Battle royale explodes into ‘Call of Duty’ beta

NUKETOWN RETURNS—Maps from previous Black Ops titles make a comeback in the beta. Nuketown is expanded to a large degree. Courtesy of Treyarch

By Andrew Ayala

“Call of Duty” released its newest playlist titled “Blackout,” in a beta last week for players who pre ordered the next iteration of their franchise.

A beta is when developers release a game to players, that way they can get some criticism from the people who are actually going to play the game. A playlist is any featured game type that players may choose.

After the recent success of “PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds” and “Fortnite,” “Call of Duty” decided to dive into the world of Battle Royale, which is when one can play by themselves or with multiple friends and face more than 90 other people in a single match.

“Blackout” is a brand new playlist in the upcoming “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4,“ and although staying true to the original rules of BR, Treyarch, the company that is currently developing “Black Ops 4,” adds their own twists on a formula that has been copied.

Players first get to choose from one of their favorite characters from both the story and the zombies modes from “Call of Duty: Black Ops 1” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.” Players even get the option to use some of the operators that are featured in “BO4” or customize their own.

Typically when landing in other BR games, players will get the chance to dive and pull out a parachute, or glider, to safely land wherever they want.

In this game, players are able to drop and control a wingsuit, which was first introduced to “COD” back in 2012, during a mission in “BO2.” There is a learning curve to flying the wingsuit but nothing that is impossible to get used to.

The number of players per lobby was 80 at first, then was quickly updated to 88 after the first day of beta testing. Treyarch has said it’s unsure whether this will change after official release.

Upon landing, players will be able to pick up both classic and new weapons, three levels of medical supplies, three tiers of armor that can only be used one at a time, attachments to improve their weapons and perks that are shaped like suitcases to give the player certain attributes for a limited amount of time.

The game runs with the original, fast-pace that “COD” has always come with, but with the tension and patience that comes with playing games such as “PUBG” or “Fortnite.”

Many maps from previous “Black Ops” games are brought back with a revamp and new names. Some of the most notable maps include Verrückt, Nuketown, Firing Range, and Rust which are nostalgic to those who follow the series. The map is “COD’s” biggest yet and is 2,500 times the size of Nuketown based on a livestream the developers had for the beta.

As players drop in on various  locations, they will soon realize that zombies can be found and, once killed, begin to drop items and weapons. It’s exciting to kill the living dead and see zombie-luring monkey bombs ,which explode after the cymbals stop crashing, or the mythical ray-gun dropping from a defeated flesh-eater.

The controls and the game feel very smooth and the fact that players can drive vehicles, speed boats or even pilot helicopters, makes maneuvering and utilizing these around the map interesting.

Battles between players take longer than before thanks to armor pick up and a new health mechanic. It implements players healing themselves and not over time like in the previous “COD’s.”

Whether players get a victory royale or die in combat, a quote that has to do with war or history will be revealed under their placement number. This is something pretty interesting for those who are into historic word quotes. This game can easily be played by anyone who loves “COD” or the BR game-type and is something that can be enjoyed for hours either with a team or solo.

“COD” had changed the landscape for multiplayer games time and time again. With the addition of a BR game type, they have now set themselves on a course that will make them or break them in both communities.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” will be release on Oct. 12 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and  Microsoft Windows. This game is not yet rated.

“White Boy Rick” is the Hollywood version of the true tale of Richard Wershe Jr, a Detroit drug dealer and informant at the age of 14. The film was directed by Yenn Demange and written by Andy Weiss, Logan Miller and Noah Miller.

The story of Richard Wershe Jr. is an interesting tale of a boy who became a Federal Bureau of Investigation informant at the age of 14 in the 1980s.

He had sold drugs for them until the age of 16, and then began selling them himself. He was arrested at the age of 17 in 1988 and has been in jail ever since due to the Rockefeller Drug Laws in Michigan.

The version on the big screen has its ups and downs in many ways. It stars a cast that did a wonderful job on character portrayal such as Richie Merritt, making his acting debut as Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr., Matthew McConaughey as Richard Wershe Sr., Bel Powley as Rick’s sister Dawn Wershe.

The Curry brothers were played by Jonathan Majors as Johnny “Lil Man” Curry, YG as Leo “Big Man” Curry, and RJ Cyler as Rudell Boo Curry.

The film begins with a scene of Richard Sr. and Rick purchasing weapons from a gun show.

Right off the bat, viewers see the bond between father and son and can realize that Richard Sr. is an arms dealer who creates weapon attachments, such as silencers.

Eventually viewers get to see how Rick becomes involved with the Curry brothers and realize his harsh living conditions push him to live a crooked lifestyle.

His father can barely make ends meet and his sister is being consumed by the crack epidemic that was going on in Detroit in the `80s.

The emotion can be shown in scenes where there is no dialogue but the background and the shade of lighting chosen adds to the overall feel.

When the Curry brothers begin to attract some heat due to recent murders, the FBI arrives at Rick’s house and begin questioning Richard Sr. about the weapons he sells.

FBI Agent Snyder played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and FBI Agent Byrd played by Rory Cochrane then begin to question Rick to see if he knows anything about the people in the pictures they are showing him.

Rick doesn’t comply much but his next encounter with them includes Detective Jackson played by Brian Tyree Henry and the two agents asking Rick to be an informant and start selling drugs.

Throughout the film viewers get a good sense of the time this was all taking place and the tone changes appropriately.

This is when Rick begins his journey into the drug world and starts letting it take over little by little.

The power, the money and the women all began to get his head, since he was such a young kid and had never been exposed to this lifestyle.

The film shows his infatuation with these things but not to a grand scale. Eventually, the Curry brothers and their gang get caught due to a shooting and the FBI says they are done with Rick.

After finding out he has a child and realizing the responsibility he has gained, Rick continues to sell drugs to make money for his family.

The films story is pretty close to the true story only it takes creative license with showing the realities of what living a life like Rick’s can be like.

These simple missteps do not do the actual events any justice at all.

As the film progresses we get to see how Rick feels and thinks but if the story had delved a little further into his thought process, it might have made for a more moving film.

The actors with smaller roles helped define the movie and were impactful in their scenes.

These  characters  added the extra emotions certain scenes needed, or even lightened the mood of the film such as what Bruce Dern did with his role as Grandpa Roman “Ray” Wershe.

Although this film seemed to have big messages such as the injustices of our justice system or loyalty to family, there were many other themes that could be taken from this film which is great when it comes from a true story.

Viewers will be able to decode these messages that are hidden throughout the film and may even be able to relate to some of them to a lesser extent.

One thing that could have improved would be to get a more personal view on some of the main characters lives.

This would allow for some key points that weren’t highlighted as much to get the time they needed on screen.

The story is put together very well, but definitely starts off stronger than it ends. The film didn’t do a terrible job at telling the story of Rick and the audience can get the jist of the true story.

It is decent for a one time viewing in theater but can definitely wait until it is out on Netflix or for rental.

“White Boy Rick” was released on September 14 and is rated R for language throughout, drug content, violence, some sexual references and brief nudity.

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