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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Review - Cinema Shelf
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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Review

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Rating: 8/10

I haven’t played an exceedingly large amount of Call of Duty. Or, I don’t think I have at least. I’ve played the last few games, but I only really spent a good amount of time on Black Ops 2. That, and Black Ops 3, which, despite its problems, manages to be fun. It doesn’t do anything exceedingly unique, nor any mechanics that made me contemplate the gaming industry as a whole. Blops 3 (what I will henceforth be referring to Black Ops 3 as) is, like I said, fun.

 

Blops 3 plays a lot like Blops 2, meaning that you get launched into a game quickly, and then you shoot people. Or, try to. It is more mechanically complex than previous COD games (though that doesn’t say an EXTREMELY large amount), and feels almost like a smaller, faster-paced version of Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall (It unfortunately does not have giant mechs). This is mostly because of the fact that everyone has a jetpack and can run on walls, giving the game’s maps more verticality, and requiring players to be aware of every direction, while in the previous games threats would be mostly on the same elevation as you. Customization is largely the same as Blops 2’s, with a large choice of weapon, perk, and equipment combinations available. There is a slight “hero shooter” element to Blops 3, as before each match players can choose a “Specialist” to play as, all of which have access to either a weapon or ability that can complement their playstyle.

There are a fairly large amount of problems with Blops 3.

First: Balance. Weapons, specialists, etc.

I haven’t played around with every single weapon combination available in Blops 3, so I can only go with what amounts to my opinion. Based on my opinion, the item balancing in Blops is bad. As in not good. Take for example, the Drakon Sniper Rifle and the Sheiva Assault Rifle. Both are “DMR” type weapons, supposedly capable of getting reliable two-shot kills. In theory, the Sheiva should function better at close range, while the Drakon functions better at long range. This is “technically” true, but the Sheiva fires too slowly to compete with other closer range weapons. Meanwhile, the Drakon has a longer 2-hit kill range, will always kill on a single headshot, and fires faster than the Sheiva. They seem balanced on paper, but in practice, the Drakon has a large advantage (This is offset by the fact that the Drakon is essentially always available to unlock, so lower level players can use it). An even more obvious example is in the previously mentioned “Specialists”. As I said, each has their own special weapon. In theory, each weapon should be able to compete with any other specialist weapon, right?

Not Really.

For example, one specalist, “Seraph”, has access to a high-powered revolver that instantly kills any enemy regardless of where you hit them. It seems powerful, until you take into consideration the fact that another specialist has a bow that fires arrows (that instantly kill), fires faster than the revolver, and the arrows also explode. Another specialist has a grenade launcher that fires grenades that split into smaller grenades, all of which instantly kill. Another has a flamethrower that usually kills in less than a second, and another has a gun that fires nests of bees (Yup.) that swarm around anyone that walks near them

and instantly kills them.

Every specialist weapon kills instantly (or basically instantly) meaning that a few of them are outclassed entirely by other ones. The specialist abilities are arguably worse, ranging from one that lets you see people through walls (assuming they’re within like 20 feet of you, and they also receive a warning of when they’re detected or about to be detected), but only for about two seconds, one that “cloaks” you, rendering you slightly less visible, but only for about two seconds, one that literally just gives you more points for killing people, but only for about two seconds.

Then, there’s one that makes you immune to bullets, one that makes you run like the Flash, and one that lets you stun everyone in an area around you.

There’s probably countless other examples (*cough*concussiongrenades*cough*) but I’m going to stop there.

Second: Weird Paymodel.

Blops 3 uses a “crate” system, meaning that people can pay in-game and/or real money to buy boxes to get a chance at getting super-rare weapons or items. At first, all the items available were reskins, so no one really cared. However, Activision introduced new, game-changing, weapons, all of which are only available in these boxes. Each box costs something like a dollar(?) in U.S. currency, and having opened probably the equivalent of ~60$’s worth of boxes (how much I paid for Blops 3 in the first place) I’ve never gotten any of the new, “non-gameplay-impacting” weapons. It’s a little sketchy, but at least the weapons aren’t game-breaking. And then, of course, the season pass (for basically just maps seeing as how all the weapons are available in the crates) is still like 50$. It probably only costs that much because the maps shipped with Blops 3 are kind of boring.

Third: It Feels Strange.

Blops 3 feels a lot like Blops 2, but not exactly like it. It might just be me being bad at video games, but from what I’ve seen, movement and shooting is too imprecise to be able to reliably aim and shoot while jumping around like Iron Man on coke. I mentioned that it feels kind of like Titanfall, but honestly it feels more like Titanfall if every map was submerged entirely underwater. Everything, from climbing to wallrunning to jumping, feels just a little bit clunky, and a little bit slow. Shooting while trying to do any of those things feels like I’m trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube while playing timed chess against an entire counter-strike team, while simultaneously playing said team in counter-strike. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but my point is it doesn’t work a lot of the time, and isn’t “graceful” when it does work.

 

But you know what, I’ve had a lot of fun with it. It didn’t make me think tactically about my approach to combat, it didn’t make me question the morals of my actions. Blops 3 seems to be treating itself like what it is, a video game, with it’s ridiculously garish weapon skins, immensely colorful maps, and an overall less “serious” tone. It’s not the best game I’ve played, and it’s certainly not my favorite game.

It is, however, a lot of fun.

Above Image: Xbox Store

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