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The latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops 3, was just released this Thursday at midnight! The game contains all of the staples of the series which I’m sure you’re familiar with: A blockbuster campaign, a solid multiplayer element, and the wacky, yet surprisingly well fleshed-out horde mode, “Nazi Zombies.”

First off, let’s take a look at the campaign. The general story carries over from the previous Black Ops games, with an overarching theme being the effects of technology on the way that wars will be fought in the near future. However, the game definitely feels a lot darker, both in visuals and in tone. One particularly brutal scene which was leaked ahead of release, shows the player character in combat with a vastly superior opponent, and it is certainly shocking in just how uncomfortable it makes the player feel. In most games you are at the least given a feel of being the best, in Modern Warfare, you will often play as a SAS operative, or an well trained US army Ranger, and in Black Ops you played as an elite member of SOG; In Black Ops 3 however, the campaign has no intention of letting you feel invincible. While the game retains it’s exciting set peices and engaging story, it all feels much more important than before when you fight tooth and nail to get to them.

Next we have the multiplayer, a fast-paced affair allowing you to test your skills against your friends, and against the world at large. This create a class system first introduced in Call of Duty 4 has gone through yet another reinvention, allowing for even more customization than it’s predecessors. The pick 10 system returns from Black Ops 2, which is technically a step down from the pick 13 system of Advanced Warfare, yet the system is much more indepth an allows greatly more unique setups than ever before. For example, if you use all 10 of your points to add attachments, you can get a primary weapon with up to 6 attachments, twice as many as any previous Call of Duty. This new create a class system is sure to create a complex and evolving metagame, with people finding new combinations and counters as people really get into dissecting the system. On the whole, compared to Black Ops 2 this game plays at a slightly slower pace. The maps are larger and more open, increasing the average range of your gunfights, allowing assault rifles to really come into their own and feel competitive again. That isn’t to say SMGs are no longer worth using, just that they have returned to filling a niche playstyle, as opposed to being almost universally the best choice. Finally, there is a brand new feature, the gunsmith. The gunsmith is essentially create a class but for your gun, allowing you to edit it’s style! There are 5 attachment slots available, including the paintjob and the optics. However, the paintjob is no longer a set thing like before, instead of only having premade camos such as “Tigerstripe” or “Digital”, you can completely customize it yourself in the same way as your emblem. You have 64 layers to play with allowing a great deal of customization, and will surely lead to some incredible artistic feats.

Lastly we have horde mode, or “Nazi Zombies” as we all know and love it. Carrying on the Treyarch tradition, it is incredibly fun and challenging if you just want to play on the surface level, and yet filled to the brim with story and easter eggs which will be uncovered gradually as people get the chance to really dig into the maps and analyse everything. The general idea is the same, with you starting with just a basic pistol, a knife, and 2 grenades, and being left to defeat wave after wave of zombies to earn points so you can unlock new perks and weapons, until eventually you are overwhelmed and have to start all over again. All in all a great way to compete with your friends and a nice way to mix it up after the multiplayer and campaign.

In conclusion, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is everything Black Ops 2 was, except better.