So! The game has had its first weekend. I've eaten, slept and breathed the game all weekend, and I think I can give some first impressions!
First, the Specialist story (probably the remnants of whatever story they had for the scrapped "Campaign") makes no sense at all. Honestly, the only reason to play through it is to learn how all the specialists work, which I think it does a very good job at teaching you. I enjoyed the specialist back story cutscenes, especially Seraph's.
Multiplayer is probably the mode I've spent the least amount of time with. It's fun. I don't think the specialist abilities are very intrusive at all, they won't help if you're bad, but are fun to use. The game is a lot slower without the movement abilities of Black Ops 3 and I think it benefits from that. Lobbies feel less sweaty. More like the actual game I remember playing the hell out of back in 2009 and 2010. However, turns out MP is the least interesting mode in this game.
Surprisingly enough, I've actually spent quite a bit of time with Blackout this weekend, which I honestly didn't expect. I spent a few games just dying to the first person I saw every time. Then suddenly, it just clicked, and I'm able to manage a top 20 finish every game, if not a top 15. I can't say yet whether the game has legs, it depends how they handle updates for the forseeable future. But I'm really enjoying it at the moment.
I've easily spent the most time with Zombies. No surprise there. It's one of my favourite things in Gaming ever (the storyline is up there with the MCU for me).
The Zombies offering in this game is incredible. There's something for everyone.
I've spent the most time with IX, the Gladiator-esque map that has probably seen the most in terms of marketing in the mode. It's incredibly simple but very addictive, with lots of secrets to find, but with the basics being very simple to achieve. You can unlock the entire map (at least the map we're aware of) in just a few rounds, and unlocking Pack a Punch is simple as pressing square on a few things and killing some other things, and there are very obvious audio and visual prompts to direct you to "hey this is important" things.
Some of the changes are pretty drastic too. Perks aren't fixed on a map any more. There are only 4 perks per map and you choose their positions. So in IX (and Voyage of Despair) there are 4 positions, Danu, Ra, Zeus, and Odin. You can choose whether you want Quick-Revive to be on Danu, so one point in the map, or whether you want it on Zeus, so another point in the map. Additionally, certain perk statues have additional modifiers, which adds a small bit of risk-reward. If you can't live without a certain perk, you can put it on one of the statues that is easiest to get to, so you have fastest access to it in terms of movement, time, and points, but you're also losing out on its modifier.
Treyarch have however, patched the game as of around 5PM UTC yesterday. They've buffed the health of players so that it's 4-hit down instead of 3. And they've also nerfed some of the damage, specifically the Undead Tigers and Hellhounds, which were 1-hit downing players and made quite a bit of the game pretty frustrating. Additionally, a few undocumented changes have been made to the game. The wonder weapon on IX is easier to attain due to relaxing certain conditions, as well as a host of other Easter Egg changes.
I think most interestingly though, while some significant progress has been made on the bonus Black Ops Pass map Classified, no Main Quest Easter Egg has been found yet. Some people are attributing this to bugs (someone was able to upgrade a shield on IX through a supposed glitch), but a lot of the Main Quests just have people baffled. For example, on IX the community is stuck on literally the first step, "Purge the Blight".
Better yet, for a lot of the stuff we have found, like the Hell's Retriever upgrade into the Hell's Redeemer on Blood of the Dead, the steps are very uncertain. People know how other people have gotten the upgrade to happen, but these aren't concrete reproduce-able steps. It's kind of funny to see some Zombies content creators putting up "Guides" for stuff that they don't know for certain how to do, and just show the gameplay of themselves managing to get it, with some rough descriptions of the process.
It's really interesting to watch, as its something Jason Blundell (co-head of Treyarch) brought up himself. For a long time now, the community has just been able to brute force each map, solving the Easter Egg thanks to just the sheer number of people trying to play the map and solve the egg. However, this time around the community is split across 3 maps (4 for the people who own the Black Ops pass, which is going to be most of the community).
So, overall, I'm having a blast, I'm very satisfied with my purchase. I'm going to be playing this game A LOT over the next 12 months.
I hear the Allies spend 45 minutes talking about the game of Frame Trap, so I'm really looking forward to listening in tomorrow!