Another year, another Call of Duty beta. This time around, we’re able to jump into the frenetic multiplayer action of the highly anticipated Black Ops III, due out later this year. For many, the Black Ops series of Call of Duty games is the best one ever since Modern Warfare sort of lost its way, and after playing the latest beta, it’s pretty easy to see why.
Treyarch, the developers of the Black Ops franchise, have had the opportunity to see what other games have introduced to the FPS genre. Titanfall‘s slick movement, Destiny’s special abilities, Advanced Warfare‘s augmentations, and a few more interesting elements add some much needed spice to the genre. When these are combined with Black Ops‘ future tech inclination, it creates something that is difficult not to enjoy as it manages to scratch so many itches with its incredibly smooth gameplay.
After the release of Titanfall, many players just couldn’t go back to any plain old run-n-gun action. Running on walls and jet-packing through open windows is too much fun. Advanced Warfare took advantage by adding jet-powered strafing and double jumps, but Black Ops III takes it up a notch. At its very base, the movement will feel right at home for fans of Respawn’s latest; wall running, a jet pack that can be used in spurts for quick jumps or as a way to soar to new heights, and much improved strafing are all available. But it’s when shooting is tied with the movement that the multiplayer really shines
Black Ops III uses a momentum based movement system. So walking, running, and jumping affect what you’re able to do and how you do it. When it comes to shooting, it makes for some interesting firefights. Normally in Call of Duty, mantling small walls and running would stop you from shooting, but now you can keep firing and using other weapons (although your accuracy will be greatly affected, as it should be).
Ducking, running, and sliding have also all been improved in order to make getting away from an opponent bearing down on you a much more frequent occurrence in Black Ops III. Everything is smoother and much more responsive without being overly quick, which can sometimes be an issue in other games. That’s not to say that the game ever feels slow, though.
The Beta allows players to try a whole slew of different game modes. Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Demolition, Domination, and more. Each one changes up the action a bit, but none slow the gameplay to a crawl. With the levels available to play offering many different routes to run and some interesting hiding spots (someone hid in a pond and murdered an entire team, good times). Even the modes that require a bit of care end up being fast-paced death traps as everyone vies for team supremacy.
Gameplay has received another new addition on top of the whole “movement-is-the-best-in-any-Call of Duty-made” thing. Players now have the ability to choose specialists, which come with their very own unique abilities that can provide you the edge during difficult firefights. The best thing about them? They work sort of like supers in Destiny.
Completely separate from your kill streaks (because what’s a Call of Duty without those) is a meter for you to charge by playing. When charged, you will have the ability to use a devastating ability against your opponents for an instant kill, provided that you have the skill to actually land the attack. For example, the Ruin Specialist has an ability called Gravity Spikes which is pretty much the Titan’s Fist of Havoc, only with a smaller radius. Using this kills any enemy soldiers caught in the blast, offering a bit of a risk rewards system since it offers you no defense. The Outrider, on the other hand, has the Sparrow ability which allows for a deadly accurate shot with a high-tech compound bow. Remind you of a specific class from Destiny?
What this ends up doing is it provides new strategies to Black Ops III, something that the franchise needed, as it was falling into an all too predictable cycle. Special abilities, perks, weapons, and kill streaks combine for a new dynamic that is more than just dealing with campers. Although, you still will deal with a lot of campers, but that’s part of the fun, right?
For those worrying that the full-on wall running, multi-jumping, gliding, and Destiny like abilities are going to change the game too much, don’t. Black Ops III still is very much a Call of Duty game. All of the same twitch reflexes are needed, you will still yell at your screen talking about how you shot first, and lag is still apparently a very good strategy (though this is a Beta and that will hopefully be rectified).
The flow of Call of Duty is retained, it’s just been elevated to a game that has something for everyone and provides a much needed transformation. If the Black Ops III beta is any indicator, Treyarch is definitely on the right path to delivering a brand new, yet familiar in all the right ways, experience to those waiting on their Call of Duty multiplayer fix.