Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 Accessibility Review


The digital game and the Mystery Box Edition as featured in this review were sent at no cost to the reviewer by Treyarch.


Call Of Duty, mostly just shortened down to COD. One of the biggest, if not the biggest shooter franchise of all time other than, possibly, Doom. Selling millions of units since the first game, it's now split off to become a series managed by 3 separate studios rotating releases.

I've never really got into the series in its various iterations, though I'm not entirely sure as to why. However, with the new multiplayer-focused instalment, I thought it was time I jumped in and gave it a go.



The in-game text used in place of screenshots and to demonstrate what I can read without sighted assistance during the rest of this review is not guaranteed to be 100%accurate. However, the text remains unaltered other than removing any references to the Xbox streaming functionality used to capture said text in the first place. The text has been rendered as is for authenticity, including any spelling errors that are no fault of the reviewer.

Starting up the game

Upon starting the game, you're greeted by a logo with accompanying audio (something which isn't seen as often as it should be with the amount of logos normally present in videogame start-up sequences). After that finishes, you're almost imediately taken into the first screen.

Pressing A to start then takes you into a license agreement, which can be accepted by pressing A. There is no audio notification of this event occurring.

You are then presented with the following text:

WELCOME-TO BLACK OPS 4! MULTIPLAYER Head-to-head combat focusing on a fast-paced. action-packed experience. Choose the Specialist that best fits your play style. whether you prefer to aggressively confront the enemy or take a more paced. tactical approach to support your team. BLACKOUT Call Of Duty's newest game mode does Battle Royale the Black Ops way. Drop into the map and build your loadout with loot that you find in the world. Battle alone or With a squad to be the last player standing - you only have one life in this game mode. ZOMBIES Zombies are back With more gameplay and customization options than ever. Fight through hordes of Zombies as one of four characters available in each story experience. Play through the new Chaos storyline or the classic Aether storyline. I SPECIALIST HEADQUARTERS Dive into the stories Of Specialists in the Specialist Headquarters. Through Combat Immersion. learn to master the gameplay of each Specialist before jumping into a Multiplayer match. @ CONTINUE

The next screen, after pressing A to continue, is the option to enable graphic content, as described below:

CONTENT FILTER GRAPHIC CONTENT Call Of Duty': Black Ops contains graphic content and language which some players may find disturbing. Player discretion is advised. Would you like to enable graphic content? Graphic Content @ CONFIRM

Unfortunately, this left/right menu wraps between the various options, so it's difficult to tell what you've actually selected. It does, however, start at on by default

Pressing A here takes you to the following screen:

Safe Area Adjustment Move the arrows to adjust the safe area to fit your display. 0 ADJUST HORIZONTAL 0 ADJUST VERTICAL @ Confirm
As you might expect, this is an inaccessible process at present and is common to most games. It's a shame that there's not currently a way to skip this part and just get into the game if, say, you aren't using a TV or if you don't have sighted assistance and just want to complete it later. It would be even better if there was a way for the game to detect your screen size and work with this via audio cues to allow you to match everything up, but I'm aware that's unlikely.

I had sighted assistance to complete this process which did take a little while. Once done, however, we were into the next screen.

This next screen appears to be to do with the deluxe enhanced edition, though the titling makes this unclear:

OFFER REDEMPTION Congratulations! You have redeemed an offer and the below items have been added to your store 8,500 Call of Duty Points I Dia De Los Muertos Outift Sitting Bull Gesture Black Ops Skull Emblem Black Ops Skull Tag "Patriot" Signature Primary Weapon Black Ops Outfit for all Specialists Black Ops Skull Calling Card Black Ops Skull Sticker •Call of Dutr: Black Ops Points (CP) Will be available to use in Black Ops soon. but please be aware they have been added to your overall CP balance. Stay tuned for updates on when they Will be available for use in Black Ops •CP may also be used to obtain in-game content in Call ot Duty': Infinite Warfare. Call of OutV: Modern Warfare' Remastered and Call of Outr: Black Ops Ill. Each game sold separately.

After a couple of issues getting the game to progress past this point, I discovered that you have to press and hold A. This is interesting as it's not consistent with the rest of the menus. At the time, it seemed like this redemption process didn't work correctly, particularly as later on, the same screen re-appeared. I was then prompted to select a Dia De Los Muertos outfit for a specialist which hadn't happened previously.


When entering zombies, you are presented with the following as well as custom music differing from the main menu:
WELCOME TO ZOMBIES! Join a crew Of up to unique characters in the battle against the undead! Two story experiences await you and your allies: Witness the dawn Of the new CHAOS storyline with its mysteries Of alchemy and a deadly ancient conspiracy. or continue on through the classic AETHER storyline with all new discoveries to unlock! There are more ways to play Zombies than ever before! Push your skills to the limit with our new ZOMBIE RUSH mode. or create your own mad Zombies experiments with CUSTOM MUTATIONS. From all of us here at Treyarch, thank you for playing! And happy hunting... @ CONTINUE


WAYS TO PLAY TUTORIAL There are many new features and mechanics in Black Ops Zombies. We recommend starting with the TUTORIAL to get you up to speed! MODES Zombies offers multiple MODES. Play CLASSIC for the traditional story-based game. RUSH delivers a new fast-paced arcade experience. Or create your own Zombies variation with CUSTOM MUTATIONS. "SET UP MATCH If you want to play a specific map and mode, select the GAME CONFIGURATION panel. @ CONTINUE

From here, I thought I'd go into the Specialist HQ and continue looking around the menus to see if the accessibility might improve as I progressed.

Specialist HQ

WELCOME TO SPECIALIST HEADQUARTERS! In the Specialist Headquarters, you will learn more about the backstories Of each Specialist as you test your skills through a series Of Combat Immersion training missions. Master their abilities and equipment here before jumping into Multiplayer. THE FOLLOWING SECTION CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT IF YOU WISH TO DISABLE THIS CONTENT. GO BACK TO THE MENU TO CHANGE YOUR SETTINGS: MENU > OPTIONS > CONTENT FILTER > GRAPHIC CONTENT: OFF. @ CONTINUE @ BACK

Pressing a on a screen that double checks if you want to proceed with graphic content enabled presents you with a cutscene which, once complete, gives you the first mission. The cutscene itself is very cinematic and the scoring and sound design provide the majority of the information you need to understand what's going on.

You supposedly have a choice as to what you do first, but it was uncertain for me how to make said choice. I instead just left the game to see what would happen and it took me to the next screen without verifying what I wanted to choose.

In game tutorial messages provide enough tips to get you started with the first and second part of the training module. However, once enemies start appearing on screen, it's all downhill, with an inability to aim directly at anything due to range issues and a lack of enemy bot dialogue to orient yourself. These issues could be solved, within single player or PVE content at least, via the addition of an aim assist to make sure those with disabilities are still able to access the story content in some form.

Unfortunately, all the same issues I had in the blackout beta with menu navigation being cumbersome are still present here, with the grid-based interfaces and OCR not playing well. It's such a shame as the UI, even if it's a little quiet, fits the atmosphere.

The sound design, scoring and dialogue are still top-notch, but the fact that I've hardly got any kills in several rounds of multiplayer just shows how much of a detriment not being able to customise your classes and a lack of accessibility options for gamers without sight can be. Also though, these issues are in part due to certain audio flaws that are being looked into, with elements like footsteps being inaudible or the directionality of certain sounds not being clear enough.

The Mystery Box Edition

The Mystery Box Edition (MB for short) is the highest priced version of the game and comes in a package that, even though I'm not as invested in the lore as some, sounded interesting.

Fortunately, I was generously sent one of these very large items and as part of this review, thought I'd discuss the unboxing and whether it's worth the price.


There are 4 adhesive circles connecting the sleeve to the inner box. These can be removed by a fingernail or cutting them with a blade.

To find them, look around the edges of the sleeve and see where they connect to the box. Put a blade between the interior and exterior, then move downward being careful not to wip anything. There are two on the top end and two on the bottom end.

Once cut, you have to remove the sleeve.

Place one hand on the top of the sleeve firmly and taking one of the two handles with the other, pull on the handle. If done correctly, the box should move easily out of the sleeve which can then be put aside.

Opening the box

Looking around the box you'll find two semi-circular tabs which can be flipped down and towards you with a fingertip. The top of the box that was held in place by these tabs can then be lifted up and away from you to reveal a large amount of packaging beneath.

Fold the two side flaps and the main lid out and away from you, then look at the plastic bag-like material. There is a hole in it which, once you find it, can be widened to allow you to retrieve items from within.

The first item you'll see on the top of the box are a set of 3 plastic-wrapped, heavily embossed lithographs, one for each of the zombies campaigns available at launch (Voyage of Despair, IX and Blood of the Dead).

To the right-hand side of the box, in the packing foam, you'll find 3 AA batteries in plastic wrapping. Keep these for later.

Towards the back of the box, where the top folds away, you'll find a small compartment with a box in. Remove this and you'll be holding the 1000 piece 10 years of Zombies puzzle.

At the centre of the box is a flat piece of cardboard with two extra pieces on the bottom of it. This whole assembly can be lifted up and towards or away from you to reveal the main feature of this edition in the shape of the mystery box.

Unfortunately, you have to do a little extra work to get the box fully free of the outer packaging, namely removing the two foam top pieces to the left and right. These come away easily though and can be placed to one side.

Once those two pieces are out of the way, just put a hand either side, brace yourself and lift. The box is certainly heavier than it looks, but it comes away from the other holders that contain it easily too.

Opening the Mystery Box itself

The eponymous Mystery Box is, in a phrase, impressively detailed. It may just be resin, but that doesn't stop the tactile details that comprise it being extremely interesting and immersive.

The lid has a layer of foam underneath which, once the assembly is lifted gently away, can be put to one side to reveal the rest of the special edition's content within the box.

The items listed next are all in a tray that can be removed from the box should you wish. Place the box with the skulls on the edge facing towards you; this is the front of the box.

On the left is the steelbook and underneath that are 10 patches housed in a cardboard folder of sorts, 4 on each edge and 2 in the middle, all of different shapes. It's unknown how they are applied to clothing or other items though.

On the right is a cardboard folder with an envelope-like tab that can just be pulled upwards. The flaps open to reveal a Black Ops 4 Pop Socket for holding your phone.

Under these items you'll find a plastic wrapped copy of the Call of Duty Zombies Issue 1 comic book with a variant cover exclusive to the MB, as well as support information on glossy paper.

The final items in the box are the fig pins, sealed inside a plastic box that opens at both sides. Reach in and pull gently but firmly on the inner packaging and they should release. These are profiles of 4 characters and they are all unique and detailed in solid metal.

Light and sound

The MB has a mystery of its own, in a sense, namely the question of where the batteries go. That is, of course, until you lift the lid off, put it to one side and carefully turn the box over.

This reveals a switch with 3 modes, off (which it starts in), LEDs only and lights and sound. The battery panel unscrews with a screwdriver placed near the opening in a small hole, and the 3 batteries are easy to place with their basses on the springs in the compartment.

Closing and resealing the battery panel, then flicking the switch, at first appears to do nothing. Until you then put the lid back on, that is.

The sounds only play when you take the lid off and when you replace it, though how this is achieved is uncertain.

The sound quality from the speaker(s) in the box is great, particularly when you place the box on a surface that isn't carpeted. This is because the speaker then has room to "breathe" as it were, amplifying the audio by virtue of it having a greater amount of air to work with. The haunting sound effects are all well-suited to the nature of the box, conjuring vivid images of what might be occurring. This is a very well thought out edition of the game and the attention to detail, even with the LEDS, is surprising to say the least.

The construction of the box is fantastic, and even though it's all just resin, it's certainly worth the price for the piece itself. The pieces included within are also very well-made and interesting items on a tactile level. If more special editions took emphasis away from artbooks and purely visual items and focused on a wider variety of items, I think it would improve the quality and reach of special editions in general.

Further game testing

I resumed my testing with renewed purpose, trying to figure out the limits of the current experience. Accepting invites on Xbox One was straightforward, though at the current time I can't comment on being a squad leader. I looked at playing Zombies and setting up my own match, currently with little success. In the few games I have played of multiplayer, I've definitely enjoyed the experience, though I do feel like I'm at a disadvantage due to not knowing what map I'm on or where objectives are etc. This is especially true as the modes in the featured playlists change frequently, meaning that the modes might not always be where you think they are.

Testing this game and the various patches is a process that is still in progress, however, so there will likely be further updates to this review as time goes on and elements of the game are patched to improve the experience for gamers without sight.





In terms of what edition to look for, if you fancy an interesting talking point, even if not all the items are very useful without sighted assistance (e.g. the puzzle), go for the MB. If you want to save space and still want to give the game a shot, look for the digital game.

The gameplay itself is intense, but if you have patience and assistance where needed, you can definitely get some enjoyment out of the game, even in its current state. I look forward to seeing what Treyarch does in the future to improve the accessibility of this multiplayer-focused experience.

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