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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

itchy hands

You can almost set the clock to it. While most of the population is disappointed that the sun has finally given way to rain, wind and clouds, the hands of many gamers are starting to itch. Call of Duty is coming again. Everyone seems to agree on all forums. ‘Little innovation’, ‘dairy cow’, ‘dated engine’, just a few concepts that fly around your head. The criticism is often not kind. Is this quite right? Year after year sales records are broken. Also this year the copies are flying over the counter like hot cakes.

Shall I admit it then? I’m in on it too. Every year I say again that CoD does not bring much news and that I ignore part of it. Yet almost every year my game collection is expanded with the latest CoD. Why? Despite the fact that the game brings little new year after year, it simply remains a very thick shooter that will keep you busy for hours, weeks, months. The sun has now definitively left the country and we have passed the first autumn storm. Time for Call of Duty Black Ops III!


Since the release of the first CoD in 2003, very little has changed in the campaign mode. A roller coaster ride that you say to you. The story is often not very strong and a bit predictable, but that’s not the point. It’s about the hordes of enemies that don’t give you a moment’s rest, the explosions and the chaos as you fight your way towards your final checkpoint. Set in 2065, Black Ops 3 revolves around themes that are already relevant today, such as privacy and China’s monopoly on many rare raw materials. Soldiers are equipped with a DNI (Direct Neural Interface) chip. With this DNI you can operate computers and devices remotely, but also read people’s thoughts. In addition, I am equipped with Cybercores and Cyberrigs. The Cyberrigs make it possible to make boosted jumps, wallruns and powerslides. The Cybercore enables a number of specific attacks or capabilities, depending on which core you choose.

Treyarch has spent a lot of time in the campaign mode, and that has been different. Where you normally go through the campaign mode with about 4 to 5 hours, with Black Ops 3 you will be busy for much longer. You spend about ten hours working on the campaign. Not only is the campaign longer, but a lot of time has been put into the story. It’s hard to substantiate this without revealing the story, so you’ll just have to take it from me. It is well constructed, complex and full of action, mindfucks and plot twists.

Good news you would say. Yes and no. Sure, a good story is a plus, but somehow it feels like it doesn’t quite fit CoD. Where in the previous parts I often used the cutscenes as a short break to make myself a cup of coffee, this story doesn’t let you then. It’s so complex that you can’t really miss a cutscene or dialogue without losing the story. For me personally, this approach is therefore not such a success. I (and I think most gamers with me) play the campaign mainly for the crazy action. Of course it’s still there, but it would have been fine for me personally if this action had been attached to a slightly less complex story. Several times I had to suppress the urge not to just skip the cutscenes.

But what really matters…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, I probably don’t need to explain to you that CoD is really just about the multiplayer. The Cybercores and Cyberrigs from the single player have found their way to the multiplayer and this brings fun possibilities. You are no longer a soldier who can only customize his loadout. With the introduction of Specialists (Cybercore), each player gets their own specific special attack, weapon or ability. Think of a bow and arrow with exploding arrows, the ability to briefly spot your enemies through walls or an attack that sends all your nearby enemies into the afterlife with a heavy blow to the ground. You can’t use these special abilities constantly, of course, but every game at least once or twice. Thinking carefully about how and when you use these abilities is therefore a must. Because you can only use this ability a limited number of times, the balance in the games remains good. Of course you occasionally get an exploding arrow shot your way and you have no chance, but it never gets frustrating.

The Cyberrigs have also found their way into multiplayer. Every player has this. This cyber rig makes it possible to make boosted jumps, wall runs and power slides. When I heard this in advance I was afraid it would cause total chaos. Opponents that can come from anywhere causing you to be constantly shot in the back. Partly because the design of the maps has been carefully thought out, this is absolutely not the case. The maps are clear and fairly straightforward. The new possibilities that the cyberrigs bring with them are therefore innovative and refreshing, but not dominant in the gameplay. The fights generally take place in front of you and on the ground.

Despite these innovations, Black Ops III still feels like a real Call of Duty. All the basic ingredients are still present. The killstreaks and the way you earn them is unchanged. Sure, some new killstreaks like the hellstorm missiles have been added. The way you level up and unlock new gear is also largely unchanged. What is striking is the lack of new play modes. Every year one or more new game modes are added to CoD. Not this year. Is this bad? Not to be honest. New play modes are often funny for a while, but in the end it’s all about modes like TDM, Search andDestroy and Domination for people. Of course they are all there.


The zombies are of course also present and this is another positive point. The zombies mode includes a story and multiplayer mode, both of which feature a new XP progression system. Shadow of Evil focuses on a group of characters located in Morg City. It’s about 4 characters who have to deal with an overload of zombies, and you guessed it again, surviving the hordes is the goal. The second story, The Giant, also revolves around 4 characters and picks up where Origins left off. It is an attempt to rewrite the timelines history. The zombies mode was again positively received by many gamers at the announcement and is definitely another cool mode in the game. Especially for the fans, the storytelling zombie mode is a good addition to the standard gameplay of the game.

Eternal point of criticism

The biggest criticism of CoD remains the engine that the game runs on. The same engine has been used for years and it is now starting to get very dated. The graphics are lagging behind competitors. The game certainly doesn’t look bad and runs very smoothly without framedrops or anything like that, but it’s starting to get very dated now. Graphically, this game just lags behind its competitors. The fact that everything is made of completely 100% bulletproof material also reinforces this feeling. Let’s be honest. A hand grenade next to a garden gate would produce a lot of splinters in most games. Not at CoD. The gate in all its glory will survive these explosions without getting a scratch. That is really no longer of this time. In terms of audio, the game does a good job as usual. The bombastic and often great sounds of the guns are once again pleasing to the ears and the soundtrack(s) are also very atmospheric.

Black Ops 3 is another real CoD. The multiplayer will again consume hours of your time. The innovations such as the Specialists and the use of Wallruns and powerslides are refreshing, without compromising the real CoD feeling. The campaign mode is difficult for me to judge. The action and chaos is still the common thread here and the fact that you spend twice as long on this compared to previous CoD games is good. The complex story here is a bit too much of a good thing for me and a bit too dominant for me. For me personally, this is about the roller coaster ride full of clumsy action. Finally, it is really time for a new engine. The game still looks okay, but the competitors just do it better. In short, it’s a real traditional Call of Duty again. A brilliant multiplayer game on an outdated engine. You can decide for yourself whether this is positive or negative.

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Author: Mats Kwakernaak | Genre: FPS | Release: 18-11-2015 | Publisher: Activision | Developer: TreyarchGraphics: 6.5 † Sound: 8.0 † Gameplay: 8.5 † Controls: 8.0 † Playback: 8.5 8.0+ Longer campaign mode+ Innovations like Cybercores and Cyberrigs work surprisingly+ Old-fashioned chaotic and fast- Still that $%*@& engine- Lack of really new game modes-