Black Ops 4's Kill Confirmed
Players: 10 – 12
This mode is essentially a form of extended Team Deathmatch, requiring players to pick up dropped dog tag icons to increase their team’s actual score. Kill Confirmed has been around Call of Duty for a while now, but the ability to double-pick specialists here and incorporate their duplicated abilities into the game makes Black Ops 4’s version all the more interesting (two active K-9 Units at once are especially frightening for the enemy team).
Additionally, the strategies invoked in Kill Confirmed often require a little more thought and coordination that Team Deathmatch. Considering that dog tags are easy to spot from a distance, it can be in a player's best interest to leave a single unclaimed set on the ground as a honeytrap. Keeping in a connected group is often what separates winning and losing teams, since fellow teammates can make sure to quickly retrieve dog tags before the enemy can make a score.
Kill Confirmed generally involves less choke-point control and requires players to keep on the move, so there’s less of an emphasis on camping, sniping, and locking down bottlenecks, which is something to keep in mind when selecting the right specialist for the job. A sniper killing a player from fifty yards still needs to pick up those distant tags to be a benefit to their team.
Black Ops 4's Hardpoint
Players: 8 – 10
Hardpoint returns to Call of Duty with its intense objective-based scrimmage. Unlike Domination or Control, the capture point in this mode moves predictably around the map, and players score by standing in a relatively large designated area. One second on the Hardpoint is equal to one point for the team.
Unlike other capture point modes, Hardpoint requires a few projected strategies. Is it worth bearing down on a near-depleted Hardpoin, or better to move on to the next one and set up defenses accordingly? With a reasonable lead, it might be strategically wise to allow the other team to score a few points and prevent undue losses and enemy ability/Scorestreak charge from sacrificing teammates on a well-fortified capture.
Of the core modes, Hardpoint is especially reliant on effective team communication. Inconvenient spawns can throw off a coordinated push, so call out a regroup to consider the higher score potential on the incoming capture point.
Black Ops 4's Control
Players: 8 – 10
Aside from Blackout, Control and Heist represent significant departures for the Call of Duty series. The comparison to Overwatch and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are more than apt, with Control functioning in a way not dissimilar to control point maps in Blizzard’s character-based shooter. Teams are positioned either on offense or defense, with attacking teams needing to capture two points by standing in designated areas, preventing any of the defending team from entering it at the same time. Defending teams can prevent capture by standing within the same area as an attacker, and/or killing any enemies entering their zone.
Control is a mode where smart specialist selection thrives, and is especially improved by team communication. If you happen to have on-mic teammates, you’ll find that coordination can mean the difference between a quick win and a shutout. Once captured, a point cannot be retaken, so allocating resources and focusing on a specific capture point before moving onto the next one ensures that the majority of your team’s energy can be spent in one decisive battle instead of two.
Beyond that, Control also maintains a kind of Team Deathmatch layer to its gameplay, as each team begins with a limited number of respawns. Successfully burning through an enemy team’s reserves can net you an automatic win and is certainly a viable strategy, though it’s much quicker to succeed through straightforward point capture.
Control is all about chokes – how to approach them, dismantle them, and fortify them for your team. Some control points are little more than a choke point themselves, whereas others are wide open spaces with numerous and threatening lines of sight. It’s important to recognize which path of entrance is best worth exploiting, since there’s always an alternate approach to take if a defending team’s frontline has locked a specific path down.
Then again, that’s the beauty of many specialist abilities – clearing out chokes. Ruin’s Grav Slam and Battery’s War Machine and Cluster Grenade can obliterate a turtled up defense and scatter a choke into chaos. Beyond that, the overpowered Scorestreaks can shift the tide by focusing control points, which makes these armaments even more devastating when there’s only one point left to fight over.
A final quick tip about Control: if the chevrons surrounding the point are colored blue, it means your team is present on the zone. If red, an enemy is mid-capture on attack, or standing in its area on defense. If the chevrons are both colors, that means both attackers and defenders are on the point at the same time. The Black Ops 4 match announcer is usually rather attentive to these callouts, but just be aware that you can also read the battle from a distance by paying attention to chevron colors on the point.
Black Ops 4's Heist
Players: 8 – 10
For Counter Strike fans, Heist is the most CS-like experience they can get in Call of Duty. Complete with a pre-match shop and obtainable currency as the goal of each round, teams of 4v4 or 5v5 attempt to fight over a bag of cash, which can be brought to an extraction point to win the round. Since money continues to spill out of a captured duffel bag when being held, it’s usually best to bring it to the flare-marked extraction as quickly as possible.
And what happens with this retrieved cash? The beginning of each round allows players to purchase weapons, perks, and various other in-game benefits, and while both teams are given a set amount of money per round by default, only the previous round’s winner can obtain a sizable bonus.
For gamers who’ve never experienced this type of competitive game mode before, it can seem daunting at first. Offering a strange shop screen with dozens of available options, it’s hard to determine what the best purchases might be, or how these purchases might benefit your team. Also, character class bonuses or specialist armaments are irrelevant to Heist, which outfits all players with the same minimalist loadout, typically making the first rounds of Heist a pistols-only affair.
Of course, later rounds open up the armory, and soon you’ll have access to primary weapons, better parks, and scopes and attachments for your guns. Mid-to-late Heist rounds include more firepower and even Scorestreaks, though the team in the lead has a decidedly larger cash pool to draw from.
In a way, Heist exemplifies a particular philosophy which the series has crafted over the years: the better a team is doing, the more and more lethal they become in the later stages of play. Love it or leave it, it’s the Call of Duty way.