Call of Duty: The world wide phenomenon
The infamy of the Call of Duty franchise stretches worldwide. So much so that you can make yourself (well, a team of six) a cool $250,000 if you’re good enough and can be the best of the best.
However if you are one of the few people walking the earth that has no idea what I am talking about, this review is still for you.
A new era approaches
November 4th, 2016 marks the release date (and re-release date) of the upcoming title Infinite Warfare and the remaster of a true COD classic Modern Warfare. Yep, the game that revitalized the franchise and made online FPS a universal phenomenon is getting a complete next gen makeover.
To all of the Halo fans, calm down. The prior statement is not a dis, nor a pot-shot. Golden Eye revolutionized the multiplayer FPS. Halo came along and kept the revolution going and, brought it online.
Call of Duty and Battlefield (if we are being fair) changed the game by appealing to nerds and non-nerds alike. Though if we are being honest these so called ‘non-nerds’ became COD or Battlefield nerds in their own right but, I digress.
While the multi-player part of the game has many areas, we will get to Zombies, Nightmare and Dead Ops Arcade 2 in a separate piece, or two. For now, Online and LAN multiplayer is on the menu and we’re helping ourselves to seconds…maybe thirds.
First things first there isn’t much of a story line here. You choose a “Specialist” of which there are nine (though you can only access four until you reach level 22 and, so on), then you can jump right into the thick of it.
Just like it’s predecessors there are plenty of modes to choose from: Team Death Match, Free-for-all, Search and Destroy, and many others.
Using the LAN or private match methods makes the game-play options near endless.
Gone are the days of leveling up to access create-a-class but; weapons, attachments, camos, perks, tactical, lethal, and all that jazz will come with certain levels (until reaching 55) which are unlocked with experience points. That being said, items will be limited with no chance of changing your score streak until level nine.
Scorestreaks is simple enough but, how you combine them along with your specialist and load-out will be something you will have to figure out. Make sure and save your unlock points or at least only use them on the scorestreaks that help your game — until you have enough to unlock all 18 of them.
The Black Market
How well you play and leveling up will determine how many unlock tokens you will receive, which in return you can use to unlock everything in the Call of Duty Black Ops 3 multiplayer world. The only thing unlock tokens cannot get you is anything in the black-market.
Within the black-market you will be able to purchase both common and rare supply drops. Loaded with gun camos, weapons of all statures, and much more. All supply drops can be earned within the game by simply playing or using cold hard cash.
You will be able to purchase many supply drops throughout the leveling up process by earning in game currency and without having to drop a single ‘real’ dime. If you want to own all things epic or legendary, without much time spent, then you’ll have to dish out the dough.
Another important part of ranking and your ability to win matches; is your specialist, one of their two abilities, load-out and score-streaks combo.
Some will argue that, certain combos are the best and can’t be disputed. There may be validity in that but, going with a combo that best suits you, is more often than not exactly what you’ll need.
Just remember each weapon, perk, and otherwise comes with its own set of points and other things you can earn to go along with it.
Which means you may love your: Kuda with iron sights, XM-53, and your favorite set of tactical/lethal/perks but, at one point you’ll stop earning XP (experience points), unlock tokens, and cryptokeys for that particular load out — remember to mix, match, and try new things to earn what you want as quickly as possible.
We talkin’ ’bout modes
Team based sub-modes dominate in Call of Duty Black Ops 3 — with the exception of free-for-all (self explanatory) and gun-game (free-for-all with a random weapons that change every kill. The first person to kill someone with each weapon, wins).
Core and Hardcore are the main mode to each sub-mode; put simply hardcore is: no HUD (Heads Up Display), friendly fire (you can kill your teammates as well as enemies), no kill-cam, limited health, and no health regeneration. While core is the exact opposite.
MLG or Major League Gaming leans toward Core, so you’ll find many more players and matches whilst playing any Core mode, whereas Hardcore is more of a cult following, if you will.
Don’t be “that guy”
While the ‘best of the best’ play in Core, more often than not you’ll find a more “relaxed” environment in Hardcore. Use of the dreaded quotation surrounding relaxed, is do to the inescapable truth that nearly every room has an “internet tough guy” and/or “troll” that will drive you crazy.
These ITGs and trolls are legion in the Call of Duty community and Call of Duty Black Ops 3, is no exception. Said trolls will call you every name in the book, talk about your mom, and use curse words that may even be new to you.
In online multiplayer you will quickly find it’s a “Dads only” environment for sure. Unless of course game violence is allowed in your household. You can always mute all the other players, have your kid join under their gamertag, or as a guest to play along. You can also use headphones and the kids can just sit back and watch you pwn some noobs.
LagDads suggest setting up a private match or LAN match for the kids between four and twelve, though you obviously get better by playing those who are better than you.
This doesn’t change the fact, that connection (yours or others) and who is hosting the match can affect your score as well. In LAN or private match (unless inviting others) won’t have that issue.
Bots, while not online, can be added and their AI level can be changed to make it less or more challenging for whomever playing.
The bots can also come in handy if it is just you and one of your kids, but you want to play TDM. Add six players on one team and four on yours, or any combination and let the fun begin.
Playlists are made up of three categories, with 15 modes; eleven are found in core, four in bonus, and of the eleven core modes six are playable with hardcore rules.
- TDM* (Team death match)
- Search and Destroy*: plant bomb at A or B and destroy or defuse to win
- Domination: hold points A-C for longer than the other team to win
- Demolition*: destroy or defuse both locations to win
- Fracture: deliver files from dead enemies to fracture site
- Kill Confirmed*: TDM with tags that need to be picked up for a kill or pick up tags to nullify kills
- Hardpoint: random points need to be held by teams the longest to win
- Safeguard: escort or keep robot from being escorted to win
- Capture The Flag*: Just like real life but with guns and played within a video game
- Uplink: upload drone into enemies satellite link and stop other team from doing so
- Gun Game: the first player to kill with each weapon before dying wins
- Ground War: TDM, domination and safeguard with 12-18 players instead of 6-12.
- Chaos Moshpit: Small maps with fast paced game modes
*Denotes game mode available in Hardcore
To prestige, or not to prestige, that is the question…
XP unlocks many things that make the game more exciting and your specialist more powerful. It also unlocks a mode called prestige. Sounds intriguing right? Well it is, sort of. Once your specialist reaches level 55 (and than fills that with more XP) you can unlock prestige mode.
Once you activate Call of Duty Black Ops 3 prestige mode you will be reset to level one and will have to rank up all over again. You can do this until you receive prestige master. “Prestiging” as most CODers call it, is not a necessity. Plenty of players rarely do it, some have never done it.
One set back, that comes along with not prestiging, is the trolls. ITGs love to bash people for not doing so, just ignore them and move on. Seriously, do not engage with these people, just don’t.
Maps and stuff
Let us not forget the 13 maps that come with Call of Duty Black Ops 3, plus the other 16 that are available through DLC (downloadable content) with the season pass — which will set you back $50. You can also buy the DLC by pack individually for $15 a piece.
Nearly 30 maps are available for online play or for completely customizable fun in private, offline, LAN, or otherwise.
In the Call of Duty Black Ops 3 store you can purchase Call of Duty points. These can buy you supply drops (in the black market), extra slot packs and CWL team, and champion packs.
You can also purchase Call of Duty Black Ops 3 C.O.D.E. customization packs. 100% of the (gross) proceeds go to The Call of Duty Endowment. This endowment helps our Vets find quality jobs, not just jobs but, quality jobs that fit their skill set. These can be purchased for $4 each.
You say specialist, I say avatar
Sticking with customizing, you can do a lot with gun paints, emblems, clan tags, and calling cards. As was mentioned before, the customization (outside of specialist which are glorified avatars) is out of control.
Of course you could say, not being able to chose exactly as you want your character to look; i.e. Fallout 4 and the like — is less than ideal, but, the truth remains, you have many a customizable option in Call of Duty Black ops 3.
Even though the option of changing the color, race, face, size, and everything else that comes along with being able to customize an avatar, is lacking, there is a lot you can do with clothes, masks, hair and even game winning gestures and comments — be warned some of the gestures and comments are very much rated Dads Only, that is for sure.
With all that being said
Call of duty Black Ops 3 is a very well rounded game with enough modes, DLC and customization to keep people playing over and over — sometimes well beyond the next COD release.
Gameplay: Fun, expansive, immersive and so very customizable.
Graphics: Nothing ground breaking here, but beautiful detail in most if not all aspects of the game. You will see glitches here and there which is to be expected.
Glitches do tend to happen more while playing online than off. Though in either mode dealing with too many players in one area bogs down the GPU and lags stuff pretty hard.
Sound: Whether it be walking, running, guns, scorestreaks, or what have you, sound is very well done. It is not without it’s flaws, of course, but again that is to be expected.
Sound glitches here or there for sure, some of the voice overs can get very old. During the winners circle, cliche sayings and bad voice acting is the norm for nearly all characters,
Replay: Playing alone, with your kids, family, friends, and online will hardly, if ever, get old. Unless, of course, you don’t like the game then replay will be extremely low.
Teamwork: Even in multiplayer, teamwork is the most important part of the game. Teamwork is huge in COD; from call outs to flanking you’ll need to be on top of it. If you’re playing a free-for-all mode this obviously won’t apply.
Age: In Call of Duty Black Ops 3 age is very subjective. You have violence, language, and drug reference — all of which can be turned off in one way or another. My household is a COD household with one rule: no playing online without Dad or Mom.