Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is my most anticipated title of the year, why you ask? Let me explain. You know when you come home tired from work or classes and just want something simple, something uncomplicated and something that doesn’t require you to stress your brain further. Call of Duty is that game for me, a game that gives me almost instant satisfaction as I jump into a match in less than a minute of booting the console. Now I’m not saying games like Life is Strange or Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain are bad games, in fact they’re brilliant, it’s just that after a certain time you’re done with the experience while Call of Duty is a game I can play all year-long.
Call of Duty as a series has spawned a ton of games now and has been on a certain decline after Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 which I believe to be the best game in the series. Ghosts was mediocre and punished skilled players with its bad map design and super quick time to kill while Advanced Warfare didn’t have the pull for me to make me come back for more. With Black Ops 3 developers Treyarch have a lot to prove: not only to justify their 3 years of development time but also to prove that Call of Duty is still a force to be reckoned with in the FPS genre.
I played the Beta from the day it went up on the Playstation 4 and to my surprise the game performed excellently across all 5 days of the servers being up. The game looks gorgeous and is certainly the best looking Call of Duty game yet. The frame rate to my experience only dipped once or twice and that could be due to the connection. Overall the game performs like a Call of Duty game – super smooth.
The Beta featured three maps namely Combine, Hunted and Evac. Treyarch added a fourth map called Stronghold towards the end. I found all four maps to be very enjoyable to play through as Black Ops 3 brings back the three lane layout back. The maps also have a limited verticality them having two floors mostly (not counting the underwater sections), this is great as it makes the game more predictable unlike Advanced Warfare which went crazy with how up you could go.
The gunplay is a mix between Black Ops 2 and Modern Warfare 2, both games featured excellent gunplay so having a mix of the two is nothing but good news. Treyarch has taken a page out of Sledgehammer Games’ book and introduced a boost system in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. In Treyarch’s world though, the boost is limited and not something that changes the gameplay too much. One of the main complaints with Advanced Warfare is that the game didn’t feel Call of Duty anymore, this is not the case with Black Ops 3.
The guns have a good balance but there will always be a few of them that perform better than the rest. Luckily Treyarch have a good reputation with balancing gameplay elements after release, they were even active to patch guns during the Beta. The Killstreaks are awesome, you guys probably have an idea of how useless and unsatisfying the streaks in Ghosts and Advanced Warfare were. The good old days of Hellstorm Missiles and Lightning Strikes are back folks. Nothing major is un-patchable so I consider the game to be very balanced, moving on…
A major gameplay addition are the Specialists. This is Treyarch’s attempt to adding character classes to Call of Duty with each class having their own special abilities. Players will be able to use their Specialist abilities by filling the Specialist gauge that is separate to the scorestreak meter. The aforementioned gauge fills on itself overtime but can be accelerated through earning score in the match. The abilities range from weapons like a one shot kill explosive Bow to abilities like teleporting back to safe location in the middle of a gunfight. I’m not sure on the abilities yet and one of them, Rejack, can be game breaking as it’s essentially a glorified last stand. Treyarch did patch it on the last day but I didn’t get to use it much. I’m not sure if Specialists belong in Call of Duty but in the Beta I had fun using most of them.
Treyarch has promised dedicated servers on launch but according to various sources on the Internet there are very few of them around with majority of them being in North America and Europe. If you’re in a region with no dedicated server nearby then be ready to play on p2p. The connection overall was pretty good and I love how Treyarch has added an actual Ping meter in the pause menu. This is just a Beta and I’m sure Treyarch will have a lot more servers ready on launch – hopefully.
My anticipation for Black Ops 3 just went through the roof after playing the Beta, the game is shaping up to be fantastic and I can wait to play the final game later this year.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 releases for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 on November 6.