Black Ops III - Thoughts on the Multiplayer Beta

Mark Gray
In Short
Built bigger, faster, and stronger, but is it better?

It's that time of year again, the next iteration of the Call of Duty (CoD) series. Once a long, long time ago I used to be excited for a CoD game. Waiting with high expectation and anticipation to see what the developers had in store for us. I had always been a sucker for the vintage or even modern war based first person shooters, but once CoD added wall-climbing, exoskeletons, and futuristic weaponry they lost me. Of course that didn't mean I left the series behind; it only meant that I wasn't waiting at the midnight or day-of release events to pick up a copy. That also doesn't necessarily mean I have given up on the series either. Clearly. However, one thing that I did notice right away with the multiplayer beta for Black Ops III is the new specialization classes. 'Uh-oh,' I muffled towards my TV.

Bow Strike

Possibly taking a stab at Destiny, Black Ops III now has characters each with two special abilities, Power Weapon and Ability. From the start you are given a choice between six specialists, which is slightly intimidating. If six specialists weren't enough, while working your way through the level system even more specialists will become available that seem to have even deadlier power weapons and abilities. I'm looking at you mini-gun! Of course, your gameplay style or the game mode that you're playing will probably be the definitive factor when choosing a specialist. These power weapons and abilities range from aggressive, offensive, and defensive, though you can only have one active, so choose wisely. Some examples include a single shot revolver (Destiny Golden Gun anyone?), the ability to revive after death, and the ability to mark your enemies so that you can see them through walls for a brief period of time. I myself first chose the ability to see enemies through walls, though it is a short lived perk and I don't think provides a good enough advantage. Maybe in the right hands it could be deadly, but I think there are way more overpowered power weapons and abilities to choose from.

Also new to the series is the Weapon Paint Shop. I have never claimed to be an artist, but there is a slight satisfaction to creating your own unique branding for your weapon. The Paint Shop supplies a wide variety of templates and colors to play around with and up to 64 layers, which to me sounds like overkill, but, again, I'm not an artist. I like to keep things simple and put a tear below the eye of a sad face on my gun because when I kill I make people cry.

Lastly taking a page from Advanced Warfare we basically have full range of motion and movement of our character utilizing the thrust jump, power slide, and wall run during multiplayer. This essentially allows access to many vantage points when navigating the maps. These abilities also seem to make the gameplay run at a much faster pace than seen before. Sometimes I even had trouble following people after they ran on the wall, transitioned to a strafe thrust, and then made a sliding attack to my face. While I have yet to perfect such movement, I have seen many jaw-dropping maneuvers and found myself practicing at any free moment I had ' although this usually ended in my death, especially while practicing the wall run which leaves you very vulnerable. While many people may not completely utilize this range of motions, you can see that the level design caters to these abilities so much so that perfecting them will give players a huge advantage over their enemies.


Other than the specialists, Paint Shop, and character movement, I feel like Black Ops III will overall be a fresh squeeze of lemon on top of a perfectly brewed sweet tea. For the die-hard players there is definitely a slight learning curve, but they should adjust to things quickly. Those just coming onto the scene will probably have a hard time adjusting, and may get easily frustrated by the sheer domination of veterans - which is how I felt during some of the matches. And there is still a mild satisfaction to grinding your character through the gun leveling system that will keep most people engaged. Regardless of how many changes have been made, or the outcome of the multiplayer experience, Black Ops III is still an enjoyable experience, although personally I can no longer see myself working my way through all the unlockables as in times before. I look forward to seeing what the developers will make of the data and feedback from their audience and hopefully get to see some much needed balancing. In the end I think the developers have provided gamers with a big enough tease to stoke the anticipation for the game, and also instill a level of satisfaction to solidify confidence in the choice made by those who have already pre-ordered the game.

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Transmitted: 12/14/2018 12:38:02 AM