Call of Duty is a strange franchise for me. While I love first person shooters and there aren’t many better than COD, I also don’t buy into the whole ‘purchasing a slightly better version every single year’ schtick they have going for themselves. I hadn’t even played a COD (let alone bought one) since the awful Ghosts, and just recently finally caved a got into Black Ops 3. Now, don’t get me wrong. When I do like a COD game, I love them. The FPS mechanics are solid and amongst the best in the industry. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t jump aboard the Black Ops 3 train earlier. Maybe it was the bad taste in my mouth that Ghosts left. Maybe it was the fact that I get tired of hearing about a new COD every single year that isn’t much different than the previous one. What I do know though, is that the excitement for Call of Duty Infinite Warfare that was generated for me at this years E3 definitely contributed to me going out and getting BO3. Not only that, but the Black Ops series has been my favorite in the Call of Duty franchise.

I actually got BO3 over a month ago, but hadn’t really spent a ton of time with it until this past weekend. First off, another aspect that lead me to getting it was also the fact that it has split-screen local multiplayer and my lady and I love playing games together and we don’t have many that has this feature. Hell, most multiplayer shooters don’t have local co-op anymore. I understand online multiplayer is where it’s at, but sometimes some gamers just want to relax and play a game with their significant other that happens to be sitting next to them, not half way across the country.

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This past weekend, I spent quite a bit of time with the campaign and even the PvP multiplayer. I actually started playing the campaign in splitscreen co-op with my fiance Fusha Only. We play on a pretty good size television (around “43-“49 I believe) so the dual-screen doesn’t really hamper our field of vision. I have played some games that are near impossible to navigate in splitscreen thanks mostly in part to an over crowded HUD. Gladly that is not the case with Black Ops 3. As far as the campaign goes, personally I thought it was the worst part of the game, granted I don’t know too many people that play COD games for the story campaign. While the gameplay mechanics are the same in the campaign as they are in any other mode in the game, the story campaign is a slog through run of the mill linear levels with a serious lack of enemy variety throughout. One of the only differences I noticed in enemy variety was that it took certain enemies more bullets to drop, even though they looked exactly the same as weaker baddies earlier in the game. No different armor or reason for the change in durability to my scatter fire. The story itself is filled with tired action cliches and themes that have been done to death in COD games in the past. One of the best things about the campaign is that you can skip it entirely and just play the superb multiplayer and zombies modes.

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At the time of this writing, I have yet to play much of the zombies mode so I will post an addendum at a later time after I complete the mode. I did however play quite a bit of the multiplayer though. I even played some of the other multiplayer modes such as Kill Confirmed, Uplink, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, and one called Fractures (I believe). Kill Confirmed was a fun one that particularly stood out. In it, an enemies dogtags are dropped upon being killed and you must pick them up in order to get points and credit for the kill. If you are the one that is put down, a teammate has the chance to swoop up your tags and deny the opposing team the points for the take down. As you could probable imagine, this made for some interesting matches. Another mode that was quite fun was the one I believe is called Fracture, where an enemy drops orbs upon being taken out and you must collect them just as you would in Kill Confirmed, however here the deed isn’t done once you pick them up like in that mode. Here, after picking up the orbs, you must take them to a deposit point on the map to get points for them. To make things a tad more interesting, the deposit points on the map randomly spawn and move around throughout the match. So it’s possible to have a deposit point on the opposign teams side of the map. Last night I played quite a bit of this mode and the lobby I was in chose to keep playing the mode on the returning Nuketown map and I must say, it was a blast. That map is perfect for frenzied matches of that multiplayer mode. Nuketown is a fan favorite map from a previous entry in the series and it isn’t that large of a battlefield so it makes things interesting. Honestly, most of the maps that I have played in this entry are perfectly laid out for incredible and intriguing engagements. One of the only things I could really cast shade at regarding the maps might be just the lack of verticality, but that can also be attributed to the fact that I have also been playing a lot of Titanfall lately as well. And that game has traversal and verticality in the maps that are unheard of in most shooters. Actually you can see where Treyarch was influenced by the Respawn game. There is some of the same wallrunning and climbing mechanics at play here as well. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but atleast they did it right, because flying through the maps in BO3 is just so fluid and you can feel the weight behind it.

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If you are a veteran and perennial COD player, there isn’t much here that you haven’t seen before. It’s the same ol good time you would expect from a COD title. But, if you’re like me and haven’t dove into this series in a while, then what are you waiting for? I feel like an idiot that I didn’t jump into it sooner. But with Infinite Warfare looming on the horizon not too far off, now is the perfect time to throw yourself into this spectacular multiplayer shooter with the cost of admission dropping by the day. There is enough here too with all the unlockables, loot grind, and superb customization options such as designing your own clan logos and paint jobs for your favorite weapons, you will have plenty to do before the next eventual installment in the series comes down the pipeline. And for the first time perhaps EVER, I just might get two COD titles in as many years. It is definitely a great time to not only be a fan of shooters, but a gamer in general. For more on Call of Duty in the future, keep it locked right here on SportsNerdWeb….CHEERS!