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Blast your way through a deceptively complex campaign, then engage in multiplayer mayhem, zombie survival, and an additional revamped campaign
The settings in future Singapore and Egypt are especially compelling, with excellent scenery extending to the multiplayer maps
The beats get you ready for some shooting, but there's nothing that stands out as spectacular in terms of sounds or songs. Some of the strongest, flavor-rich voices appear in Zombies with Jeff Goldblum and Ron Perlman stealing the show
Easy to play out of the gate, and you'll pick up some of the more advanced mechanics as you work through the campaign. For those craving a challenge, multiplayer and zombies provide it immediately
What begins as a mundane campaign pleasantly diverts into wild territory. While the campaign elements are the weakest of what Black Ops III offers, the amount and quality of non-campaign offerings carry the title beyond the finish line
With a Call of Duty game, you can generally expect fast-paced boat chases, vehicle assaults, and an air-to-air combat segment packed into a Michael Bay-style cinematic experience. That's all still here, as Treyarch's campaign addition to the franchise this year starts off unnervingly similar to Sledgehammer's Advanced Warfare from last year in many ways. Thankfully, that rote ride into future-tech doesn't last long, and the plot diverts in the most wonderfully weird way. Black Ops III has the most mind-bending and bizarre Call of Duty plot yet, taking advantage of unique settings and scenarios that would feel absurdly out of place in the series' traditional space.
Without going into the legion of spoilers and twists that make up the second half of the main campaign, the basic premise sets the player up with squad leader John Taylor (Christopher Meloni) and showcases a device called the DNI (Direct Neural Interface). The DNI highlights enemies behind barriers, shows danger zones, predicts angles of grenade bounces, and allows the player to remotely interface with things like turrets and robot foes. Players also pick up a set of special cooldown core skills that add variety to the campaign, but I found it easy to ignore most of the abilities in favor of an incendiary nanobot swarm and an explosive ignite ability. You're able to switch out your weapon packages mid-level at mobile armories, so if your strategy needs some tweaking for an upcoming battle, popping in a new kit for the situation is easy.
While the campaign offers more open areas with the freedom to choose different paths, it does little to negate the feeling that much of the core experience is just big rooms full of targets to kill. You move from area to area doing much of the same routine, even if there are some decidedly interesting sections to be discovered once the narrative goes well off the beaten path. As always, the missions feature unique battles and setpiece sequences like using a bolt driver to keep heavy winds and water from blowing you off the map. These moments break things up over the course of the eight-hour jaunt, but they quickly lose their charm as you engage in the next generic open area full of 40 humans and a giant robot miniboss. I highly recommend taking advantage of the up-to four-player campaign co-op feature to move through the game, as taking a friend or two along makes the sometimes-slow adventure more palatable and entertaining. All that said, Treyarch's ambitious play to take the standard Call of Duty plot and go completely off the rails with it is admirable, and it works for creating some genuinely interesting moments and fantastically weird settings.
The multiplayer is excellent and addictive, offering players a more dialed-back and controlled experience in comparison to last year's frenzied foray into future-tech. The mobility options like wall-running and boosting are important, but they're used to traverse certain chunks of map quickly rather than integral pieces of every run-and-gun shootout. I found the slight dip in the speed of the action refreshing; I had more influence in what was going on from game to game.
See the rest of the review at Game Informer
Call of Duty®: Black Ops III takes place in a dark, gritty future where a new breed of Black Ops soldier emerges and the lines are blurred between our own humanity and the cutting-edge military robotics that define the future of combat.
Treyarch elevates the Call of Duty social gaming experience by delivering a campaign that is designed for four-player co-op and re-playability. Players encounter all the epic cinematic gameplay moments that Call of Duty is known for, as well as new open-area arena-style gameplay elements designed to allow players to approach the game with a different strategy each time they play.
And now, every player is completely customizable: from weapons and loadouts, to abilities and outfits, all with full progression systems and a personalized armory to show off accomplishments, providing a constantly-evolving campaign experience.
With Black Ops III, Treyarch premieres a new momentum-based chained-movement system, allowing players to fluidly move through the environment with finesse, using controlled thrust jumps, slides, wall runs, and mantling abilities in a multitude of combinations, all while maintaining complete control over your weapon at all times. Maps are designed from the ground-up for the new movement system, allowing players to be successful with traditional movement, as well as advanced tactics and maneuvers.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III Multiplayer redefines how Call of Duty is played, with the franchise's deepest, most rewarding and most engaging experience to date, with a new chain-based fluid movement system, as well as new ways to rank up, customize, and gear up for battle.
Black Ops III multiplayer introduces the new Specialist character system, which allows players to choose from a number of elite black operations soldiers - each with their own look, personality, and voice - and then rank them up and master each of their battle-hardened weapons and special abilities. With this addition to Global and Weapons XP progressions systems, Black Ops III multiplayer gives players three different ways to rank up.
Weapon: Gravity Spikes - Spikes that create an explosive shockwave when slammed to the ground.
Ability: Overdrive - Cybernetic leg augmentation that enables a temporary burst of speed.
Weapon: Annihilator - Massive high-caliber revolver that fires devastating penetration rounds.
Ability: Combat Focus - While active, all score earned will trigger a bonus multiplier towards Scorestreaks.
Weapon: H.I.V.E - Deploys pod traps which release a deadly swarm of nano drones when triggered.
Ability: Rejack - Recover from the position of your death with an injection of nanoparticle serum.
Weapon: Tempest - Charge-shot weapon that fires an arc of electricity, shocking targets and chaining to all nearby enemies.
Ability: Glitch - Flash back to a previous position with this system mod that hacks the battlefield simulation grid.
Weapon: Sparrow - Compound bow that fires bolts with increasing force the longer it is drawn and explodes enemies on impact.
Ability: Vision Pulse - Sonic pulse that pings the surrounding area and reveals enemies within range.
Weapon: Scythe - Arm-integrated quad-barrel mini-gun.
Ability: Psychosis - Infiltrate enemy DNI systems to simulate three instanced decoy Reapers.
Weapon: Ripper - Spectre deploys mono-edged twin blades before gracefully dissecting victims with lethal, surgical precision.
Ability: Active Camo - Advanced meta-materials rapidly change their properties, guiding photons over their surfaces instead of reflecting them, rendering Spectre temporarily invisible.
Weapon: War Machine - This grenade launcher fires time-fused bouncing frag grenades which explode on contact with an enemy.
Ability: Kinetic Armor - Charged electrically-reactive armor that sublimates enemy bullets on contact, turning them into a vapor which dissipates harmlessly.
Black Ops III features a new chain-based fluid movement system, allowing players to move through the environment with finesse, using controlled thrust jumps, power slides, wall-running, swimming, and fast mantling capabilities in a multitude of combinations - all with complete control over their weapon and character. Utilizing Treyarch's signature guns up philosophy, players maintain full control of their weapon at all times and have 360-degrees of motion through all maneuvers.
Maps are designed from the ground-up for the new movement system, giving players a feeling of power over how they use the environment for advanced tactics, while at the same time pushing strong head-to-head engagements for classic Black Ops boots-on-the-ground action.
Treyarch is taking weapon modification to a whole new level. With the new Gunsmith system, any weapon can be tailored to your preference with multiple models for each attachment, distinctive camos, and custom emblems. Multiple attachments and an optic can be added to weapons, giving you the opportunity to build out the ultimate weapon for battle. And on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, the new Weapon Paint Shop feature goes beyond the standard emblem editor and lets you create custom graphics that are displayed on the sides of your guns. With up to 64 layers and three sides to design, you'll be able to create your own signature weapon variants with a practically infinite number of possible combinations.
No Treyarch title would be complete without its signature Zombies offering - a full-game experience with its own distinct storyline right out of the box. Black Ops III Zombies is the most immersive and ambitious Call of Duty Zombies to date, with a full XP-based progression system for players that adds depth and re-playability to the engaging gameplay Zombies fans have come to expect.
Black Ops III Zombies is the most immersive and ambitious Call of Duty Zombies to date. Shadows of Evil will bring darkness and chaos like never before while delivering a totally unique and highly creative gameplay setting, complete with a mind-blowing experience with a captivating storyline, as well as its own XP progression system.
Set in a fictional 1940s city, Shadows of Evil is a film-noir-inspired horror story centered around four particularly troubled individuals - the Femme Fatale, the Magician, the Cop and the Boxer - and spans an entire metropolis swathed in evil... Welcome to Morg City.
Each of the four characters awaken to a nightmarish world overrun by the undead. Each character fights to overcome confusion and amnesia - in the hope that they may piece together the events that brought them to this twisted world.
Morg City is the ideal backdrop for a noir horror story, featuring a theater district, jazz clubs and a suspension railway - elements that add new depth and complexity as you fend off the undead.
Shadows of Evil introduces players to the Femme Fatal, the Magician, the Detective and the Boxer.
She belongs in motion pictures, but instead works as a burlesque dancer at the city's most "upscale" nightclub - where she inevitably attracts the attention of many powerful men, manipulating their weaknesses and desires for her own ends.
Born into enormous wealth, the magician grew up surrounded by lackeys and sycophants... and a lifetime of constant praise and attention has only fueled his deeply misplaced arrogance.
After years of taking mob bribes and framing innocent men, the cop is a likely suspect in a department wide corruption investigation... The timing of which couldn't be worse.
Besides removing the padding from his gloves, the boxer wore a pair of brass knuckles hidden beneath his hand wraps - he wasn't just looking to win, he was looking to cause damage.
Personalize your Zombies experience with a full XP-based progression system that adds depth and re-playability that fans have come to expect.
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