Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Listen, let’s not mess around here. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is good. Really good, in fact, but it doesn’t matter what I have to say about it, really, does it?

If you’re already a fan of Call of Duty, chances are you’ve been playing it for over three weeks now anyway. To many, Call of Duty has been a yearly injection of reliable gaming goodness for eight solid years. Ever since the release of Modern Warfare, the series has rarely faltered in terms of quality, so why would anyone go elsewhere to get their yearly shooting fix? If this sounds familiar, then you certainly don’t need to read my reasons as to why purchasing Treyarch’s latest instalment is a good idea. It’s probably already sitting in your disc tray.

If you hate Call of Duty on the other hand then… well, there’s nothing I can say to sway your opinion either because Black Ops 3 is, fundamentally, more of the same. I mean, by all means, continue to take the annualisation of a hugely successful franchise as a personal slight against you (the world is, as they say, an oyster of which your opinions will forever echo pointlessly within) but it won’t change the fact that, when all is said and done, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is still a very good game.

So, who’s left. You? Who are you? Someone who used to play Call of Duty years ago but grew lethargic due to the annualised nature of the series and have since dropped off the wagon but, with this year’s release, are considering dipping in again for old times sake? Maybe you enjoyed Black Ops 2 but thought Ghosts was a bit shit (because, well, it was) and are a bit worried about jumping back in? Maybe you’re just on your lunch break and are browsing this site bored, your lukewarm ham sandwich resting lonely and neglected in the one hand as you search desperately for some form of escapism from the daily grind with the other? Something, you think, staring dead eyed at the wall of text presented in front of you, dear God anything to make me feel whole again…

Well if any of the previous scenarios sound familiar then hello! Welcome to our review of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

Black Ops 3 is, perhaps, the biggest and most ambitious Call of Duty title released to date. To say that there’s not a lot to do here would be a straight up lie, and would see you being cast straight to the naughty step for being a big silly plum. If games were meals, and not just numbers scratched on a bit of plastic (or whatever they are, I don’t really understand them to be honest) then Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 would be a huge buffet of really high quality junk food. In comparison to Star Wars: Battlefront, which would no doubt be an incredibly small (albeit it, perfectly cooked) portion of a meal you enjoyed very much as a child, I’m pretty sure I know which one I’d go for if I was hungover on a Sunday and just wanted something satisfyingly familiar.

Its campaign is like every other Call of Duty story mode. Stupid, loud and full of explosions. Is it good? Yeah it’s pretty good. It’s entertaining, to say the least, and the ability to change the gender of the main character is a welcomingly progressive addition. Other than that though, nothing much is new. The storyline is silly but engaging, and the ability to play it all in co-op makes it far more appealing to those who only want to play the game with friends. You can even play any of its missions in any order you wish, but I wouldn’t recommend it because doing so is just a fundamentally terrible idea. There’s even a nice surprise hidden for you at the end which I won’t spoil, but you may be excited to know that it heavily features a familiar enemy whose name rhymes with blombies.

Speaking of blombies, Treyarch’s now infamous Zombies mode makes its triumphant return in Black Ops 3 in the form of “Shadows of Evil”. The mode sees four brand new characters (one of whom is voiced by Jeff Goldblum, which is as brilliant as you are no doubt imagining) taking on the zombie horde in a 1920’s setting. Thematically the presentation is superb; a beautifully inspired amalgamation of prohibition era America and the Gothic horror works of H.P Lovecraft. The main difference from previous incarnations of the mode is the ability to turn your character into a grotesque monster known cryptically as “The Beast”, which allows the player to kill zombies quickly using lightning powered tentacles.

It is, as you might have gathered, wonderful nonsense, and I must say I’m a big fan. It is, however, fucking difficult, and like all other Treyarch developed Zombies modes, dense with riddles and hidden secrets. It’s sort of great, actually, but play it with friends. People online do not take kindly to newcomers, and you will be greeted with a wall of fucks if you dare to attempt the nightmare with strangers.

Then there’s multiplayer, which is the same wonderful chaos that revolutionised a genre back in 2007. Except, this time, it may be the most refined online experience in video games. A bold statement, I’m aware, but it’s great. Everything feels perfectly balanced, the maps all feel very well designed (regardless which of the game’s varied game modes you’re playing) and the addition of specialists (named characters whose unique special moves can be activated at least once a game regardless of skill) makes for a far more accessible Call of Duty multiplayer experience.

Also, you can play the game in split screen online. I’ll reiterate that because it’s important. You can play 98% of this game in split screen. It’s brilliant. It’s 2015 and I’ve been playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 pretty much exclusively in split screen with my partner. It’s a game changer. Its became our new Mario Kart, and that is no small statement.

Also, it includes Gun Game, which is single handedly the best game mode of anything ever. You shoot someone, you get a better gun. It’s incredible. It should be included in every game ever made. Top work Treyarch. You get a thumbs up from me.

So, is it worth buying? Absolutely. If you love Call of Duty, you’re going to have a blast. If you grew lethargic of the series then this is a great point to jump back in and if you despise Call of Duty and everything it stands for, then please don’t comment on the bottom of this article. My self esteem is low enough as it is.

Fine. I’ll slap a score on it. It doesn’t matter though. It’s Call of Duty. You’ve already made your decision.

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