I am one of those unusual Call of Duty players who actually really enjoys the campaign, not to say that I don’t enjoy the multiplayer as much but when it comes to a fast paced and action packed campaign, Call of Duty rarely leaves us disappointed. Personally I have recently been put off a bit with the futuristic theme which led me to miss Advanced Warfare when it was released but I was a huge fan of Black Ops I and II so bit the bullet and dived into for the third episode.
There are a couple of interesting changes to the campaign that have brought a new life to the way you can play through. There is no longer a set path with progression through the story and you can happily select any level that you want to play through whether this is from the start, middle or end. Obviously I would advise going from start to finish on the first run but it is nice to know the option is there to jump in and play whatever takes your fancy. The second change and one that really appealed to me was the fact that you can now play through the campaign with up to four of your friends. This is something I have also personally enjoyed and now you have the option to have each others backs and run for Call of Duty completely setup with your own load-out and skill set.
So let’s talk about the story. The year is 2065 and the world has become a futuristic war-torn nightmare. Robotics and cybernetics are now the main focus in warfare and you will quickly learn that no matter how much of a beating you take in life war will always find a way to throw you back into battle more improved and deadly. The question is at what cost? Like with previous campaigns you are going to meet a lot of characters as you progress through the story including a very noticeable face in the form of John Taylor (played by none other than Christopher Meloni). Depending how involved you get with the story, these characters are going to pull at your emotions and make you question your thoughts and understanding of what is happening around you. It just wouldn’t be Call of Duty without a crushed soul and a gradual feeling of loss as you delve into world of honour, betrayal and comradeship.
This is not a short campaign either by any means with eleven levels to tackle that will take you between forty-five minutes to an hour and then some with the included cut scenes. This does feel that it has been heavily catered for the use of co-op with the levels all having multiple paths to go through so that you don’t feel that you and your squad are all bunched up shoulder to shoulder. This mixed with the ability to level select gives the campaign a hell of a lot of replayability. The story in Black Ops III managed to successfully mess with my head a lot with the use of simulations through AI integration that your character (nice touch, you can now be female by the way) has to go through leaving me feeling that I now have a lot more questions than answers. Without trying to spoil any of the story I would just say to make sure that you pay attention to everything that is happening around you. The story of the campaign does give you a look into how the world of warfare could progress with the use of more sophisticated AI and Robotics
When it comes to multiplayer Call of Duty seems to be the go to game and is usually where most players of the franchise choose to play instead of the campaign. Due to the higher spec requirements for the game, the previous generation of consoles are only able to have the multi-player available to them but I don’t see this as a problem as you are more likely to put in the hours through there than the campaign itself. This time around there are nine Specialist available to you that you will gradually unlock over time. Each of which either comes with a custom weapon or ability (only one can be selected). The specialists can be customised on a basic level of looks and taunts but nothing too in-depth. The Specialists power ups are pretty impressive from the Doppleganger, Warmachine and deadly hand cannon giving the player the ability to create their own play style. The power ups are gradually charged through the matches and will allow you to overpower your foes for a short amount of time.
I always love stepping into the custom loadouts and getting straight into planning what I need to unlock and get setup ready to take on the players. Earning the unlock tokens can take time and there is always that time when you first step into the maps and find yourself getting shot to pieces while learning the area but it wont take you long before you are pushing them back and showing them what you have. There is one item that you will have access to that can cause a lot of torment for both you and opponent and that is the Thruster Pack allowing you to temporally fly across the map and setup for some serious parkour. Obviously I have found more than once this can lead to you falling down a hole or being shot off a wall as you cockily run across. The multi-player has always spoken for itself with this series and hits all the usual targets. The only thing that seemed off at times was the Matchmaking but again I am used to this with any game that involved online connectivity with others.
Zombies is back and has brought some famous voices out to play (Jeff Goldbum, Ron Perlman, Neal McDonough, and Heather Graham to be specific). A beautifully horrific 1940’s setting and some seriously aggressive and deadly zombies who are ready to tear you limb from limb. Unlike previous versions I would not suggest going into this Solo or trying to play with random players. This is going to require a solid team of four who you can communicate well and work closely to survive. If you were a fan of Left 4 Dead then you are going to really enjoy this but be warned getting overrun or failing to speak to your team will result in you being a tasty feast.
Overall the Black Ops series is still standing strong, there are multiple modes to indulge in and a lot of time can be spent in them all. With the added co-op gameplay it adds another level to the story that can be enjoyed by you and friends if you fancy a change from the usual multiplayer aspects. There is one other mode available to you but I will not spoil that. If you are a fan of the series then you are going to enjoy this as much as the previous titles. If you are new to the series I would say to either go back and play the previous games or read up on the story, more for the feel of the references that you will see and hear throughout the game.
For a little taster, here’s Lefranzine put together a few snippets of online multiplayer action. Check it out: