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Call Of Duty: Black Ops III

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2015

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PS4/XOne/PC Multiplayer Preview - 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 16, 2015 @ 12:00 p.m. PDT

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is 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.

Monday evening before E3 week got into full swing, I was one of the first people to get hands-on with a multiplayer demo of Treyarch's upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops III.  Kicking off the events of the night was a presentation, which dove into the individual elements of the new gameplay features.  Then, we were set loose to play the game in 6v6 matchups of various modes.

It's no surprise that the Black Ops series has been Treyarch's way of putting its own spin on the Call of Duty franchise, but the third installment in the series takes it even further into the realm of science fiction.  The game touts a completely reworked mobility system that allows you to mantle over objects without lowering your weapon, run along walls, and sprint for an unlimited distance without needing a perk.  That alone would speed up the gameplay, but it also comes with the ability to slide along the ground or perform thrust-assisted jumps to gain a vertical advantage.

You'd probably be a little hard-pressed to get someone to admit it, and you're probably already thinking it, but clearly, the game has taken a ton of inspiration in its movement systems from TitanFall.  The way you approach mobility is largely the same in Black Ops III but with a few key differences.  Wall-runs last much longer, and slides add a new layer of tactical depth, since you can quickly slide into a room sideways with guns blazing.  One of the guiding principles throughout is that of "guns up," so the player is almost always able to fire regardless of his or her current action.  Swimming also featured as a new gameplay feature in the presentation, and it's about what you'd expect.  However, you can still fire from the hip or using your sights while swimming, so everyone is just as dangerous under the waves.

Another new gameplay element is the gunsmith functionality, which allows players to swap out weapon attachments and paint their guns.  In terms of the weapon attachments, you can equip up to five attachments to a single gun, depending on some other factors.  These attachments affect optics and damage and handling characteristics, and their benefits stack if you have two that add to the same stat.  Each gun has three sides that can be painted, and there are areas where you can create a custom look very similar to Battlefield Hardline's emblem editor.  You'll have 64 layers to personalize your guns to your tastes, and you can share designs with other players.

You play as one of many specialists, each with signature weapons and abilities.  Ruin is a rusher, complete with a weapon that does AoE melee damage and an ability that boosts his speed.  Seraph is more of a niche style of specialist between her incredibly powerful revolver and her ability to quickly generate score streaks.  Outrider is a sniper, with her Sparrow bow that can shoot explosive arrows and her ability to sense nearby enemies and their footprints.  Reaper is a war robot that has an arm that converts into a minigun, and he can project decoys of himself.  Prophet has a chain lightning weapon that can kill multiple enemies with one shot, even after a short delay in the chain, and he can teleport back to a marked location.  Finally shown was Nomad, a scruffy-looking dude with a HIVE weapon that shoots proximity nano mines and can revive himself after dying.

It is worth noting that when you pick a specialist, you get to choose either a signature weapon or an ability as your special action, and you cannot have both.  As you play, you build up your ability, and once it's filled, you can trigger it.  Some abilities, such as Ruin's AoE Gravity Spike slam, are simply one-time use, whereas others linger a bit longer.  The signature weapons are brought out as soon as they are activated but slowly deplete — more quickly if they are being fired.  If you're accurate, you won't need too many of those shots since most of the signature weapons provide one-shot kills.  The progress toward your next use doesn't reset on death, though getting killed obviously does cancel the effects of one being actively used.

I was able to get acclimated fairly quickly to the game's take on team deathmatch, hardpoint, and capture the flag.  The new movement system takes a little getting used to but allows for a fair amount of precision in how you approach and mantle objects.  The gun handling feels appropriately on-point, though with a time to kill that seems to be some of the lowest time periods in the genre right now.  It is just a bit odd how closely it all resembles TitanFall, assuming you made it about PvP combat rather than AI bots or giant robots.

Since the event was multiplayer only, there were no details regarding Call of Duty: Black Ops III's other game modes, such as Campaign or Zombies.  However, the multiplayer will undoubtedly be very polarizing between those who love the new movement mechanics and those who do not.  In either case, we'll likely know a lot more about the game after our appointment to check it out more fully at E3.

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