There will be people who upon reading this will say, “Nate why did you buy this, you did not like Call of Duty, ever.”
I will reply, “But this Call of Duty has wall running, sliding, weapon decorations, and what look to be cyberware and mechs. I LOVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS!”
And they will shake their head, because they know something I don’t know.
As I stated above, I have not liked any Call of Duty game that I have played. They have alternately frustrated and bored me. That is not what I call fun. However, upon seeing the trailers for this game and saying, “Hey, that is wall running from Titan Fall” and “Hey, that is the Destiny slide” and “Hey, that is cyberware that looks a lot like Deus Ex,” I had to give the game a try.
Black Ops III has four main modes of play: Campaign, Player-vs-Player, Zombie, and Nightmares. Nightmares opens after you complete campaign on any difficulty.
Here is my first complaint, the modes do not cross over. In Destiny what you do and what you earn carries over into Crucible, Destiny’s player-vs-player, and vice versa. In Call of Duty Black Ops III nothing crosses over (other than cosmetic crap)! Thus, all of all the cool weapons and cyber upgrades you earn in campaign mode do not crossover into player-vs-player, zombies, or nightmares. Talk about feeling like I wasted my time. Why bother having all of the cool cyberware if you cannot use it in any other mode? In Nightmares, which is a variation on the campaign, you can use cyberware, but what you get is random. WTF! In player-vs-player, each class has two powers which could be cyber-oriented, but feel like power moves taken from other games.
The campaign started out really cool, the airplane crashing into where I was standing aside. Hell, the first mission ended in quite the shocking way. Then the story line quickly became cliche and stale, unless you haven’t seen Robocop, Blade Runner, Matrix, Inception or anything else where man-machine is the topic. My biggest gripe about the campaign was I got bored. Seriously, some of the missions are long with no reward other than exposition that could have been handed out in a much more satisfying way. There are some fun missions, but most feel overly long (at least three times I thought, “this must be the climax of the mission” and then another half to go). But, and I have to stress this, ONLY in campaign mode do you get to play with a lot of fun toys, the cyberware is very satisfying to play around with. The guns, so-so.
Player-vs-Player was a no go for me. I didn’t feel like I was participating. When playing other first person shooter games there is a sense of weight to movement, the weapons, and the world. Nothing felt like it had any weight; I was floating through the maps, the guns didn’t feel or act any different, and the maps, while brightly colored, really were not that interesting from a tactical standpoint. Games blew by fast and without sense of having done anything. For those curious, the various classes are borrowed from other games, the titan smash and nightstalker bow-like weapon from Destiny stood out.
Zombie mode was where I was hoping to have fun, because I did enjoy zombie mode in other Call of Duty games. Unfortunately, at this time there is only one zombie mode and it was not as fun as I had hoped. Instead of trying to defend a building, you run around a noir style world fighting zombies, turning into a monster, eating gumball powerups, and dying a lot. Hopefully, more zombie maps/types will be added for some variety.
Nightmares, takes the campaign mixes up the missions a bit, adds a whole new story, and zombies. Nightmares would be AWESOME, if you could take your character from the campaign. Alas, you cannot. You have to find weapons and powerups. If I wanted to play an arcade style game I would stick with zombie mode, I was hoping Nightmares would be a form of New Game+ only with zombies.
I went in, hopeful that Black Ops III would be a combination of games that I enjoy with new features, only to discover that there are a lot of borrowed elements that never connect together. Why the decision was made to keep four main modes separate I will never know, but to me it seems like a huge mistake and huge missed opportunity. I have zero interest in playing yet another first person shooter player-vs-player mode where I can wall run and slide, I can do that already in Destiny and Titan Fall, both games use those aspects better. I have little incentive to play through Nightmares if my character never improves. Zombie mode only if more maps are added. And Campaign, I will play through that again on different difficulty levels with people I know, but little reason to do so by myself.