Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Everyone knows that I am very upfront and vocal in my vehemence and general distain for the Call of Duty franchise. Running around haphazardly like some sort of spastic orangutan, leaping this way and that and shooting at anything that is shiny or moves fast appeals to some people’s primitive, baser instincts. To me, that sort of thing just isn’t interesting or engaging in the least. I like to actually utilize that sack of grey matter that I have lodged betwixt my ears when playing games.
Let me be clear, however, that as a game reviewer I strive to try to be as objective as I can and see things from other gamers’ perspectives. Take the fact, for example, the many gamers these days are of a younger, prepubescent variety, and in an age where attention spans are measured in milliseconds, and patience is virtually non-existent and widely regarded in many circles as “un-cool,” gaming companies have seized upon these factors. Heck, if I were still a kid I would have at least tried these sorts of games, for a short while at least, until getting bored of the redundant, shallow nature of them and moved on.
While I try to minimize my bias and look at a game as being measured on its own merits for specific types of gamers in mind, I can’t help but feel that something fundamental has been lost in games such as these. It’s as if one has to shut off their brain in order to enter this loud and flashy realm of mind-drubbing orange fireballs and wafer-thin storylines. Enter: Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
I’m no stranger to complex narratives with multiple, intriguing plotlines and concomitant threads. I actually prefer them if they are interesting and presented in some sort of clear and logical manner. Clear-Schmere yells Call of Duty: Black Ops III as it slaps you upside the head with its brashness. Who needs a story? This was exhibited after booting the game up for the first time. I was fed some brief story elements which sort of constituted what vaguely resembled a plot, but it was very sort of.
After this inconsequential and seemingly incidental preamble (Call of Duty really knows how to cut to the chase), Call of Duty: Black Ops III catapulted me smack dap into the meat and potatoes of the series; inundating me with lots of explosions, disintegrating bodies, gratuitous blood (and of course gibs), and extremely loud noises. In just a little time my character had been retrofitted with cyborg limbs, and I was running along and springing from walls (ala Titanfall) whilst blasting away at enemies.
At one juncture I leapt from a wall I’d been skimming along, plopped down to the ground next to a robot, and ripped its head clean off…or wait, there was blood spurting around so it must have been human…or maybe partially human. Ah, what does it matter? I told myself, flesh, machine, all of the enemies sort of blend together in a giant heap of gibs anyway—they all seem the same. They’re just like stunt dummies in a Hollywood blockbuster film that the Call of Duty series is trying so desperately to emulate. I won’t really get into the fact that the title alone is as goofy and misplaced as it is contradictory; real black ops don’t charge around out in the open, studded with rocket launchers, machineguns, and the like, loudly blasting away at anything that moves like some sort of Rambo-esque super-killer. But I digress…
To its merit, the visuals attempt to make up for the nebulous character development and shoddy, contrived storyline (if you can call it that). Here, the game is brilliant. Like a brand new high end sports car, Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s graphics, along with its uber-brisk pace, will have your head snapping back practically over your chair. It really embraces everyone’s inner twelve year old bunny-hopper as you leap about, absorbing both bullets and missiles and shrugging them off while dispensing all manner of carnage with your high-powered super weapons, obliterating your foes in the course of a mere few seconds.
Many gamers used to this saccharine-drenched festival of unabashed gore and unrelenting violence will get a lot of mileage out of Call of Duty: Black Ops III. And of course there have been a whole passel of carbon copy wannabe Youtube stars lined up, with their clone-like goofy faced thumbnail videos making strange guttural squeaks, and guffawing artificially, while hardly shedding anything new in their “exclusive” gameplay videos.
The sound department is also interesting, if you like the ear-splitting, cranked up past 10 decibel levels heard in movie theaters these days. I literally had to take my headphones off during some of the battles since I was in fear of my eardrums rupturing at any time. Turning the sound down on my gaming PC speakers seemed to do the trick, although I doubt any of Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s army of virtual super-soldiers would do such a thing, lest they be allowed to actually focus and think amid all of the sound and fury.
So what does Call of Duty: Black Ops III have going for it? Well, it’s got a politically correct feminist’s wet-dream by letting you play as an illogically derived and completely unbelievable female black ops character. The whole strong woman thing kicks into overdrive here and is forced down everyone’s throats (as is popular these days), so fans of that whole deal will be in nirvana, trying to convince us that women can be just as blood-thirsty and violent as men (for some odd reason). It also has some truly graphic effects that aren’t for the squeamish, such as having your femme fatal being able to pounce upon enemies and rip their hearts out of their chests. So yay for that. Let your inner sadist come out and play!
Beyond that, however, there isn’t much else. Even trying to be objective, there really just isn’t. Playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III is like sitting down a corporate, casual dining eatery and getting fed mountains of bland food that fools your brain into thinking that you’re being satisfied because of the quantity of food that you’re consuming, as opposed to the quality.
The multitudinous ocean of Call of Duty fans will no doubt glom onto this year’s installment, fresh off of the conveyor belt of carnage. It’s pretty to look at, highly accessible (big surprise!) and fun; I guess on some sort of level. Oh yeah, it also has a tacked-on zombie mode. But gamers who desire a little more meat in a storyline, or at least one that is comprehensible, should look elsewhere, and find higher quality games to spend time on their gaming PCs with.
As stated, Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a gorgeous game that only a triple-A developer has the deep pockets to craft, so a powerful gaming PC is required to get those settings all the way up to Ultra:
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