Early response to the latest instalment in the Call of Duty series sees Treyarch taking the reins once again, with an excellent Zombies mode and strong multiplayer making up for a standard campaign offering.
There was a time when Call of Duty was the undisputed king of the console FPS scene. Now, there’s a little more competition at the top of the pack — but Black Ops 3 seems to be a compelling reason for fans to pick up another installment in the long-running series.
This year, development duties fall back to Treyarch, who are generally considered to be the best team currently working on the franchise. However, after the success of Sledgehammer Games’ Advanced Warfare last year, that prominent position may be in contention.
Did Treyarch manage to maintain their position as the A-team? Let’s take a look at some early reviews of Black Ops III to find out.
Destructoid (Chris Carter)
At this point, at least two of the Call of Duty developers (Treyarch and Sledgehammer), have it figured out. They now have a three-year development cycle, which means that technically, each individual game is not a rushed “annual” iteration. While the campaign could certainly be a lot stronger, Black Ops III is living proof of that concept.
Giant Bomb (Jeff Gerstmann)
At one point, it seemed like a safe bet that the Treyarch Call of Duty games were the best in the lot. Black Ops III takes an interesting approach to its setting and universe, but it gets too far away from the previous Black Ops games to feel like an actual sequel to those stories. It’s… weird.
GamesRadar (Maxwell McGee)
With a friend in tow, Black Ops 3 becomes one of the most varied and enjoyable shooters on current-gen hardware. But this emphasis on co-op cuts both ways. Parts that feel great when played together become tedious when tackled alone. And the diverse selection of modes – enjoyable as they are – make the game feel disjointed at times, diminishing the thruster pack and other excellent designs.
EGM (Ray Carsillo)
Multiplayer and Zombies are more robust than ever, and although Campaign’s story might not have been the strongest we’ve seen from series, it’s still a high-quality thrill a minute ride with a twist that will keep players talking until the series’ next installment. Simply put, Black Ops III is the deepest experience the franchise has seen thus far.
GameInformer (Daniel Tack)
Despite a campaign that struggles with occasional mundane shootouts that bring the out-of-this-world story down to earth, the overall Call of Duty: Black Ops III package is incredibly strong, with something for everyone. Whether you’re into traditional multiplayer mayhem or zombie survival, you’ve got lots of choices that are fun solo and even better with friends.
All in all, it seems that the game’s campaign offers exactly what veterans of the series will be expecting; a taut series of encounters with an outlandish plot and plenty of influence from Hollywood’s Michael Bay. Even though the last-gen version of the game won’t include this content, it seems Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players aren’t missing out on much.
Competitive and co-operative multiplayer is apparently where the game really shines, with this year’s iteration of Zombies being a highlight of the package. With a cast featuring the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Ron Perlman, that’s perhaps unsurprising.
Response to the game certainly seems positive — but most fans have probably already decided whether or not they’re going to purchase Black Ops 3 anyway. Call of Duty is a series that many players are invested in for the long run, and a solid instalment like this one will likely be enough to continue that relationship for at least one more year.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III is available today for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.