As the year comes, so comes another Call of Duty. While Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the second thrice numbered series in a larger series, it aims to break conventions in the way Advanced Warfare brought many gamers back to the fold. After some time with the PlayStation 4 exclusive Beta (Xbox One and PC Owners get in on August 26), Examiner is putting money on this horse again for not reinventing, but reinvigorating one of the most robust multiplayer games on the market.
Games that don’t adapt, don’t sell millions
It’s no secret that Call of Duty is a mega franchise that sells millions of copies, retains millions of players, and is a prominent figurehead in the gaming community. What could be a bit of a surprise is Call of Duty’s ability to not constantly reinvent itself, but refine each entry in ways that make each independent of the last, and let the studios framing the experience truly shine through.
Treyarch is most likely best known for the Black Ops entries in the Call of Duty series, but also has World at War under their belt and arguably tells some of the best wartime tales woven in the greater COD-sphere. With Black Ops III they aim to continue that push of the boundary, but this beta isn’t focused on giving too much away too quickly, rather getting players in to try out the new movement, modes, and specialist systems before the games launch on November 6, 2015.
The Guts, and Glory of Multiplayer Call of Duty
Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer is fun. That is a statement that the more entries get added, the more skeptical we become before release will hold true. Rest assured that the time in the beta so far has been of experimentation and education. Treyarch is trying some extremely interesting things, borrowing from popular genres and past entries in ways that truly shake up and differentiate this years entry.
Specialists are at the forefront of the experience in Black Ops III, each having their own ability and personality. Ruin has gravity spikes, a sort of ground pound maneuver to crush specialists in close proximity. Outrider carries the Sparrow, a charged bow with explosive bolts that instantly take out your foe. Prophet lugs a giant lightning gun that takes a moment to fire, but delivers a satisfying boom and charged tazer like effect. Battery, the final specialist available at the outset carries the War Machine from entries past, a timed grenade launcher that explodes after a moment or contact with the enemy. Also available through unlocks are Seraph, Nomad, Reaper, Spectre, and a final, classified specialist, all with blacked out abilities until the player reaches them.
Specialists may appear as not much more than a few characters, but upon unlocking abilities, which each has two, players wouldn’t find much difference in these than in your DOTA, League Of Legends, or Heroes of the Storm heroes from today’s biggest MOBAs. Each with their own abilities and strengths, but when it comes to weapons, all on a level playing field. The skill of the player and situational awareness are paramount. Knowing when to use those gravity spikes, or to fire the Sparrow at a wall in order to scare off a player around the corner come in very handy, and can switch the tide of an objective match in short order.
Available in the beta are the standard playlists of Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, and a few others that longtime players will immediately recognize, but no hardcore modes in the beta for the time being.
Immediate action can be found in the classic TDM matches, but for those more interested in objective based modes, certain loadouts and skills benefit the player greater than others. LMG’s like the Dingo seem to fire at incredible rates and put a punch down range for modes like hardpoint, while the movement from Advanced Warfare has been tweaked a bit for Black Ops III to also include wall running.
Levels now also include some incredible runs for the wall runners to flank and attack through, and can truly cut your time across the map down to a few seconds, as well as make some absolutely fantastic matches of Capture the Flag with intense chases.
Time to kill for the stat hounds is still lightning quick in Black Ops III but does seem a little more drawn out than previous entries. While it may take one to two more hits to take enemies out, this also leads to more of a gunfight than has been found in many Call of Duty multiplayer matches.
The Pre-Bottom Line
Call of Duty: Black Ops III has a great formula to work with from the past, and to rest on the laurels would be ill-advised. Luckily for all invested in the series, Treyarch has earned, and looks to continue to hold the trust of the COD faithful, and so far Black Ops III multiplayer is shaping up to be as, if not more fast paced than any previous games modes. Top that with zombies and a single player campaign that your buddies can tag along for cooperatively and you’ve got a November full of great shooty.