Black Ops III Review

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So now the monumental hype has died down and we have had over a week to digest Black Ops III here at Gioteck Towers, I feel now is the time to give my honest opinion on the game (before most of us get lost in the world of Fallout 4). I will focus my review on multiplayer and Zombie mode, that’s what we’re interested in when it comes to the next Treyarch installment in the Call of Duty franchise, right?

I have long held a preference for the Infinity Ward and now Sledgehammer iterations of the shooter, there is just something about the engine and general play-ability that I prefer. Maybe it is because my style of play tends to ensure I generally fair better on these developer’s titles.

That been said, I was expecting big advances in the fluidity of the game play, after all the reported refinements Treyarch made to their Black Ops II IW Engine. I wasn’t disappointed, the game is certainly smoother, the only draw back seems to be lag/server issues from time to time.

Black Ops III looks gorgeous on PS4, the game still has that slightly more cartoonish feel than that of the Sledgehammer developed entries, but the fluidity and vibrancy really make it pop on the next-gen console.

The multiplayer game introduces specialist character selection, where players choose from a range of Black Ops soldiers. Each one has its own specialist ability or battle-hardened weapon. This gives the game a third way to progressively rank up, along with global XP and through weapons. The specialists, have some very unique powers, like Prophet, who can turn back time, or Ruin who can take out groups of enemies with a powerful shock wave when using his gravity spikes option.

The maps are generally on the small side, which gives multiplayer that iconic COD arcade non-stop action feel. Aquarium is among one of the standout maps, set in a rundown aquarium and botanical gardens in Singapore, with Fringe also a highlight, a forgotten farm town near a massive space launch facility in rural Southern California.

The non-stop ferocious unforgiving nature and competitiveness of gameplay can leave beginners or intermediates players, disheartened. I feel I can hold my own, but amongst experienced clan players you can start to feel out of your depth. Coming late to the Call of Duty Party could be a steep learning curve.

I used our very own Gioteck FL-300 Stereo headset on multiplayer mode, which allowed me to hear every gunshot and reload, to give me that all important edge over the enemy.  The game sound design really gave the headset the opportunity to show it’s full capabilities, with explosions and the environmental sounds transporting you into the action. The built-in mic also allowed me to clearly communicate with my team mates and defend myself from the barrage of insults from the super-elite players who would take me out with consummate ease.

There are the usual Black Ops frustrations with bad players who use single-shot, single-kill weapons being unjustly rewarded. Re-spawning can also be a frustrating exercise, being put right in the line of enemy fire. Overall the multiplayer game modes offer lots of variation and unlimited combinations of load-outs, score-streaks and specialist characters.

Now on to Zombies, if you’ve played previous Zombie modes in the original Black Ops or its sequel, you know what to expect, with some nice new touches in the Black Ops III Zombie mode.

There’s the new “Gobblegum” station that lets players use credits for power-ups in the form of bubblegum.  There is also the ritual chalice’s that are scattered throughout the map, that will transform you into a super-powerful monster known as “The Beast”.

One of the fun Easter eggs of Zombies is spotting the celebrity characters that have been included in the game. Ron Perlman, Jeff Goldblum, Neal McDonough and Heather Graham all feature in the “Shadows of Evil” map. Their dialogue while unleashing your firearm onto the undead is often hilarious. Features like this help make zombies more accessible and generally good fun with a nice change of pace from the multiplayer and campaign modes of Black Ops III.

Now like the last few entries in the Call of Duty franchise, real-world gritty war action has been withdrawn in favour of futuristic crazy-ability exosuit action. With an array of colourful modifications and jetpack assisted jumping , I miss the days of the regular camo and real world military load-outs. I would love to see a next-gen version of the Modern Warfare series, I may be in the minority with this wish, but I can’t help but think Call of Duty, is now morphing into something else entirely, with lots of the features and aesthetics, being adopted from the more fantastical Halo and Destiny series.

Let us know what you think of Call of Duty: Black Ops III in the comments below.