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Call of Duty Blackout: The New King of Battle Royale?

Call of Duty has had a long, long history of being crowned as one of the leading first-person shooters on the market. It is often a toss-up between either CoD or Battlefield every other year as to which one boasts the shinier graphics and smoother gameplay.

But, with Battlefield V‘s recent problems with the lack of pre-orders, buggy beta gameplay and just a general lack of enthusiasm from its usual audience, Call of Duty seems more likely than ever to reach that number one spot this October.

One of the biggest reasons for this sudden major shift in popularity is no doubt due to the inclusion of a battle royale mode. Now, when this mode was first announced back in May I didn’t really take any notice. I’m not a massive battle royale guy myself, I must admit. I had played Fortnite both before it became a battle royale-centric game and after and I had sunk around 20-30 hours into PUBG but the sub-genre as a whole really didn’t appeal to me all that much.

That being said, there is something that I find very alluring about Call of Duty’s Blackout mode, something that might just make me revisit the battle royale genre and something which, I think, has the very high possibility of becoming the next battle royale king.

A Polished and Familiar Experience

Undoubtedly, the greatest advantage that this game mode has over others in the genre is that players are very familiar with the Call of Duty gameplay already. From knowing how the gunplay works to knowing the easiest ways to traverse around the map, players immediately feel right at home behind the controller.

This was a big issue for myself in games like PUBG and Fortnite, I felt as though the gameplay was lacking, particularly in the combat area. Whereas in Blackout I find myself fluidly moving around the map and intrinsically knowing exactly how to take down the rest of the opponents in the arena.

CoD Blackout gameplay image
Familiar gameplay combined with the popular battle royale formula

And while Blackout is still very much in beta, it seems like it is shaping up to be one of the most polished battle royale experiences on the market. The game runs at a consistently high frame rate, lag is minimal, glitches are few and far between and the graphics of the game still retain that high level of fidelity that you would expect from a current generation game. I guess that’s what you get with a triple A budget and a development team that cares about the final product.

All that being said though, Blackout still has quite a way to go if it desires that battle royale crown. The game mode currently only allows for 88 players per match, rather than the usual 100 found in other battle royales. This seems to be a necessary compromise though as this is definitely the best battle royale experience currently available on console, due to its high performance. However, the number of players in a match has already increased from 80 and is likely to increase again before and after the game’s final release, so keep those fingers crossed.

The current map of CoD Blackout
The current map of Blackout, featuring fan-favourites like Nuketown and Asylum

From the use of well-known maps like Nuketown and Firing Range to its silky-smooth gameplay and framerate, Call of Duty Blackout is definitely a game to keep on your radar, whether you like the battle royale genre or not. After all, is it just a coincidence that PUBG dropped below 1 million players for the first time in a year during this beta?

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