Winter is coming. And no, that doesn't mean that White Walkers are coming to take over our world, but it does mean that a large percentage of the teenage/young adult population will soon be locked away in their houses playing one of the biggest franchises in recent memory: Call of Duty. Black Ops III, developed by Treyarch and published by Activision, will drop on November 6, 2015. They opened up a multiplayer beta, running from August 19 to August 23rd -- they actually extended it for another day, but regardless, I was lucky enough to snag a code from the Kinda Funny fan-run Facebook group. I was pleasantly surprised as to what I've been playing through over the past few days.
The game itself is beautiful. The graphics are absolutely stunning, something that we've come to expect with the newest generation of consoles. In typical Call of Duty fashion, the controls are as tight as ever. I never got into the Advanced Warfare multiplayer system, because I wasn't a huge fan of the boost movement, and felt that it was awkward to activate it by pushing the left stick. I wasn't a big fan of the idea of "advanced warfare", considering I've been playing Call of Duty since the beginning and I've been yearning for a WWII era shooter from them for a while now. Black Ops 3 doesn't necessarily fix this, but they make major improvements on all accounts, turning these extremely swift and quick movements and displaying them into a stamina bar. You can double or triple jump and slide quickly, but these will all deplete your stamina. Not to worry though, as it regenerates fairly quickly. Regardless, movement is extremely fluid, which improves the overall speed of each match. Running on walls and jumping onto rooftops is seamless and very easy to get right. It is genuinely fun to traverse around the maps.
Speaking of maps, there were only a few maps available for the beta, but Treyarch's decision of which maps to use for the beta were extremely smart in my opinion. It appears as though they were attempting to bring back what players want - a mix of small, medium, and larger maps, moving away from the Call of Duty system of recent years which only had larger maps. The maps are uniquely and intelligently designed, and as I said earlier, they're beautiful. It appears as though Treyarch has nailed everything in this multiplayer system. I was a huge fan of Black Ops II, and it is quite clear to me that the Call of Duty name and Treyarch go hand-in-hand.
An example of a Specialist - this is Seraph. Her weapon is the Annihilator, as shown above, and her ability is Combat Focus which enables quicker score-streaks to spawn.
The newest addition to the multiplayer is the Specialist system, which is essentially the soldier you'll be playing as. There are different specialists to choose from, each with their own abilities and a special weapon that you'll be able to use once you fill your specialist meter. Each specialist - Battery, Ruin, Outrider, Prophet, Seraph, and Nomad - have two options that you can choose from, either a super powerful weapon (such as Outrider's fire-bolt crossbow or Battery's grenade launcher), or a tactic that is more or less aimed towards defense or awareness on the battlefield. They have brought back one of my favourite aspects of Call of Duty, which is the ability to create your own emblems, calling cards, and of course clan tags, which were unavailable for editing in the beta. But they were there, though, and I was extremely happy to see them.
Once they opened the beta up to all players on Saturday, I started experiencing some connection problems and host issues, probably from the influx of players that were on the beta during the times that I was playing. I would usually play during the middle of the day, or right before dinner, so I'm sure there was a high volume of players during the time I was playing. It was definitely frustrating, especially when the host I was connected to would migrate or completely die off and would end the match. And, obviously, this only happened to me when I was on an amazing killstreak! But I digress.
It's a good thing that Treyarch opened up the Beta, simply because Call of Duty is incredibly huge. Like, huge! And considering the plethora of games that crashed and failed last holiday season because their servers couldn't handle the amount of players that were playing their games (Far Cry 4, Assassin's Creed Unity, LittleBigPlanet 3 -- just to name a few), I'm thankful that the beta happened. It assures me, as a player, that Treyarch is doing everything in their power to ensure that they don't have a flop launch -- which they won't -- but more or less that their servers won't crash on launch day. Bless you, Treyarch.
Treyarch completely nailed the Black Ops III multiplayer beta, and to be honest, I haven't been so excited for a Call of Duty game since, probably, the first Black Ops way back in 2010. The game is beautiful, movement is fast and fluid, and overall, it's extremely fun. I have been glued to my television playing games over and over, on the same 4 maps, and I've been loving every minute of it. I'm extremely optimistic for what's to come from Treyarch once Call of Duty: Black Ops III drops on November 6, and if you didn't get access to the beta, then I think you'll be pleasantly surprised as to what's up and coming from the biggest franchise in video games right now.