Fortnite vs. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout: Which is the best battle royale?

While Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout and Fortnite are both strong battle royale experiences, each caters to differing audiences. While Blackout features a deeper combat experience with a touch of realism, Fortnite's building mechanic completely shakes up gameplay.

Battle of the royales

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has made its highly-anticipated debut, bringing an all-new last-man-standing mode for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PCs. Capitalizing on the battle royale trend, Blackout brings a fresh new take on the series' refined shooter gameplay. However, its success isn't guaranteed, facing strong competition from Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

While Blackout is already among the top battle royale titles, Fortnite still dominates with millions of followers. As common for the genre, the third-person shooter drops players into its loot-filled world to fend off rivals and survive its ever-shrinking arena. It wasn't initially built with competitive play in mind, but doubling down on battle royale has since kickstarted otherworldly success. Pairing addictive, well-balanced mechanics with wide accessibility, it secured a huge following among all ages.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 conveys a grittier take on the genre, building on the franchise's legacy among the leading first-person shooters (FPS). Its military-inspired aesthetic adopts a more realistic tone, packing near-future armaments and visceral encounter. While leveraging the core mechanics synonymous with battle royale, it's a mature take with a deeper sense of complexity.

Fortnite vs. Blackout: Pros and cons

Blackout inherits the refined gunplay of the Call of Duty series, centered around fast-paced combat and smooth locomotion. Its assortment of firearms each requires designated ammunition calibers, with sights and attachments altering the performance and in-hand feel. With the flexibility to build advanced loadouts around playstyles and situations, this leaves every encounter feeling fresh. It also requires deeper inventory management, keeping the right items nearby, while factoring carry capacity.

Combat is an equally a core aspect of Fortnite but features refined simplicity over Call of Duty Black Ops 4. Color-coded loot is used to indicate desirability, paired with just a few ammunition types to keep your weapon firing. Traps and equipment provide minor variations, but gameplay generally centers around simple over-the-shoulder firefights.

Fortnite Battle Royale

Fortnite Battle Royale (Image credit: Epic Games)

Fortnite and Blackout embrace common battle royale qualities but still feature distinct traits to separate them. For Fortnite, it's all about building; from collecting resources to scaling fortifications in the midst of battle. It's a tricky skill to master but essential to survival higher-level play.

While Blackout doesn't inject a ground-breaking mechanic into battle royale, there are still changes that help it stand independently. For tighter ties to the franchise, it pays homage to prior Call of Duty games, with a world comprised of famous multiplayer locales. Even zombies make a feature with small-scale player-versus-environment (PvE) encounters, rewarding bonuses outside Blackout's player-versus-player (PvP) roots. In short, it's Call of Duty's smash hits wrapped in a single package, sure to please returning veterans.

Should I buy Blackout or Fortnite?

Since Fortnite Battle Royale debuted, its continued success has led to expansions on PC, console, and mobile. Its free-to-play model draws millions with ease, while regular free updates also keep players returning daily.

Comparatively, Blackout is just one of three Call of Duty Black Ops 4 modes contained in a $60 package. It's easy to rack up hefty bills through Fortnite's economy, but Blackout's full retail price tag may be hard for many to swallow. And while still a great starting point, it's unclear how Activision plans to keep evolving Blackout to keep it fresh into 2019.

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 brings a strong battle royale experience to the market, easily among today's best. Combining the trend with a strong FPS legacy, the result is a responsive high-stakes mode doubling down on raw competitive gunplay. Even at full retail pricing, it's a great battle royale to buy, especially for mature shooter fans.

Fornite remains equally strong approaching its third year, with continual expansions only drawing more players. Its free-to-play model drives success and purified combat makes it accessible to most ages.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.