Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Review
Platform – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer – Treyarch
Publisher – Activision
MSRP: $59.99 USD
(Editor’s Note: This game was reviewed on the PS4 under Realistict Difficulty with the game copy being provided by Activision.)
Another year, another Call of Duty and this time it’s the sequel to Treyarch’s Black Ops series. Black Ops 3 is Treyarch’s first next-gen Call of Duty release for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. How does the new Call of Duty fair in comparison to Advanced Warfare, Ghosts, and previous Black Ops games? Well, it’s safe to say that it fairs quite good. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is the heaviest content filled Call of Duty game to date and here is why.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is set in a futuristic setting with cybernetics and fancy robotics technology. The story is quite dull and nothing to get excited about and rather predictable. The characters are your standard military personalities that you’d expect to see in any other generic sci-fi film plot. If you’re looking for a good story in the game, you won’t find it here. However, what you will find is a fun campaign and new gameplay mechanics that spice up the game.
Treyarch has implemented new mechanics to the campaign that take advantage of your cybernetic abilities and supersoldier powers that change the gameplay and tactics on how you play the game. You have three different cores at your disposal such hacking, mobility, and offense. Depending on the difficulty you’re playing, it’s critical to plan out your attacks beforehand. For example, you can go you can hack turrets and turn them against thier masters, or you can use your offensive abilities to blow up robots from a distance and use a swarm of nanobots to stun and kill a wave of human soldiers. It’s a nice amount of new additions that make the gameplay more interesting and less dull than the previous Call of Duty titles.
That’s not the only thing Treyarch has done to keep the campaign mode varied. You now also gain experience and level up, and you get special Fabrication Kits that allow you to upgrade your cybernetic abilities and unlock new weapons and gadgets for your campaign load-outs. It all comes very well together because the game was built for four player co-op in mind. If you have yourself and three other buddies you can use everyone’s strengths to get through the game on the hardest difficulty and have some fun combat scenarios that you’re not used to in the previous Call of Duty games.
Overall, the campaign mode was quite enjoyable in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 thanks to the addition of new gameplay mechanics, leveling, and four player co-op. However, the story is nothing to rave about, and it won’t keep you on the edge of your seat. After you complete the campaign, you can re-play it on and keep leveling up to tackle higher difficulties and finish collecting all the collectibles.
Multiplayer and Zombies
The multiplayer in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is addicting as ever, and it also has a couple of new additions. The introduction of ‘Specialists’ is the biggest change in Call of Duty multiplayer. You can choose from a variety of Specialists that have two different unique abilities (you can only pick one in the loadout) that add another dimension to gameplay. For example ‘Ruin’ specialist can use ‘Gravity Spikes’ on the ground to cause damage around him and eliminate his enemies. His other ability is ‘Overdrive’ that lets him run at super fast speed for a limited amount of time. You can activate these powers once you’ve earned enough score in the match or a certain amount of time has been passed. The ‘Specialists’ don’t innovate the multiplayer in any way, but that’s not a bad thing because it just adds more to the already excellent formula that Call of Duty is known for.
The map design in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is a lot better than previous games, especially Ghosts. Ghost was infamous for having the weakest map design and overall multiplayer of modern Call of Duty titles. The maps are a lot smaller this time around such as ‘Aquarium’ and ‘Combine.’ If you’re looking to get into the action, quicker then you’ll be able to with ease. Players can now also shoot and swim underwater and navigate the map not only on the ground level but also through the underwater shortcuts. This adds another new dimension to the level design that wasn’t here before in the previous Call of Duty games. At first it felt kind of weird to be able to swim underwater in Call of Duty multiplayer, but after a couple of matches I got used to it and took advantage of it to flank the opposing team.
Shadows of Evil is the new zombie story mode that takes place during the 1940s in a fictional Morg City. There are four brand-new characters, Jack Vincent, Jessica Rose, Nero Blackstone and Floyd Campbell. This is Treyarch’s best zombies mode yet. The setting is a breath of fresh air, the characters are likable and have unique personalities. Shadows of Evil has an enormous level design and has many places to go with plenty of hidden easter eggs, power-ups, and secrets. One of the newest additions is the ability to be able to turn into a beast. Players can walk up to a purple brazier and choose to become a beast with tentacles that can rip the zombies to shreds. However, it’s best to use beast mode when the team is in a dire situation and have no other choice, because you cannot use the beast at all times. The variety of new mechanics, loveable characters and great level design make Shadows of Evil fantastic and a blast to play with your friends.
Treyarch has once again proven that they’re the king of zombie mode in Call of Duty along with the competitive multiplayer. Overall, this is where you will be spending the majority of your time once you’re done with the campaign. Hats of to Treyarch on nailing the most important aspect of Call of Duty games.
Visuals and Technical
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 boasts decent visuals but nothing super next-gen or any crazy technical feats. The game runs at 60FPS as you’d expect from a Call of Duty title for the most part. However, there are times in the campaign where heavy action sequences and explosions may cause a dip in the frame-rate. Other than that, the overall game looks okay, and the character and gun models look great. You’ll see a lot of dark and gritty colors as you’d expect from a sci-fi military shooter. There are some levels that are more colorful and take place during the day rather than a facility or dark outdoor areas that help to break up the visual look of the game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is a decent looking game, but it won’t make you drop your jaw. It looks good enough and runs at silky smooth FPS. The Call of Duty franchise was never praised or known for it’s visuals, but rather stable frame-rate and fast paced multiplayer instead. Black Ops 3 is no different, if you came in expecting a new powerhouse then you’ll be disappointed. But you will be happy with how the game is handled online and how good it plays.
The worst part of the Black Ops 3 is the story, which is not interesting at all and has dull characters. Then again, who plays Call of Duty for the story? No one. The most important for Call of Duty is the multiplayer aspect which Treyarch has nailed with its new addition of zombies and new gameplay elements for the competitive play.
However, despite the story issues the campaign itself is varied and a lot more meatier than previous campaigns in the series. There is a lot of unlocking to do, leveling and more difficulties to play on this time around. Also, now you can enjoy the game with your three other friends. Overall, the campaign is solid, but multiplayer is where its at. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 doesn’t really innovate, but instead it makes formula better and more exciting. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it and this is what Treyarch has done.