It’s rather difficult for established franchises such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 to keep its followers interested enough to buy the yearly iteration, especially when not every game released was on par with today’s standards. We’ve seen Call of Duty in its glory days, when every whisper was about it, pets were completely forgotten and significant others turned into furious creatures praying on the good old RROD or YLOD (common problems of the last-gen consoles). But as in life, COD’s ascension was also followed by a bit of a darker age, with games that felt dangerously mediocre and rushed through production just for the sake of the yearly cash-in.
But in the past few years the franchise has started to rise again from its ashes, regaining gamers’ trust and love. The Black Ops series played a huge part in it, refining the well-known formula while also daring to innovate and bring new ideas to the table. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is no different from the others, featuring the already familiar three modes: campaign, multiplayer, and zombies.
Because every mode of the game has something completely different to offer, we’ll be analyzing each one of them separately, while also trying to keep the spoilers to a minimum. This should be fun, right?
Black Ops 3’s action takes place in 2065, approximately 40 years after the events presented in the previous game. Technology and science rapidly progressed, changing almost everything from the way people live to the way they fight. Almost every country has now implemented a so-called D.E.A.D system (Directed Energy Air Defense), which disables all aerial assaults, redirecting all fights to the good ol’ battlefield, where soldiers meticulously plan their attacks with the aid of the newly introduced direct neural interface (DNI).
You’ll actually get the use some of the wonders of the future throughout the game, from the cybernetic bio-augmentations that enable players to crush waves of enemies using incredible strength or swarms of microscopic robots, to the futuristic high-caliber weapons which can pierce even the toughest armors. The game’s pace is completely changed thanks to the fresh set of abilities, as players will be free to wall run, jump, and use stealth to gain advantage in a world where every millisecond counts. Losing your focus for even a moment can result in an instant death, especially on the highest difficulty.
The story is tailored around multiple protagonists, and while it’s not free of clichés, it certainly has some deliciously well-written moments. And if you by chance find it boring, be glad to find out that you can bring three more friends to join you in the battlefield, in a well-balanced four players co-op.
The previously mentioned ground breaking technology is present in the multiplayer as well, but it’s not the most important addition. Black Ops 3 introduces specialists, nine new characters from which players can choose. Each one of them has a unique set of abilities, different armor sets and looks. Only a few are unlocked from the start, with more being available after the player ranks up. There’s a plethora of possible customization, and I’m sure I haven’t even scratched its surface while playing for almost a week.
If you get bored using a character and its set of skills, you can easily switch up to the next one and completely change the look and feel of the game. Not all tactics are suitable for all nine characters, so you’ll have to learn fast and adapt. Combine this newly introduced feature with a handful of maps and modes, and you’ll realize how much content stands in front of you.
The core is still the traditional Call of Duty multiplayer, but it now gives players way more reasons to grind and unlock everything in the game.
The zombie mode is by far the highest regarded of all three, as it’s not just Call of Duty with zombies but more of a game itself. It introduces an alternative story set in the ’40 in a fictional city under the name of Morg City, where zombies take over the world and it’s your job to fix things up. This mode is played mostly like previous titles where Zombie Mode was present, kill zombies to earn cash and use it to unlock weapons, open doors, and more.
It’s all structured in waves, as more and more zombies pop up every time, making almost impossible to survive on your own. Good thing that you can bring your friends and combine your powers to defeat the undead. I almost forgot, the zombie mode has a brand new exciting feature, giving player the ability to “Become the Beast”. Using certain shrines, you can transform in a tentacled monster that makes even zombies run away from you. While the creature is powerful enough to get you out of a tight situation, it won’t reward you with cash or XP, trading progression for raw power.
More maps will be added to the mode at a later date, and I certainly hope for each one of them to at least as interesting as the ones available now were. Even if you can beat the mode easily with the help of a good team, you’ll still have hours left to spend searching for the hidden Easter Eggs.
So… I tried telling you everything I love or hate about the game without actually sharing anything that might ruin your experience, and I hope I’ve accomplished that much. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is not perfect, and it will never be, but it certainly is one of the best entries in the series and a must-have for every longtime fan out there.