Call of Duty - Black Ops IIII: What You Need To Know
The wait is almost over for Call of Duty fans as this year's instalment, the Treyarch-masterminded Black Ops IIII, is set to arrive in stores this week. So what can we expect this time around?
Here's everything you need to know...
So what's the synopsis this time?
As you probably will have heard by now, Black Ops IIII makes a bold break from tradition by being the first game in the Call of Duty series not to feature a single-player campaign mode, with Treyarch choosing to focus instead on the game's multiplayer aspects. However, that doesn't mean there isn't a storyline.
Chronologically speaking, the new game takes place in the 40-year gap between the events of Black Ops II and Black Ops III, and while there's no single-player campaign to speak of there is, in its place, a new mode called Solo Missions. These take place within the multiplayer maps, but revolve around the backstories of the 10 'specialists' introduced in Black Ops III.
The decision not to include a single-player campaign has been a controversial one, but Treyarch say that the vast amount of CoD fans are playing the game as a multiplayer and as such they've decided to explore different ways of incorporating the narrative into the game's multiplayer maps, using the specialists as a springboard for the new narrative. Each specialist has their own unique abilities and one specialist will be assigned to each team.
What's the gameplay like?
Being a Treyarch CoD title it's no surprise to learn that the gameplay feels very much like it does in Black Ops III, but there are some other key changes in this year's instalment besides the lack of a solo campaign. Double-jumping and wall-running no longer feature, with Black Ops IIII taking more of a 'boots on the ground' approach – possibly the result of the popularity of last year's instalment WWII.
Another change is that teams will be smaller this year – 5 vs 5 instead of 6 vs 6 – and as a result many of the 14 multiplayer maps available at launch feel slightly smaller this time around. There are changes afoot in the weapons department too; instead of universal attachments which can be fitted to all weapons, each type will have their own individual attachments and upgrades, which actually allows for a lot more range in terms of customisation.
There's also a new mechanic called Fog of War, which blurs out sections of the mini-map and makes it more difficult to see what's going on around you beyond your field of vision. That might sound like a retrograde step, but the idea is to make communication and teamwork play a much bigger role in the game.
Any new features this year?
Although the War Mode featured in WWII will not be returning this year, there is a new battle royale mode called Blackout, which features a much larger map and various playable characters, including favourites from earlier Black Ops games such as Alex Mason and Raul Menendez.
Blackout mode can accommodate up to100 players at a time and you'll probably find that it's more difficult to kill opponents than in the multiplayer maps, but you can also use various different perk kits to help you. These include things like a medic kit for quicker recovery, the ability to silently creep up on your enemies, or one which alerts you when an enemy has you in their crosshairs.
Zombies also returns this year and will include three maps at launch. A season pass is also available for the upcoming DLC, which will include 12 new multiplayer maps, five zombie 'experiences' and four extra characters for Blackout mode.
Is there going to be a Switch version?
Unfortunately not. Rumours began circulating around February this year that a Switch port was being worked on by a developer who had experience with the series, prompting speculation that Beenox or Ravensoft might be involved, and that it would feature support for HD rumble and motion controls. However, Treyarch's design director David Vonderhaar has since confirmed that this definitely won't be happening this year.
Can I see a trailer?
Yep, you can find one below...
Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII will be available to purchase in hmv stores from 6:00pm on Thursday October 11th - you can also find it here in our online store.