The changes to the Call of Duty formula, even if only minor, seem like a step in the right direction to the franchise
Many Call of Duty fans consider last year’s Advanced Warfare and 2013’s Ghosts to be relative missteps in what has otherwise a fan-pleasing series of games over the last ten years. Players still fondly remember their favourite guns, killstreaks, maps and game modes from previous games, and while the community is divided on several issues, its verdict on AW and Ghosts is pretty unanimous.
Enter Black Ops III—developed by Treyarch, who have been making (arguably) the best Call of Duty games since 2008’s World at War. The game is a continuation of the successful Black Ops series, and while at first it does seem like it has a lot of borrowed elements not just from Advanced Warfare, but from other games that aren’t from the Call of Duty series at all. I’ve logged about 10 hours into the PS4 Multiplayer Beta (if you pre-ordered the game, you should have a code for it). Here are some initial thoughts:
Time-To-Kill (or TTK) is higher, and this is a good thing. Both Ghosts and Advanced Warfare barely featured gunfights—if you got the drop on someone, you’d probably come out on top. Black Ops III has a higher TTK than both those games, and you’re likely to duel with an opposing player on more than one occasion for more than just a couple of seconds. It’s still fast compared to other games, but this is a positive.
Specialist Abilities are a nice addition. The idea behind ‘Specialists’ is straight out of Destiny’s playbook, but it seems like an interesting inclusion. The abilities themselves don’t feel particularly overpowered given the twitchy nature of the game, and activating one doesn’t make you a god—enemy players can still melt you before you can unleash your superpowers.
This is no Titanfall, but the player mobility is much improved. You can run on walls, activate thrusters and perform double jumps, or combine both for some crazy parkour gunplay. The maps are small, so don’t expect to cover huge distances, but good of wall-runs could just present your team with the perfect flanking opportunity.
Gunplay feels right. No doubt a direct result of actually requiring to aim your weapon and pull the trigger, gunplay in the beta feels right. You still need to land more than half a bullet to get a kill, as well as well as setting up to watch all possible angles. The maps in the beta were designed so that a flank was possible at any time as well—however, some of the spawn positions in Team Deathmatch and Domination need to be looked at.
Call of Duty Black Ops III releases on November 6th, 2015 for Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.