It had been more than some time since I’d played a first-person shooter, let alone a CoD game. Advanced Warfare I found to be one of their more innovative efforts, although Ghosts did feel a wee bit on the generic side to me. Bit more importantly, I found the second iteration of the Black Ops games to be really good, with our choices making some impact on our playthroughs. So how is Black Ops III?
On first look, the plot seems somewhat generic, with the regular fps-style of using a futuristic world and high-tech weaponry. But closer observation over the span of its 8-9 hour campaign will show you otherwise. In the very first mission, the player goes on a rescue mission, but gets grievously injured in the ensuing firefight. But we are somehow saved by our comrades, then inducted into an elite team who can more or less time-travel. The objective : stop the terrorist attacks from ending in tragic losses, by preventing them from ever taking place. That’s how it starts off, but in traditional Modern Warfare-style, betrayals abound; it gets to the point where we cannot even trust our own team-mates, that’s how deep it runs. Up till now, the game seems to run in the traditional CoD style of explosions and what feel like random plot twists, but get to the end and your mind will be surely blown. When there are entire threads devoted to discussing a CoD single-player story, it means something epic has happened.
Shooting in Black Ops III is as fluent as it has always been in previous CoD games. There isn’t much left to talk about the game’s shooting mechanics that hasn’t already been said by most other fps-players. But the real change is in traversal and the introduction of something called DNI [Direct Neural Interface]; similar to Advanced Warfare, Black Ops III also offers the players multiple ways of approaching our objectives; you don’t always have to do the guns-blazing routine to get to the next checkpoint. And BO3 goes one step ahead of AW in this regard; it has wall-running. Weapons are all linked to the user’s DNI, so no picking-up dropped weapons here. These abilities add a new dimension to combat. Has the enemy soldier hunkered down behind an impenetrable object? Just wall-run to a location behind him and gun him down. Maybe use your DNI to hijack an enemy turret and kill him with it. Or maybe let loose a swarm of nanobots which will devour him in seconds; the possibilities are all varied and incredibly exciting.
The environments in BO3 are diverse; you fight in places as varied as Munich, Singapore and Cairo, among others. And as expected from CoD games, the set-pieces are pretty cool, although they aren’t as bad-ass as, say, a somewhat well-known tower in Paris crashing headlong into the advancing army.
The fun doesn’t stop with the completion of SP campaign, though; you unlock a new mode called Nightmare, where you get to play through the campaign once again, with zombies as your enemy this time. And apparently the story has also been tweaked to suit the zombie apocalypse setting. I haven’t played it myself though, so I can’t really say much about it.
The game looks pretty good, maybe. I don’t know because BO3 wouldn’t run smoothly on my PC until I lowered the graphics settings to medium. Considering BF:Hardline, Witcher 3 and other games ran on Ultra without any hiccups, I found this somewhat irritating. Another niggling point for me was fighting those ASPs [you’ll know what they are about two hours into the campaign]; it’s annoying to do the same old routine over and over again to dispatch them. And I fought them way too many times for my liking.
I never thought I’d say this, at least after the first MW game that is, that you could actually play a CoD game for its story; well, this may be an exception to the rule. Treyarch has done a fantastic job in making a CoD game which actually has a good story to back up its shoot-em-up formula we’re all so accustomed to.
RATING : 8.4/10
– multi-layered plot
– modified traversal system
– DNI abilities are awesome
– fighting ASPs is annoying
– frame-rate issues [at least on my PC]