The Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Beta has wrapped up for Playstation owners and is currently live for Xbox One and PC players. Over the course of the last week I put a lot of time into the Playstation Beta and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Black Ops 3’s multiplayer is both a throwback to the greatness Call of Duty used to be and a refined step forward for the series.
The first thing you’re shown after opening the game is the specialist screen – Black Ops 3’s class system. While it doesn’t change any individual stats, your specialist decides how you look on the battlefield as well as what special ability you go in to battle with. Each specialist has a choice of two abilities – one is usually more passive like speed boosts, armour shielding or map ping and the second is an offensive weapon or ability. I was drawn to the Overwatch’s compound bow which fires explosive tipped arrows, perfect for clearing out locked down hardpoints. From gravity spikes to one shot kill hand cannons and transforming arm miniguns, these abilities activate after a set time (able to be sped up by kills and objectives) and give everyone a fair chance for kills and scorestreaks no matter how well you’re performing that game.
It’s really satisfying to shut someone’s ability down, also netting you a nice lot of bonus points. I was quite a big fan of these new classes and abilities over my time in the beta because they bring a new level of strategy to the game. Be it choosing when to activate or making sure your team has a nice mix of passives and damage dealing ultimates, it certainly seems to add a new dynamic to the title that felt quite natural. It almost gave a MOBA feeling to the way objective based matches played out, something I’m sure will pay off well for viewers at esports tournaments and in streams.The weapons of Call of Duty are generally pretty memorable, with fan favourites developing quickly and shifting over the life of the title. In the beta the Razorback SMG seemed to be the weapon most used, delivering fast and accurate fire over a long range. For the amount it was used it actually felt quite balanced – it was a very good pick as players figured out the maps and movement but could be easily countered with the right moves.
One thing that stood out about the weapons was just how odd a lot of them seemed to be. Hybrid and imaginative takes on current weapons makes for some very interesting designs that funnily enough felt damn good once you got used to them. Examples include a three round burst sniper rifle and SMG assault rifles, each fairly interesting to test out. I found that most weapons felt different from each other, taking a little time to get used to as they fit differing playstyles – I was often killed by guns that just didn’t work for me that other players had seemingly mastered.By the end of the beta five maps were available to play, though I spent most of my time on the original three it launched with. Gone are the all too large maps from Ghosts, instead opting for maps with a nice balance of open spaces, tight corners, flanking routes and verticality. Movement matches the design as you have unlimited sprint and wall running abilities, allowing you to traverse open sections quickly and get the drop on unsuspecting foes. A lot of the time jumping and running without thought will make you an easy target, rewarding those who consider their surroundings before making a move – it was nice to see that in such a fast game there’s still a lot of room for a slower play-style.
“it was nice to see that in such a fast game there’s still a lot of room for a slower play-style.”
The new movement system is really good, with wall running only slightly more complex than the brilliant simplicity of Titanfall. Once you get used to landing on the walls it’s pretty easy to chain mobility together, but my one criticism here is that it was all too easy to fall off. Bumping into an ally or foe, going to aim or simply slightly missing the timing can send you falling to your death, cancelling my points close to a scorestreak more often than I’d like to admit. The other thing that needs to be polished up for the final game is spawns. In the beta they didn’t always rotate when needed – I often found myself either able to pick off enemy after enemy as they spawned or on the receiving end of repetitive spawn killing.Overall I was quite impressed with Black Ops 3’s multiplayer after my five days with the beta. There’s more than enough new additions to make the game feel new again, with some excellent maps and guns. I feel like there’s a lot of depth to the title that players will continue to explore once the full game is out, hopefully bringing Call of Duty back to the level of quality it once held. One thing I know for sure is that I can’t wait to play more – I’ll see you on the frontline come launch day.
Call of Duty Black Ops 3 launches November 6 for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.