Black Ops III: A return to form

The Sparrow is a compound bow that fires explosive bolts. It is a special weapon in Black Ops III, and is exclusive to the specialist known as Outrider.

The Sparrow is a compound bow that fires explosive bolts. It is a special weapon in Black Ops III, and is exclusive to the specialist known as Outrider.


For years, the Call of Duty franchise has been under fire from gamers who claim the series has stagnated. They say it’s the same game every year. Black Ops III puts those claims to rest.

The game, released on Nov. 6, reversed the series’ annual sales decline. It made $550 million during the launch weekend according to publisher Activision. A change that is sure to make them happy.

But the changes don’t stop there. From the second you pick up the controller, the game feels significantly different. Gameplay is faster, the movement is smoother, and the game just feels smarter.

Picking up from where Advanced Warfare left off, Black Ops III takes the movement system a step farther. Instead of just jumping higher, players can now run across walls and quickly traverse maps with the new free-running system.

This has lead to a change in map design. Maps are built for increased verticality to allow more flexibility.

More verticality means that players need to keep their eyes open, as enemies can pop up suddenly from above or below.

While the online action is going on, the game maintains a smooth frame rate on PlayStation 4. This is achieved through dynamic resolution scaling, which lowers the horizontal resolution when needed to maintain smooth performance.

The graphics have seen a significant upgrade since last years’ Advanced Warfare, offering up much crisper visuals and more realistic lighting. Call of Duty usually gets flak for using an outdated graphics engine, but Black Ops III really does look great.

The heart of any Call of Duty is the online multiplayer, and in this area Black Ops III packs a ton of content and modes.

The game features 12 diverse maps, or 13 if you preordered the game, which gives you access to the Nuk3town map. Nuk3town is the third version of the Nuketown map that debuted in 2010’s Call of Duty: Black Ops.

There are 31 weapons available for players to use, as well as 13 pieces of equipment. The Pick 10 system for class creation returns in Black Ops III, though the layout has been significantly improved.

Upon first entering the games multiplayer menu, the player is asked to pick a specialist. A specialist determines how a player looks, sounds, and what special ability is available to them.

Each specialist can be customized, both in how they look and the things they say.

There are nine specialists in the game, and each of them have two special abilities for players to choose.

One special ability will be a custom weapon unique to that character, such as a bow with explosive arrows. The other ability will be some sort of unique power, such as faster movement.

Only one ability can be active, so players will have to choose between the two.

New specialists, abilities, weapons, and equipment are unlocked once the player reaches the required level, and can then be purchased using tokens.

Tokens are a form of in game currency and are earned simply by levelling up.

All in all, Black Ops III is a fun and rewarding experience. The game is the biggest step forward the franchise has seen since 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

It feels fresh and different, while still maintaining the classic Call of Duty feel that comes from the smooth controls.

The free-running system allows for much more possibilities, and players will enjoy learning the fastest routes to get around in the various maps.

If you’ve never played Call of Duty before, Black Ops III presents a great starting point. If you’re one of the people who grew tired of the franchise, the game has progressed enough that you really owe it to yourself to give it another shot.