Long before Fortnite came about, long before bricks and planks magically levitated themselves into place around him, Jack ‘Courage’ Dunlop’s voice graced the airwaves and streams for Call of Duty fans around the world. The ex-MLG commentator hopped right onto his PS4 when the Black Ops 4 beta dropped in last weekend, and dug deep into the meat and marrows of the latest addition to the franchise.

So far, he loves it.

Specialization

“The game feels fantastic,” said Dunlop. “It is fast-paced and the movement is super fluid. You can chain together slide and jumps to really get around quick.” Though there are any number of obvious modernizations over Call of Duty: WWII, Black Ops 4 isn’t a full-scale return to Advanced Warfare’s exosuited acrobatics. That is not to say there aren’t notable gimmicks, however – BO4’s usage of Specialists with special abilities both sets it apart from its immediate predecessor and riles up any number of long-standing debates about the evolution of Call of Duty gameplay.

Their impact may be overstated, per Courage’s experience. “I think the Specialists play a key role in the game, but don’t affect the traditional focus on the guns. I won’t change my weapon based around what Specialist the other team is using – I believe that Call of Duty is always gun-focused, and countering Specialists mainly comes down to teamwork over weaponry.”

That’s not to say that there aren’t obviously some overtuned options in the beta, of course. Alongside many other players with access to the open beta, Jack found that “some of the disappointments include the addition of Body Armor, and the frustratingly powerful Specialist equipment.”

On his end, Jack’s enjoyed Seraph most among the Specialists available in the beta. “The powerful ‘Golden Gun’ hand cannon combined with the Spawn Beacon lets you completely control the pace of any respawn objective game mode,” he recalls.

Of course, it isn’t just traditional CoD on his mind.

Last Man Standing

Though the Blackout Battle Royale mode wasn’t yet available, a man that’s built his current career off of Battle Royale gameplay has some thoughts regarding the advertised game mode. Namely – the key factors he’s looking for to determine how successful its implementation will be.

“The game mode must be frequently updated, create intense one-of-a-kind moments, and be fast-paced,” said Dunlop, laying down the foundations of his expectations. “The biggest concern I have about the Battle Royale mode is how they handle the health system. I don’t want it to be glorified hide-and-seek. I worry that people will be able to be instantly shot at without having a chance to return fire.”

The key characteristic of the BR genre is, of course, that you start out with little to nothing, and progression in the game is tied to what you’re able to scavenge from the local environment – or off the cooling corpse of your latest victim. That stands in contrast to normal BO4 and general Call of Duty gameplay, where you enter the battlefield kitted out and ready to rock. With Blackout, though, Jack expects “people to have a melee weapon right off the break.”

But even as he returns to the Fortnite grind, it isn’t Blackout he’s anticipating. Said Courage: “I hope Uplink returns, as it has always been a popular game mode in Call of Duty.”

The Black Ops 4 beta returns on August 10, for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.