PopCultHQ Video Game Reviews: CALL of DUTY: BLACK OPS III

Every year a new Call of Duty comes out and of course this year is no different. This holiday season wouldn’t be the same if gamers weren’t playing the latest iteration of COD. Another year and another chance for the series to pick itself out of the trenches after the last few disappointing entries. This is where Black Ops 3 comes into play. The third in the Black Ops series, this game is the first continuation of an already established COD series to debut on current gen systems. The question is, after the poor reception of Ghosts and Advanced Warfare, how does Black Ops 3 stack up?

The game is everything you’d expect from a Call of Duty game. The biggest thing you’ll notice is that the game is the first in the last 3 years to feel that way. Both of the previous entries never captured me like Modern Warfare or the original Black Ops did. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a need or even a desire to put in the time that I once did. Black Ops 3 on the other hand has me playing with that excitement I once knew. The multiplayer is both fresh and familiar thanks to a few different reasons.

The multiplayer is addictive but it feels like a more militarized version of its brother from another mother, Destiny. Developer Treyarch looks to have been inspired or maybe even told by publisher Activision to emulate a similar experience to their other insanely popular shooter. This is evident by the array of unique specialist specific powers that have been ripped directly from the updated Destiny: The Taken King. This isn’t a bad thing but does tend to take away from the game having its own flavor or even character for that matter. One thing is clear, Activision is trying to dominate the first person shooter genre this holiday season.

As for campaign, it is the same as always, with 4-6 hours to complete with all the typical twists and turns you’ve become used to. While the story has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, this time around I can’t find myself finishing it. There is nothing new brought to the table that really captured me or made me feel compelled to live through the eyes of your avatar. It also doesn’t help that you are not playing anyone specific, but rather a barebones create a character that doesn’t really allow for much creating other than picking from a small selection of pre-rendered designs.

Treyarch tried to push the campaign a bit more this time around by announcing that all missions would be unlocked from the start, allowing players to play how they see fit. I for one do not see this as being anything groundbreaking because why would anyone want to experience a story out of order unless they are watching a Tarantino flick. They also showed little faith in the campaign when they announced that both previous gen Xbox 360 and PS3 copies would not feature a campaign at all. This is a first in the series for such a thing, but not surprising since the game has been mainly a multiplayer centric experience for most.

Lastly, Zombies makes a return to the series. Zombies is still as fun and addictive as ever, picking up where the Treyarch left off. Again, they opted to include hollywood talent to serve as our playable characters and bring to life the experience like never before. They also look to have introduce new enemies, weapons, and power ups that help create a fresh take on a mode that didn’t necessarily need it. The updates are welcome and helps to expand the zombie mythology of the universe.

At the end of the day though, Black Ops 3 is the same game you’ve played you’ve played before. While multiplayer and zombies are exciting and the best yet in the series, the rest of the game feels stale and doesn’t really add enough to break me away from other games out there. With all the anticipated games this holiday, it is hard to imagine that Call of Duty will have enough firepower to beat down the competition. If zombies and competitive multiplayer is your thing, then it might be worth your $60 bucks, but I would hold off. It’s a nice trip down memory lane, but sometimes it’s more fun to make new memories…

Final Rating: 3 out of 5

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. It is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC for $59.99 and on Xbox 360 and PS3 for $49.99 (minus campaign).

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 trailer: