Call of Duty has been one of those beloved franchises that has been trying over the past few years to try and reinvent itself to try and keep the series fresh. The series has taken a Sci-Fi turn in the past couple of years, and while last year’s “Advanced Warfare” under delivered in a lot of area, Black Ops 3 tried to continue with the futuristic approach. For starters I do have to say that I am very disappointed in the treatment of the last generation versions of the game. Why they didn’t deliver a far better product than they did, and to limit the game to nothing but multiplayer, and a “half-ass” version at that, when they should have scrapped the entire game is beyond me.
Multiplayer still has the depth fans expect by now, but the addition of unique Specialists makes every player critical in the team. Each specialist has their own unique skill set and weapon, and by choosing a specialist and leveling them up helps balance your team. Black Ops 3’s competitive multiplayer brings back the same reliable Pick-10 loadouts, which let you select 10 weapon attachments, perks, grenades, and more to take into battle. This isn’t anything new, but it’s still a solid system that ensures you can go into a match with exactly the gear you want, and nothing more. Multiplayer includes a huge array of unlockable guns, perks, and gear that let you mold a play-style of your own. It’s excellent, but at this point Call of Duty fans should expect nothing less.
The Co-Op enabled zombie mode is probably one of the best in the franchise and this dates back to “World at War”. Its set in a 1940s urban-style setting, and features many featured actors voicing the zombie slayers. Shadows of Evil’s four noir-esque characters – a magician, a boxer, a cop, and a burlesque dancer – are liars and killers thrown together against their will.
The zombie mode plays like past games. You earn money as you go through waves which you can use on weapons, items, and barriers that you will have to rebuild as the zombies tear them down. However, thanks to a new persistent XP and perks system, you can customize weapons and abilities before a match begins. One of the biggest additions to the zombie mode is the addition of “Becoming the Beast”, which transforms you into a creatures with testicles that melee and shoot electricity. Think of it as the game “The Darkness” from last gen.
The campaign however is a dull experience that is built on the “Aim-Shoot-Reload-Repeat” approach. From the very beginning you are trans-versing through the world with the same formula that has become so repetitive in the franchise and a narrative that has become boring. I found myself running back to multiplayer after the fifth mission. It was nice to see the campaign add four player co-op however there was a lack of depth. There were no missions that played on the fact of having four players available where team work was necessary, however they just throw more enemies your way and make final encounters longer by extending life.
Black Ops 3 did add some cool functionality to the games multiplayer, and a deeper zombie mode, however the campaign did under achieve, much like the series has in many years. I have wrote about it before that there are some franchises that need to take a break from their annualized franchise and give these developers time to develop a proper game and flush it out to create a brand new experience.