Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PX3, PC
Reviewed on: PS4
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
Release Date: 6 November 2015
Black Ops is back, and this time as one massive package as the game has a fully-fledged episodic zombie mode, an action packed campaign, and the multiplayer mode that we all love in the series. But what makes Call of Duty Black Ops III so special compared to every other annual entry into the franchise? Well, basically everything.
I have been following the game for some time now and I have to say that Activision’s stance on the franchise has changed completely. Instead of not knowing what is going on in the game, like every other year, Activision opened up the game to the public in a beta. This not only helped perfect the multiplayer mode, but it was also an opportunity to give them feedback on the game and its mechanics. Sure many franchises do this, but to see Call of Duty open up and allow this for the first time, was a good sign. And this all paid off in the end as the multiplayer is one of the best that has ever been released. Actually, every mode in the game has been given a little more attention, and it shows.
If you love co-op, then you will be happy to know that every mode in the game now supports some sort of multiplayer, even the campaign can now be played with up to 4 friends. This is great as it makes you want to jump into the story rather than leave it behind like we do every year. It also adds a replayability factor to the game as there are new unlockables that can be obtained by playing the story, plus you now can create your own character rather than playing with a pre-made one.
The campaign is a roller-coaster of action from the start. it is probably one of the best in the series, and again thanks to the co-op you will find yourself playing through it a few times with a couple of friends. It is roughly 6 hours long which feels like a decent length without it becoming tedious.
You can choose to play the missions in sequence or unlock them all at once if you want to jump into the game and mess around with a friend. The areas that you visit have all been increased in scale. This is to make up for the increase in player limit as 4 players in smaller missions would not make sense at all. Playing with friends also means that you can take a more tactical approach to each situation. Instead of just going in guns blazing, you can now all take different points and flank the enemy when need be. Later on in the missions roles get separated amongst your team. One player for example will stay on the ground while others hover in aircrafts above, providing cover for you as you complete your objective.
If you have never played a Black Ops title before, so not fear as the game is a standalone title when it comes to the campaign. So you will never feel lost playing through it. Saying that, the campaign is one of the best in the series and often we doubt it due to the game’s strong focus multiplayer, but do not fear as it is truly a stellar experience from the start to finish. It also has some rather flashy set pieces, which we have come to expect from the series, and just when you think that explosion was big, another happens that pulls you further into the action.
Between missions you will visit a hub where you can customize your character, change your load out, and even access the popular DeadOps Arcade game. You can then choose between one of the three of the “super power” Cyborg abilities that will accompany you during a mission. One lets you hack drones and enemy robots, one is motion based which sees you improving on your jumping and boosting skills, and the last one is all about damage as you use them to damage enemies and ill opponents. Again these abilities are all better matched playing co-op as you and your team can take advantage of each skill tree and make the most out of the feature.
Fear The Dead
There is a fairly large emphasis on Zombies in Black Ops III as not only do they appear in the dedicated Zombie mode, but once you have completed the campaign you unlock Nightmare mode which unlocks a Left 4 Dead styled story mode that sees you playing through a couple of missions with only undead enemies. There is also simple story about the end of the world which gives you some insight to what has gone wrong in the world.
The zombie mode in this year’s Call of Duty is its best yet. 4 players, or yourself alone, are placed in this alternate world in the 1930. Each player takes on a character role backed up a celebrity appearance like Heather Graham (Boogie Nights) and Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day). Each of them have their own back story to which plays into why they are in the situation they are in today.
The Zombie mode is as hard as ever, you have to be careful what you do and what you buy, in a nutshell every decision you make needs to be thought over carefully. It is also good to know that instead of just trying to survive the longest, you now have to complete certain actions in the mode to progress. These actions are not laid out in front of you, rather you have to figure out just what to do to complete it. There are tons of surprises in store as you play the game, and it is nice to see that one of the most popular modes in the series received such a awesome treatment.
With everything Black Ops III has to offer, we all know why we came, for the multiplayer. The new Specialists are the biggest addition to the mode as now you can select from one of nine soldiers that are basically your playable characters throughout the mode. You level them up, unlock new customizations, and as you level up your personal rank, you will unlock more to play as.
Each of these specialists have their own ability and weapon to choose from, one of which can be chosen per match, you cannot choose both. During a match a bar will fill up as you kill and rack up points. Once it is full you can activate your ability which lasts until the bar is empty or you die. Because you can only choose one of each, it forces you to take a more strategic approach depending on the match you are playing. You would want to go with Battery’s War Machine when playing domination as the explosions ca take out a large group of opponents instantly, where as Ruin’s Overdrive ability makes him super fast, perfect for Capture the Flag.
The usual mechanics are back that you are familiar with. You can create classes with weapons you have unlocked and further upgrade them while playing. You can also create emblems and paintjobs on your guns using the in-game editor. One of the major new additions is the emphasis on agility which becomes a natural thing after a while. Running along walls, boosting in the air, sliding after a boost across the ground, and timing a jump right before you land a high drop to reduce damage. These are just a few of the things you can do to make use of the feature.
When variety is concerned, the game mode list is longer than ever with classic returning from past titles, as well as Uplink, and a new mode called Safeguard that sees you escorting a robot across a map while other players try and destroy it. You can also jump into split-screen bots, and even jump online if your eyes can take the resolution drop due to the split screen.
There are hundreds of things to do in Call of Duty: Black Ops III, just trying to fit everything into one play session is impossible which makes the game the biggest and best in every way. Treyarch have made the world’s most popular multiplayer even better than ever, and the Zombie and 4-player co-op mode makes the entire package better with friends. Call of Duty: Black Ops III is bigger and better than ever before, and if things keep going in this direction, I cannot wait until next year.