Annual games get a lot of scrutiny, not least from gamers who would prefer less frequency and more creativity, like myself. But with Assassin’s Creed showing a fantastic instalment this year in Syndicate, Call of Duty makes it two annual games that are up there with the best in their genre for 2015. So what do with think in our Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Review here on MGL?
While it seems like a simple annual COD package has been supply dropped into stores with more of the same. Treyarch have put together a fantastic package and is another step forward for the series.
Having positively reviewed Advanced Warfare last year, especially down to a well performed campaign, it was nice to see them once again give a solid campaign mode but done using different methods. There is no headline actor like Kevin Spacey this time, instead the campaign is all about the innovative choices you can make and arm yourself with. And your nameless player can be a man or a woman this year, in the first game of the series that let’s you choose your gender, it’s just a shame the story lacks the same impact as this choice.
Multiplayer also benefits from fast action as ever but also that innovative detail brought in too as specialists make for a big, positive step forward for the multiplayer and one that allows you to really mix it up.
Look & Feel
Running the PS4 version, the format Activision were supporting this year after a very big deal with Sony, the game really benefits for the PS4s graphical performance. Everything just runs so smoothly and the action is fast and frenetic with only the smallest of dips as things get really crazy on screen.
The locations, environments and characters, even the standard enemies, look great with real attention to detail and some well mapped facial expressions in cut scenes.
Everything here works great in all modes, the gritty details and the well crafted environments really work. What’s most impressive for me here is the sound quality if the title though. It may well be a build on list years engine by Advance Warfare developers, Sledgehammer because like last year’s game, the effects are perfect.
Bullets clink and clatter around you, water not only looks but sounds like you are moving, or even fighting, through it. Combing with a fitting soundtrack and solid, if a little cheesy, voice acting, you have very solid presentation here.
Following the Twitter feedback from our awesome gaming following, we will always review the campaign and Multiplayer either in separate sections within one review. Or as two separate articles if there is a need, here it’s two together and scored individually at the end.
Right, disclaimer done it’s on with the shooting of stuff! And here in lies a big issue of mine with FPS games, I simply think we demand too much. There is something to be said about taking on mission after mission just shooting things. I for one am all for it and this is what the Campaign mode does well, but it also introduces a number of improvements and ideas to an area that needed it.
First things to say before we go further is the big concern about the campaign, it’s length. For most gamers I’d say the campaign will give you 8 hours or so, and if you like to look for the collectibles, play harder difficulties or even make different choices as you play, this can last much longer.
Choices you say? Yes, the game uses a smaller principal of Crysis style gameplay at times. Areas are far from linear and there is more than one way to achieve your next milestone in this game by taking a different path or using different methods to get through.
To put that into context, you start out as a soldier on a covert mission in order to rescue the Prime Minister of Egypt, but things go wrong and, in a rather gruesome scene (which you have the option of not having to endure) you’re left not much of a person as bits of a person in various locations. Given your character can be male or female with a few variations of appearance, I found this worked particularly well being a female for my first run through. It made me connect and feel for what had happened so when I came back a cybernetic badass I was all the happier.
After being transformed into a enhanced soldier by John Taylor. You end up working with your partner, Jacob Hendricks. Taking on a multi angle plot that is all very convoluted and soon points back to who you’re working for in classic Call of Duty tradition.
But the journey around it is fully of fun and some interesting features. Your abilities allow you to use Cybercores, this give you optional perks in the game, but you don’t get them all at once so it does require some thought as to what suits you or the level best.
The toys are very cool too from robot disabling abilities, to seams of robotic bugs to pick apart the enemy to more physical enhancement that makes you harder, better, faster, stronger (sorry!) and go on fists and overdrives blasting which makes for a lot of fun. What I like most is how it makes this perks usable rather than prescribed in a very certain part of a mission and never seen again. This is all down to you and the way you play, and while some missions suit different abilities, it’s a down to you and your preference mostly.
When you add in some fantastic shooting, that is both rewarding and challenging at times, it’s one hell of a mix. Some good boss fights and well put together set pieces, it’s a very entertaining campaign in spite of a cheesy storyline.
OK so we all know that Call of Duty is dominated by multiplayer gaming, so for those who love it there is some very nice additions that make the mode that little bit different. But there is also a lot of the good, classic elements that made it the domination Multiplayer FPS or choice for so long.
Firstly, I love the specialists system and how it brings out the RPG gamer in me. Earning a gun doesn’t do it for me the way it may do others but earning a new character and cool perk, sign me up!
I’m not the biggest MP gamer but this feature I like and it gives me something to think about and plan towards. This added layer of depth is not only good for me and gamers who like that kind of thing, it really fleshes out this mode, and while some perks like Rejack are cause for moments of frustration, it’s all done with a good amount of fun.
This is what I’m liking about the multiplayer so much, it’s genuinely a lot of fun to play (depending on outside factors like who you happen to be playing with). The wall running, whilst simple and not exactly new to gaming, is just cool and makes for some top moments of action in the multiplayer matches.
Getting a running wall kill streak is all kinds of awesome, and combined with the perks and weapons it a lot of fun.
As “Respawn Rossco” I spend a lot of time, well, respawning and it’s very well presented respawn menu. Customisation of your character is limited due to the specialists system but the actual kit you can earn is excellent with so many options on weapons and modifications along with the usual perks and bonuses.
Game modes here are significantly recycled from previous games but there are some fun, tight maps in classic Call of Duty presentation that are very well done. More coming of course, expect a look at those in MGL as soon as we can.
At a time where Star Wars Battlefront and Rainbow 6 Siege are going all multiplayer with some bitty single player experiences, it’s fantastic to see a Call of Duty create such balance. Considering the criticism it’s received for its poor campaign modes compared to multiplayer, it’s now two years in a row it’s delivered a very good single player experience.
Multiplayer is fast, fun and has benefited very nicely from the specialists system for fans and gamers not quite in tune with multiplayer usually.
A poor story and a lack of major game mode differences to older games do put a blemish on this game, but you may well be having so much fun you’d hardly notice.
Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Review format: PS4
Developers & Publishers: Activision, Treyarch
Gaming Platform: PC Games, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Multiplayer, Shooter
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Review
Graphics - 9.5/10
Story - 7/10
Multiplayer - 9/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Fun Factor - 9/10
There is a lot in this year's Call of Duty and despite the attention and general criticism annual games get, Black Ops 3 is a fantastic game and one of the best CoD experiences there is. It's fast, fun and comes with a solid campaign and addictive multiplayer. Both have their downsides in a weak story and recycled content respectively but overall, the game is so well presented and enjoyable you won't really care.