I have played nearly every Call of Duty campaign since Finest Hour in 2005. I've endured the trenches of World War II in gritty missions with Call of Duty 2 and World at War. I've stopped a traitor from deceiving the world in Modern Warfare 2, prevented a biochemical outbreak in Black Ops, taken down a private military corporation from controlling the nations in Advanced Warfare, and more. What can I say? These stories that Call of Duty's developers have crafted haven't always been the smartest or most original, but nearly each campaign I've played has always had something going for it. Even Ghosts had a lovely selection of stealth missions and a mildly compelling family dynamic with the main characters, and I had to see Modern Warfare 3 through with its entertaining heroes and epic conclusion.
But after 10 years, Black Ops III, arguably coming from the franchise's finest developer, marks the first campaign that has left me flabbergasted with disappointment. I would've never imagined that Treyarch could be capable of delivering a lazy, incoherent snoozefest with its solid track record – especially since it marks the first time that the studio's had three years to complete its game. Yet here we are: Black Ops III is the most underwhelming campaign in the series' history, which ultimately fizzles in five major ways.
The story is given no context and has pathetic relations to the past
I set out with the intention of playing the entire campaign with a group of three friends. While numerous crashes and glitches prevented us from doing so, this wasn't the worst part we experienced after completing the first mission. I was informed from the introductory cutscene that Hendricks was my new CO and I would be rescuing an Egyptian Minister kidnaped by the NRC due to the uprisings in Cairo. Well...who is Hendricks? Why is this Egyptian Minister important? What is the NRC, what happened in Cairo, and who am I even fighting for? Black Ops III starts right in the middle of things and continually throws meaningless exposition at the wall, shoving everything required for context in the 'Safehouse' hub areas. In these interstitial places you can peruse the history about every faction and event that's come about over the decades since Black Ops II on boring, Wikipedia-esque pages filled with walls of text about numerous treaties and politics.
Even after delving into them, it's astonishing how poor the connections are with past titles compared to every Call of Duty that has built upon previously established universes. Pathetic, fly-by references to Nova 6 from Black Ops and Raul Menendez from the sequel bear no consequential impacts on the third entry. While I concede that the story seems to have impressive, hidden meanings beneath the surface, I view it in a light akin to Destiny's story: subtle diamonds in the rough are no excuse for the surface narrative to be poorly written and delivered. You can maintain all the mystery for enthusiasts to uncover, but should also have a tale for your average player to appreciate. Intentionally burying treasure under a bunch of mud only discourages the majority of players from digging for it if they don't enjoy or care about anything that happens in the first place.
Banal characters and plot destroy any possible personal investment
The story is about you, "Player", and your buddy Hendricks hunting down a rogue Black Ops unit led by cyber soldier Taylor. Along the way, you'll team up with Winslow Accords agent Rachel Kane and Lieutenant Khalil to figure out what the group's up to, but these main characters along with everyone else are disinteresting with their cookie cutter personalities. Even Hendricks, someone you're alongside for nearly every mission, has confusing outbursts and simply feels like another face with a name. You're supposed to be concerned for him since he's your best friend, but like with the rest of the cast, weird dialogue, childish swearing, and mediocre voice acting fail to make him stand out like iconic companions Captain Price or Victor Reznov.
What's worse is that your character, especially while playing as the male, is literally jarring to listen to, with forced, dry lines that will make you wonder how Treyarch okayed such awful work compared to previous, stellar performances by the likes of Sam Worthington and Gary Oldman. And simply put, the plot is entirely by the numbers, following a similar structure to Ghosts with less thrills that made me lose interest in the heroes, villains, and things at stake long before the campaign became vaguely interesting midway through the experience.
Themes are missed opportunities and aren't explored well at all
Treyarch had me going for a while with its impressive reveal trailer. With Black Ops II, Treyarch asked, "What happens when we rely on technology too much? What if our enemies could turn it against us because we are weak and defenceless without it?" These questions were adequately addressed, and with the third game, the same topic seemed like it was going to be taken to deeper, moral issues. "How much should we let technology shape who we are when we fuse it with our very minds and bodies? Does that change how we define humanity? How far can we justify violating the natural order of things in the pursuit of 'improving' our race and survival? How does this alter our relationships with people and trust in others?"
The opportunity for deeply personal relationships and interactions between characters and tough subject matters are great with this subject in mind, but Treyarch opted out of this to vaguely poke at the dangers and philosophical implications of creating sentient AI and bleeding edge virtual reality instead. It could've built on what games like the Deus Ex series and SOMA have tackled, yet Black Ops III hardly touches on the ethical dilemmas and conflict that could result in a world divided by cybernetic alteration and the fears of embracing a virtual reality that's too real, so the game feels more like a half-hearted attempt in the end to seem intellectual when it's just a confusing mess trying too hard to be mind-blowing.
Lack of mission variety or meaningful customisation ruin pacing
Vehicle sections, stealth missions, big shootouts, I've come to expect these elements in a Call of Duty title. Black Ops III is just an endless barrage of open-area shootouts with only minor vehicle missions interspersed in the campaign that are far too short and limiting. For example, a mission where you pilot a futuristic jet is on-rails half of the time that you're in the cockpit, only giving you control to shoot enemies on an oil rig-like structure with little to no difficulty, whereas you completely commandeer helicopters, boats, tanks, and more in past titles.
There are no stealth missions either, and part of the reason for this must be loadout customisation. By granting players the ability to use whatever they want, every mission is designed to go loud. Over time, each one starts to feel the same as you move from area to area shooting more humans and robots, so taking the time to use different weaponry, grenades, and whatnot feels pointless. This is indicative of the biggest offender about Black Ops III...
The campaign's structure and design ironically discourage co-op
The narrative isn't written to account for four characters like in many co-op games such as FUSE, Diablo III, or Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, so each player is bizarrely cast as the same character that can be differentiated by gender and outfit. Therefore "unique abilities" are up to players to assign on their own by making up different battlefield roles with weapons, equipment, and Cyber Core abilities. However, since customisation drags down the pacing and feels unimportant, co-op ends up being more of a hassle to experience with friends – especially since the campaign places such importance on wanting the player to catch visual and dialogue cues that hint towards the story's secrets.
To remedy this, did Treyarch look for inspiration in the Modern Warfare series' Spec Ops mode, which assigned varied roles to players that truly inspired teamwork? Did it craft a narrative that makes room for four individual characters with unique personalities like Halo 5: Guardians, where you're able to play solo with the AI or roll with three other friends? Did it think about how cybernetic manipulation of the mind and moral debates among a team of soldiers could result in an emotional, provocative tale that tests the bounds of camaraderie and loyalty? The answer to these questions is a resounding "no", leaving us with a feeble attempt at co-op that amounts to little that's memorable. But on I went, trekking through Black Ops III's steel, cold shell of a campaign as a lone wolf, which left me to ponder and lament how Treyarch failed to Pack-a-Punch this time around with its campaign.
Do you agree that Call of Duty: Black Ops III's campaign is a pretentious bore with little redeeming qualities, or do you think Treyarch mastered co-op and delivered an explosive robot-killing romp? Fire your feelings in the comments section below.
Do you agree that Black Ops III's campaign is a pretentious bore? (73 votes)
- Yes, I can't believe how the campaign is disappointing in so many ways12%
- Eh, the campaign was fun but isn't anything special26%
- No, the campaign is one of the best to grace Call of Duty in quite some time8%
- Uh, I couldn't care less about Call of Duty53%
Please login to vote in this poll.
Hey everyone! Author here. Just want to say that I'll be checking the comments over the next couple of days to answer questions (or debate ) about my points and whatnot. And so everyone knows, I think the multiplayer is great and the Zombies mode is fun as well in Black Ops III, so there's definitely aspects of the game that partially redeem it in my eyes.
The last Call of Duty campaign I truly enjoyed was World At War. It's doubly impressive because at that point I was sick of the World War II shooters, yet still had an incredible time with it. (Also that totally shocking moment when you unlocked the secret game mode Nazi Zombies~)
@DrJoeystein This is kinda surprising as alot of people mention the campaign as being one of the better points of the game. I played the beta and decided to pass on it but perked my interest when mention of co-op campaign came around ,as fond memories abound from such things (halo ,army of 2, modern warfare etc)
So my question is broad sry but , minus the story n technical glitches is this somthing I would have fun playing with a freind? will we have fun blasting peep together or will the lack of teamwork based play kill the fun?
I've played the multilayer for your only the last three titles and I actually preferred ghosts. I've probably played most of the campaigns at some point, I don't recall any of them being memorable or noteworthy. Fun for an 8 hour smash and then move on.
Its been a while since I have read such an insulting article. The campaign was longer than any previous call of duty games and the plot was interesting compared to the generic stories we have had previously. We can all harp back to the good old days of previous games how the old days were better than now. But life and games move on.
If you wanted a thought provoking game perhaps you should not be playing Call of Duty.
Thinking back over it the storyline is pretty terrible... I liked how the missions played though and the boss battles. I played through it on Realistic and was glad for a challenge again, the last challenging CoD was WaW.
Though I haven't tried it co-op yet I think that's a really good addition and there's a lot to unlock and play around with regarding your set up and all those accolades that reward calling cards and camo, making repeat playthroughs more interesting.
@DrJoeystein Dont you mean Sigh-borg?
Played the very first CoD on pc and then rest on console, ive never completed any of the campaigns(except for mw) , i usually get about halfway through and switch to MP, im fairly certain I'll see bops3 to the end but only because im playing the campaign online with my brother which is making it fun...im pretty sure that the criticisms leveled at bops3 campaign can be said about all of the CoD campaigns and in fairness pretty much every military based fps(possible exceptions being bad company 1&2)...just disengage brain sit back and enjoy the explosions and expletives for what they are...silly, sometimes fun bits of nonsense (and for me personally usually boring)
On a side note its been awhile since a CoD mp got me hooked like bops3 has,...bops2,aw mp were ok, ghosts and mw3 mp were simply awful so it would be back to bops or mw2 to find an mp that has the same addictive hook as bops3
@soracloud28 Haha, that's a good one.
Interesting article @DrJoeystein. When it was announced, I worried that the emphasis on co-op would detract from the story telling and set-pieces. Having said that, I do wonder whether you're looking to the right series for something that has a deep and affecting story. I imagine, if David Cage can keep his writing under control, Detroit: Become Human will tell a tale more aligned with what you were hoping for here.
Having said that, CoD 4 gave me goosebumps in places, so it's not like this series can't tell good stories.
LOlsure , its your oppinion as mine is its the best one since the WW2 games black ops games were trash all around and ghost was same old boring junk. but hey cod needs to die its a joke of a game made for fanboys or one game gamers . I know there trying because nearly every gamer i know who has left the stain called cod has came back and enjoyed this one so there trying but its still better than the trash of the past decade from cod.
@godslayer1975 I don't think there's anything wrong with people playing Call of Duty if they enjoy it...
I think it would be incredibly difficult to make a cohesive story with missions that can be played in any order to accommodate 'playing with others co-operatively'. The mission design is such that you can have friends join together and play regardless of their current mission progress and the reason that all missions are unlocked from the start.
CoD games are in general quite generic in their stories too. Its the same thing in pretty much every shooter - good guys vs bad guys/aliens/monsters. Chuck in a few plot twists on the way, add in a few defeats along the way but (unless its one of those plot twists) ultimately the good guys will triumph over adversity. Go heavy on the action, chuck in a few cut-scenes to set the scene, mission briefing or de-briefing etc and you basically have the majority of FPS games. Some may add in a bit of humour, others may go for the more 'bonkers' but generally they are all very similar overall. I must admit that over the years I have enjoyed a fair few of them - some missions have been more memorable than others, some enjoyable but easily forgettable and some are just awful - mainly down to the game-play mechanics and AI though.
They don't exactly have much depth or are mentally challenging/stimulating, they are meant to be fun and the story just adds some context to the 'violence'. I must admit I did enjoy both Ghosts and Advanced Warfares campaigns as I did CoD4, [email protected], MW2 and even BO2. MW3 felt rushed and BO2 didn't appeal that much compared to its MP and Zombies.
BO3's has a good deal of replayability due to its levelling system and unlocks, co-op play and 'nightmare' unlock too. As a package, I think its certainly the best 'Gen 8' CoD but I do feel its campaign is the weakest part of it. Its still better than some other FPS campaigns - I am enjoying it more than BF3 and BF4 for example but maybe not as much as Ghosts and AW's.
I haven't really enjoyed a COD campaign for quite some time. I miss the old WW2 games.
I really struggled with my thoughts on Black Ops 3.
Initially I was in the disappointment camp. The missions were a little tedious, they lacked a big bang and there wasn't that sense of fun that normally courses through CoD campaigns, nearly all of which I love. I whole heartedly agree with the male character being dreadful, I actually had to start the game again to play with the female soldier since he was so poorly voiced.
HOWEVER, after thinking about it I can't help but admire Treyarch for the serious balls they've had to put this campaign out in a billion dollar franchise.
It's a weird, cerebral game which has the biggest set piece being the exploration of someones mind, their insecurities and their childhood. It's astonishing how much free reign they appeared to have been given.
The disconnect from BLOPSII is a little jarring and honestly this game feels like it's giving the middle finger to that particular story with almost condescending references to it.
The game has some weird mediation on player choice in games, and ever so lightly almost insults the player to me. I really liked how my character got super involved with the cut scenes, instead of being a bystander the "player" kind of just shot stuff up if they needed to instead of being dragged about.
I can't say that I loved or even truly liked the BLOPSIII campaign but man, I can't help but absolutely admire Treyarch for this weird, weird effort they've put out.
While I agree with the article, I don't know if it was worth the effort to write it.
Sure, you can analyse and explain why a CoD campaign sucks from a narrative standpoint, but it's a given that most players who would care about an article like this innately recognize why anyway.
@get2sammyb Totally agree with you on that. While I don't much care for Call of Duty games nowadays, some of my best friends REALLY enjoy it, and I'm always down for playing a round or two with them on a rental. Variety is the spice of life, after all. :3
@Azikira That's an unpopular opinion, but I'm actually with you and the minority on this one. World at War is one of my favorite CoD campaigns. And yes, the reveal of Nazi Zombies at the end was INCREDIBLE. So exciting! Many, many hours were spent on Nacht Der Untoten.
@BladeRider If you're not really going to pay attention to the story or characters, yes! I would say Black Ops III is a fine game to play with a friend. One thing I didn't have time to point out in my article is that Black Ops III has by no means a horrible campaign. It's just the worst among the Call of Duty campaigns, or, in other words, very underwhelming. But yeah, if you're looking for something to play through that provides dumb fun and decent co-op, I'd recommend it. It's just that I can think of many other co-op campaigns I'd rather play...even FUSE is better as a co-op, teamwork-oriented experience than Black Ops III. :/ But if we're talking about multiplayer and zombies, those are definitely great for playing with friends, so you'd have something much better to look forward to after the campaign if you end up not liking it.
@Bad-MuthaAdebisi Ghosts is not as awful as everyone makes it out to be, but I do agree with the majority that it's one of the more underwhelming titles that's come out in a while. With the campaigns, I don't expect them to be emotionally impactful or deep, but when you have a cast of great characters, amazing setpieces and moments, and a simple yet fun-to-follow story, the campaigns can definitely have an impression for being memorable in some ways (Call of Duty 4 and Black Ops are great examples).
@dryrain Really? It didn't feel longer to me. It took me about 7 hours to get through with a (mostly) solo playthrough. I went through the missions fairly quickly on the Veteran difficulty setting (remember the days when that actually meant something?). Now, I will admit that Black Ops III tries to experiment with its story here, and I respect that Treyarch was willing to do that. But it has many of the major story beats as Ghosts and Advanced Warfare. You get your limbs ripped off and robotic replacements and the people you once thought as friends are turning against you (AW), so you have to go after a rogue unit with your best friend to stop their evil plans to change the world (Ghosts). It's a similar plot with more twists along the way, but Treyarch just doesn't do anything interesting with it. The characters are boring, you have little context as to what's going on, etc. Call of Duty has been good about those things several times in the past, but this time those aspects just fall flat on the face and the experimental story details get lost in the confusion.
And the thing is, Black Ops III was setting itself up to be thought-provoking. More than any CoD before it, even Black Ops (which I consider the best story in the entire franchise). I don't expect it from CoD usually, but I thought for sure Treyarch was going to go beyond the first Black Ops' depth and Black Ops II's great (if flawed) moral choice system with the story trailers they were putting out for the third game. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
By the way, it does hurt to write this "insulting" article. I love CoD more than most since I've been playing it for nearly 10 years! To be so disappointed over the campaign this time surprised me.
@AyanamiReign Yes, I would like to try out Realistic! Although Veteran was challenging enough, getting killed by one bullet sounded more infuriating than a good challenge, so I didn't go with Realistic at first. And yes, World at War, next to the very first Call of Duty, is the most brutal game in the entire series. The Heart of the Reich mission...scarred me for life, but I fought for that Platinum Trophy and got past all of those grenades! (ha ha)
Yes, adding co-op has always been something I would've been okay with in the campaigns. In fact, I'm surprised World at War even included a two-player version. So yes, with such a heavy emphasis on co-op in Black Ops III, the challenges you can complete by leveling up are nice, and having so many weapons, camos, and collectibles does make repeated playthroughs more enticing. I applaud the depth of customization, but again, I just think the campaign itself has way too many same-y missions, which makes doing custom loadouts not worth the time. I just went with the "Field Ops" one every time since I didn't feel like constantly looking through my loadouts and adjusting them when the auto-assigned one was fine. The only thing I liked were the Cyber Core abilities, but those were hardly enough to save the campaign for me.
@soracloud28 DANG IT. You're hired, good sir. I bet @get2sammyb is resisting great urges to change the tagline to what you suggested!
Didn't play the whole campaign, as dr.j knows it was unworkable, but what was played was sporadic play mixed into systems with the player on a set track. The gameplay was enjoyable in my opinion (if a good bit glitchy) but I like the new aspects and propulsion systems, especially in mp. Here is the problems I'm seeing in the comments, I'm seeing that people are making the excuse that it's a all of duty game and isn't going to be thought provoking or emotionally interesting. What?!?! I'm sorry but as someone who enjoyed the interactions between Soap and Price and the pure awesomeness of Reznov, I didn't care one little bit about these characters. In fact during the train sequence in VR I wanted to shoot the commander. If I could shoot the guy next to me just as casually as save him, then the interactions between characters are not compelling. Being a COD game does not excuse lack of story. Also with regard to the idea of finding out the story without context, people want to know the score before they care about the play by play. So make sure people know the score before trying to make them care about the hidden secret story.
Just my unprofessional opinion.
I am so glad to hear I'm not the only one that thought the campaign was horrible. It went on forever and after 4 hours I was ready for it to end. I would give the story a 5 out 10.
I'm shocked no review pointed out how bad the story is. Another thing is the AI soldiers do not help you at all in most of the shoot outs. Honestly, every COD campaign the AI partners are always useless but I normally like the story including modern warfares last yr. The only COD game I didn't play was Ghost. Black OPS 3 would have been better off not even having a campaign.
I am playing battlefront and having a blast on and offline. I think the AI soldiers in battlefront in the single player mode is much more competent with actually killing enemies. Where as COD games the AI partners never finish off a enemy, they start and you finish them off.
@teknium_ Sure, I usually expect to turn my brain off for titles like Modern Warfare 3 and Advanced Warfare. But Call of Duty has proven it can have engaging storylines like with Treyarch's titles that are more than just dumb fun. Black Ops III had the potential to be as compelling as Black Ops, but it handles everything from character development to plot progression so horribly with the way the campaign is structured. It's also lacking in so many "wow" moments with action, exhilarating chases, etc. Modern Warfare 2 compensated for some of its plot holes with amazing twists and varied, stunning moments. That opening mission was just...ugh, I love it to this day. (ha ha) I do agree that if you do want to turn your brain off for Black Ops III, it's average. But it could have been so much more, and that's why I consider it among the worst campaigns.
But yeah, I totally agree with you about the multiplayer modes. Everything up to Black Ops was fantastic. After that? I really enjoyed AW and BO2 was good, but Ghosts and MW3 were painfully average. I'd say Black Ops III multiplayer is pretty great so far. I love the maps, Specialist classes, and wall-running!
@get2sammyb That was something I didn't think would happen, Sammy, so that's very perceptive of you! Yeah, co-op did end up doing that to the campaign. And as for looking to the right series, it's not that I'm looking for Black Ops III to be the next "The Last of Us" or something. I just think the series has great potential to be much better, especially (as I said above) with what Treyarch has done with the Black Ops series. Even the Modern Warfare series was enough to make you feel for the characters a bit. If I hadn't been spoiled about Soup's death in MW3, I probably would've been impacted more by that scene, so judging by the trailers they released for the campaign, I knew Treyarch had the capability to create a compelling cast of characters with a relatively deep story. And with co-op? It looked like they could do something special with four separate characters, even with the ability to change their genders. But alas, that wasn't meant to be. :/
Yes, I think Cage's new game will have a story that relates to what I was talking about. Not exactly the same thing, but questioning the "humanity" of sentient robots is definitely along the same lines. From the trailers, I actually thought there would be those kinds of sentient robots in Black Ops III, but there aren't. Lastly, yes. The ending to CoD4...so memorable!
@godslayer1975 In terms of campaigns, the WW2 games were great back in the day, but the Black Ops games are fantastic, and the MW series was pretty good as well. Ghosts and Advanced Warfare were fine. But BO3 just tried too hard to be something it wasn't. Admirable, surely, but it didn't turn it great. And when I acknowledge that Ghosts and AW were really generic, saying that I enjoyed their campaigns more than Black Ops III's campaign, no matter how many times I think it over, makes me cringe a bit inside.
@BAMozzy That's a great point! I wish I had mentioned this, because I think that was the downfall of this campaign. Having a whole campaign unlockable from the start is just...unnatural. I've rarely heard of games like this because it goes against the whole idea of story progression being a reward. The design decision makes sense when you look deeper into the story's meaning (seriously, the theories about who your character is and the intentionally misleading order of the missions is pretty awesome), but it hurts the coherence and pacing of the story terribly. I respect Treyarch's willingness to experiment with a unique campaign structure like this, but I'd prefer the traditional, somewhat generic stories to what's in Black Ops III. I mean, maybe Treyarch could've worked with it, and I'd to see them succeed with their ideas next time, but the next game is going to have to be much better to impress me instead of poking at forms of avant-garde storytelling.
Sure, I think your summary of the typical CoD campaign is accurate. I do believe though that titles like Black Ops and even MW2 gave great, motivating context to why you were killing who you were killing and had some awesome plot twists. The reveal about Reznov? Shepherd's betrayal? Absolutely brilliant.
The depth with customization and the leveling system is commendable, and if future CoD games do co-op, I think they should follow in Treyarch's footsteps in regard to these things. Even the Nightmare mode is...eh, well, it's okay, I think. It's just kind of "there" and thinking about replaying those missions doesn't sit well with me, but having zombies as enemies and a completely different story is kind of cool. Lastly, I'm right there with you in regard to how much you're enjoying the campaign. Better than the Battlefield games, but not as good as Ghosts and AW.
@Ben_Stead Thanks for the awesome reply! I see we concur on a couple of things (that male voice though ), but hey, I definitely agree that Treyarch should get serious kudos for trying something new. It's the one thing I love about the game industry. Even if a developer attempts something new in a fascinating way and botches it, I respect that courage to innovate. Rollers of the Realm, an indie game I reviewed, was okay, but it's a great example I respected for being so...different!
You point out my FAVORITE mission in Black Ops III! I'm assuming you're referring to "The Demon Within" where you explore Hall's mind? I would say that mission showcases the potential BO3 had to explore the horrors of virtual reality (discerning what's real or not) and humanity in an age dominated by technology, where both of those things can destroy us from inside (which you could totally do with the DNI interface). I also think you make an intriguing point about player choice. I didn't really catch how involved my character was with the direction of the story. "Player" really takes charge, more than any other character in Call of Duty history (maybe with the exception of Jack Mitchell from AW and David Mason in BO2). So yeah, you bring up one of the very reasons why I love Treyarch so much. All of its games, especially the first two Black Ops games, were experimental in a lot of awesome ways. There are RTS side missions in BO2...that's insane! lol It's such a shame that I just don't think it turned out well this time.
@RaymanFan2 I think there's a point where every game that focuses on a story, no matter how simple or generic, needs to be compelling or interesting in some way in order for players to be motivated to finish it. Games like Diablo III need not worry about story since it's all about gameplay and co-operation, but CoD, with dozens of cutscenes, important characters, and so forth needs to be vaguely interesting, and when it's not, I think it's worth taking a look at to see what went wrong. Seriously, I don't come to CoD for an amazing story. I just expect some exhilarating action, entertaining characters, and some nice plot twists. And I'd argue that every CoD hasn't "sucked." The worst they've been is merely "okay." This one, in my opinion, is the first that literally was a pain to finish...I've never experienced that before. :/
I played the campaign in coop with a friend and we had a blast - the story was pretty confusing though, especially the end of the game, I had to look up some things on the net to fully understand what was going on there. Its also true that customization - well at least in the low difficulty - might not be as important, and that the missions are not overly varied, but it is very flashy, full of adrenaline, and just pure fun to play - so is the rest of the game.
Sure, it got many many bugs and problems, but I guess they will be fixed soon. Will also start the campaign for a second playthrough after I finished Nightmares, not only because I missed so many collectibles (where the hell are they haha) but because the missions itself are so tense and fun to play that I just want to play it again
Well, I guess I'm in the minority in this comment section but I really enjoyed the campaign. Up there among the best in the series for me. Call of Duty knows what it is, a loud, 'dumb' FPS and sometimes that's all I need.
Call of Duty? Ugh. Barf.
Actually, I don't really mean that. I was considering buying it because of multiplayer and I read somewhere you can customize your soldier. How awesome!! But, I don't like shooters so in the end I decided not to.
Never played call of duty but am I correct in saying that most of the campaigns are only like 4-5 hours long anyway? If that's the case then they obviously couldn't care less about them. May as swell just go the route of battlefront and just drop the campaign completely.
@Boxmonkey Maybe 8 hours for cod4 and mw2. With those 2 games the series hit a benchmark which is almost impossible to beat. The story, characters, bad guys, set pieces and consistency made the story believable and at times disturbing. The latter games have tried to beat them with increasingly crazy world problems and 2 dimensional characters.
The campaigns for cod 4 and mw2 encourage playthroughs on the toughest difficulty, akin to the early Halo games. Something which both series have lost as the easier difficulties are well too easy. Normal on cod 4 was still challenging. MW3 for example was a relative breeze.
We (the gamers who grew up with consoles from the early days) are our own worst enemy The problem we have is that the more we get, the more we expect. These old/current next gen machines allow for a helluva lot more content of all types than what used to be standard FPS fare back in the day. (Yes there were a few exceptions) Stories were a thin plot to carry us through and we didn't really care, we were just having fun. But now we want story, narrative, scenes, themes, personalisation. Basically we want to be heroes in a Booker Prize winning story with characters we care about/hate etc. No problem with that, after all, these guys are making billions off our back so we should get some quality for our bucks. I am disappointed with BOIII but in this case lower my expectations and just enjoy it during some down-time. Makes a change from the Grind that is Destiny.
I love that currently 57% of people who read the article, or at least voted in the poll, claim they could not care less about Call of Duty.
I've still got last years in its factory seal to be played and before that I hadn't played a CoD since MW2, so I won't be in any rush to get this.
4 is still the highlight of the series it seems...
@chiptoon Yeah it makes you wonder why that 57% of people clicked on a Call of Duty article at all! Maybe just to vent their distaste for it?
I thought the campaign was great, especially with the inclusion of splitscreen and a good reason to replay it. Love the new abilities.
My biggest gripes would be the black bars during splitscreen and some needless melodramatics, but everything else was fun.
@DrJoeystein I wasn't just referring to CoD with my description of the average FPS 'story'. Whether its a military or sci-fi shooter, the structure is usually the same - overcome an overwhelming force against the odds to eventually triumph over adversity.
Treyarchs CoD games have generally been more experimental and less structured than a lot of other CoD games. [email protected] had you jumping to a few different characters in different settings, Black Ops 1 and 2 had you jumping through time. All of them including BO3 are 'ambitious' and different from the natural progression hat a linear story follows - i.e the next mission narrative follows directly from the previous.
I know BO3 is less structured in its story but that's partly because of its 4-player co-op and to add 'replayability' to each. Treyarch didn't want to exclude players from playing with each other because someone hasn't unlocked/reached the later missions With the progression system, unlockables, different set-ups, challenges etc, it means that a 'mission' can be played through again and have a slightly different experience especially with others. The nightmare mode adds to the options too- doubling the amount of playable missions and offering a 'different' variation/experience to the standard.
Maybe its too ambitious to work as a good narrative, but does that stop it being a fun and explosive campaign? At the most, I would say it does affect the flow of the narrative and maybe affects the single player experience but it also adds more than a traditional campaign does in replayability, player progression, unlockables and co-op fun.
@DrJoeystein Seriously, let me know if you guys need any help tracking down stories, writing articles, reviews, puns, mediating, etc. i am on this site ten or more times a day. And have been doing so since the review for Final Fantasy XIII-2.
@Holographic6 Right. Obviously the sound design, gameplay, visuals...they all look great. I wish I had been more positive about those aspects (and even some great things I liked in the campaign), but there's only so much space I have to write. And yes, I do believe it's a cop out to say that "don't think to hard this is CoD." No, Treyarch has proved its stories can make CoD more than it is, and the series has always had the potential to have characters you care about and compelling stories with some mind-blowing twists or events. BO3 could have delivered on that, but didn't. Anyway, thanks for the comment! And welcome to Push Square!
@Ewflex Yes, this is what surprised me so much after finishing the campaign. I was expecting it to be a great time, but I just didn't know what some other reviewers were talking about after playing what they apparently played. But hey, I respect their opinions and understand them. I just think BO3 was too risky this time, and its breadth of customization, leveling system, or anything else don't redeem its story and boring missions, but other people think otherwise. And I didn't notice the AI was awful, but I know it was...okay, at best. I've seen better and worse.
@consolfreak1982 I'm glad you enjoyed it! However, I just don't see where the flashiness and adrenaline come in. I was honestly shocked at the lack of well-choreographed action sequences and varied shootouts. The majority of the game is just open area shootouts. One after the other. Usually every CoD mission maintains my interest by going from an explosive vehicle section to a stealthy sniper mission, but even on a higher difficulty, the game wasn't that exhilarating for me since missions were never mixed up that well in tone or with gameplay.
I will admit though that I'm vaguely intrigued to see what the Nightmares mode is all about. Might play it with a friend in the near future to see how it is!
@Gamer83 Glad you liked it! I, too, think that CoD at heart is generally a "loud, dumb FPS," but the stories have still always engaged me with their characters (Black Ops), mission variety (MW2), and experimental elements (BO2). The developers may know what CoD is, but it has the potential to be more, and BO3 was what I was expecting to break that trend to some degree. But I found it below the threshold of the amount of, er, "dumbness" I could take. Well, it's not that the story was dumb, really. In fact, it's got a brilliant hidden story under the surface. But it just suffers from the problems I laid out in the article to the point where I couldn't suspend my tolerance any longer.
@nathanSF You point out something all gamers need to be wary about. We shouldn't be so uptight and entitled with what games deliver. Sometimes it's just about having fun, and a grand story or gorgeous graphics aren't always necessary in this day and age. However, while CoD may not have the best storylines in modern gaming, it does have great characters and stories from time to time, and when you have trailers like these for Black Ops III...
You can't help but think, "...What happened?" There's a point where we should expect great things out of games in this day and age and be disappointed when it doesn't deliver on all fronts, because for some particular games, one aspect that's neglected can ruin the whole experience, and that goes for BO3.
@chiptoon I already knew this would be the highest one. I just wanted to offer most readers the chance to vote for what most of them are thinking.
@BertoFlyingFox I tried to play on splitscreen, but I found the game more difficult to play. Like you said, the squished screen looked bad and the frame rate was inconsistent. Playing co-op online would be much better in my opinion. But yeah, some of the new abilities are nice!
@BAMozzy I'd say that structure applies to much more than just shooters. But yes, Treyarch's games have been more interesting in how they jump through time. I really liked that with Black Ops, but the thing is that despite the missions being out of order chronologically sometimes, they were set up in such a way that a past mission gave context to current events, and when you finish in the past, you picked up where you left off. There has always been a good sense of progression leading to the climax with CoD stories since they're easy to follow, but in wanting players to play whatever missions they want from the get-go in any order...like I said, it just doesn't sound right. I think players would play the campaign with the intention of doing missions in order, and if someone hadn't played a certain mission yet, why on earth would they want to play it out of order? Treyarch's inclusiveness with the whole campaign being unlocked is good, but it causes more problems than it solves, I think, which destroys the point of repetition. You want to replay something if it's good, but if the campaign isn't good and all the customizing and unlocking stuff is there...what's the point? Like you said, it's too "ambitious." It could work, but it didn't here for me.
@soracloud28 Hey, if you've got some experience, contact @get2sammyb if you'd seriously like to join the staff. I can't speak for him in regard to if we're looking for writers right now, but it doesn't hurt to put your name out there.
What!!! the CoD campaign isn't immersive or nail biting action!!! fancy that the MP is amazing however and worth the £80 it cost for the full game AND the season pass, loving it it make's Destiny look like Dad's Army.
@DrJoeystein Personally I prefer that more linear story too - one that unlocks missions through natural progression. This obviously allows for a better and more focussed 'story'. As soon as I heard that Treyarch were unlocking every mission from the start and allowing you to play in any order, I knew the actual story would be affected - you can't read chapters in a book or Acts in a play out of sequence and expect things to be cohesive. Each mission therefore has to be designed in a way where they are 'self-contained' to a degree.
The drive to play it isn't so much its story now, but the campaign only unlockables and the Trophies and of course the fun that can be had by taking on these with friends too. Like I said personally I prefer a greater emphasis on the narrative itself but to say BO3 is one of the worst 'campaigns' in CoD history is a bit much. Maybe the story itself is not the 'strongest' but it does offer more than a lot of other CoD campaigns in other areas - like co-op, unlockables, levelling progression system, etc.
Incidentally if PushSquare are looking for writers, I would certainly like to put my name forward...
Did you follow the in-game clues (or look up the scrolling mission text)? There are tons of hints that your character dies after the first mission and was ripping parts of Taylor's memories in his/her dying mind. Here's my interpretation of the plot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZKOSZCRuV0
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