvious the Zombies team put a lot of time and effort into making the Greek arena feel unique among the forest of high-quality maps. There's just enough variety to take the formula in a new direction, as the area is primarily claustrophobic hallways and strange sights and sounds punctuated by the grand facades of Ancient Greece. 

The other three maps: Blood of the Dead, Voyage, and Classified (it's Five from Black Ops 1) have each received a facelift, and though the mechanics are familiar, there are enough changes to make each experience fresh for the first couple runs at least.

What stands out to me about Zombies, however, is not the maps or new their mechanics, but the sheer amount of options for how to approach character customization.

  • Treyarch rewrote how weapons work, adding progression to each and every one of them.
  • They rewrote perks — Juggernog is gone, for one — to correspond to a player's choice, designating each with a type rather than keying them to a map.
  • Players have more health to compensate for Jug's absence.
  • Even Pack-a-Punch got a makeover. Now you can increase the damage up of your weapon by reusing the machine a set number of times while you roll for the most advantageous new weapon perks. 

Then there are the elixirs, some of them default and plenty of them rollable in a loot box system funded with an in-game currently that's likely to cost you real money. Elixirs provide powerful bonuses for a period of about five minutes or until their ability's expended, and the good ones can turn the tide of a bad round.

Probably the worst part about the whole Zombies side of Black Ops 4 is how Five (I'm not calling it Classified) is locked behind the Black Ops pass. Right now, it's the only thing that makes the pass worth even a quarter of its asking price, and we don't know what kind of support Blackout's going to be receiving via the Pass.

The little side gifts they give you don't even come close to justifying another $50 of your money, so unless you play the game and know you just have to have everything, I'd hold off.

Blackout: The King is Here

To start: yes, I believe Blackout is better than PUBG, and I don't think the comparison to Fortnite is worthwhile. The only things Blackout and Fortnight Battle Royale share are guns and the fact that you must shoot other players to win. Everything else, from aesthetics to mechanics to game flow and target audience is far enough apart to make them equally worthwhile experiences.

But if I had to crown a BR king, I would give Black Ops 4's take on the genre the big and fancy hat. Everything about it works.

  • The gunplay is multiplayer smooth.
  • Looting and loot spawn logic are almost exactly where they need to be.
  • The map provides just enough cover and the zone rarely puts the final few engagements in a boring location.
  • It even opens up long range engagements in an otherwise close range title.
  • Best of all, the matchmaking functions as intended, keeping people in the match and parties of friends together so they can take on the world as a team.

There are a few wrinkles, of course.

Armor is incredibly powerful, and an absolute necessity for the late game. You will win — and lose — gunfights you shouldn't because one person has armor and the other doesn't. Sniper rifles remain the workhorse weapon class, and ARs are a distant second choice. Bad luck quickly snowballs into terrible luck, and I've lost more than one round based on a single wrong decision.

The biggest problem with Blackout right now is its stability. Crashes are far more frequent than they should be, and most don't seem to have any rhyme or reason to them.

There are a number of error codes ranging from a simple mode disconnect to full on fatal errors. I haven't heard anything about a full system lock up, but judging by the sheer number of problems I've heard reported, I wouldn't be surprised if they happened.

It's still early days for Blackout too. One of Fortnite's biggest strengths is in how it keeps people coming back through its Season content. The core game doesn't change, but everything around it does.

Mysteries, community involvement, plenty of skins and challenges to chase, and the sheer amount of ways you can play with just one new weapon in the pool make it a juggernaut even Call of Duty will have trouble taking head-on.

Blackout needs continuous support in the same way, but there are barriers. Adding new guns has a high probability of upsetting balance, and Treyarch might feel obligated to put new weapons into multiplayer. There are a couple Zombies weapons in Blackout that aren't in MP, sure, but they're rare enough to not really make a dent in the current meta. 

Then there's the fact that BR content is locked behind the Black Ops Pass as well. People are far more willing to spend $10 on a Fortnite Season, even if they only play once or twice. It's just a 10-spot, after all. But 50 bucks? That's an investment without a guarantee of quality.

Plus, as far as we can tell, the Pass will be unlocking characters from previous Treyarch titles without much of the flair you'd find in something like Fortnite. And if there's one thing people want, it's the ability to show off. A generic character model in a different coat isn't going to ring any alarm bells no matter how many kills the player gets.

All that said, if you want one of the best, most polished Battle Royale entries ever produced, Blackout might be worth the price of admission into Black Ops 4 on its own. If Treyarch can keep it interesting with customization and new content, I don't' see the Blackout mode losing steam any time soon.


Final Verdict

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 provides players a content triple threat that's hard to beat in today's market. Hundreds of hours in classic multiplayer modes won't make you a Zombies expert, and being able to massacre the undead won't get you any Blackout wins. This is a game that could truly suck thousands of hours from everyone who picks it up, even those who've been on the fence about the series for years. 

Without the proper care, the opposite could be true. There are enough rough edges to Black Ops 4 that one wrong turn could kill it before it really hits its stride, and though many people are happier with this entry than they've been in years, there's plenty for Treyarch to do to keep people hooked.

Multiplayer weapon balance and spawn logic needs adjusting. Crashes need fixing. There needs to be plenty of new, quality content. There are too many other big titles on the horizon for anything less than Treyarch's absolute best.

If they pull it off, we'll be seeing a new Call of Duty title every year for many, many years to come. 

The Black Market Returns to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Fri, 19 Oct 2018 13:47:52 -0400 Zack Palm

Do you think something is missing from Call of Duty Black Ops 4Treyarch thought so, and today they made the Black Market, the franchise's cosmetic marketplace, available on PlayStation 4. Xbox One and PC players will get access to the Black Market starting on October 26.

As of right now, the only feature available to players is the Contraband stream, which is the progression system players follow as they play the game. The more someone plays, the more levels they gain, thereby unlocking exclusive Blackout characters, weapon skins, specialist outfits, tags, and gestures. 

The rewards tied to the Contraband stream rotate every few months.

The Black Market also features special events where players can only access rewards related to it for a limited time. The first one kicks off on October 20 for PlayStation 4 user, and it's all about Halloween! Xbox One and PC gamers will gain access to this event a week later.

A brand new feature comes to the Black Market called Blackjack's Shop. This latest edition gives players access to specific cosmetic items -- but only for a week. Players can expect to see this new edition releasing in November.

Are you playing Call of Duty Black Ops 4? Check out our guide to the game's specialists and our essential tips for Blackout.

Stick with us at GameSkinny!

7 Best Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Easter Eggs Thu, 18 Oct 2018 11:08:48 -0400 Sergey_3847


Easter Egg: Element 115 


Black Ops 4's developers couldn't resist including the Element 115 reference -- and you can find it in Blackout. 


For those not in the know, Element 115 is an element discovered by Dr. Ludvig Maxis for the purpose of creating zombie soldiers. First appearing in Call of Duty: World at War, Maxis is the main antagonist in the series' many zombie modes. 


You can find this Easter egg in the Factory facility in Blackout. You will see the 115 number on the board inside one of the buildings. But this is not the only reference in Black Ops 4.


If you go to Nuketown Island, you will see a wall clock showing exactly 1:15 inside one of the houses.


This is a fun little shout out to all the long-time fans of the Call of Duty series from Treyarch.




Those are all of the best Easter eggs in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and for other related articles at GameSkinny, take a look at the list below:


Easter Egg: Black Ops Basketball 


Did you know that you can play a casual game of basketball in Blackout? Just head straight to the northern part of the map where the Estates area is located.


Inside one of the mansions, you will find a basketball court. There's official no competition (yet) and you can't earn any points, but you can come with a friend to chill and play. 


It will be interesting to see if more players start flocking to the area to play basketball, setting up their own tournaments. This Easter egg could very well turn into its own metagame sometime in the future. 


Easter Egg: Shadowman Jumpscare 


Call of Duty jumpscares are back!


The first one could was all the way back in Black Ops 2, and now you can experience the same terrifying fright again in Black Ops 4's Blood of the Dead map. This particular Easter egg involves the Shadowman monster.


All you need to do to activate the jumpscare is to play the Blood of the Dead map in a Classic mode. Then, get a sniper rifle with a scope from a mystery box and head toward the catwalk area.


From the catwalk, you will see an old shack across the road. If you zoom in to see what's inside (look through the window), you will experience the trademark Zombies jumpscare.


Easter Egg: Hacienda Prisoner


It seems that Treyarch put secret Easter eggs on every map in Black Ops 4, and that is a great thing if you're an aficionado of the series.


You can find one of the most mysterious Easter eggs on the Hacienda map that is modeled after a mob of gangland mansion.


As soon as you spawn in Hacienda, you need to head toward the other side of the building. You will find a private beach there with boats. Then jump into the water and you will see a dead body wrapped in a plastic bag and tied up to the bottom of the ocean with a chain.


Looks like somebody just got rid of an important witness.


Easter Egg: Warden's Ritual Room


Here is another cool Easter egg you can find on the Blood of the Dead map. But before you can find it, you must get either a Spoon or a Gold Spork. Both are melee weapons that can be found on the Blood of the Dead map.


Once you have obtained one of the weapons, head toward the Warden's building. As you enter the building, go upstairs and turn toward the wall and scratch it using either a Spoon or a Spork.


Lastly, go outside and wait for the Brutus zombie to appear. Let him follow you back into the Warden's house to the spot where you've scratched the wall upstairs and let him slam you.


This will create an explosion that will reveal the secret Warden's room with lots of cool items inside.


Easter Egg: Richtofen & Stuhlinger 


One of the most unique Easter eggs in Black Ops 4 can be found on the Blood of the Dead map, which is one of the three Zombies maps in the game. This one is a conversation between two characters from Black Ops 2 -- Richtofen and Stuhlinger.


As you may know, Richtofen is one of the playable characters in Blood of the Dead. If you play the map in co-op mode with either you or a buddy playing Richtofen, let the player not playing Richtofen die. 


When that player starts spectating, you will hear the voice of Stuhlinger, speaking to you through Aether. 


Too bad the voice won't help your buddy blast those zombies into glorious giblets. 


Easter Egg: Asylum Secret Song


Hop into a match of Blackout and go to the Asylum to trigger one of the most recognizable songs associated with the Call of Duty franchise -- Lullaby of a Deadman.


To find the Easter egg, go upstairs and find the restroom (which you basically can't miss). Go to the leftmost toilet and interact with it three times. You will hear water flushing. Soon after, the speakers all over the Asylum will start playing the Lullaby of a Deadman.


This is technically a returning Easter egg from the World at War, which a lot of fans of Call of Duty will know for sure. But it's great to see it making a comeback. 


Just like with other games in the series, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is full of Easter eggs, most of them references to other games in the franchise. 


But since the game doesn't have a campaign mode (the first in the series to do so), some of the Easter eggs can be difficult to spot. It's a given that your main priority in multiplayer and Blackout is to frag your opponents and get the #1 position -- not look for Easter eggs. 


From references only available in co-op mode to zombies and battle royale, Black Ops 4 does right by paying homage to some of the best moments in the series. If you like unlocking secret references in Call of Duty games, then follow our guide for the 7 best Easter eggs in Black Ops 4.

Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 Guide: Fixing Fatal Error Code 897625509 Mon, 15 Oct 2018 15:56:27 -0400 Ty Arthur

The latest iteration in the yearly CoD franchise decided to switch things up on the server side and go through Blizzard's service in this multiplayer-only rendition of the series.

Despite using an established service known for stable multiplayer matchmaking, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has experienced a host of connection issues for players over launch weekend. 

Are you unable to connect to a multiplayer, zombies, or Blackout lobby due to the Black Ops 4 Error Code 897625509? We've got you covered with a few simple fixes for getting back in the action.

Fixing Error Code 897625509

Scan And Repair Files

The very first thing you want to do is update to the latest version. An avalanche of patches and hot fixes have arrived since the game launched, so hit that update button first and make sure you're up to date.

If you still get the Fatal Error Code 897625509 message following the update, click the Options button in the launcher for Black Ops 4. From there, scroll down and select Scan And Repair.

Follow the prompts to make sure you've got the correct versions of all data and don't have any corrupted files (this is essentially the version of verifying file integrity like you'd do when troubleshooting a Steam game).

For the vast majority of users, scanning and repairing will immediately fix the problem. A handful of users may have a different issue causing the problem instead.

Update GeForce Drivers

If you still can't get into a lobby after performing the repair process, open the NVIDIA GeForce Experience control panel (just type GeForce into the search bar if you don't have it pinned to the task bar).

NVIDIA just released a game-ready driver patch specifically for Black Ops 4. If you don't have this newest version, the out of date drivers may be your culprit.

Navigate to the Drivers tab and click Download, then follow the prompts to fix the issue.

A small minority of users have to completely uninstall and reinstall the GeForce Experience control panel instead. If you want to try this step, you can download the latest version of the installation file over here.

This fix can also resolve Black Ops 4 Error Codes 546354288 and 1975752514, so give this step a shot if you got something other than the main Fatal Error code.

Turn Off Razer Software

After updating the GeForce drivers, there's one final issue to check that's causing problems for a small subsection of players.

Are you using a Razer laptop or Razer peripheral, like a high end gaming mouse? It turns out Razer's software is causing conflicts with Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 in a small handful of cases.

Open up the Task Manager by hitting Ctrl+Alt+Delete and then clicking the Task Manager link at the bottom of the list.

Click the Name button to arrange all processes alphabetically, then manually shut down any process with Razer in the name.

Note that while this software is turned off, you won't be able to use different mouse or display profiles, so you may want to hook up different peripherals until the issue is resolved.


That's all you need to know to resolve the Fatal Error Code 897625509 issue plaguing PC players right now. Let us know when you get the game running again, and be sure to leave a note if none of these fixes worked for you so we can find another solution!

When you're back into the game and ready to frag your friends, be sure to check out our other Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 guides here:

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Specialists Overview Guide Tue, 16 Oct 2018 11:10:42 -0400 John Schutt

I'm playing Black Ops 4 in preparation for my review, there are a few things that stand out in the multiplayer portion, and one of them isn't new, but because of the changes made in this new iteration, there's still no doubt the Specialists change up game flow.

That being said, this time around many of the Specialist abilities take a supporting role to the gunplay, and the only ones who can have a lasting impact are the actual support abilities, like Crash's heal or Torque's barricade and razor wire. 

I've divided the Specialists into three categories, based on the Team Fortress 2 system for simplicity. The categories, therefore, are Attack, Defense, and Support.

Before we get started, please remember: all of these strategies assume a basic familiarity with the maps. You'll be hard pressed to get the most out of the Specialists without one.

Now, first up is Attack, made up of Ruin, Firebreak, Battery, and Seraph.

Attack Specialists

The primary goal of these Specialists is to be on the battlefield at all times, laying down fire and explosives and dealing as much damage as possible in the shortest amount of time. Mobility is key, as is pure output.


Ruin: First to the Fight

Getting the most out of Ruin is fairly simple, as he's probably the most straightforward Specialist on offer.

The strategy for most matches is as follows: get to the first major firefight first with the grappling hook, take the first fight and win it, then reposition either to the flank or toward the enemy's blind side with a second use of the grapple. 

The nuance comes in the most valuable pair of traits a good shooter player can have: bravery and unpredictability.

Ruin excels at both.

He can get most places on the map before anyone else, faster than anyone else, more consistently than anyone else, so make good use of the increased mobility the grapple offers.

If you know there's a small squad of enemies coming, grapple over their heads, make a quick turn while they're disoriented, and take one or two out.

Alternately, you can grapple to safety exactly when your opponent doesn't need you to: right after they've wasted all their ammo, lost some health, and now find themselves alone and out of position.

The key with Ruin is to never be in the same place for more than a single gunfight because at that point you might as well be playing anyone else.

Using his Specialist Weapon, the Grav Slam, is as cut and dry as any other one-shot ability. Find enemy team, press buttons, get kills.

You will do well combining a grapple into a slam because there's no easier way to secure at least two or three kills. Be aware also that the slam has some ability to go through terrain, but not solid walls.


Firebreak: Fire. Lots of it.

If you remember Firebreak from Black Ops 3, you might be a little disappointed in this variation. His flamethrower doesn't have the range or the instant killing power it did in the previous title, but it's still quite deadly in the right hands. 

His Reactor Core ability is, however, quite handy so long as you spare a little time to learn where and when to use it.

In short, go to common chokepoints when you know there's at least one enemy there and fire it up. You'll deny them both access to the power position and a good portion of their health as well.

Reactor Core also provides Firebreak with a good amount of armor, reducing incoming damage by at least half.

If you can outmaneuver your opponent, activate the ability and listen to them burn, screaming in frustration, not at the flames but their own failure.

The Purifier still functions as a good area-clearing weapon, and because there's no way to super jump in Black Ops 4, it provides a fair bit of visual cover as well.

The increase player health dulls its edge a fair bit, but in close quarters there are few better options than quickly swiping back and forth across a spawn, incinerating everything you can see.

Specialist Battery

Battery: Splash

"Throw grenades, watch explosions" might sound like an easy ask when it comes to strategy, but like all of the Specialists in Black Ops 4, there's a little subtlety to consider when playing as Battery.

First are her Cluster Grenades. Their cooldown isn't too long, but it isn't short, either so you have to choose carefully when and where you use it. Take care about its short throw distance as well, it can be deceiving.

There are two primary strategies when it comes to making the best use of the Battery's grenade, and the first one is as old as CoD itself. Pick a known hot spot, wait until you know someone's there, and take them out.

The second might seem like a waste of a perfectly good lethal ability, but momentary area denial is a valuable use of any grenade.

Make your enemy think twice about moving through that doorway, or toward you and your friends, with a well-placed set of explosions.

You can also lock someone down in a corner for an easy kill if you put the blast even somewhat close to them.

As for her Warmachine grenade launcher, your aggression will pay dividends. You can get kills either with direct impact grenade hits or by bouncing them up and around your enemy. 

If nothing else, holding that much explosive power should give you the confidence to take on all comers. There's not really a bad way to use the Warmachine, so don't be afraid to experiment.

If I had to narrow it down, the most satisfying way to play Battery is to go for direct impact grenade launcher kills that lock down an objective or sightline.

My second favorite way is to use it the same way grenade launchers have been used since the early days of Quake: blind spam. Yes, it's annoying. Yes, it's effective. Yes, you will laugh and your enemies will hate you.

That's kind of the point, though.

Specialist Seraph

Seraph: Staying in the Fight

Seraph is something of a mixed bag, blurring the line between attack and support heroes as a hybrid, though she sits more in the first than the second.

Her Specialist Weapon, the Annihilator, is a one-hit kill from any range to any part of the body, but the Tac-Deploy is a more passive tool, can't withstand even the smallest amount of enemy fire, and can't deal damage of any kind for any reason.

In fact, unlike Ruin's grapple, it's actually more beneficial to the team than it is to her. Every aggro player's nightmare.

The difference is all about timing. If you can place a Tac-Deploy beacon in just the right spot at just the right time, you can make more of a difference than all six Annihilator shots.

Especially in objective modes — but not limited to them — having ready access to a power position or to the primary objective can turn the tide of battle.

Aggressive beacon use is not necessarily encouraged, as it will be destroyed quickly, but getting a high-skill player in the right place at the right time is valuable for its own reasons.

Don't let these facts dissuade you from making liberal use of the Annihilator. Indeed, combining a well-laid beacon with six one-shot kills is a potent means of obliterating all opposition. 

Like the Warmachine, I prefer a heads up approach to using Seraph's Specialist Weapon, if only because being close range makes actually getting the kills easier by virtue of bigger targets.

Defense Specialists

Whether you want to cut off entire pathways on a map or just make a single objective or power position incredibly unappetizing, Defense Specialists are your go-to. They are: Torque, Ajax, Nomad, and Prophet.

Specialist Torque

Torque: (Non-)Traditional Fortifications

Out of all the Specialists on offer, Torque's strategies could very well have the most in the way of options. You can deploy his abilities anywhere and they'll do wonders to dissuade your enemies from getting anywhere near them.

Though popular spots will eventually come to dominate the meta, it is the player who uses them unconventionally that will always win.

Razor wire is fairly self-explanatory, but even poor placement can have its uses. An ill-timed jump, slide, or panicked getaway can go very badly if you suddenly find yourself caught up in sharp steel. 

For best results, of course, you want to cover doorways and entrances of all kinds. Blind corners, when you can find them are also great ways to make someone's day that much worse. 

Bear in mind that you won't be killing many people with razor wire. That's not its purpose. It'll happen, just don't count on it.

You can, however, funnel people into Torque's Barricade, where they'll cook alive. 

Barricades are, oddly, easier to take out than the razor wire, but that's mostly because they're such a large target and you'll be deploying them in much hotter zones. 

In game types with points to capture, a single Barricade can halt an entire push until the thing's been dealt with.

Again, with blind corners and smart use of razor wire, you can even get three or four kills with it before the enemy team wises up and just shoots it to pieces.

Specialist Ajax

Ajax: Single-Man Lockdown

Ajax brings the underused 9-Bang grenade and overused riot shield into the modern age, both with a twist. Simple but effective, the implementation here makes for one of the most annoying-but-hilarious class setups in Call of Duty history.

Strategies here are primarily harassment-based. The 9-Bang is throwable like any other 'nade or cookable for a prolonged, powerful effect.

Your enemies won't be able to heal with their other hand trying to block the light, and the full flash pushes ten seconds if you're caught in the middle of it.

Options are as numerous as there are ways to throw a grenade, but again, aggression is your friend. Pre-flashing a room is all well and good, but taking on a whole team after a full-charge flash is one of those feelings you don't find in many places. 

That said, the most effective use is the tried and true preparatory flash, so don't be afraid to fall back on the classics.

The riot shield, while a series staple, now comes with handy gun port, and completely covers the feet. Crouch and approach your enemies at an angle and watch as they fire uselessly at three inches of future-steel.

Remember that unless you can track them properly, a player who tries to jump shot you is your worst enemy. And your back is completely exposed, so unless you know you've got backup, try to keep the enemy in front of you.

Do that, and you can solo cap an objective, get at least three to five kills with the 100 rounds in your fully automatic pistol, and become one of the biggest pains in the neck this side of Modern Warfare 2.

Specialist Nomad

Nomad: A Dog of Mine

I'll admit, I don't find Nomad particularly effective. The dog's AI feels like it needs adjusting and the mesh mine, even though it's an almost guaranteed kill if it goes off, is pretty easy to see, a first for Treyarch plantable explosives. 

Still, in the right hands, Nomad can be.. well, if not a menace then at least a nuisance.

Mesh mines follow the same basic logic as razor wire. Plant them on common traffic routes, near doorways at people's feet, hidden if possible. A blind corner will all but guarantee a kill, so don't hesitate to make use of them.

You can also use them to deter or eliminate a pursuer if you're fast enough on the placement. People are always liable to chase if they sense they can get an easy kill, so turn the tables and make them into giblets.

Sadly, there's no real nuance to the dog that I can find. He follows you around, trying mightily to kill something. A distraction at best, and only for a little while, he takes too long to summon and has a poor killing radius. 

If I had to put something on paper, I'd tell you to always summon the dog when you near a major conflict area, let him go in first to draw fire, then mop up when he inevitably bites it. He might get a few kills, but that's gravy.

Specialist Prophet

Prophet: Zap Zap

From where I'm standing, Prophet is just a better Nomad. His mobile deployable is faster, harder to hit, comes up more often, and is a more consistent kill than the dog ever is. 

Using the Seeker Mine is similar to the dog in some respects. You want to lead with it, set it down in a safe area, and letting it track enemies so you can follow it for a quick clean up. 

If you must be aggressive, throwing a Seeker Mine directly onto a point won't buy you too much time, but objectives have been captured with less.

Remember that people hit with the mine have the opportunity to escape it if they're fast, and they can still shoot it if they can get their aim down enough. 

The ultimate Seeker Usage boils down to timing. If you have it available and you know and where and when your enemy will be en route to an objective, you can set the mine, let your team clean up, and get behind the enemy team while they're dealing with everyone else.

Spawns being what they are, you won't have long, but seconds are priceless in Black Ops 4, so use them as you have them.

Support Specialists

Everyone loves the support until they stop doing their job correctly. Poor ability use is perhaps one of the gravest sins a support player can commit, not just because they've wasted their ability, but that diminishes the effectiveness of the entire team.

Learn a few ways to make the best use of Recon and Crash's abilities below.

Specialist Recon

Recon: I See You

Recon's statement, "Intel wins wars," is certainly true, and the Sensor Dart and Vision Pulse are two of the most powerful abilities in all of Black Ops 4.

When your team can see where they need to be shooting, the "teammate problem" usually gets a little better. Sometimes. Maybe. If you're lucky.

In any event, using the Sensor Dart is easy and difficult at the same time. Easy because it's a simple button press and suddenly everyone on your team knows where people inside the dart's radius are

It's hard because there are plenty of places on each map where you'll get absolutely nothing by placing your dart in that location.

Also, darts are easy to spot and easier to destroy, so you want to be smart about how you place them.

The key thing to remember about a Sensor Dart is it's not burdened by height or obstacles like walls, so if you want to canvas a particular part of the map, place your dart above, below, or to the side of that location.

Everyone still gets the effects on their minimap and you get the satisfaction that the dart's probably not going anywhere.

Vision Pulse is a boon to everyone on your team and a big caution flag for the enemy, and there are two schools of thought when it comes to deploying it.

First, the passive. Like Firebreak's Reactor Core, you can use Vision Pulse from a known high-traffic area, find a nice spot to stand, and let the pulse do its work.

You'll get plenty of points toward your streak and your team will have a good twenty seconds of knowing exactly where they'll need to be shooting.

For the aggressive player, Vision Pulse can be a gift from the FPS gods. Be prepared for every fight. Predict where your enemy will come from after you kill them, the options are endless.

I would stress that aggressive Vision Pulse use is still slower than most other aggressive styles, as you need to take a moment to internalize all incoming threats, let the pulse reset, and actually take time to prepare for each engagement. 

If you so choose, win one gunfight then activate the pulse so you can continue fighting in one seamless motion, moving from foe to foe with speed and efficiency.

Each engagement should lead into the next, and do your level best to keep fights one-on-one. Even if you know they're coming, low health and low ammo are the perfect ingredients for a death sandwich.

Specialist Crash

Crash: Traditional Support

The support's job is to make sure you don't die and are also better at your job. Crash is, therefore, a consummate support. More bullets to keep your friends in the fight longer.

More points to get their streaks faster. More health to fight longer. There's really nothing wrong with ever playing Crash, and I believe every team should have one. 

Using the Assault Pack should happen pretty much as soon as you have it available, and never aggressively. The extra points are too valuable and the ammo important enough that there's no reason to ever have it in the line of fire.

Ideally, you want to use the pack at your team's current spawn, about twenty feet or so in front of where most of them will come back into the fight.

In other words, you want to make it as clear as possible to your team that, hey, they should pick this up. It's a win for everyone involved.

Don't forget to pick up ammo from your own assault pack if you die and respawn near it. You get the full benefit of those points on a kill too, so put them to use. You won't regret it. 

You also won't regret the Tak-5, heal-the-entire-team ability. The only ability I'd call purely aggressive (note that the Tak-5 has no means of dealing damage), giving everyone on the team including yourself an extra 50 health is nothing to sneeze at.

More importantly, if you use the Tak-5 when a teammate is in the middle of a fight, they'll go from almost nothing to full instantly, all but securing the engagement unless they're are a poor shot. 

I would caution against using this ability when you yourself are in the middle of a firefight, as you're more liable to die before the buff goes off. 

The one tried and true strategy I've found is to do everything you can to get the ability ready before a new round in round-based modes, or by the middle of a match in everything else.

Use it straight off spawn. Your enemies now have a full team of buffed players to contend with, and unless they've got a Crash on their side, that's one advantage no one player can overcome.


I hope you've gotten something out of this Black Ops 4 Specialist guide. There's plenty of little bits and bolts of strategy to tease out in the hundreds of hours to come, and it will be interesting to see where the meta goes in this game.

I can guarantee a Crash on every team, and probably a Ruin and Seraph. The other two are flex, though I'd still put money on a Recon and Battery as the primary takers here.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 guides.

How to Get Specialist Outfits in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Sat, 13 Oct 2018 09:57:09 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Like most multiplayer games these days, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 knows that winning is as much about flair as it is skill. And if you want to stand out at the end of every match, not only do want to get the best play, you also want to have the best outfit/skin. 

As of right now, there's no in-game shop to buy outfits or skins for your Specialists. While there are bonus Black Ops skins for those who bought the Deluxe Edition and higher, there's only actually one "unique" outfit in the game: the bonus Day of the Dead skin.

If you're wondering how to equip the Dia De Los Muertes outfit in Black Ops 4, it's actually a pretty easy process -- even if it is a little unclear. 

How to Equip Skins and Outfits in Black Ops 4

First things first: Every outfit except the Dia De Los Muertes skin is easily selectable and doesn't require you follow any special steps to equip (these include pre-order skins and Black Ops skins). 

Second things second: The Day of the Dead costume can only be equipped to one Specialist. There is no way -- whatsoever -- to change your choice after you've finalized your selection. 

Once you hit Level 7 in multiplayer, you'll be able to personalize your Specialists. This is also when you'll unlock your promotional offers and all skins and outfits, including the Dia De Los Muertes outfit and the Black Ops skins. 

For the Day of the Dead equip, YouTuber PaRaDoX AgonY has a quick video showing you how to actually apply the costume to your selected Specialist. Here are the quick and easy steps: 

  1. Redeem offer when the prompt pops up
  2. Select your Specialist
  3. Select "Progress and Unlocks" from the Barracks tab
  4. Select your Specialist from the list
  5. Select Outfits
  6. Select the Day of the Dead skin

You can also follow steps 3-5 to select your Black Ops skins and warpaints.

What Happens If I Hit "Back" Before Selecting My Specialist? 

If you accidentally hit "Back" before choosing which Specialist you want the Day of the Dead skin applied to, you should be able to follow steps 3-5 above and get prompted again. However, as some players have pointed out, that is not always the case. 

In the case you cannot find the skin, several forum posters on Reddit and the game's official forum have suggested the following:

  1. Reset the game (or console if that doesn't work)
  2. Play several matches in a row

Neither are definitive fixes, but both seem to have worked enough to at least try. If you still can't redeem the costume after trying everything above, contact Activision Support for help. 

And that's all you need to know about getting specialist outfits in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Well, that is until microtransactions inevitably hit the game and an in-game shop opens up. 

Call Of Duty Blackout: Essential Battle Royale Tips (Plus Best Perks and Equipment) Fri, 12 Oct 2018 18:25:43 -0400 Ty Arthur

At this point, pretty much everyone has played a battle royale game -- especially if you're reading this. But one thing's for sure: you haven't played it the Call Of Duty way until you've tried out Blackout mode Black Ops 4.

While the basic battle royale gameplay elements remain the same, there are some key differences you need to know ahead of time -- like how to avoid zombies and properly utilize Perks.

Here's what you need to know before jumping into the biggest mode in Black Ops 4

Blackout Survival Tip #1: Pick a Better Landing Spot 

Blackout's convoy travels a random direction each time you start a new match, and the circle shrinks in a random direction, too. That means you need to quickly find the best landing spots and have several of them in your back pocket if things don't go as planned. 

You can view the convoy path before the match starts by pulling up the map while you are in the lobby waiting area. Furthermore, the map lets you zoom in to see specific landscape features, which is critical to finding the right location.

In general, avoid the big named areas when landing, especially early in the convoy's flight path, as that's where everyone else is going.

Instead, look for clusters of buildings slightly away from the convoy path that aren't next to main roads. If they have clear sight lines on elevated terrain, even better.

Don't discount the dense forest area in the upper center section of the Blackout map. A helicopter spawns on a tarp there. You'll also have plenty of room to hide and snipe while waiting for other players who are sprinting to avoid the closing circle.

We've got a full run down of the five best specific spots to land right here. Those locations are guaranteed to be filled with loot and feature sneaky places to hide and snipe without being seen.

Blackout Survival Tip #2: Look For Broken Windows, Not Open Doors

It's currently standard battle royale practice to play mind games with your opponents. Closing doors so other players don't know an area has already been looted is one of the better ways to do that. 

In Blackout, however, jumping through a window automatically breaks that window. Most of the time, players have to break through windows to make a quick escape. 

In other words: don't look at doorways to determine if a building has been looted or not. Look at windows instead

Blackout Survival Tip #3: Change Your Loadout For the Situation

Except for in the very beginning of a match, you are going to be flush with weapons pretty quickly. To stay alive, switch your equipment, attachments, and perks based on the terrain.

Specifically, switch to a shotgun when you are clearing an interior location for loot, such as a house or factory. Spraying and praying with an assault rifle isn't as effective here as a wide range shotgun blast with high damage at short range.

When you head up to the building's roof or go back into the open, switch to a weapon with a higher rate of fire (and preferably a scope as well). In the open, you want to be able to zoom in and pop off quicker shots at longer range.

Blackout Survival Tip #4: Avoid The Zombies... Most Of The Time (Because Ray Guns)

In most cases, tangling with Blackout's randomly spawning zombies just isn't worth the effort. All it will do is draw attention to your location due to the sound of your gunfire.

There is one very clear exception to this rule, however. A horde of zombies protects a special wooden box that can randomly spawn once during a match.

The box location is marked by a blue pillar of light and is most often found in the graveyard near the Asylum, but it can spawn on any of the five red circled locations on the map above.

The area around the box will be swarming with zombies, but if you fight your way through, you get a random item from the box that is usually Level 3 armor or a high power weapon.

If you keep killing zombies after opening the box, they have a small chance to randomly drop the special ray gun! This is a big gamble, since everyone will know where you are, but getting the ray gun can be worth it.

The Best Blackout Perks + Equipment

In Blackout mode, Perks are random just like weapons, ammo, and equipment. Perks have to be equipped in the inventory screen and offer bonuses for a set amount of time.

While everyone has their favorites, some Perks stand head and shoulders above the rest for their usefulness or versatility. In particular, we recommend making use of these Blackout Perks:

  • Skulker: This Perk lets you move at full speed while crouched, or only slightly reduced speed while prone. Use this to stay hidden in tall grass near the edge of the shrinking circle so you can snipe enemies sprinting to safety, then quietly stay low and move to a new location. 

  • Stimulant: This Perk raises your maximum health by 100. Load yourself up with health packs and use your extra capacity to draw enemies out into a firefight you are more equipped to win.

  • Paranoia: This Perk lets you hear a tone whenever another player is aiming at you. For those with fast reflexes who like to hang out in the open, this may be the best Perk in the game.

  • Iron Lungs: This Perk lets you hold your breath longer while swimming or while sniping. If the circle is shrinking near the river areas, this is a fantastic way to hide out of sight and then pop up and kill sprinting enemies who don't even know you are there.

Besides the limited-time Perks, there are a host of items to pick up that spawn randomly across the map and can offer you an edge in combat.

Like with Perks, nearly any of them can be useful in specific situations, but these are the items we recommend using most often if you can find them:

  • Sensor Dart: Easily the most useful item in the game, this thrown object reveals enemies in a short radius on the map. If you've got these, always throw them into large buildings before heading inside. This completely removes the advantage of anyone lying in wait to snipe you.

  • Smoke Screen: When you aren't sure where the enemy is, or you think one is potentially waiting to snipe as you break into the open, this thrown grenade item is perfect. It will either protect you from fire or flush the enemy out into the open.

  • Combat Axe: This item doesn't change your melee attack, but rather is thrown like a grenade. If you practice your aim, this can be a silent one-hit kill in close quarters.

  • Mesh Mine: If you are a patient player, these are awesome to set at the base of staircase or near doors leading into rooms filled with loot. Lie in wait, prone in the corner, and open fire when an opponent trips the mine.

Finally, there's one piece of equipment everyone has that they forget about -- you don't ever actually lose the wingsuit after your initial landing.

Why does that matter? If you jump from a sufficiently high location (like the buildings at Construction Site), you can re-deploy the wingsuit by holding down the jump button and quickly glide long distances.

This is also great for escaping when you when you're cornered on a precipice or tall building. 


Those are all the basics you need to know to survive a match of Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout mode. Have any other tips we should try out to get to that #1 spot?

Leave your best Blackout strategy in the comments below, and stay tuned for a full guide on every Blackout weapon (and which are the best to use) coming soon.

Call Of Duty Blackout: Best Landing Spots In Black Ops 4 Battle Royale Fri, 12 Oct 2018 17:11:21 -0400 Ty Arthur

Moving away entirely from the single player experience, the main attraction of Black Ops 4 is Treyarch's take on the battle royale genre: Blackout mode.

As with Fortnite, PUBG, Realm Royale, and so on, the location you pick for your initial landing will radically change how the match plays out for you.

We've rounded up the five best spots to land so far as the player base gets used to this mashup map featuring fan-favorite locations from across the Call Of Duty universe.

Best Black Ops 4 Blackout Landing Spots

For this battle royale iteration, keep in mind that the storm shrinks in a randomized direction each match. That means you want a wide array of possible landing points picked out ahead of time.

When you're loading up in the lobby (where everyone is running around punching each other for no reason), pull up the map and take a look at where the convoy is headed.

You want to know the layout and pick your drop spot ahead of time so you can dominate if anyone else landed at the same location.

Landing Spot #1: Southwest Of Construction Site

One of the very best spots to always check first in Blackout is in the forest southwest of Construction Site, south of Estates, and west of Train Station.

Why go here? A helicopter randomly spawns on the blue tarp in the clearing! If the initial drop path takes you anywhere near this area, make sure to check and see if the chopper is there.

If it didn't spawn, head slightly to the northwest to the top red circle in the image above (assuming the circle isn't shrinking in the other direction) to check a small area with four storage sheds usually filled with weapons.

Landing Spot #2: North And Northwest Of Fracking Tower

When the convoy is traveling horizontally across the map, heading for the big, obvious areas like Fracking Town or Cargo Docks is usually a quick way to get fragged.

Instead, focus on the loot-rich areas very close to those areas. If you bail just north of Fracking Tower, keep an eye out to see where everyone else is landing. Based on their positions, pick one of the three red circles above.

Each of those locations has plenty of weapons and equipment to easily pick up, and they won't be swarming with enemies. Once you gear up, hang out on the rooftops or near the windows and wait for injured enemies to limp out north of Fracking Tower (or south from Firing Range) for a quick kill.

Landing Spot #3: Southeast Of Fracking Tower

This is a great low traffic area if you can manage to land here based on the position of the convoy and the shrinking circle.

At the edge of the area are two houses on either side of the road filled with loot. From the back of the second house, you have a very clear line of sight to the bridge, the river, and across toward Factory and Turbine. 

If you picked up a sniping weapon, this is a prime place to get some early kills as players scramble to catch up with the shrinking circle.

In the event this spot is already taken or the circle is going the other way, try drop a bit to the north in the forest. There's an awesome campsite there where supply drops frequently land next to some tables and a shed.

Landing Spot #4: North Of River Town

If you land at the north end of Rivertown island, there are plenty of lone buildings to loot that won't have as much traffic as the town itself.

That's not the best part of this landing site, though. The best part is then hoofing it east so you can jump up above the train track exit and hang out on the cement overhang.

Players absolutely love to come roaring out of that tunnel on trucks and four wheelers. If you go to the far side of the overhang and crouch in the corner, they won't even be able to see you as you snipe them from above or throw grenades at their vehicles.

Landing Spot #5: South Of Asylum

South of Asylum and east of Rivertown is a small cluster of houses right off the road. When the circle is either shrinking southwest into the corner or east toward Asylum, this is a fabulous place to hang out. 

Not only are the houses rich in loot, but the far corner house has a huge hole in the roof. If you jump out onto the roof and go prone, you have very clear sight lines in all directions for sniping. 

In the event someone realizes where you are, just hop back down into the hole to avoid taking any fire.

These are our five favorite Blackout landing spots so far on launch day. What did you think of our picks, and what's your best Call of Duty Black Ops 4 landing location? Sound off in the comments below!

Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 Zombies -- Blood Of The Dead Gameplay: Not Your Ordinary Game Trailer Wed, 10 Oct 2018 18:02:49 -0400 QuintLyn

Today, a stunning cinematic trailer was released for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blood of the Dead zombie mode, and even non-Black Ops players are going to love it. (Unless of course, you hate fun and zombies.)

The trailer is all story -- bloody, giblet splattering story.

It takes players to alternate-universe Alcatraz overrun by the undead. Exactly how this occurred, the trailer doesn't explain. There's no exposition. But if you watch the video, you might come to the same conclusion as me. The gates of hell opened on the island and claimed the damned, bringing with glorious zombie-slaying action.

Longtime fans of Call of Duty: Black Ops' zombie modes should recognize another prominent feature of this video, too -- the song. For those who don't know, a track titled "Where are we Going" was featured as an Easter egg in the Mob of the Dead zombies map in Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3. The song -- written by Treyarch sound designer Kevin Sherwood and James McCawley, and performed by vocalist Malukah, was originally about half the length of what appears in this trailer.

Of course, the Zombie mode isn't the only mode in the game. In fact, we posted a trailer giving a look at all the game modes was last month.  

If trailers aren't enough for you, then you might also want to check out our PC Beta Impressions or our thoughts on the Blackout battle royale mode. There's a lot of excellent information there for those looking for a little more info on what to expect from Black Ops 4.

Be sure to check back later this week for our review of the game, as well as guides and other helpful tips and tricks.