2014 saw the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which greatly enhanced player movement capabilities via the implementation of Exo suits and as a result we saw a Call of Duty title much faster than any of its predecessors. Being a traditional Call of Duty player, I found this change to be too drastic and compromising of the core Call of Duty experience. Black Ops 3 trades the Exo suit for thruster jumps, wall running and underwater gunfights, which manages be just as fast-paced as Advanced Warfare without compromising the core gameplay of the franchise.
Maps are optimized for the movement abilities offered in Black Ops 3, as there are plenty of opportunities to traverse walls and engage in underwater gunfights. Each of the four maps offered through the beta look and play beautifully. It is very difficult for enemies to remain in a single room or position for too long as there are multiple points of entry for each area on the map. It was refreshing to see players constantly on the move as opposed to camping in a single room, as is the norm with many previous Call of Duty titles. Scorestreaks were scarce not only because of the level design, but also due to the addition of specialists.
Specialists are characters complete with their own stories and abilities. This is the most crucial and welcome change offered by the Black Ops 3 multiplayer, as it creates more diversity among players and also acts almost like a scorestreak reward, which is beneficial for those who do not usually find themselves earning enough points for these rewards. The specialists very much resemble the guardians of Destiny as their abilities recharge with time and kills and are identical to some of the guardians abilities in cases. Scorestreaks no longer dominate the game as these abilities generally allow teams to prevent one another from earning enough points for a scorestreak.
The combat remains similar to previous Call of Duty titles, but knives have now been placed under secondary weapons. As a result the melee now requires two hits to down an opponent with full health. This is somewhat of an issue as a player that melees their opponent will almost always lose if the opponent begins firing at the exact same time. Another interesting change is that certain weapons, namely snipers and shotguns, state exactly where and from what distance a weapon must be fired to slay their opponent in a single hit. This change makes it far easier to use weapons such as the shotgun and sniper as I now know exactly what it will take to dispatch of my opponents efficiently with these weapons.
Aside from a rocky start due to server issues, the Black Ops 3 multiplayer beta left a good impression on me and displayed a Call of Duty that remains true to its franchise roots while also being innovative. There is still much left for the retail release of Black Ops 3 including an all new campaign as well as the much anticipated return of zombies, but for now this title is shaping up to be another success for the Call of Duty franchise.