There was a lot of speculation around Call of Duty’s newest edition to their Black Ops game, Black Ops III, developed primarily by California-based video game company, Treyarch. With Black Ops 2 being released three years ago, as opposed to the two-year gap between Black Ops I and II release dates, there were very high expectations for Call of Duty fans.
Activision is the publisher of the Call of Duty franchise, with three developers rotating through each year for new video game releases under the “Call of Duty” title. Last year they released Call of Duty: Advanced Warefare, developed by Sledgehammer Games, and the previous year it was Call of Duty: Ghosts, developed largely by Infinity Ward.
Treyarch focused a great amount on several different features to amp up the newest Black Ops gameplay style, holding it to a higher level among those in the video game realm. With their classic 3-gameplay options- Multiplayer, Campaign and Zombies- you are bound to find one that you enjoy playing.
Multiplayer is by far the most popular and exciting part of the game, as you have what seems like endless game modes to play, as well as 12 maps to play on. From the Redwood Forest in Northern California to an aquarium near Singapore’s Marina Gardens. The most powerful upgrade to Black Ops 3 Multiplayer game mode is the brand spankin’ new Specialist abilities to choose from. Unlike past Black Ops games where you played as a random soldier, you now get to choose a special soldier with unique abilities to his or her self, complete with a backstory for you to read. There are nine specialists in total, each with either a special ability or unique weapon for you to choose from, per match.
There are only four available Specialists to begin with, and as you play and rank up, you recieve Unlock Tokens, in which you can unlock each specialist or weapons and abilities as you please. Each ability that you have is only available after you rack up enough points in the match, and then for a short amount of time after you utilize it–you have a gauge bar that slowly decreases until your time is up.
One of my favorite Specialists is Outrider, with her Sparrow ability. She is ultimately a female warrior, who hunts traditionally with a bow and arrow. If you fully charge your shot, the arrow will hit your opponent so hard that it will push them back and they will explode into the air. My second choice is Prophet with his Tempest ability, which has a weapon that charges up and essentially carries a shock of lightening that he can fire at a target, which will set off a chain reaction to other enemies nearby.
Something that a lot of games have been including now are equal choices of male and female characters, and Black Ops III jumped right on that bandwagon and did just that with the Specialists, which makes me ecstatic. My only criticism is that it would have been nice if you could choose your character’s sex while you are playing multiplayer, opposed to having a women when you want the Outrider specialist, and a man when you want the Prophet.
Some of the other useful features are the thruster packs – specifically for multiplayer, as it is pretty useless in campaign mode, and not available in Zombies. The thrusters are like a jetpack that let you do freakishly high double jumps into the air as you seamlessly run onto sides of buildings and walls to shoot your opponents at new, creative angles, thanks to the new momentum-based movement system. It is very Titanfall-esque, for those of you familiar with that game, which clearly set new standards for first-person shooters.
The ever popular Zombie mode is nothing short of spectacular. Set in the 1940’s with a film-noir inspired horror feel, it has some household names who voice the characters you will end up being, including Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Neal McDonough and Ron Perlman. The biggest addition to the Zombies mode, aside from the superb visuals, is the progression system similar to what you play on Multiplayer, where the more you play, the more weapons you unlock. One note to remember: Zombies this time around is not easy. Take the difficulty from Black Ops II Zombies, and tack on some more challenges. My suggestion: don’t try to play the mode solo; opt for some pals to run around with.
What I played of the campaign mode was fun and thrilling at times – some scenes seeming more traditional and repetitive, while other transitions coming off as fresh, modern and exciting. If you love amazing graphics though, you won’t be able to dislike the campaign mode too much, as Treyarch really stepped it up with the realistic features of the characters. You may even forget that you are watching a computer-generated soldier barking orders at you. My favorite part about it? The fact that you can now play co-op mode. Which is just… awesome.
There is still so much more of Black Ops 3 that I need to play, and so many more weapons and modes I need to unlock and explore, but this game has done more than surprise and excite me. From bringing back certain map favorites like the upgraded NUK3TOWN, to releasing new maps that are so unique, and include so much rich detail down to the dishes and wine bottles on a granite countertop in a swiss chateau, Black Ops III has left me reaching for my Xbox One controller more often than I normally do.
5/5 – Just amazing…