PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC; Activision
The shooter has gone multiplayer-only, bringing its own brand of exhilarating action and tactical warfare to the game modes popularised by Fortnite and Battlegrounds
It’s weird to think of Call of Duty as an underdog. It was once the world’s biggest entertainment franchise, earning billions of dollars every year for its publisher Activision. But in recent times the military shooter has fallen out of favour, usurped by the bright, glossy thrills of Overwatch and Destiny and the more family-friendly multiplayer charms of Minecraft and Fortnite.
At first glance, Black Ops 4 looks like a sad anachronism, desperate for relevance. The single-player campaign has been jettisoned, leaving us with just the multiplayer experience. Or, more accurately, three experiences: the traditional CoD array of deathmatches and domination matches; Zombie mode, in which four players attempt to survive as long as possible against ultimately insurmountable undead hordes; and the new Blackout mode, a variation on the battle royale genre explored so successfully by Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).