5 things we learned from the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Private Beta

The Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Private Beta’s first round took place this weekend, giving fans who have pre-ordered the shooter a chance to try out its multiplayer mode. GAME were on the frontlines, sliding around new maps, trying out specialists, and nabbing the occasional Best Play.

With that in mind, we wanted to highlight 5 things we loved discovering in the beta. Whether it’s using a Specialist’s skill tactically or getting to grips with a new mode, here’s what made the biggest impressions.

1. Specialists skills suit all styles

The returning Specialists are a huge part of Black Ops 4’s charm, as you figure out which character suits your style of play. From the defensive Torque, who can close off areas thanks to his Razor Wire and bullet-soaking Barricade shield, to the speedy and aggressive Ruin whose Grapple Gun can zip you across the map, these skills can help give you an edge in combat.

They also mean that you should pay attention to your team’s composition because…

2. Team play is more important than ever

Because each Specialist has a unique skill, you need to make sure that your team is balanced and working together. For instance, Crash is a medic who can top up the health of the entire team and works well with Torque’s defensive abilities. These skills are invaluable when you’re trying to capture an area in Hardpoint or new mode Control, and have loads of enemy fire to deal with.

Similarly, there are different Specialists who work well if you want to play more aggressively. For instance, one player could fire new Specialist Recon’s Sensor Dart at a wall, which then flags up enemies on the mini-map who come too close to it. Meanwhile, someone else playing as Firebreak could wait for enemies to charge past and then pounce on them with his flamethrower. We can’t wait to see what strategies teams come up with.

3. Control could be a classic COD mode

We mentioned new mode Control above, but it’s worth delving into. The crux is that one team needs to capture two zones, while the other defends them. However, each team shares a pool of 30 lives, so you can’t just brute force your way to victory.

Mixing the tension of fan favourite mode Search and Destroy (where each player only has one life) with the pace of Hardpoint, it dominated our weekend. We can’t wait to play it again during the next Private Beta.

4. Seaside and Gridlock are early map favourites

The places you fight are just as important as the people you fight in COD, and Black Ops 4 already has a strong selection of maps to choose from. Two are already standing out for us though, with the futuristic Gridlock and the charmingly rustic Seaside.

Gridlock shines thanks to its mix of wide-open areas where you can see across a big chunk of the map and indoor spaces that are perfect for chaotic firefights. Seaside, on the other hand, is a tight map with all the action being drawn towards a central courtyard.

Both facilitate fast and furious play, no matter what mode you’re playing, and that’s why we can’t wait to return to them.

5. Manual health is quietly revolutionary

The biggest change to the flow of Black Ops is the introduction of the manual health recharge. Now, you have to think about when you top up your health, adding another layer of tactical consideration to fights. If it sounds daunting, it’s remarkably natural in practice and catching an enemy off-guard by taking them down with only one bullet is remarkably satisfying.

All these little changes add up to a Call of Duty that hasn’t lost its pace, but has a new sense of tactical skill that should please fans.

Bonus – Nomad has dog biscuits for his canine support

If you look at returning Specialist Nomad’s character model on the menu screen, you’ll be able to spot a little bag of doggie treats that are shaped like developers Treyarch’s logo!