Third time’s not a charmDespite top notch sound and graphics, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is a mediocre game at best
Call of Duty Black Ops 3
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Treyarch, the American game developing company, once again looks to elevate what may be the only saving grace in the Call of Duty franchise by bringing you its third instalment Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Published by Activision, Black Ops 3 saw its release on PC and the next-gen consoles on November 6 this year, and after just over a week, here is how it measured up to my expectations.
CoD: Black Ops 3 is set in a dystopian future of 2065 AD, 40 years after the events of Black Ops 2. As expected, Black Ops 3 feels more like a hybrid of all the Call of Duty games so far, heavily influenced by their last game Advanced Warfare. While the gameplay at times resembles the previous game, the story is more layered this time around. You begin the game with a rescue mission with your partner, which ends up being a success; except for the part where you lose your arm to a combat robot who rips it off. Five years into the future and your lost limbs have been replaced with prosthetics and that is not all, you are now a super soldier with cybernetic abilities which give you an edge during the missions. The bad news is that your enemies too have advanced technologically and despite all your enhanced abilities it is still as difficult as ever to achieve victory.
The main story is full of drama, deceit, treachery, and cut scenes, yet, it failed to capture my attention. The main reason: the overly complicated layers of the same generic story thrown into a futuristic environment. At no point during the eleven missions did I feel like I, myself, am the protagonist or feel any kind of empathy towards my own character. This, I would blame totally on the story of the game. It’s not boring or sloppy but it’s not captivating either. The Campaign Mode lets you down and the only reason I completed the game was to unlock the Nightmares Mode which is a Zombie map.
In the future, the combat has evolved for super soldiers as they can now use an arsenal of new weapons and cybernetics in the battlefield. You can run on walls, jump while you are already in the air, summon nano machines to take out hidden enemies, go invisible to revive a team mate—these are just some of the many other cool abilities you have, but the sad part is the game dictates when and where you can use them which limits the gaming experience.
The Campaign Mode after three missions feels like a chore and you will be subconsciously programmed to find cover, shoot, kill enemies and reload. That’s all there is to it and this is what disappointed me the most. Despite having a lot of options on how to pursue a combat, the game does not allow you to do so. The reason you ask? Difficulty of the setting. The game is either too easy or insanely frustrating, depending solely on the setting you choose to play in. As I do with any other game, I tried Black Ops 3 on the most difficult setting—the Realistic Mode—and I was shocked to find that unlike any other CoD game, all you can depend on is luck—pure luck that a bullet does not hit you. As soon as you are out of cover, you are bound to be found by a bullet with your name on it.
Even when you are on a mission with your allies, the enemies will completely ignore the AI player and come after you like you have a bounty on your head. I realise it’s supposed to be difficult but this mode was probably made by the developers just to troll the players who think they have gotten a hold of FPS. The whole time you are relying on your luck and hoping that the bullets miss you or the scripted AI enemies forget what they are programmed to do. The only way out is through; and after being stuck in a loop for an hour, you will complete the mission after memorising every split second move the enemies make without losing cover the whole time. If it gets too frustrating, the players can choose to drop the difficulty level. But if you are thinking of taking out the bad guys by doing something fancy running on the wall, double jumping behind them and using your melee of attack options, then you are in for a rude awakening, as you are allowed such luxuries only in the Realistic Mode and not in the boring Campaign Mode.
However, the Multiplayer Mode is the saviour in this aspect. All your dreams of becoming a super soldier, and looking cool while at you are it, will come true. There are nine characters to choose from, five of which will be unlocked later after achievements, and they are all distinct in their combat mechanics. Playing the game through a controller in PS4 is tougher, compared to the usual mouse and keyboard for any FPS game, so getting the game on PS4 pays off because of the multiplayer feature. With a decent broadband connection(fibre connection recommended), you can enjoy smooth online gameplay which is worth every buck.
As anyone would expect from a triple A game, the graphics do not disappoint. But as a game for next-gen consoles, it still does not live up to the mark set by the best looking console game ever, The Order 1886… but then again which game has?
Again, with a publishing name as big as Activision, voice acting and sounds have to be top notch, but this time, the characters of the Zombie Mode is what piques a gamer’s interest. Set in the 1930s, the Zombie map features stars like Neil McDounough, Ron Pearlman, Heather Graham, and Jeff Goldblum as the four crooks who have to team up against their will to fight a horde of zombies.
Keeping the heart of the CoD franchise beating, Black Ops 3 manages to remind us that this once epic game is not lost, yet—thanks to the multiplayer mode and the Zombies, of course. However, comparing it to other releases so far like The Witcher 3 or Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain, Call of Duty Black Ops 3 is forgettable. It is a mediocre game at best.