Call of Duty: Black Ops III

After several hours of Call of Duty: Black Ops III playtime I still found myself going back for more.

By Grayshadow, Posted 09 Nov 2015

The year is almost up and it’s time for another installment in the Call of Duty franchise. This time Treyarch has taken to the stage with Call of Duty: Black Ops III. The third installment centers on government conspiracies and dangerous technology, attempting to refine the formula that has kept the wheels turning. Whether played for the story, competitive multiplayer or surviving the undead apocalypse, Black Ops III has a lot to offer even if it’s uninspiring. If you’re a fan of shooters this is a game you’ll want to play.

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The six-hour story consists of 11 missions, some of which can be played out of sequence. The story is largely forgettable and focuses on a new ubiquitous technology called the Direct Neural Interface, or DNI, that allows humans to connect to computers, weapons and other people. Before missions you can navigate a private HQ that changes locations based on the mission. It’s here you can access your character’s profile, customize your weaponry and special skills before deployment. 

You can play through the campaign alone or with friends, a first in the franchise. While the game still centers on a single protagonist during cooperative games other players will show up in cutscenes, a nice touch put in by Treyarch. Missions are constructed to handle cooperative playthroughs but never feel overwhelming if you decide to play solo. Certain missions do complement cooperative play. In one mission, a player is placed on the ground to activate a terminal while the others remain in the air and provide cover fire. It’s here where the cooperative experience excels, but during on-foot fights enemies become vexing, as they multiply. One enemy in particular, called the Warlord, takes several magazines to kill, and, when you play cooperatively, you must face 4 of them.

You’re not an ordinary soldier anymore. Now you have technology-enhanced abilities. These powers are split into three Cyber Cores, and you can pick one per level. One allows you to hack robots and drones, another suppresses your opponents, and the last causes soldiers to become disoriented on the battlefield. You don’t earn enough points to level all three paths and must choose wisely which to invest into. 

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While the campaign succeeds in multiple spheres it still adheres to the traditional campaign formula found in other Call of Duty games. You’ll kill wave after wave of enemy soldiers and travel to the next objective through a linear pathway. Some deviations change the pattern such as underwater escapes and aerial dogfights but for most of the game expect to aim, shoot and reload.

Once all 11 missions are completed the zombie focused Nightmare Mode is unlocked. This replaces all the human enemies with Treyarch’s brand of zombies, having its own sci-fi plot. A global zombie epidemic has caused the undead to rise and it’s up to you to save the world. Don’t expect a special story here but the perspective of fighting off zombies outside from the Zombies campaign is a nice addition and very entertaining to play. It’s almost like an old-school easter egg from a retro game.

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Of course Nightmare Mode hasn’t replaced the full Zombies campaign. Since World at War this has become a staple within the Call of Duty franchise and this year’s Zombies campaign, called Shadows of Evil, takes place during the 1940s. It stars Neal McDonough as a crooked cop, Ron Perlman as a former boxer, Heather Graham as an exotic dancer and Jeff Goldblum as a magician. The environment is a thrill to explore and comes with the satisfaction of killing hordes of zombies while colorful characters spout delightful dialogue through the madness of it all. 

Just like the other zombie modes in Call of Duty you’ll do most of the same thing. You’ll earn money by killing zombies, repairing barricades and completing other tasks to buy new upgrades to survival the next wave of attackers. Unlike past installments, you can customize weapons and abilities beforehand. For the most part it’s zombies with a new skin. While I had fun traveling through the environment and listening to the characters talk among one another it was the same mode from other installments.

One of best additions to Zombies is the ability to “Become the Beast”. This feature allows one player to transform into a deity-like creature with tentacles that can rip the undead apart. Deciding when to use the beast adds another layer to maximizing your score. Zombies, while refined, remains the same mode most of us have been playing since World at War and eventually even Becoming the Beast loses its charm.

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Most people don’t come for the campaign or the zombies but for the competitive multiplayer. The most notable change comes in the way of Specialists: 9 elite soldiers that can be leveled up and customized. 5 are available at the beginning with the other 4 opening up as your rank rises.

What makes the Specialists unique is their abilities. All Specialists have 2 to choose from, an offensive and defensive talent that can be triggered once a meter fills. For example the Spectre can use Active Camo to turn invisible for 4 seconds or use a Ripper blade to extend the reach of melee attacks for a finite amount of time. Knowing each character’s specific skills is vital to victory in Black Ops III.

Black Ops III’s multiplayer attempts to build on Advanced Warfare’s mobility system. Speed is just as important as sharp shooting. Sliding, wall-running and double-jumping are all available for use. You can correct a mid-air misstep, survive a long drop by tapping the ground or surprise an enemy by shooting while wall-running toward them. In Black Ops III you can shoot from any angle and the 11 maps have been designed to work with this mechanic in mind. 

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The list of multiplayer modes includes classic modes like Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Uplink. Safeguard is the latest new mode where one team protects a robot that moves across a set path on each map. Since both teams know where the objective is going players must coordinate whether to stick to the robot or attempt to clear the path ahead.

There’s a lot to experience in Black Ops III. The story, while bland, is still worth playing with friends, especially Nightmare Mode. Zombies and competitive multiplayer remains the bulk of the Call of Duty experience and Black Ops III continues this trend successfully. After several hours of playtime I still found myself going back for more. 

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Activision
Developer(s): Treyarch, Beenox, Mercenary Technology
Genres: First Person Shooter
Themes: Futuristic Military Shooter
Release Date: 2015-11-06

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