Real Talk By: KJ
Call of Duty Black Ops III (PS4, XO, PC) provides us with another year of futuristic shooting. Treyarch is back to handle development. If you loved the augmented abilities from Sledgehammer Games’ COD Advanced Warfare, this could be your title. The upgrades go even further than last time. This feels even closer to the gameplay of Titanfall. Smoother double jumping, wall running, and power sliding. New abilities include a Firefly Swarm that messes with the enemy tech. You’ll send a wave of nanobots at the designated enemy. It’s funny to watch them scramble in confusion. Also, you can scan areas, seeing the exact placement of guards. The player will continue to upgrade during the story, strengthening their tech. One major ability can be held at a time. This does liven up the coop, having one teammate with super speed, or another with invisibility powers.
COD has a trend of making the supporting cast passable, but the lead character (who can now be chosen as a man or woman) is very generic. No change in the formula there. Due to an unfortunate accident, or hero involuntarily receives the Deus Ex treatment. With these new enhancements equipped, he’s sent back into the field to stop the current terrorist threat. Ultimately this is a typical COD campaign made a bit better bringing in friends. Whether its capping generic humans or robot enemies, a large chunk of the story just doesn’t impress. It’s a shooting gallery snooze. Major plot elements are predictable and ripped from previous games.
Completing the story does unlock nightmare mode. This lets you play through again with zombies as the enemies. People have requested a complete COD Z-Game for a while, so here is a fun bonus for the time being.
The multiplayer has the expected modes along with some fresher ones from more recent CODs. Capture The Flag, Domination, Free for All, Hardpoint, Kill Confirmed (the dog-tag grabbing mode). Team Deathmatch, Uplink and SafeGuard. In this latest mode, make sure your team robot gets to his destination before time runs out. Slow down the opposing bot by shooting it, while looking out for live players on the map. Teams take turns escorting and defending. One rather enjoyable mode, and would like to see it return in the future.
The maps will take players to some sharp locations. I found that many were designed with camping in mind. Those of you who hate dealing with that style of play, be advised. Also, I ran into several laggy rooms. This is sure to change with patches, but something to be aware of.
Zombies is easily the most enjoyable part of Black Ops 3. This takes players to the 1940’s, creating a nice contrast from the 2060 future warfare of the main story. Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Neal McDonough, and Ron Perlman round out the cast. Each have their own unique bits of dialogue and back-story. Interesting characters to play as? Wow. Could we make this happen in the primary campaign? This single level expands as enemies get tougher. Wish there was more on disk, since this section of BO3 definitely feels well thought out.
We are well into Madden/Dynasty Warriors territory with the Call of Duty series. At this point you should know the kind of experience you’re getting into. Fast-paced action, perks, deep customization, and plenty of modes. The gameplay is what it is. Sledgehammer Games threw in the EXO mechanics first, adding a tad of freshness. This one adds so much future tech on top of that, (to me) it’s starting to lose its own identity. A lot of ideas floating around in here, but not all of them feel fleshed out. Activision is starting to run out of rope, and A serious shuffle needs to happen in 2016.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III Gets
3.5 Out of 5
+Outstanding Zombie Mode
+Lots of Content
-Core Gameplay Getting Stale
-Too Much Tech