It’s back (again) and after being the first CoD series to properly endorse futuristic weapons, Black Ops has a competitor in the closest of places – Advanced Warfare. Although developed by different studios, the Black Ops and Advanced Warfare titles are the first in the CoD franchise to truly re-imagine technology in human to human warfare. Always a hit with fans of first person shooters, the franchise has lost many of its cult followers who crave the ‘true world experience’ of wars that have been or are currently being ravaged by angry politicians. Respect and due cognisance has to be given though, especially considering the fact that the franchise has been around for such a long time with a consistently admirable level of quality. To add to this, the growing multiplayer wave has opened more up to the CoD community and is evidence of success of the various CoD titles. So the sole queries I wish to address then, are whether Black Ops 3 will perpetuate this success and whether its best friend could turn out to be its worst enemy.
Commencing in the year 2065, players take control of an unnamed soldier while he is on a mission to save a foreign diplomat from certain death. In his heroism, our protagonist forgets to save himself resulting in him losing most of his extremities before being saved by a Commander Taylor. Our hero then goes through a process and – short story, long story – ends up with body parts made up of artificial materials much, much more advanced than reality. Commander Taylor, being a cyborg himself, mentors the protagonist through this difficult process and, as always, becomes enemy number one after going rogue.
Fans be rest assured, the all action approach and constant wonder of how you are still alive is still there, as well as the beloved cut-scenes throwing you into the plot. The storyline, as you will no doubt experience, is slightly more convoluted than the usual, but the underlying theme is the same as ever. Questions are asked about the relationship between technology and humanity, the underlying essence being that we don’t want to forget about what and who we as humans are. Regardless of this and any musings which the debate may spark, you are tasked with a lot of killing in the name of justice against a person who you once trusted.
The campaign mode is not exactly long, as always, but this is made easier with the online and additional content. I loved the fact that the campaign can be played in coop as it is always more effective to play with a strategy and more fun to save the world with mates. The campaign, once completed, can be replayed in “Nigtmare” mode, allowing players to redo the levels against zombies. In addition, my beloved Zombie mode is back with its own freaky storyline allowing players to work alone or in teams to see how long they can survive waves of zombies and undead moth-like beasts. Zombie mode is unlike most hordes in that there are lots of goodies to find all over the given maps and different ways to unlock and find useful items and upgrades. This is also playable completely offline, and I must say it’s the most fun I have had playing a split-screen game for some time.
Online multiplayer includes the usual team Deathmatches and Free for Alls on numerous maps which will obviously take up the bulk of your playing time. In all modes, the gameplay is user friendly and rather satisfying. Black Ops 3 has added a more dimensional approach to the series by including the ability to boost jump, power slide and run along walls. Weapons are diverse as ever and there are the typical load out packages for any forthcoming battle and due rewards for kill streaks. New Age special classes are accessible after a certain amount of time and allow players to utilise fancy technological benefits like shock waves or clones. Something I really loved was the Direct Neural Interface giving these new advanced soldiers complete control over their own physiology permitting connections between fellow soldiers resulting in more equipped killing machines.
Graphically and sound wise, CoD is strong as ever. Explosions are specifically gorgeous (in both the visual and audio sense) and the environments you get to explore are well modeled with lovely detail.
Treyarch have stuck to their guns despite the groans of many CoD fans and have really created something with vast possibilities. I do think that Advanced Warfare was different to Black Ops 3 – as it should be considering it was developed by Sledgehammer Games. I also do see the ever present similarities between the two – as it should be considering that it is CoD. My worry though, is that we are going to be left with two games going into the future of warfare, whether set in the next 10 or 100 years, rather than past warfare. Gamers have an abundance of sci-fi first person shooters to choose from and all traditionalists traditionally look at CoD for something more real.
Black Ops is great fun and I don’t want to take anything away from that but CoD might need to have a rethink and give us old timers and historians the chance to shoot at Nazis or terrorists again.
CoD Black Ops 3 Rating: 8/10
Check out the CoD Black Ops 3 website: CoD BO3