Opinion: Call of Duty’s Blackout Mode could be a potential PUBG killer

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Over the course of the past week, Call of Duty fans around the world partook in the Closed Beta for the Blackout Beta Test and many have been left talking about how this very mode could potentially be the game that kills PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Find out why it very could be starting now.

When it comes to the Battle Royale genre, not a lot of games are doing things differently in order to separate themselves from the rest. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – for example – hasn’t done a whole lot to stand out from the lot. Sure, it’s one of the best selling titles on the market, but the game remains at the center of controversy in recent days.

First, we have attempted lawsuits against Epic Games (the owners of the Unreal Engine that PUBG uses), second, we still have cheaters/hackers ruining the game, and thirdly, where are the damned performance and stability patches we’ve all been waiting on for quite some time? I’m pretty sure the Xbox One version is pretty damn unplayable, even to this very day, while the PC version remains moderately unstable itself with infrequent crashing and some major performance issues as of recent.

Take all of that into consideration then look to games such as Fear the Wolves and Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale already gaining steam, on top of the mind-blowing success of Fortnite, and you’d be damned right agreeing that PUBG has a lot to worry about in the upcoming days. However, now Bluehole and Tencent have something else to be worried about: Call of Duty: Black Ops IV‘s Blackout mode that is set to launch as part of Black Ops IV on Oct. 12, 2018.

Now, you may be wondering, how can Call of Duty: Black Ops IV be a potential PUBG killer when all we’ve had is a single beta week? Well, that’s what we’re here to discuss rather than rag on PUBG in a senseless banter. So let’s get to it, shall we?

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Stability is a dead giveaway in both the PC and the console versions of Call of Duty’s Blackout mode.

When it comes to playing a game, we can all agree that stability is a major thing we need to have and it’s what helps make games look and play as great as they do. Luckily for us, Activision’s development teams have seemed to be hard at work on this part of the game. With more than 20-30 hours played between all three versions of the game, I can tell you this without a doubt:

Call of Duty: Black Ops IV is more stable than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has ever been since it launched.

Now, before you get worked up and red in the face, let me make this clear. I know PUBG doesn’t have the financial backing that Call of Duty: Black Ops IV does, but they’ve made just as much and they’ve had plenty of time to make things happen, plenty of time to ensure their game could be as stable as the fans that play it want it. Hell, on PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One, it ran like butter and we absolutely loved it when comparing performance ratio s between all three versions of Blackout‘s Beta.

That alone should be raising some red flags over at PUBG Corp.

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Black Out is extremely easy to pick up and learn for fans of Call of Duty and Battle Royale titles

As someone who only sank somewhere near 100 hours into PUBG, it’s hard to really say “this is easy to pick up and learn” even when diving in for my hundredth time. After all, I’m accustomed to Battle Royale titles, I play them, I write guides for them and I even stream them when I get the chance.

Now, here we are, with something a bit more alarming for PUBG to have to compete against. Blackout is easy to learn, it’s easy to play and everyone at every level of experience can benefit from how easy it is to play Black Ops IV‘s Blackout mode thanks to its ease-of-use design.

In Blackout you aren’t going to find yourself flustered, tossing a keyboard and mouse or a controller to the side. The studios behind the game have decided to simplify things a bit. Equipment auto-attaches itself to your weapons such as grips, sights, clips, barrels. Meanwhile, ammo itself has its own carrying capacity, making it so your character’s weight doesn’t bog you down, having you spend most of your time playing inventory management while fearing for your life.

This ease of play makes it quite easy to learn from the very start. Unlike PUBG, I wasn’t feeling suffocated moments into the game, but rather, I was having fun with its minimalist approach to both looting from players I had eliminated or items I’ve found scattered across the map. But what’s even more surprising is how easy vehicles were to learn and how much they changed the scope of the Battle Royale genre in a single go.

Helicopters were an amazing addition to the genre, allowing for squads of four to fly about, picking off vulnerable players while dodging rockets that players may have used to take out the vehicle on its own. That – that minor addition changed the scope of the entire genre, making it easier to fly from one nostalgic landmark to the next with ease.

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Each landmark is a nostalgic throwback to older Black Ops titles and works in Activision’s favor.

One of the hardest things about PUBG or even H1Z1 is the nostalgia, the ability to learn the map(s) and know where to go and when to go there. However, again, this is where you won’t find Activision nor their studios dipping their hands in the cookie jar. Instead, you’re going to find Activision digging around in their vault of maps in order to create their Battle Royale map of its own.

If you look across the map, you’ll notice something a little interesting and to some, perplexing. The Blackout map itself is actually a compilation of some of the most beloved Call of Duty: Black Ops maps known by fans around the world. Locales such as Nuke Town, Fracking Tower, Cargo Docks, Factory, Turbine, and Estates are all apart of the map joined by several others I’ve not mentioned in the list. These additions make this map awesome, innovative, and looks to involve others to join the skirmish as a total of 88 players dart across the map, all seeking to claim victory over one another.

But, unlike PUBG, which has some awesome maps, to begin with, Blackout doesn’t feel isolated, it doesn’t feel empty by any means. When I wasn’t worried about other players, I was worried about the zombies wondering about the map where high-tier caches had been placed. They weren’t easy to combat by any means. Rather, I spent entire clips of ammo taking out a couple of zombies, hoping for a small opening in their steady assault in order to gain the equipment I was facing down against them for.

This small alteration bleeds Call of Duty through and through. It’s a promising sign for what lies ahead while PUBG prepares for its fourth map to release in the upcoming months.

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You aren’t being charged to edit or change your character

One gripe I’ve had with PUBG, just like a small, but vocal crowd, have complained about the cost of editing your character in the game. After all, it takes 3,000 credits in order to do so and with only 50-100 per match, you’re going to be spending a lot of time grinding out the credit to do so and even then, if you want your customization boxes, you’ll need to save between 700 and 1,400 or more to get those as well, which just makes the grind not worth it.

To offset this, Activision has made it free during the beta, which we can safely assume will probably remain the case when the full game launches in less than a month. Players will be able to choose from the characters available in Call of Duty: Zombies and even from characters from the Black Ops series.

While there are only a few male and female customizations to choose from it is a much bigger offer than what PUBG has to give you, granted, in PUBG there is a heck of a lot of clothing options to be had whether your character is a male or female.

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Blackout, win or lose, is always a welcome challenge

When it comes to PUBG, I’ll be honest, I’ve never won a single match. Same goes for Blackout. I’ve been close, but I’ve not one a single one. It all comes down to skill. How good is your aim? What “perks” have you activated? Do you have enough supplies for that encounter? Is my back close to full or can I afford to grab that grappling hook laying on the ground?

These were all questions constantly running through my head when zigging and zagging my way across a map. I was constantly feeling the pressure of doing better every game, getting better with every encounter and knowing when and where to go. This isn’t the case with my past experiences with PUBG. Rather, I grew flustered, tired, and exhausted by my eighteenth time in a single day traversing one of the same three maps over and over again.

Instead, I was content with each of my eliminations counting as a minor victory in their very own right and each of them leading up to a bigger win and an eventual victory overall. While it is possible to do this in PUBG, it’s even more-so possible if you know Call of Duty as all Blackout is – is an extremely large game of free-for-all that invites players of all skill tiers to face off against one another.

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The downside, Blackout will not be shipping separately from Call of Duty: Black Ops IV

Here’s the really problematic part when it comes to cost versus cost. Call of Duty: Black Ops IV is going to cost you between $59.99 USD and $129.99 USD depending on the version you chose. The cheaper alternative is PUBG which comes in at a smooth $29.99 USD on both PC and Xbox One with no confirmation of a PlayStation 4 release anywhere in the nearby future.

The only reason we may not see it soon is not a perplexing one by any means. Sony doesn’t allow for Alpha (Wait… Didn’t Destiny and Paragon both have Early Access Alpha’s and Beta’s?) and Early Access titles that haven’t been tested through their certification process to be released. While we do have Warface on its way early next month, it’s currently available in an Early Access Founder’s Pack and allows it to be played starting now.

Because of Sony’s approach to Early Access and titles that are in ongoing development, we may not see PUBG anytime soon and it could very well never release on the PlayStation 4 after Microsoft secured a limited-time exclusivity deal with PUBG Corp., which makes this deal a rather easy win for Activision this Oct. 12.

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Closing Thoughts

While you may be wondering why I constantly drew these comparisons, each of them was drawn with the intent of showing that both games are great in their very own right. Luckily for us, it seems that Activision is actually listening to player feedback by letting us know what’s going on by acknowledging the balancing changes that need to be made, the performance tweaks that will be final when the game releases and even the content we can expect to see when the official launch happens this Oct.

But for now, I have PUBG and Fear the Wolves to keep me busy and my only hope is that Call of Duty: Black Ops IV remains to be as good as it seems to be from the Closed and Open Beta’s I’ve already managed to be a part of over the course of the past few weeks.

Call of Duty: Black Ops IV is scheduled to release on Oct. 12, 2018, for PC via the Battle.net Launcher, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Stay tuned for our upcoming review of the game shortly after launch.

About the Writer(s):


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

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