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Parents' Guide: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PEGI 18+)

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Call of Duty Black Ops 4 was released on 12 October 2018 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. It's a long running multiplayer first-person shooter game, the fifteenth Call of Duty game and the fifth in the Black Ops sub-series.

This year sees substantial changes, in light of the recent success of Fortnite. Unlike other Call of Duty games it drops the single-player story in favour of a series of character based missions. The multiplayer mode lacks the usual automatic health regeneration and introduces both predictive recoil and a new ballistics system. It includes, particularly bloody, 4-player Zombies mode and introduces a Battle Royale mode called Blackout, which features up to 100 players in each match.

Along with the ratings, it's worth considering that the action is intense and non-stop. Also that playing online will often result in exposure to insults and inflammatory language.

In addition, because the game is for adults it also addresses mature themes like child abuse, arson and loss. In one scene a young girl is threatened by her father. Her brother sets fire to the house and he jumps from the window.


The VSC rated this game PEGI 18, only suitable for those 18 and over. This rating has been given due to strong violence and language.

The VSC expand on the PEGI rating by stating, that the "game contains instances of decapitation, dismemberment and the use of the sexual expletive ‘fuck’ and its derivations.

They highlight that "in addition to the initial purchase price, this game offers in-game items which may be purchased by the player using real-world money. Although there is no use of or glamorisation of drugs there are occasions when packages, some opened and showing white powder, are seen as a background element.

Parental Controls

You can setup Parental controls on your gaming system to limit access to Call of Duty Black Ops 4 based on its PEGI rating, so that playing the game requires a password.

You can also turn off graphic content like blood and some bad language in the Interface menu on PC and the Content Filter menu on PS4 and Xbox. This also enables you to turn off User Generated Content which can often contain nudity or genitalia.

You can use the Audio | Multiplayer Dialogue option in the  menu to mute language from Specialist. You can also use the Muting | Mute all except party option in the menu to turn off Voice Chat and Text chat.  in the menus which enables players to form a party of known friends before the game and then only be able to communicate with these players.

These settings do not have passwords and can be turned back on. But you can control this on PS4 by selecting Settings >  Parental Controls > Sub Account Management. Then under Chat/Message, select Block to prevent all voice chat.

On XBox One, select Settings > Privacy & Online Safety > Custom > Communicate with Voice and Text. Then you can select Friends or Private to disable it.

Younger Alternatives

You can consider the following alternatives for younger players. These are no less exciting or exuberant but they dial down the violence with content appropriate to youngsters.

    Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 (PEGI 7+)

    Splatoon 2 (PEGI 7+)

    Roblox - Phantom Forces (PEGI 7+)

    Overwatch (PEGI 12+)

    Fortnite (PEGI 12+)

    Starwars Battlefront II (PEGI 16+)

That's my guide to Call of Duty Black Ops 4. I hope you found it useful. If you have questions about this game, suggestions for other games you'd like me to cover, or just want to chat about Call of Duty do pop a comment on this post.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.