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Black Ops 3 Singleplayer Review - A reasonably compelling story

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(Article by The Gareth Woods)

Let’s be honest it’s been a while since we’ve had a good campaign mode in a Call of Duty game. In fact ask a few COD fans and they’ll straight up tell you that they often don’t even play the single player campaign until months after the game is out - if at all - preferring to jump straight into the multiplayer madness for which COD is probably best known.

That has changed with the launch of Black Ops 3. This time the single player experience stands on its own as an excellent addition to the game rather than what feels like a cinematic tutorial for the multiplayer. In this review I’ll be tackling the single player campaign, but be sure to check out Nick Holden’s multiplayer review here.

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There’s a story to be told

First of all the story is reasonably compelling – I mean, let’s be honest it’s still a balls-to-the-wall action movie script with a bit of international espionage and covert ops themes, which isn’t a genre likely to win any Pulitzer prizes. That being said, I actually felt compelled to play to see how the story finishes and highly recommend you do the same – I won’t provide any spoilers, but have to admit there are some pretty insane moments towards the end - despite the fairly cookie cutter start of routine-mission goes wrong; you’re left for dead; rebuilt with cybernetic enhancements; trained to become a super soldier etc.

There are numerous gamers pleading for a return to World War 2 themed COD games, but I love the super futuristic style of Black Ops 3. I personally play games for the escapism and the fact that the technology is so futuristic it borders on magic is awesome in my opinion. Cloaking devices, robot soldiers, jet packs, swarms of flesh eating nanobots? Gimme more!

The variety in gameplay also helps to prevent the single player campaign from getting stale. Of course the majority of the game is corridor and cover based shooting, but there are also unique “WOAH!” moments which stand out, like underwater battles, boss fights and even dream levels which feel like they are straight out of the movie “Inception” and certainly not what you’d expect from a typical shooter.

In an industry that has become too obsessed with open world and, dare I say, “directionless” sandbox games, it’s actually quite refreshing to have a cinematic and action orientated game that - although many of the events are scripted - gives you multiple ways to engage each obstacle.

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Treyarch have done a great job in providing players with a great level of choice and customization while still keeping the campaign focused. Before most of the missions for example, you can customise your character’s loadout, namely which guns they carry (primary and secondary) as well attachments (scopes, stocks, suppressors etc.) and utility items like grenades and EMPs. This means that in every level you can decide to a degree, how you want to engage. Snipe from a distance? Up close and personal with a shotty? The choice is yours.

During most missions you can interact with mobile armouries which allow you to quickly change your loadouts should you want to change your play style midway through a mission.

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Better with friends… and zombies

Feeling lonely? You can also play the campaign with up to 3 friends either online or split screen couch co-op, which really changes the experience considerably.

And when you finish the campaign you can play it all again with the full-length “Nightmares” game. A totally retold zombie story campaign mode!

The guys and girls at Treyarch have, in my opinion, revitalised the Call of Duty campaign mode, which was in dire need of a fix. The action is tight and focused, with enough of what you’ve come to expect from COD games mixed in with enough fresh new elements to raise a few eyebrows and drop a few jaws. Despite being scripted and set piece driven, the developers have allowed players to still imprint their personal style on each play through and with co-op and “Nightmares” there are several reasons to replay the campaign multiple times over.

If you bought or intend to buy Black Ops 3 just for the multiplayer then you’ll be pleased to hear that you just received a “bonus” single player campaign worth every cent.

GarethTwitter | YouTube | Website / GameZoneTwitter | Facebook

"a balls-to-the-wall action movie script"

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