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boxart.jpgCall of Duty has evolved over the years from historical, to modern and now future settings. Each time Activision has upped the ante over previous games. This year’s release, Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the latest entry in Activision’s epic Call of Duty saga and is packed with powerful new abilities and a brand new momentum-based chained movement system that will change the way you play Call of Duty forever.
Recently, Nielsen Game Rank awarded Call of Duty: Black Ops III as the most anticipated multi-platform game this holiday season. From the beginning, Call of Duty: Black Ops III thrusts you into the year 2065, filled with high-tech weapons, biotechnology and a new breed of Black Ops solider. This dark cybernetic enhanced dystopian future is nothing like you have ever experienced before.

 

Game Details
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Developer: Treyarch, Beenox, and Mercenary Technology
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, Online multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

 

The most ambitious campaign yet
Call of Duty: Black Ops III underwent a three-year development cycle and with that in mind, Activision has set out to deliver one of the most feature, and content filled Call of Duty games for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in the franchise’s history. If you are playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, due to technical limitations, the campaign mode is absent.

The game takes place 40 years after Call of Duty: Black Ops II, where a new breed of Black Ops soldiers are born. These new soldiers come equipped with super-powered prosthetic limbs, and an embedded Direct Neural Interface (DNI), which allows you to communicate with one another in new, and exciting ways.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III marks the first game in the series that lets you chose the gender of your character in the campaign. The story is gender neutral and is equally enjoyable as a female or male protagonist.

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New types of gameplay
For the first time since Call of Duty: World at War, you can play the game’s campaign with up to three other teammates online. The levels have been designed with both solo and four-player co-op play in mind, and feature larger environments with multiple paths that contain sections where you can engage in massive open area battles. With these colossal new levels and multiple paths, the campaign took me around 10 hours to complete on my first play through.

One of the most important new features in the campaign is the introduction of Cyber Cores. These special upgradeable powers can only be used in the campaign. There are three Cyber Core skills, each with six unique abilities along with a passive melee ability. Chaos is most effective against humans and focuses on putting your enemy into a state of confusion. Control allows you to get the upper hand against robotic enemies, and Martial enhances your physical capabilities that allows for fast and quick attacks against your enemies.

The effectiveness of Cyber Cores really show when playing with others online and when used in tandem with other teammates, as it offers a serious blow to your enemies. Just image streaking across the battlefield at incredible speeds, taking out enemies, while your teammate unleashes Firefly bots that swarm and set them on fire. Look at the video below and see the type of damage you can deal out with Cyber Cores to your enemies. Unbelievable!

In the Call of Duty: Black Ops III campaign, you can use cybernetic modifications known as tactical abilities against your enemies. There are two types of tactical abilities: DNI Tactical Mode, and Enhanced Vision Mode. These will allow you to pinpoint and analyze the dangers on the battlefield, and give you a nigh-vison style view of your enemies.

Zombies make their return
Zombies make their campaign debut in a brand new mode called Nightmare. This is a remix of the main campaign with a new narrative, new enemies, a new protagonist, and zombies. Essentially, Nightmare is a what-if version of the main campaign where all the enemies are zombies.

Fret not, if you’re a fan of the traditional zombie experience that we have all come to love in the Call of Duty franchise then you’re in luck. Shadows of Evil, is a unique and highly creative mode set in the 1940’s. You’ll work together with other players battling off hordes of zombies trying to survive.

Gameplay is enhanced by the introduction of the purple flame, and GobbleGum system. The purple flame, for a limited time, allows you to turn into a plant monster called “The Beast”. You can break boxes, open special doors, and unlock secret paths. The GobbleGum system allows you to customize a set of five gumballs. These gumballs offer different abilities, and can be purchased when you find a GobbleGum machine around the city.

Zombies.jpg Taking the fight online

The Call of Duty franchise has always been known for its world-class competitive multiplayer modes, and ingenious multiplayer maps. This year Activision has taken competitive multiplayer to a new level that features the franchise’s largest selection of multiplayer modes, new traversal mechanics, a Gunsmith mode that allows you to build weapons, a new Specialist system, and full eSports integration. In addition, the Pick 10 Create-A-Class system from Call of Duty: Back Ops II makes its return as well as a wide assortment of new gear, perks and guns to be unlocked.

The multiplayer maps in Call of Duty: Black Ops III have been designed to take advantage of the new traversal mechanics, so now you can thrust jump, power slide, wall-run, and even shoot underwater while swimming. By chaining these movements together, you can create some cool “combos” that will leave your opponents dazed and confused.

The biggest and most important addition to competitive multiplayer is the new Specialist system. You’ll start with four different soldiers, five other Specialist are unlocked as you advance, each with their own distinctive abilities, personality, and weapons. Each Specialist is equipped with a special weapon and a special ability, here’s the kicker—you can only choose to use either a weapon or special ability during battle. Weapons range from gravity spikes, to a scythe, and special abilities range from bursts of speed to teleportation. Specialist will forever change the way you play in competitive multiplayer modes and knowing what situations to use your Specialists powers can turn the tide of a battle in an instant.

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The best looking and sounding Call of Duty yet

Call of Duty: Blacks Ops III offers the best visuals in the franchise’s history; they are simply breathtakingly gorgeous. Everything from the weather effects, lighting, textures, and cinematic presentation come together to deliver the ultimate Call of Duty experience that can’t be beat.

Additionally, the sound production is as equally impressive as its visual counterpart. The positional audio will make you think you are right in the middle of a battlefield. As bullets fly and glass shatters you’ll swear that it’s happening right next to you.

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Final thoughts

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is an outstanding addition to the franchise that both new and old fans will enjoy. The campaign offers a solid and compelling story that is unique, and the ability to play with three other players through the campaign significantly adds to its replay value. The addition of Cyber Cores and Tactical abilities opens up a new world of gameplay that was never possible in previous games.

Zombies make their first appearance in the campaign, and Shadows of Evil offers a new twist on the ever-popular Zombie mode that is fun for up-to four players online. Call of Duty: Black Ops III features the best multiplayer action to date in any Call of Duty game, and the introduction of the Specialist system is one of the most innovate features the franchise has seen in quite some time.

For the ultimate Call of Duty fan, Sony has released a Call of Duty: Black Ops III Limited Edition PlayStation 4 bundle. This must have bundle, comes with the iconic Call of Duty: Black Ops III ember orange logo, orange power and eject buttons and logos for each of the in-game modes on the console. Furthermore, a 1TB hard drive and a special gray controller with orange thumbsticks, d-pad, and a Call of Duty: Black Ops III logo on the grip are included.

+ The ability to play as a female protagonist
+ Innovative new gameplay features
+ Zombies have their own campaign mode
+ The introduction of the Specialist system changes the way you play competitive multiplayer mode
+ Co-op mode is a blast to play with friends

OVERALL

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 4.5/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5

Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90.0%)