E3 2015: Hands on with Black Ops III Multiplayer

Black Ops 3

Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer is all about “guns up” this time around, along with moving in all directions smoothly. Treyarch has spent years working on ways to make your movement and shooting faster and more fluid. I have to say, they’ve definitely succeeded. Another goal for Treyarch in Black Ops III is catering to new players, whilst still keeping the hardcore crowd happy and challenged.

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Finesse control was the main theme of the night, where PSNation got some hands on time with the game in Los Angeles. You now have unlimited sprint. You do not need to access a marathon perk or anything like that; it’s simply there. While sprinting towards a barrier or rail you will now auto-mantle over the object. Your gun stays up during all of this movement – you can shoot whilst in this animation.

Thrust jump has been added this year as well. This is different than the mech suit jumps in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Pressing X of course jumps, but holding X creates a large thrust jump to get over bigger walls or objects. You can also feather the X button to take small bursts while jumping, helping to cover larger areas with each leap. Thrust jumps are identified on screen with a white meter in the center of the screen, similar to the hit detection indicator. Once the meter runs out, the jump stops. However, it does recharge very quickly.

Wall running is another way of traversing the map. While sprinting, jumping towards the wall you want to run on and pressing X again at the wall makes this happen. You can thrust jump from one wall to another wall as long as you have thrust power left. Angle of attack matters while attempting to wall run. You cannot run straight into a wall and expect to be able to turn 90 degrees and wall run. It’s possible to continue aiming down the sights as well as hip firing whilst wall running. You can also change direction when wall running by popping off the wall, turning around and thrusting back into the wall.

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Power sliding has also been added this year. While sprinting you can press circle to drop into a power slide. The level of thrust power available will determine the distance of a slide. As with all the other new movement mechanics, you can be aiming down the sights or hip firing while sliding. All of the movements are designed to be chained together to have players always moving and ready for combat.

Whilst playing Black Ops III multiplayer, I found myself never standing still. I would constantly be sprinting and then mantling over railings, immediately followed by a power slide to attempt a shot at a kill. Wall running can be chained into a power slide the second your feet hit level land. You can now swim in any direction with full control of all weapons while in the water. Your time is limited under water and you will begin to take damage if you stay under too long. You can thrust jump or swim up and out of the water.

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So, that’s the running and gunning in Black Ops III; now let’s talk about the tools you’ll be using to get your amazing kill streaks. Treyarch has added a gunsmith to Black Ops III and it looks awesome. There are five attachments that can be swapped out on your weapon. Every attachment stacks with every other attachment and you can store variant guns that have been built by you with the gunsmith.

At the gunsmith, you can also design paint jobs for guns. There are 64 selectable layers, along with precision editing. The gunsmith allows you to create and name different variants of guns, and includes an optional scope with zero to five attachments to select from. Camo is still in the game and can be used via the gunsmith if you so choose. There also are multiple social features to allow sharing for newly created weapons.

The core change to multiplayer in Black Ops III comes with the new addition of the specialist. Specialist are elite Black Ops soliders with unique voices and back stories. Each Specialist has two unique abilities: a power weapon and a unique cyber enhancement. These abilities are not tied to kill streaks – they build over time, though faster as your score increases. For instance, captures of a point or a flag along with kills build your specialist meter. Here is a breakdown of six of the nine specialist that have been revealed:

Special Weapon: Gravity Spikes- Allows you to slam into the ground, causing an area of damage around them.
Special Ability: Overdrive – Allows for an additional speed burst that lasts an extended period of time.

Special Weapon: The annihilator – High caliber pistol that destroys the enemy.
Special Ability: Combat focus – Increased multiplier for kill streaks while active.

Special Weapon: Sparrow – Compound Bow that fires explosive rounds when fully drawn.
Special Ability: Vision pulse – Beacon that shows position of enemies in the area.

Special Weapon: Sight – Arm that transforms into a mini gun.
Special Ability: Psychosis – Generates three clones of your character.

Special Weapon: Lightning Gun – When charged denotes a lightning strike in area around enemies.
Special Ability: Glitch – Relocation of player to a previous position from a few moments prior.

Special Weapon: The Hive – Pod traps that when deployed put enemies in a field where damage is taken.
Special Ability: Rejacked – Injection that allows you to come back form near death scenarios.

Once you specialist meter is charged, you will be given a prompt to press L1 and R1 to deploy. After activating the charge, it begins to burn. Charge progress will not reset upon death and once one specialist is charged, it will not charge towards another. Specialist selections are made before loading into game – you cannot change during that match.

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I played multiple rounds and modes of Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer, and had a blast doing it. The specialists do add more fun to the modes and give you ways to feel more powerful for small amounts of time. They also help swing the momentum of a match. Nothing is more satisfying than using a specialist of a group when trying to capture a point or protecting a flag carrier. I am very interested to see what the other three specialist classes will be. Keep your eyes on PSNation.com for my thoughts on the single-player campaign later this week.

Written by Dave Hunt

Dave Hunt

Podcast Co-Host
Reviewer/Features Writer

Helping people in games is the most fun I have ever had.

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