With fall looming ever closer, the changing of the seasons can only mean one thing: it’s Call of Duty time once again! The annual shooter series that has finally surpassed sex and McDonald’s in popularity is gearing up to release Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 on November 6, and the multiplayer beta has been live on PS4 for the past few days.
Since the last entry in the Black Ops sub-series, both Ghosts and Advanced Warfare have brought their own different approaches to the definitive franchise, remaining popular but never quite hitting the same heights as the Modern Warfare trilogy hit. Looking to follow closely to the footsteps of Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3 takes the series once again back to the future, introducing more agile core gameplay and futuristic weaponry.
Before introducing the new, let’s rehash the old. As expected, core gameplay doesn’t stray too far from what’s expected. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 retains the twitchy, paranoid gunplay that often means death if you don’t have three pairs of eyes glued open at all times. Thanks to a few additions that add quite a bit to the experience, Black Ops 3 has become the twitchiest entry yet, with death often striking well far too quickly to comprehend.
There’s a reason the COD franchise’s fanbase is often stereotyped as caffeine-riddled teenagers: you need to have the reflexes of one to stand a chance in multiplayer matches. No matter your level, you can only take a few bullets before you’re dead, so by the time you realize you’re being shot, it’s already too late.
Luckily, the core gameplay has introduced a few new mechanics that help you maneuver much more freely than ever before. Similar to Advanced Warfare, a boost jump is available, although instead of it being a standard double jump, the boosters can be held for one high jump or released in intervals for a longer horizontal trek. Wall running has also been introduced, opening up new areas of the maps and making traversal much more stylish.
The levelling system remains relatively unchanged as well, with weapons and characters gaining experience with each match. You can customize your loadouts with perks, sight attachments, throwables and the usual other attachments, while ranking up your character grants you unlock tokens used to access new weapons and specialists.
Specialists are the biggest game-changers this time around, with nine of them planned for Black Ops 3. Each of the nine has two special abilities that can be used a few times throughout matches to gain an upper hand. During the beta, only four were available from the beginning, with each perk needing to be unlocked by an unlock token. The other specialists became available for unlocking once you hit a certain level.
Although their core attributes are the same across the board, the special abilities range from pretty awesome to kinda meh. For example, Ruin’s gravity spikes can deal some massive damage to clusters of enemies, and Prophet’s glitch ability gives you the chance to surprise attack a player who thinks they’ve got you. Nothing is more satisfying than glitching to a position behind them just when they think they’ve won and sending them to that great Killcam in the sky.