The setting is Team Deathmatch and the objective is simple; the first team to reach 75 kills wins the match. The match is intense, filled with gunfire, explosives, and kill streaks hailing from each and every direction. Enemy combatants run along walls and propel themselves to advantageous positions on the map, in an effort to rack up multiple kills towards their specialist’s ability and kill streak. Weaving in and out of cover, I try my very best to avoid incoming enemy fire. Teammates are overwhelmed, succumbing to the heavy enemy advance. In a last-ditch effort, I activate Outrider’s specialist ability. Armed with a bow and explosive arrows, I leap into one of the many interconnecting water tunnels found throughout the map. As I approached the end of the water passageway, I activated my thrusters and propelled myself high above the water, reminiscent of a blockbuster action film. As I flew through the air, in all my bad-assery, I observed two enemies advancing on fellow teammates along a bridge. On sheer instinct, I pulled my explosive arrow back and released. The first arrow hits its mark, piercing through my opponent and pushing him several feet back before exploding and eviscerating him into tiny pieces. As I land on the bridge, his teammate begins to fire off the hip, landing two good shots. My screen is blurred, obscured by a red hue surrounding the HUD. I do not have time to pull the arrow back for maximum range, so I release the trigger in desperation, landing the final arrow in the enemies leg. My teammates let out words of triumph, as the enemy team let off colorful obscenities, as the kill cam replayed the final moments of the intense matchup.
This is just one of the many jaw dropping moments I encountered during my time with the Call Of Duty Black Ops 3 Beta. Treyarch has revitalized its gameplay by introducing its Specialist system, which allows the player to choose from nine unique characters, all possessing specific weapons and physical abilities. Even though these abilities are limited, they offer a whole new layer of gameplay, strategies and tactics. Are you an aggressive player who prefers to be on the offensive? Reaper’s scythe ability transforms the droids arm into a portable mini gun, which provides a high rate of fire and damage that cuts easily into any unsuspecting foe. Are you a master of trickery and deception? Prophet’s Glitch ability allows the player to flash back to a previous position on the map, allowing for escape or misdirection. Or are you a more cautious player, who prefers to know what is waiting around the next corner? Outrider’s vision pulse imbues the player with the ability to reveal all enemies within range, excellent for launching preemptive strikes against unlucky stragglers. It is evident, Treyarch has strongly taken consideration for the wide variety of gameplay styles and accommodates for them, not only through its Specialist system, but also through its intelligent map design.
Since the inception of BLOPS, Treyarch has always displayed a strong awareness of map design, and BLOPS 3 proves to follow suit. Each map allots for fluid movement, allowing the player access to various areas of the map from multiple directions. Hunted, one of the maps included in the beta, displays this prominently through the interconnecting water tunnels found across the map.These tunnels allow the player to traverse the map, eliminating exposure from nasty gunfire and various kill streaks. It also allows the player to coordinate and attack unsuspecting opponents who have taken an advantageous position along the arena. Wall-running and thrusters may seem intimidating at first, but it is a gameplay mechanic that can easily be adopted and utilized. The specific placement of various walls also adds a new dimension to combat, providing entry points of attack or retreat, depending on the situation. From gameplay and map design alone, it is apparent that Treyarch has taken great strides in providing the truest COD experience. Yet, as much as my experience with COD was positive, there were minor issues.
Two weapons I found to have various degrees of inconsistency were the Haymaker 12 auto-shotgun and the Razorback SMG. The Haymaker 12 auto shotgun is an automatic shotgun which has a high rate of fire and a decent amount of damage. During my first play through, after acquiring the required level to access the shotgun, I literally laid waste to my opponents. Close range shots were a guaranteed kill while longer shots did minimal to no damage at all. As I proceeded to use this weapon, it became inconsistent. Close range shots were no longer affecting opponents with maximum force while longer range shots were acquiring kills at an alarming rate. The Razorback SMG also followed the same trend as the Haymaker steadily becoming one of my most disliked weapons on the set. I am sure this will be rectified weeks before its initial release in November but on the highly unlikely event that it is not, prepare to see many Haymaker 12 memes.
I have been an avid fan of the Call Of Duty Franchise since World at War. I must admit, fatigue had begun to wear in and with the horrible experience last year with Advanced Warfare, I had all but given up hope on one of my favorite FPS franchises. BLOPS 3 sets to reinvent the wheel without compromising any of the attributes that made the franchise great in the first place. With its fast pace action, intelligent map design, and specialist system, Treyarch has successfully brought the FPS into the future. November will be a great month with BLOPS 3 leading the way.