The other Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta is on time, that is, if you pre-ordered or watched Nina's live stream ̵
Maps, Movement and Gadgets
Tyler: I like Blackout starting faster than PUBG just because it separates it. You lose some of the excitement in the air, where you just hang out and watch everyone else go to the ground, but hurry on your feet, grab a rifle, drive an ATV, and throw a helicopter within two minutes of start at least make a failed match fun. It has not always been my experience, but it feels snappier in general.
James: I spent the first five minutes hiding in a shed and the next couple of minutes hiding in a bath. Fourth place with a few kills. It is certainly faster with regard to motion and gunplay, but it slows down to the PUBG pace between circles. That said, it's like a dream, and it's a relief that controls a smooth character over PUBG's bulky, intentionally more realistic bodies.
Chris : The movement feels great and the map is a fun. It's a very smooth experience (seems smoother in solo than in squads, though), which is so damn fine after the last gang of Early Access BR games I've played. I've been used to bouncing down before they're ready, but this feels already slick and polished and ready for players. Thank God. There is no doubt that improvements are needed, but it feels like a good start.
Tyler: I like how colorful it is. It feels strange to drag excessive rifles around by the beautiful beach, with all the blooming blossoms. Some nice details too: in a public restroom on that beach, I noticed a roll of toilet paper waving in the breeze. Did not know I needed toilet paper physics. So it sets it between PUBG and Fortnite as far as it looks – it's more cheerful than PUBG, but still far more gloomy than Fortnite. There is also a place in between them when it comes to silliness. There are gadgets!
James: I found grappling gun a couple of times, but I'm still figuring out the best use cases for it. Turns out that it's not the best tool in the big open. I've seen some streamers use it around the aforementioned places to slide up to the second or third floor of a building or to jump down without harming the fall. It's a nice tool to pull the distance or reset a match, which all the game's royal games need.
Chris : I like the little RC car! I do not know how useful it is, but it feels like a fun way to annoy and distract other players. I was the corner of a house while someone was shooting me, so I sent it out to speed around the streets outside. I could not look at the guy, but at least my little car took some shots, so I got him to throw away some bullets.
Pacing and the Circle
Tyler: What do you think need to improve in the immediate future? To me, the lobby where everyone shots on each other, do no harm, no roman seems anymore after PUBG. Please just spawn 80 ATVs and give us ramps, or something. I realize that this is a very small complaint, but you probably have better thoughts. I have used most of my rounds, either negligently driving around and dying, or hiding on a bath (and so dying).
Chris : The lobby is strange right now because solo matches are filled so fast that I'm only in the lobby for a few seconds before the game begins, making the lobby a meaningless exercise. There is more fun in the squad, but yes, more ramps please. Let me also drive people over.
I wonder if the zombies around airdrops are a bit meaningless? Are they necessary? I camp an airdrop and no one bothered to even raid it. I feel that there are enough weapons to be found elsewhere that make the airdrops a bit redundant and so the zombies are kind of stupid.
James: The thorns must shrink much faster. Camping the bathroom when you have a decent set should not be as viable as it is and waiting to see where the next circle lands, feels contrary to the call of Dutys usual pace. The inventory user interface and the management of weapon attachments are quite difficult to analyze as well.
Chris: It is after the first circle or two. I do not know if it requires less loot (so much loot) to make players move more, or if they need faster circles, or more players, or just a smaller map. Or maybe I just have to accept that BR will always have these lulls. But in the solo games I've played (and played after they've sentenced), it's really the end when there are about 15 players left and still half of the island is in the circle. Something needs to increase the speed of the middle game a bit.
Tyler: In my best solo match, I landed by the coast and there were no other players in the immediate vicinity. I looted some buildings and got a pretty good gun, I think-I almost can not tell them after just a few matches. And then I hung out. I went for a swim. I looked at the toilet paper I mentioned. And then later someone snatched me into the grass and shot me because I had walked too far after getting bored. If I had stayed in the bathrooms and watched the toilet paper flap in the breeze, I probably had been in the top 10. So I still find it quite boring solo, at least when I try to win (otherwise I'm just driving an ATV around, do not give a shit). We jumped in as a team for some rounds, and some matches were frustrating, but there was no lack of shooting. Or be shot on. We also have a helicopter.
Chris : In games the map feels almost too little. I do not think we landed once without another troop straight landing near us, but I think everyone is targeting the same areas to let in. I guess it's probably good: there's a fight started quickly and some squads are eliminated early . We were only those who were eliminated early. But then we were all in a helicopter together, except James. Not really the best way to keep a low profile and we have initially self-tested our team.
James: Let's take a moment to blame Steven, here.
Chris : Steven was our pilot. He must work on his landing.
What we hope for
James: I'm hoping that Treyarch injects a little more absurd in Blackout over time. The inclusion of weird gadgets like cymbal ape throwable that attracts zombies before exploding, a strange pulsating laser gun and gadgets that allow creative wild motion point to a more surprising, wacky battle royal game than what's now. I hope Treyarch is on a long-term update plan that will introduce even strange tools in the mix.
PUBG is still fun, but its commitment to realism means you will not get updates every week that completely changes meta, like Fortnite's snowman who teleports you into the sky or the sniper rifle that erects walls. I think Blackout has to be willing to go there, to change the variables radically and often. Keeping up is half fun and watching the best players customize each week provides a fascinating competitive scene.
Chris: Gadgets are fun, but they will not give it longevity, I think. When I look at top PUBG streamers, they do not do motorcycle backflips or bonking people with frying pans. They probably did at some point, but now they are just trying to win. Finally, BR tests player skills and it usually does not involve anyone who can withdraw from the most ghastly, most amazing doors. I think crazy, stupid things are good for attracting people in the beginning, but it boils down to a stable experience where skills are tested and the most talented players are rewarded.
Tyler: I do not want to be bad at all, as I am with all combat royal games (I have a chicken dinner, but it's barely enough to maintain a person).