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Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Developed by: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Xbox ONe
It's fun, but it might be nice to take the series back to the roots of Call of Duty.

Call of Duty fans have been generally dismayed about the future of Activision’s flagship franchise the past couple of years. Modern Warfare 3, Ghosts, and Advanced Warfare have all been greeted coldly by a large number of the franchise’s die-hard fans. There’s been praise for some of the ideas that the developers have had to keep the games going in new directions, but there’s also been some criticism that some of the ideas are novelties at best. There’s also been people on the other side of that who don’t think that the developers have done enough to keep the game fresh. The point is, when something sells millions of copies over a decade span, then there’s always going to be a large chunk of vocal critics. With the latest addition to the franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, that’s not likely to change.

In Black Ops III, we head to the future again. As to the actual story that’s going on, it really doesn’t matter because it’s mostly nonsense. You’re a new guy on a team of highly advanced, genetically modified super soldiers that has the ability to hack data from computers by touching them. You can destroy enemy drones by looking at them, and taking over friendly drones by interfacing with them. You’re an advanced super soldier and at first, it’s your job to understand your abilities before it’s your job to help bring down a group of terrorists, who might be who you least expect. Honestly, there’s been plenty of convoluted Call of Duty campaign stories, this one is probably the worst. It really doesn’t matter what’s going on because by the end of it you’ll have no clue anyway.

The gameplay with Black Ops III is a bit of a mixed bag. The multiplayer is as good as it always is, but it’s still hard for terrible players like me to find a match that makes sense. The matchmaking in Call of Duty has always been hit and miss and here’s it’s largely a miss for me. The match types are all good ideas and the rules are fine, it’s just trying to find a match where I’m not going to handicap whoever’s team that I’m on that’s pretty challenging.

The multiplayer setup is fine with the standard flare but I loved the other multiplayer modes far more. The zombie mode on Black Ops III is better here than it’s ever been and it’s the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer environment with a friend in a long time. There’s also a lot of praise deserved for the co-op campaign. Playing a campaign with four players on the same console is a blast.

The co-op campaign is fun, but the single player campaign here is largely a miss. The voice acting is awesome by the likes of Christopher Meloni, Ron Pearlman, and lots more. The presentation is cool, but It’s the muddled mess of everything that’s going on that brings it down. You know what you are but you never really understand what it is that you’re doing because the story is such a convoluted mess of ideas to make all of the features in the game make sense. It’s worth playing through once, but that’s largely it.

Call of Duty Black Ops III is not as good as the two previous entries. The stories were better back then and the futuristic cyborg stuff that keeps getting thrown into Call of Duty needs a break. The current generation of consoles needs a classic Call of Duty game in the World War II vein in the worst possible way, and make no mistake, there are several untold stories to be told in that setting. These games are fine, but the classic CoD setting is where I’ve had the most fun with these games and I think it’s time to head back that way.

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