Through a raft of limited time events that Treyarch have brought to Black Ops 4, Blackout players have been crying out for a new map to flex their muscles in. Cue Alcatraz, a new Blackout experience for up to 40 players where the action is fast paced and deadly as ever.
Generally in a game of Blackout on the original map, games can be fairly slow paced if you don’t die within the first minute, especially as the map is relatively big. I’ve had plenty of games where I’ve only encountered people in the final circle and have even won a game without firing a single shot!
Now live on all platforms, after the PS4’s week of exclusivity, Alcatraz changes things up. Down from the 100 that drop onto the regular Blackout map, this spawns 40 players on a much smaller map, leaving little breathing room throughout the match.
Alcatraz is based off the Zombies map of the same name which players of that mode will be instantly familiar with. Of course, you couldn’t possibly squeeze the Blackout mode onto the original version of the map, so what Treyarch have done is expand the map slightly, giving more outer areas to explore. It’s still absolutely packed and you’re more than a bit likely to find yourself on the receiving end of a shotgun blast as soon as you land.
There’s two major changes that help keep the pace high. Firstly, there’s no helicopter drop to start the round, but you instead spawn from random portals above the map and parachute in. Secondly, if you die, you can respawn on a rolling 30 second timer, doing so up to five times in a match. Considering the lowered number of players, it helps to keep the pace high through the match and, as a glutton for punishment, I love the taste of revenge as I quickly try and surprise the guys that just merked me.
I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty good at Blackout. I’ve been playing it pretty consistently since release and there’s nothing like a new map to shake your confidence and raise your excitement levels at the same time. I found this during my first few runs where, despite being pretty excited, the new territory was getting me into all sorts of trouble. It would seem that total non-stop action and aggression is the way forward, because even though there might only be 40 players, you might as well times that number by five. It’s easy to rack up kills like your on commission. After two or three games, a minimum of ten kills was common and quickly led me down the path of destruction.
On one hand, you could say that copying a map from Zombies is barely an effort when it comes to new content but in all fairness, expanding the map and optimising it for Blackout will have taken quite a bit of work. Zombies maps tend to have a direct path with routes that can be unlocked as you progress with a lot of the content walled off, so seeing it transformed in Blackout is really cool.
Like Zombies, weapons also appear as free wall buys and aren’t just spawned on the ground, which gives extra options as your frantically scurrying for guns. Actual Zombies are also more frequent on Alcatraz meaning you need to keep your wits about you.
I found this out the hard way in the prison block area. There’s me, Billy big balls, running and ducking away from fire with my squad into the prison zone. We decided to split up and loot the place because you know… it’s a battle royale. I found someone’s death stashes in one of the rooms and as I was looting, got ambushed by three face munchers, trapped in the corner only for another squad to enter the fray and pull a ‘Pulp Fiction’ on me. It’s safe to say that some unsavoury words escaped my mouth at that point.
The only time you don’t get respawns is in the final circle, which makes sense otherwise the place would be an absolute meat factory in the closing stages. The close quarters nature of the map does make final circles interesting though, normally taking place on a busy rooftop or amongst a cluster of buildings. It’s definitely a situation that calls for Sparrow’s bow, which I’ve seen spawn quite frequently so far, and the map specific Blundergat, a quad barrelled shotgun which really hurts. Considering the rigmarole you have to go to creating the thing in Zombies, finding a Blundergat in Blackout is a thing of joy as it absolutely wrecks faces.
Small map, close quarter skirmishes and absolutely frantic scrounging makes Alcatraz a belter and a nice change of pace in Blackout. It’s not quite clear if this is a permanent map for the mode or a limited time event, but here’s hoping Treyarch keep it as a mainstay and add even more maps in the future.
More of this please.