Beta’s can sometimes be a rather big hit and miss, doing more damage to the hype of the game than it does good, but this was not the case with the Black Ops 3 beta.
I’m going to run you through some of the different aspects of the beta and highlight what I think has been done really well and what still probably needs to go back in the oven for a little while longer.
I know a lot of people had a great deal of issues getting onto the beta on Xbox One so I thought this would be a good way of walking you through it so you get a clear understanding of what you are in for if you make the purchase this November.
For me, I feel like we are getting back to what CoD should feel like. I think Treyarch have done a great job of taking the old school mechanics and feel of the game, and some of the futuristic style that everyone is becoming accustomed to, and have somehow managed to find a middle ground between the two that should please most people.
For an accessible friendly version please see below the video.
The New Movement System
The new movement system is designed to enable you to string together different moves to create a perpetual train of momentum. You never loose your ability to fire your weapon or use tactical and lethals, meaning that every engagement you come across you have a higher chance at coming out of it alive, unless of course you get busted reloading or changing weapons.
There is some fine tuning left to be done to the fluency of the knee slide, whilst it’s a very fast way to get out of the line of fire, effectively replacing the side thrust in Advanced Warfare, it’s still a little bit clunky and leaves you at almost a complete halt at the end of each slide. All in all once they tweak it a little I can see myself using that quite a lot.
The jet pack take a little while to get used to, not because it is difficult to use but after coming off the back of months of Exo abilities in Advanced Warfare we are used to a much faster and more responsive jump. Once you settle in for a few matches though it starts to feel more natural and the addition of being able to use the thrust to jump several times in the air means you have a lot more control over where you go and your overall vulnerability whilst in the air.
The wall running really enables you to chain together constant movement which picks up the speed of the game slightly. One of the first things I noticed about Black Ops 3 was there was a very evident change in pace from what we have gotten used to in Advanced Warfare, however changing together your moves seems to bridge that cap. Again, it’s still a little bit clunky but we need to keep in mind it’s just a beta not a finished product so I am sure it will be smoother on launch.
The good old Pick 10 model that we are used to from Black Ops 2 has returned, so anyone who has played this franchise before will know exactly what they are doing. For those who haven’t, it’s as easy as deciding exactly what weapons and attachments you want, lethals, tacticals, perks ect, until you have a total of up to 10 combined. That makes up your class, it’s a really simple to use and understand system.
Some of our old favorites are back such as the Combat Axe and Black Hat, while some really interesting new items have been added such as Thermite, which does exactly what you would expect it to do, and Vicinity Mines which are great for objective based players.
There are a lot of new weapons that seem to just have a mind of their own however my recommendations to get you started on release day are Man O War or the Razerback. Both are really solid weapons with minimal recoil that are very easy to settle into the feel of.
What you see is what you get as far as attachments and variants go as there is no supply drops or loot system in Black Ops 3.
The other notable difference here is that the panic knife option has been removed. It now takes more stabs to take out your opponent.
Once you have finished setting up your preferred classes, you can then head into the paint shop and design your own camos. I think this is a cool little feature which uses the same model that we are used to with emblem creation. I would have liked to have seen a bit more creativity with the shapes you have available making it easier to create designs but if you have the time and skill you can create pretty much any design that you want provided it doesn’t take up more than 64 layers to create it. You can then apply that design to 3 sides of your weapons.
You still have the option to use pre-set camos if you are not artistically inclined plus you can customize the look of your attachments too not just the skin on the gun.
There are three different distinct bundles of perks to choose from, each containing 6 different options.
You can have an additional perk from each bundle however, as with previous CoD’s, if you want a second perk from a bundle which you already have one equipped from you will have to purchase that extra slot which takes up a spot in your pick 10.
As you can see there are a lot of well known standard perks there such as Blind Eye, Hard Wired and Engineer, mixed with a few new cool additions like Afterburner and Ante Up.
Perk 1: Flak Jacket, Blind Eye, Ghost, Afterburner, Overclock, Sixth Sense
Perk 2: Hard Wired, Scavenger, Fast Hands, Tracker, Ante Up, Cold Blooded
Perk 3: Engineer, Dead Silence, Awareness, Tactical Mask, Gung-Ho, Blast Suppressor
A lot of the stuff we are used to pops up here as you would expect. Steaks like UAV, Care Package, Lightning Strike, and we see the return of the RC-XD in the form of the HC-XD. It’s basically the same thing however it has the additional feature of being able to hover. The microwave aka Guardian makes a return, and then we have what is effectively a K-9 attack in the form of spikey balls on steroids called R.A.P.S. There’s enough to be familiar with that you don’t feel lost while adding a few very cool new toys to the list.
So that’s an over view of your complete loadout, all of it feels very familiar and easy to navigate which is exactly what you want. I know a major complaint is that each year it’s the same old same old wrapped in a new packaging but that is half the point. If you wanted to play something different then you wouldn’t continue playing CoD, you would go off and play Battlefield or Titanfall. They have gotten a lot right here, with only minor tweaks needed to the games movements, however there is quite a bit of balancing to be done in the weaponry department. Again though, as this is the beta we can fully expect that to occur before the release in November.
I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about this concept as it seemed like adding an awful lot of variation and choices into the mix, but it’s actually really easy to get your head around and allows you to really choose a specialist that not only suits your game play style but the game modes you are playing as well. What you may feel like you are loosing by only having 10 slots in your Create a Class is made up for by the various different weapons and abilities that each specialist comes with. It does feel a little bit like someone had been playing too much Destiny during development, but it works surprisingly well.
Basically you have 9 different specialists you can choose from, each with two different abilities. You can also rank up these specialists as you progress giving you another aspect of the game to focus on instead of just grinding through prestiges.
You can see each of these specialists below and what their two abilities are apart from number 9 of 9 which is being held back until the games release. Depending on how you play and what game mode you are in, should be what reflects the specialist you choose to run with. I personally really enjoyed using the Outrider with the Sparrow ability equipped for Team Deathmatch. I think we will find that the bow will get a bit of a nerf before the games release though as it was rather OP.
While we are on the topic of things that are OP, the Scythe specialist is extremely OP. So for those of you that leveled up high enough to have a run with it, don’t expect it to be as powerful when the game is released as I am very certain it will get nerfed.
All the usual game modes were on offer, Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Domination, Search & Destroy, Hardpoint and Capture the Flag, with Uplink - which is a game mode making it’s debut in Advanced Warfare - also making an appearance. The new game mode that was on offer to try was Safe Guard, which is effectively escorting a robot into the enemies territory. If you get the robot to the designated delivery point, you win. It is actually a lot of fun and I can see this game mode becoming very popular, very quickly.
As you would expect, given that this is just a beta, there were only 4 maps on hand for launch, however they were well chosen to give you a look at the diversity of the landscapes in the game. One thing they have totally nailed is the under water combat. The ability to engage an enemy under water is a new feature to the franchise and it has been done exceptionally well. I can only hope that most of the maps feature water areas as it’s a lot of fun and brings a new element into the way you navigate around maps.
So that is a run down of the features of the beta and what I think worked really well. Hopefully for those of you that were unable to spend a lot of time leveling up, you have now been able to take a look at all the things that you were unable to unlock via the above video.
Some other points to keep in mind for the full release is that Black Ops 3 will not be on the list of cross platform games, so that’s Xbox One gamers playing with gamers on Windows 10, the PC version of the game will be running on dedicated servers for all ranked matches, and the PC version will also feature a FOV slider.
Also unlike previous CoD’s you will be able to switch seamlessly between multiplayer, zombies and campaign without the need to return to the main menu to switch between the 3. If you are in a party of 4 playing co-op and decide to switch to multiplayer you will be able to take that team directly into a multiplayer lobby with the press of a couple of buttons.
I should also mention that I was really impressed with how quick joining lobbies and partying up is, that certainly saves a lot of time, however I'm not overly impressed with the size of the mini-map and the length of time notifications stay on the screen blocking your view, this will need some work before release.
*Please also keep in mind the scores I have given below are based on the BETA. These are not scores given on what I think the game will be but what it in fact was during the beta.