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'Call Of Duty: Blacks Ops III' Review

Johnny Flores, Jr. |
November 10, 2015 | 10:34 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter


I remember it very clearly. I was building up my scorestreak and was hungry for my UAV ability. I needed to get to the otherside of the map and decidedly to thrust-pack over. In doing so an enemy came into my crosshairs. I quickly shifted into a wall-run and picked him off with a headshot. I earned my UAV, several medals, and a boatload of confidence. This wasn't any ordinary game this was "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" and it is here to stay. 

"Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" is the latest entry in the storied franchise. It boasts a cooperative campaign, new features to the longstanding multiplayer and a brand new Zombies mode making it a comprehensive and worthy entry into the franchise. First let's take a look at the futurisitc campaign. Treyarc first introduced such elements in "Black Ops 2" and in "Black Ops 3" they not only continue to play with such elements but embrace the oddities and outlandish ideas that come with futuristic warfare. "Black Ops 3's" campaign dives into "Direct-Neutral Interface" and the promises and problems it offers. DNI as it constantly referred to allows humans to mentally interact with other humans, technology and weapons. "Black Ops 3" explores the prospect of humans losing their thoughts as a result of being connected on such a deep level with everything around them. Unfortunately, the characters were very bland and as a result the emotional payoff at the end fell very flat. However, the ride along was very fun due in part to new features.

Because of DNI weapons are now registered to another person's brain. As a result, the ability to pick up enemy weapons off the ground has now been removed altogether. Most likely the weapon you start out with will be the weapon you end the mission with. Whether or not you use the weapon you have been using all game or a completely brand new weapon is entirely up to you. Along with this new feature comes brand new powerups. Players can choose one of three powerup paths in the campaign. Players can hack enemies and technology around them, blow them up or beat them up. You can only choose one type per level, therefore, committing to one set path is highly important and encouraged. In my first six hour playthrough I embraced the technological future and opted to hack into my adversaries. Nothing was more satisfying then perching behind cover and hacking the world around me to my advantage until my next playthrough when I embraced the more in your face brute style. These new skill-trees offer immense replayability to an otherwise bland and short campaign, however, not for too long.

As mentioned above the campaign can be played through cooperatively with up to four players. I tested this out numerous times and found the results to be quite satisfying. I quickly found myself playing alongside players using different powerups than mine. As a result, our encounters with enemies were varied and frantic. While I hacked the world around me another player spent his/her time blowing it up while another powered through their way. It was fun and unique. 

Multiplayer has long been a staple of the Call of Duty franchise and this multiplayer does not disappoint. When you step in for the very first time you are given one unlock token to select a "Specialist" and one of their abiltiies. Specialists are the characters of the multiplayer game and feature two abiltiies ranging from "Gravity Spikes" which pierce the ground around you killing all enemies in the vicinity to "Vision Pulse" which allows you to pulse the surrounding area and see nearby enemies. These abilities charge and recharge throughout the various multiplayer matches that you will go through. When and where to use these new abilities becomes a challenge in-and-of itself. The only problem is you can only pick one-that is until you get more unlock tokens through natural progression to select more. No two abilties are the same, no two Specialists are the same and by default no two multiplayer matches are the same.

Along with new Specialist abilities comes the new free-running features. Each player is equipped with a thruster-pack to quickly vault over obstacles and enemies as well as the ability to wall run. Add in the new Specialist abilities and multiplayer matches become as hectic as ever with players boosting over obstacles then quickly shifting to run across the building only to be taken down by a Specialist "Tempest" electricity based weapon. 

Back from "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2" is the Pick-10 system which makes each perk, weapon, and attachment worth one point. The true challenge lies in maximizing your points to their fullest potential. Do you fit your weapon with a mass amount of attachments only to sacrifice a sidearm and grenade or do you double up on perks using the brand-new wildcards and sacrifice a primary weapon with more attachments? Questions like these constantly ran through my head as I strove to create the ultimate class. Luckily, the choice is yours and creating custom classes is a challenge in-and-of itself. Throw in the token unlock system which makes every unlock worth one token and you will find yourself spending myriad time determing what to unlock along with how to outfit your custom class. All of these features combine to make an otherwise staling multiplayer feel fresh, new and above all fun. 


However, while all of these features are certainly welcomed and very fun the game can't help but feel broken at times. Some powerups are highly overpowered and players use them to their advantage to quickly dismantle another team. More so, after a few hours mulitplayer can start to drag on. You can only run on so many walls before you get bored of doing the same thing only on different terrain. In comes the Zombies mode. 

The popular Zombies mode is back. Shadows of Evil is your latest playground and you assume the role of either a magician, boxer, cop or dancer. Each character comes with their own storied past and learning about that story is highly interesting. More so, hearing the interactions between the various characters and what they choose to share is also very interesting. Zombies as a whole still hasn't changed. You will still find yourself killing through hordes of the undead, rebuilding barricades, pack-a-punching weapons, going to the mystery box and drinking various powerups such as Juggernog. However, two new features make Zombies mode feel fresher than ever. 

First, a new XP and perks system help change the way you play. The longer the last and the more you kill help you level up and with more levels come better perks. These perks allow you to customize weapons, abilities and other such things such as what can be found when you put some hardearned points into the "Gobblegum Machine". This new feature allows you do all your customizing before a match even begins. More so, because of how you customize your profile you will most likely not see any two players running around the same weapons. Specializing your character becomes as important as ever, especially if you want to move on to later rounds.

The second available feature is the ability to become the "Beast". The Beast is available at various shrines at the onset of a new round. When you turn into the Beast you gain new powers such as lightning tentacles, the ability to move quickly around the rather large map and new melee abilities, however, for a limited time. While you certainly can become the Beast in order to take down large waves of Zombies the true challenge of becoming the Beast is tapping into the world around you. You see, no longer can you simply open up several pathways in order to turn on the electricity to powerup the Juggernog machine. No. Rather, you turn into the Beast in order to find these spots and use your electrical tentacles or melee powers in order to do so. The true challenge lies within unlocking the right doors, using the right powers, time management and finding where everything is. Unless you watch instructional videos each new playthrough of Shadows of Evil will have you learning new things such as where everything is as well as what doors to unlock first. This new features makes Zombies as a whole not only more challenging but more fun as well. Effectively unlocking paths as a team and then becoming the Beast to unlock the powerups around you is as satisfying as ever. 


"Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" is a great game, however, not without bumps along the road. It is indeed the most comprehensive "Call of Duty" to date featuring three different jam-packed options for you to feast upon, however, such issues cut into the comprehensiveness. As mentioned above the campaign is rather bland and while the new powerups offer mass amounts of replayability, shallow characters, a short playthrough and a bland story won't have you coming back for too long. Along with the campaign issues comes some issues found in multiplayer. As outlined above while the mode offers frantic gameplay and deep customization it can only be played for so long without succumbing to the blandness experienced in the campaign. In my few days with the game the servers were still very shaky and this also cut deep in the fun to be had. If anything Zombies is the saving grace. Not that any of the other two modes are outlandishly bad but I have yet to have any issues with Zombies. The story is fun, the map is huge and the features are great unlike the campaign where the story is bland or multiplayer where the fun ends eventually. I can effectively keep coming back to Zombies and still have as much fun if not more. 

"Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" is a step in the right direction for "Call of Duty" games. If elements outlined above can be fixed in future installments I wholeheartedly believe that the series can return to its former greatness. "Black Ops 3" is a great game marred by several issues that keep it from being the fantastic game we all hoped it would be. Still, if you have some extra cash to spend and are in the hunt for some great fun "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" is the game for you. 


Contact Staff Reporter Johnny Flores, Jr. here.



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