X
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

The basics of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout battle royale mode

We're not exactly racking up victories, but here's how Call of Duty's take on battle royale works for those just coming to the game mode.

Jason Parker
Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.
Jason Parker
codbo-droppingin
1 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Dropping in from the helicopter

For our first game, once we got our bearings, we decided to pick a unique location to land. The lighthouse looked distinct enough. Often, certain areas of the map will become hot spots for player activity, but since everyone's new to Blackout, players have been dropping to the map relatively quickly.

codbo-outsidelighthouse
2 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Outside the lighthouse

After mistakenly landing in the ocean (seriously, that wingsuit drops quickly, and the parachute controls are rough), we had to swim to shore and go toward the lighthouse from the docks in search of better gear and guns.

codbo-firstconfirmedkill
3 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

First kill of the game

We got the drop on another player moments later. The gunplay was exactly like you'd expect from a modern Call of Duty game. Players start out with 150 health, so the time to kill is longer than it's been in previous titles. And it's even longer if your opponent has found armor.

codbo-boatlife
4 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Heading toward the circle in style

We grabbed a boat and took the river to go toward the circle as the storm began closing in. As the map condenses quickly in Blackout, you'll want to grab gear and go within the safe zone relatively soon after dropping... unless you can find one of the five vehicles that give you a big mobility advantage.

codbo-farmlifel
5 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Farm life, loot life

Once on land, I ran quickly through a farm to a house nearby. These homes will often contain plenty of loot to browse through. Just be warned that where there may be loot, there may be other players. And picking up gear in Blackout takes some time as you try to find the sweet spot for the button prompt to appear.

codbo-foundhelicopter
6 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Is that a... helicopter?

When we walked out of the back door of the house, we found a helicopter outside. Now that's something Fortnite doesn't have.

codbo-copterflying
7 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Going airborne

Seconds later, we were flying over the landscape. The controls were pretty intuitive, but the helicopter was making a lot of noise, and you're a pretty prominent target while flying it.

codbo-map
8 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Checking Blackout's map

The storm was closing in, but I wanted to check the map to see how far I had come (the lighthouse is in the lower left). Developer Treyarch says this is the biggest Call of Duty map yet, and fans may recognize some familiar environments within the Blackout map.

codbo-confirmedkill
9 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

This player came so close...

But they wouldn't seal the deal. This firefight lasted a while as we ran around a house and tried to get the drop on each other. Expect a lot of cat-and-mouse activity in Blackout.

codbo-reconcar
10 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

You can get remote control cars too?

We had no idea the familiar killstreak weapon, the Recon Car, was in the game. And we'll tell you right now: This thing is tough to drive in enclosed areas. Next time we'll take it outside.

codbo-inventory
11 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

A look at the inventory

Blackout's inventory is pretty easy to manage. It doesn't have drag-and-drop items like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, but it's more fleshed out than Fortnite with individual mods that can be assigned to your guns.

codbo-abouttodie
12 of 13 Jason Parker/CNET

Not so lucky this time

After attempting to drive the recon car inside the house, another player walked in and went to the room we were standing in. It took a few seconds to figure out how to return to our point of view and...

codbo-11gameover
13 of 13 Jason Parker / CNET

Game over

Better luck next time! Just like other battle royale games, death is just temporary. The moment you or your squad get eliminated, you can leave the match and dive straight into another competition in the race to be no. 1.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
Do You Know About These 17 Hidden iOS 17 Features?
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

Do You Know About These 17 Hidden iOS 17 Features?

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos