Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Review

The next step in evolution?

Black Ops 3

The Verdict

If you’re going to be buying Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, you’re doing it for Zombies and a fresh multiplayer experience after a year of Advanced Warfare. It sure as heck isn’t going to be for the campaign, which is the worst we’ve seen in quite some time. Co-op makes it bearable, but you won’t be spending replay time with it. While I like the progression systems and the smooth, easy-to-use movement, Specialists are both a nice change and a one-year gimmick at the same time. It’s giving fans of Call of Duty’s multiplayer another year of what they want more of — more shooting, maps and prestige.

The real star is Zombies, which is the best version of it we’ve seen yet. At this point, it’d be nice to see Call of Duty get its own Zombies game instead of the futuristic military setting we’ve been getting.

In the end, if you love Call of Duty multiplayer, get Black Ops 3, because the controls and shooting is solid, even if the game as a whole does little to advance the franchise. If you love zombies, get it. But don't get it for the story and campaign. 


Black Ops 3

The Positives

  • Once again, Call of Duty continues the trend of good-looking games on these consoles. The facial animations are excellent, explosions look great, and environments, which are usually hit or miss for me, are pretty good.

  • I do like the separate progressions for the campaign, zombies and multiplayer. The best part of the campaign is in fact leveling up your weapons and abilities, and then choosing what to equip and bring with you. The powers you get to turn the tide of battle are varying in nature, well-rounded, and a lot of fun to use. You could focus on up-front melee abilities, or you could focus on making your move and aim faster. Even more, devote your abilities to hacking turrets and making enemy robots fight for you.

  • Multiplayer in the campaign is something I didn’t know I wanted in a Call of Duty game, and it actually makes the campaign more enjoyable. I would not have replayed the campaign if not for being able to do so with a friend.

  • Levels have a nice mix to them, but the few with boss battles really do a nice job of breaking up the monotonous nature of them.

  • Movement and controls in Black Ops 3 are insanely smooth. With the new movement abilities (which are better than those in Advanced Warfare), I was worried that wall-running and boosting would feel clunky, but it’s not. It’s easy to chain together wall runs with shooting and double jumping and boosted slides. This is especially true in multiplayer, where you’ll need to keep the enemies off-guard.

  • The multiplayer maps are designed to keep you moving, and have plenty of opportunities for cool jumps, boosts, and wall runs.

  • If you love Call of Duty multiplayer, you’ll love the changes made in Black Ops 3. It’s the same run-and-gun combat you love, but now you choose from a Specialist to play as (and unlock more over time). Each Specialist has two abilities, of which you’ll choose one to bring into a match with you. It gives a little more variety and replayability to multiplayer, as you can unlock new armor pieces for each Specialist, and the special abilities and attacks aren’t overpowered.

  • While the campaign is nothing to write home about, Zombies is the highlight of Black Ops 3. The voice acting, especially Jeff Goldblum, is top notch. The 1940s noir setting for Shadows of Evil is perfect. What makes it the best zombies mode ever is the persistent XP and new progression system. It makes the game more customizable than ever, and adds an insane amount of replay value.

Black Ops 3

The Negatives

  • The campaign has a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it. Not once did I get a rise out of any of the cinematic action set pieces, as I think we’ve reached a point where Call of Duty must do something shocking to get a rise out of me. The writing is a step backwards from Advanced Warfare, and all of the plot twists are pretty obvious. The characters are also very one-dimensional, and there’s no reason to feel anything for any of them. Finally, the horrors of a technological future has been done better by other games, movies, TV, etc. In all, the campaign feels lazy.

  • While I like the different progressions for each mode, I really don’t want to play the 6-7 hour campaign more than once, as it isn’t memorable. That makes meaningful upgrades for your character non-existent until your second playthrough.

  • Not having my campaign progress saved because

  • Though Call of Duty has never been known for its non-scripted environmental destruction, if I shoot a glass bottle or cabinet, it should break.

  • Enemy AI is the same we’ve seen in every Call of Duty game, and there are all-too-many moments where they just throw waves of enemies at you.

  • While I love the multiplayer maps’ design, the spawn points are still shoddy. Far too often I would spawn in, take a step, and die.

  • The introduction of Specialists with abilities is nice, but it’s not very meaningful. It feels like a gimmick that will be nowhere to be found in next year’s game, while in the meantime Treyarch can shout ‘Look, new features!’

  • Outside of new maps and movement abilities, the multiplayer is pretty by-the-numbers.

It’s that time of year. Call of Duty is here again with its annual release. Is there any franchise that is hated more, while being loved by masses? This year’s release sees the return of Treyarch and the Black Ops namesake, as Black Ops 3 gives us more cryptic messages, more intrigue, more explosions, and everyone’s favorite… more zombies.

With the futuristic setting of a war-torn world — one that now sees the use of cybernetic enhancements in human beings — the premise is that technology and robotics have blurred the lines of what is human. Has technology gone too far? And what price to we pay for our advancements? As an operative, you undergo missions to help figure out the cause behind a disaster, as characters you thought were your friends are called into question.

It’s eerily close to Advanced Warfare in terms of plot and execution. And while robotics may progress humankind, does Black Ops 3 progress Call of Duty?

The Positives / The Negatives

The Verdict