Blackout has dropped to widespread acclaim with many touting how it could unceremoniously chomp into the big two’s share of the BR market to become the next big phenomenon, a la Fortnite. As a hailstorm of superlatives are thrown Blackout’s way, we’ve dissected what makes Treyarch’s take on the BR formula so irresistible. Here are six reasons why Blackout is so good.
Zombies aren’t anything new to battle royale, yet Blackout infuses them with purpose by awarding seriously good gear for kills (ray gun y’all). Instead of being pesky filler, they actually contribute to how a match plays out and become a bona fide game winning objective if used correctly. Battle Royale is inherently about PvP, but having a well-crafted PvE adds depth that other titles lack. Gold star to Treyarch for this one.
Beyond the veritable arsenal of weapons, attachments, armor, RCs, traps and so on, Blackout introduces special power-ups. These can range from aids to breath underwater longer (lets face it the base lung capacity is pretty short lived), the ability to spot hidden loot, or increased melee damage. The fact you’re limited to a handful at any given time opens up a Pandora’s box of tactical possibilities. Power-ups may prove to be the deciding factor in how a meta might evolve in the weeks following launch.
Blackout is as much a horizontal game as it is a vertical one in the sense that choppers, buildings, waterways, and subterranean levels are all accessible giving each match an unfamiliar sense of height and depth, or verticality as gamers have coined it. Fortnite aficionados will be familiar with this, but Blackout goes further with the vehicles and the fact you can fight underwater. Downing a pesky opponent in the waters under a bridge feels supremely satisfying, while grappling to the heights of a high rise to pick-off a prowling squad is straight up empowering.
Fun & Fast-Paced
From a performance perspective, Blackout just works, a novelty in a genre often plagued by performance issues with the prime example being PUBG’s seemingly Sisyphean battle with lag. A polished feel courses through the very core of Blackout and oh my is it refreshing from a game only in beta. Apart from the occasional stutter, the game runs at a solid 60 FPS. As for gameplay, it’s frantic and intense, but tactical. Finding loot isn’t 10 minutes jaunt based on sheer luck. Getting geared up is fairly straightforward, but choosing what to equip is where tactics come into play. You have to balance distance with proximity fire power, choose the right attachments and do so in accordance with what other squad members have equipped.
A Communicative Developer
Treyarch has been spectacular, there’s no two ways about it. From updates to being receptive to feedback, the Blackout developer has been on the ball at every turn. Given Call of Duty’s clout, Treyarch could have quite easily been rather reclusive, but there’s a real sense the studio wants to make Blackout a resounding success. For example, players have voiced concerns over armor being overpowered with certain opponents able to absorb a ludicrous amount of bullets before dying. Treyarch were quick to pick on this and are actively working on a solution. The same goes for the slow looting mechanic, which has already been updated to feel significantly smoother.
Rather than being stupidly OP or completely redundant, Treyarch have struck a nice balance between offering a fast form of transport and creating a target that isn’t virtually indestructible. Whether you’re up against a high speed dinghy, an ATV, or a chopper, the possibility of downing the driver remains a viable possibility at every turn. In that sense, vehicles add depth, but don’t dominate how the game should be played. They are also a blast to drive. Treyarch have bull-eyed the controls unlike say PUBG where driving a car can quickly become a battle with counter-intuitive physics and unseen bumps in the terrain.