Call of Duty: Black Ops III
The Call of Duty series began life as a solid World War II shooter, competing against the mighty Medal of Honor series. But as with all things, you have to evolve or die, and thus, in 2007 Infinity Ward turned first person shooters on their head by breaking away from the tried and tested battlefields of World War II and gave us Modern Warfare. This was a brave step, but one, that was grounded in the realities of modern military life. What’s more it had a solid and engaging story-line to go with it. Despite my love for World War II, Modern Warfare would become my favourite First Person Shooter, and in many ways still is.
This wasn’t quite the end for World War II however as Treyarch were already developing World At War. The writing was however, on the wall. Modern Warfare spawned several squeals and set a determined course for the Call of Duty series.
Treyarch kept things interesting with it’s Cold War themed Black Ops, but that series too was destined for a jump forwards in history until all three Call of Duty development teams seemed to be embracing the same vision: future tech. The race was on to see who could make the most sceience fiction Call of Duty without making it into Halo.
And so we come to the third installment of the Black Ops series.
This time Treyarch seems to have jumped down the rabbit hole and have decided to take us along for the ride. I’ll try not to reveal too many spoilers, but It’s hard not to mention some of the stuff you’ll go through in the single player campaign, which starts of with some junked up AI and robotics that make all previous COD games seem dated. That in itself would make a purist like me groan loudly. But it’s not the future tech that makes this Call of Duty stand out so far from the crowd. No, it’s the LSD trip you’ll be taking as part of the storyline that’s sure to either have you scratching your head or screaming with joy.
Yes, at a later point in the single player story, you’ll find yourself with all your modern tech, fighting in Bastogne (yes, the infamous World War II battlefield) which will end up with you fighting zombies and creatures that I’m gonna refer to as Dire Wolves. Yes, you read that right, Bastogne, zombies and Dire Wolves all in the single player campaign, all in a future tech based game in a post apocalyptic setting.
If you’re a fan of the fast paced, modern warfare of the Call of Duty series, you’ll gonna love it. It takes the series to some unexpected places and keeps you on your toes. The action is furious, the cut scenes make the game a cinematic experience and the graphics are of course amazing.
For me however it was all a bit much. Maybe I’ve got FPS burnout, or I’m just too much of a purist and want my fictional games based in some assemblance of reality. I’m not gonna hate on the game, but I’m not going to be overly generous with my final rating either.
The single player storyline however is only a small part of the game, and no modern FPS would be worth anything if not for it’s online gameplay. And let’s face it, this is where most players are going to spend most of their time. The multiplayer of course brings all of the tech and advances with it, so the likes of wall running and sliding that comes with the robotic enhancements keeps online as fast and furious as ever. The map designs keeps everything varied with multiple levels, cover and kill zones. One of my favorite features was in the aquatic theme park level were your could swim under water through tunnels to traverse parts of the map. This of course was fun and quick, but left you vulnerable when you climb out. All in all the multiplayer was fast and fun, but most importantly it seemed very balanced.
Of course the zombie mode makes a return, but due to it’s four player co-operative status, finding a game proved impossible within my timeframe for getting this review written.
All up, Black Ops III keeps the Call of Duty juggernaut rolling on-wards and will keep most people happy. I however can’t help but hope that one of the three Call of Duty developers is taking a risk on a new direction, or even an old direction.
Reviewed on: XBox One
Rating: R16 Contains violence, offensive language and horror.
Reviewed by: Jonathan