This might be the first Call of Duty game that I didn't love and care about after playing it. I was super excited when they announced it was going to be Black Ops 3, I was expecting a great experience like the ones that came before, but unfortunately I did not find it in Black Ops 3.
Now I know I am, probably, part of the minority, but I like Call of Duty games for their intriguing and bombastic campaigns first. Yes, I do play multiplayer, but I am not fixated with it like the rest of the world is and more about that later. So speaking of the campaign, I did not like for a long list of reasons. First of them being well, there is no real sense of urgency whatsoever. The first mission is the only mission I liked cause it felt like a real Black Op, infiltrate and exfil someone of importance, but being a Call of Duty game that last part is not easy, at all, so you get "mauled" badly by a robot and you are left for dead.
"Luckily" technology comes to your aid and here's where the game starts sucking, bad. Now you are this robotic enhanced soldier equipped with a direct neural interface and things just get weird, like bad batsh*t weird. This tech allows you to hack things, control things, one of this things being other human beings that have DNIs. Something bad happened or happens or will happen, maybe, so you go through these missions trying to find the culprit(s). Then you find these culprits and hello, they were your friends all along and you too are a culprit, maybe, then there is an AI who wants to do well, nothing?! It is bad, really bad.
And this really sucks. Now that I think more about it, the story is exactly the same as the one Advanced Warfare told, but the only difference between the two is that the one in AW did not suck, it was fantastic. In both games you loose a limb or two, you get enhanced by robotics, you go out in covert ops to try and find who's behind everything bad that happened and surprise it's that guy that was featured heavily in every promotional material for the game. But the problem with the story of Black Ops 3 is that nothing happens during and at the end of the game. There is no sense of urgency, there is no impending doom or war brewing and as a result of this the ending offers no resolution, no satisfaction at all. If I am supposed to buy Call of Duty every year, I expect to beat the living sh*t out or strangle or drown the bad guy in the end, but in Black Ops 3 it just ends, bloop... done.
To check all of the screenshots we captured directly from the PS4 version, click here.
The story wants to go places with the whole robotic enhancement stuff, AIs, singularity with man and machine becoming one resulting in an immortality of some sorts, but it fails badly in portraying a believable, relatable and coherent "prediction" for the future, humanity's future. Augmented people are there, but no one cares really. They do bad stuff, but again not one gives a sh*t. The same can be said for the characters and their intentions or motivations, no one in that world cares. Everyone pretty much dies, but you won't bat an eye cause there is no character development, no one is relatable so you are not attached to anyone. It maybe the first Call of Duty game to not have memorable characters in it or at least one. Who can forget Captain Price or Soap or Sandman or Ghost or Mitchell or Cormack and their memorable and emotional sacrifices from the previous games? In Black Ops 3 everyone seems like a placeholder character, even their dialogue is bad feeling more like a Skype call rather than being knee deep in black ops sh*t.
So if you are looking for an intriguing story with beautiful concocted twists, you won't find them here. But not all the things Black Ops 3 has to offer can be this bad, right? Before going to the OK parts of the package, there is also Nightmares to talk about which I also did not like. After finishing the main campaign, you unlock this new "campaign". It is the same campaign, the same missions, exactly the same stuff, but with one major change, instead of the normal gun toting enemies you fight hmm, zombies. Yeah it doesn't make any sense, but it kinda does at the same time. In a campaign mission, the real campaign, something happens and you are thrown into a nightmare inside a character's mind and you fight zombies, whatever.
That premise kinda serves as a foundation for the whole Nightmares campaign. Exchanging a conversation with a doctor, one from the main campaign, you start recalling the same events in a different order with the zombie twist. Now you are a DeadKiller (just silly) and you are trying to find who released the virus in the first place. And since most of the missions take place at night inside dark warehouses, hangars, building and whatnot, the story kinda works cause basically it's the same, instead of killer robots you have killer zombies. What doesn't work and breaks the immersion as we might say is that everything happens exactly like in the main campaign so you will see the characters speaking animations, but no sound whatsoever and that is just strange to see. One moment you are killing zombies then immediately you have to fight a giant robot tank or hordes of robots because, reasons?! Also killing zombies for what appeared to be an eternity in each area and waiting for Hendricks to get into position so we could proceed further, felt like a total chore and not worth my time. Nightmares is there, but it doesn't give you anything, no satisfaction, no joy or fun so there is no reason for you to play it.
A thousands words and only bad things to say about a Call of Duty game, that's a new record. Well, enough of bad things for now, lets focus on the good stuff, Zombies, Multiplayer and Freerun. Freerun is a cool mode, think of it as a training for the new movement style, where you have to parkour or freerun across different obstacles for the best time. It was a fun surprise, a great experience to enjoy while I was waiting for 35 GB to be downloaded and if we get a new map with each DLC pack, it would make me very happy.
Multiplayer, yay! It's back and people are saying it is the best in Call of Duty's history and I totally agree. As I said I am more of a singleplayer guy, but I enjoy competitive multiplayer, especially when it is good as the one in Black Ops 3. I played the Beta and I liked it, limited as it was. Seeing at it has been the main focus of the franchise since Modern Warfare and main driven force for its gajilion of dollars earned, it has only improved with each release. The new movement system with the new wall running and jet-jumping mechanics feel great in the interesting collection of maps. The pick ten system returns with even more combinations of weapons, attachments, perks and wildcards to explore and try out. There is a winning combination for every play style, you just have to find it. Apart from the old but refined mechanics, Black Ops 3 introduces a new one that are the Specialists. Think something like Destiny's class system where each specialist has an offensive super and a defensive one. However that's the only thing that changes, the Super, the movement speed, toughness etc. they are all the same so in the end they all feel kinda balanced. As for the game modes, every mode you loved or hated pretty much is here from team deathmatch to free for all to gun game and infection. Also combat training is back.
This is the competitive part of the multiplayer. The cooperative side comes as the now critically acclaimed Zombies mode. Although there is only one map, or two if you pre-ordered the game, it is massive, beautiful and filled with crazy stuff to find, collect and use against the raging hordes of the undead. Set in the 1940's you along with up to three friends take control of a group of misfits as they are thrown in into this awful reality trying to survive, make sense of it and trying to find out who's behind it. It is the most fun thing to do in Black Ops 3 and although I am still pretty bad at it, it is the only reason I want to continue playing Black Ops 3.
Another cooperative activity Black Ops 3 is its campaign. With up to three friends or random people from matchmaking, you can play together through the missions and the game does a nice job to alter it's difficulty to accommodate the number of players. I tried to play the game in co-op with my brother since finding anyone through matchmaking is impossible, the experience felt strange. Nothing in the story changes to "explain" why there is more than one main player and seeing the cutscenes playing the same way then see two players running around kinda breaks the immersion. But as always playing with a friend is enjoyable even though I wish there were some way of interaction between the players other than "revive me I'm dead" part.
Performance is all over the place. In one hand you have Multiplayer which runs at a stead 60fps with no drops whatsoever. It is smooth, there's no texture pop-in or any other visible graphical glitches. Zombies is kinda the same, smooth and steady with a here and there small dip in framerate when there's a ton of stuff happening in the screen. Then we have the Campaign. It runs at 60fps, but it is not steady, goes all over the place not only during fully packed action scenes but also while you move through the environment doing nothing. Audio goes in and out at times, some silly bugs where enemies get stuck in the level architecture or they freeze midair, texture pop-in and so on. Things get worse when you play it co-op, the dip in framerate are very frequent and too distracting. Clearly Campaign has not received the love and care the other two modes have and you kinda get this idea keeping in consideration the story, characters and voice acting, that the Campaign was put together in a hurry maybe in the last months before release.
So in the end Campaign is just bad and that's a first in this series history. Also Nightmares is totally skippable. Thankfully there the multiplayer which redeems the game as both the competitive side and cooperative one, mainly Zombies, are really good, more of the same you already love with small new additions but still good nonetheless. Should you get it? You probably already have by now so just enjoy the multiplayer and skip all the singleplayer stuff cause they are not worth it Thanks for reading!