Gaming Illustrated Does Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Multiplayer Beta
GI Staff / Sep 4th, 2015 2 Comments
Recently a number of us at Gaming Illustrated got a chance to play the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 multiplayer beta. The futuristic warfare title is set to launch Nov. 6, but some of our staff members were thrown into the battle early. Here’s what they thought about the beta for the latest Call of Duty.
If you’re not a fan of the Black Ops series, Black Ops 3 likely won’t change your mind. It runs smooth and while the new mechanics (such as wall-running) are tricky to get used to, it’s a worthy successor to the last Black Ops. The gun-play is fast and downtime following deaths is short. But what stood out from playing the beta was the balancing of new specialists and their abilities.
Not all specialists are created equal, and that becomes obvious after only a few matches. The addition of specific classes and the unique abilities bring a new level of depth to the series. In addition to weapon selection, players must now decide on a specialist, but this also brings balance issues. Specialists can do different things better — for instance, one can run faster for a short period of time, while another can become nearly invulnerable for a short burst. This dichotomy of abilities quickly led to everyone using only one or two of the seven possible specialists.
I enjoy my time with the Black Ops 3 beta, but ultimately felt pushed aside by players who had already figured out the best combination of skills, perks and specialists to achieve maximum kill ratios.
A couple months ago, I wrote an article in which I argued that the Call of Duty franchise was moving in a much too futuristic direction. While Black Ops 3 is certainly futuristic, I felt as if it was refreshingly less high-flying than its predecessor Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (AW). In AW, it seemed like all head-to-head battles were taking place in mid-air. Black Ops 3 has many of the hallmarks of the futuristic shooter, such as wall-running and double boost jumping, but players can’t use these things at will. There is a gauge that allows you to boost once but then you must wait for it to recharge before boosting again. It takes a little getting used to, and you will most likely fall into some chasms while attempting to master this, but it is ultimately a much better setup than Advanced Warfare. It makes it feel more like Call of Duty and less like Halo.
In Advanced Warfare, the maps all seemed claustrophobia-inducingly small because you could fly from one end to the other in no time. During my time with the Black Ops 3 multiplayer beta, maps were one of the obvious strengths. The multiple maps featured in the beta contained various levels and secret passageways that add something for those who have been yearning for more than the “gunfight in a paper bag” scenarios the franchise has moved toward. For example, some of the hidden passages involved shooting while underwater swimming. Now the idea of firing a weapon underwater and having the bullets fly at the same velocity as above water is enough to make Stephen Hawking roll over in his chair, but the underwater gunfights are just good, old fashioned fun.
I enjoyed the beta a lot more than I expected to. I would still like to see future installments take the series back in time rather than constantly moving forward, but it seems as if Black Ops 3 is going to be a worthwhile purchase for any fan of the franchise.
Unlike Michael, I was a huge fan of the mobility exo suits offered in Advanced Warfare. Previous Call of Duty games always left me feeling vulnerable and the ability to boost around added style and depth to multiplayer. Black Ops 3 maintains a good amount of this mobility with wall-running and jumping, and I appreciate it. All the futuristic weaponry and technology might be a departure from the roots of the series, but it opens up the most popular and competitive multiplayer shooting experience to multiple playstyles.
Specialists will likely be one of the biggest dividing lines in multiplayer. Ground slams? Explosive bows? Give it to me. There’s plenty of room for Treyarch to tinker with balancing, but what really draws me towards playing around with various specialists is how it nudges Black Ops 3 into a class-based direction. Instead of getting extremely skilled at the popular weapon of the moment, specialists will foster growth in players willing to experiment with their abilities. I was always the jerk running around with a tomahawk for cheap instant kills — maybe Black Ops 3 will give me the same thrill with a different weapon.
Customizing a playstyle is great, but I love messing with weapon loadouts, solider aesthetics and the physical looks of my gun. The loot system in Advanced Warfare made the grind for a new piece of cosmetic gear fun but I think a lot of players are going to love giving their weapons a paint job and slapping emblems on their gear. Ultimately, none of this would mean anything if the gameplay wasn’t up to the tight standard of previous entries. And it should come as no surprise that Black Ops 3 plays just as great as anyone will expect of the series.
tags: beta , Black Ops 3 , Black Ops 3 Beta , Black Ops 3 Multiplayer Beta , Black Ops III , call of duty , opinion