May 12, 2015 by Vinnie Leduc
Another year means another chance for Call of Duty to
reinvent itself capitalize on its blockbuster brand and release something flashy enough to keep the annual iteration at the top of sales charts. When it comes to pulling a Madden à la EA Sports, Activision has been doing this with its prized FPS franchise for many years now. While some of us have abandoned the series long ago, I haven’t entirely given up on Call of Duty, but after watching the reveal trailer of the upcoming game, I feel my time coming, too.
As a huge fan of the thrilling cinematic CoD campaigns, I’ve always had at least those to look forward to regardless of whatever new multiplayer or gameplay features were being touted. I don’t care if they use the same outdated graphics engine, exclude Nuketown as a map (oh, what sacrilege!), or mess with the loadout and XP systems. Just gimme an awesome story to experience. I’ll stay on the rails… I promise!
Yes, there was promise here, too. When publisher Activision implemented a rotation with developers Infinity Ward, Treyarch, and Sledgehammer Games each churning out one Call of Duty game per three-year cycle, some people hoped that this would give each studio a better opportunity to make its sequel a much more polished and perhaps revolutionary one. This year is Treyarch’s turn, and they’re responsible for arguably some of the best Call of Duty games.
So it pains me to admit that Black Ops III, the fourth Treyarch Call of Duty and the twelfth edition of the franchise overall, looks like S.S.D.D. again! Another classic rock song with the word “black” in it, even by the legendary Rolling Stones, couldn’t save this massively underwhelming trailer from the generic trenches of forgettability and sequel fatigue. What you see above could’ve passed for some of the last few Call of Duty games: last year’s Advanced Warfare, 2012’s Black Ops II… even 2011’s Advanced Warfare 3!
If you’re going to do the whole man-vs.-machine or man+machine thing, please do yourself a favor and make your product stand out from the 46542838943 other video games and movies that have already covered this to DEATH. What’s new here? Nothing. With so many other appealing alternatives in the market, who would want to turn a bunch of Chappies and other assorted mechs into scrap metal? People play a war FPS like Call of Duty to kill mostly other people or people-like bots, not actual robots. Stormtroopers, not droids. Blood and fleshy bits, not bytes.
Black Ops III will introduce 4-player co-op, a fully customizable soldier (including female), and more open levels for different possible paths to completion. None of these features, which weren’t explicitly mentioned in the reveal trailer, are close to jaw-dropping, but they’re minor additions that could make the campaign more fun. So there’s still hope, and I hope my impressions of the campaign and game in general so far are inaccurate and that Treyarch delivers another great ride. But if not, at least there’ll still be zombies.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set for release on November 6, 2015, for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Stay tuned for when we’ll undoubtedly learn more next month at E3.