The release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is so close you can almost smell the gunpowder. We cannot wait. There’s going to be battle royale awesomeness in Blackout. There’s an amazing bunch of Zombies maps. Multiplayer promises to raise the bar yet again. So, ahead of its arrival on Thursday, join us in celebrating the entire history of the Black Ops series!
We kick off where it all began – 2010’s Call Of Duty: Black Ops…
Call Of Duty: Black Ops
Set during the Cold War, Treyarch’s ‘60s-set shooter casts you as a CIA operative forced to recall missions he’s undertaken in order to prevent a catastrophe. These so-called ‘black operations’ took you behind enemy lines in Laos, up the Ural Mountains, and at one point, deep into Cuba in an attempt to kill Castro. It was all very clandestine.
Multiplayer-wise, there was a new fan favourite mode in Gun Game, where your weapon changed every time you got a kill. Black Ops also brought a pair of firsts: the ability to record gameplay clips so you could watch them back later, and the chance to polish your skills against AI opponents in Combat Training.
And let’s not forget Zombies, where you and four teammates took on the roles of Kennedy, Nixon, McNamara, and Castro as they fought off a horde of zombies in The Pentagon. Revisionist history at its finest.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2
The sequel to Black Ops spanned two distinct time periods as you attempted to apprehend
a Nicaraguan cartel leader responsible for sparking a second Cold War. In the ‘80s portion of the game you played Alex Mason and Frank Woods, both beloved characters returning from Black Ops, while in 2025 you’re controlling Mason’s son, David. Branching storylines and the appearance of future technologies (jets, robots, UAVs) for the first time made Black Ops 2 feel like a proper leap forward.
Onto the multiplayer and new scorestreaks replaced traditional killstreaks. These rewarded you for gaining points rather than simply going after kills, and gently pushed players to focus on the objective. There was also the introduction of the Pick Ten system in the Create-a-Class menu. It gave you ten slots for guns, perks, and grenades, and you could use it how you wished.
And finally, Zombies mode saw somewhat of an overhaul with the Tranzit map. It actually collected three maps in one and gave you a bus in which to drive between them.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
The twelfth entry in the overall Call of Duty series stayed fresh with an intriguing storyline set, at that point, the farthest in the future it’s ever been. 40 years after the last game, in 2065, a robot revolution threatens the world. Smart drones and cyborg super soldiers gave you high-tech targets to aim at. Levels were bigger and more open this time around too, designed to fit four players in a cooperative campaign.
Onto the multiplayer front now, and the introduction of Specialists let players pick from nine different soldiers, each with unique special weapons and abilities. Battery, for instance, wielded a semi-automatic grenade launcher, while Spectre could turn invisible.
Black Ops 3 also featured another great instalment of Zombies mode. Called Shadows of Evil, it starred Jeff Goldblum and Ron Perlman battling waves of undead in the supernatural locale of Morg City.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Black Ops 4 is arguably the series’ biggest revamp ever. The multiplayer forays into the brave new world of battle royale with Blackout, which pits players against each other on a single massive map. The rock solid framerate, fleet of vehicles, and addition of zombies give Blackout a signature style that’s unlike anything else.
There’s also the return of Zombies mode, which takes a bold step forward with the addition of custom mutations, a suite of over 100 variables to change the likes of zombie speed, health, and damage. And there are three maps from the get-go, four if you have the Black Ops Pass. Honestly, when the game launches, we won’t know where to start.