With the millions of people bashing Call of Duty as a brain dead rehash of its previous rehash, you'd have to wonder how the series is still able to get a great amount of players to buy their games every single year. The answer is quite simple really, because it's fun. The Call of Duty series has polished its core gameplay to a peak and built by piling up to the player's enjoyment. Sure it's the plain old "shoot that guy with a gun" formula since the first Call of Duty, but hey, why fix something that isn't broken.
This year's CoD iteration can be subdivided into 3 main sections. The campaign, zombie mode and multiplayer. Each section plays differently from one another, making it feel like three different games all together. Points and weapon upgrades are all completely isolated so it doesn't penalize you for just focusing on the sections you prefer.
Starting with the campaign, Black Ops 3 carries Treyarch's signature conspiracy thriller story that does so much more than just bring the player from point A to B. It follows the story of Jacob Hendricks and Player (yeah, that's his name), CIA operatives in a dystopian future 40 years after Black Ops II. The campaign is divided into 11 missions, each one action-packed and filled to the brim with explosions that you'd think Michael Bay directed each one. Players can now customize their characters and choose between male and female, though it ultimately boils down to picking between a few different faces but hey, baby steps right? And speaking of females, we've also noticed that there are more female enemies in this iteration. If Gamergate has done one thing right, it's probably making developers more gender conscious. After finishing the campaign, players get access to Nightmare mode -- Campaign mode plus Zombies, need I say more? Though it won't be winning any awards in the narrative department, it did a great job of introducing new features and keeping us on our toes.
Zombie mode also makes a return, as is Treyarch's tradition since World at War, but with some really interesting twist. In "The Shadows of Evil," we're treated to a far darker film noir-inspired story told through the character's in-game dialogue and a disembodied voice. It focuses more on human nature's darker tendencies, giving more depth to the zombies that you're supposed to slaughter. Not that I'm complaining. It makes killing zombies far more interesting when you remember that they used to be human beings and not just human-shaped bullet sponges. We're also treated to a great lineup of stars lending their voice to the characters namely Jeff Goldblum (Nero), Ron Perlman (Floyd Campbell), Neal McDonough (Vincent), Heather Graham (Jessica) and Star Trek Voyager's Robert Picardo (Shadow Man). "The Giant" is also available as a DLC or for those who bought the Digital Deluxe version of the game, which is a continuation of the first zombie mode.
And of course, let's not forget why majority of people buy Call of Duty: Multiplayer mode. Cue death metal sound track. The omni directional gameplay from Modern Warfare makes a return with a faster, more parkour-esque update, letting you run on walls and jump over short crevices while still having the ability to aim and shoot. Getting flanked has never been scarier. Multiplayer mode also introduced the Specialist mechanics, which give the players a pool of interesting individual skills to play around with. Of course skills are only limited to a specific specialist so team plays are more complex and require a certain level of team building. It's not as complex as MOBAs but it's a step in the right direction.
The Call of Duty series have been the pantheon of triple A polish for the majority of gaming history, and for good reason. They have a solid gameplay that everyone enjoys and improves it over the years to its sparkling finish. Sure, there's nothing revolutionary about this year's iteration (aside from a few campaign set pieces which completely blew our minds) but energy was certainly put in the execution of every single aspect of the game, leaving nothing unpolished. There are some things left to be desired like a more solid story or more complex multiplayer mechanics but it does seem to be moving in that direction in every new iteration. So maybe Call of Duty will never escape that "bro game" title that everyone has stamped into its brand but Black Ops 3 showed us that the series can be so much more than just a brain dead, beer drinking shooter. So if you'll excuse me, I have campers to pawn.