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Black Ops III story photo
Black Ops III story

Hope you enjoy this Black Ops III story trailer, last-gen players

Because it's all you're getting
Sep 30
// Jordan Devore
Call of Duty: Black Ops III will have multiplayer and the usual star-studded Zombies mode on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but no campaign -- it's too "ambitious" for last-generation hardware. If you want Christopher Meloni (and who doesn't?), you'll need to play on PC, Xbox One, or PS4.
No Call of Duty campaign photo
No Call of Duty campaign

New Call of Duty doesn't include campaign on PS3, 360

Black Ops 3 pared down on last gen
Sep 25
// Steven Hansen
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have already been out for two years but still games as whopping and recent as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain have been releasing on the "last generation" of systems. The same goes for pere...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Nuketown reborn in Black Ops 3

But there's a catch
Aug 31
// Robert Summa
If you are a fan of the Nuketown maps in the Call of Duty: Black Ops series, then you'll be happy to hear that Treyarch is bringing the popular map to Black Ops 3. However, this time it's got an edgy name and you'll need to p...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

The Black Ops 3 beta on Xbox One is stuck in the trenches

Codes not working for many users
Aug 26
// Laura Kate Dale
So, picture the scene. You've been patiently waiting weeks for the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 beta to hit your Xbox One. The day has finally arrived. You input your code for the beta and get told it's invalid. You are not alon...

Call of Duty: Black Ops III feels familiar, but the beta maps are great so far

Aug 18 // Chris Carter
[embed]306570:60036:0[/embed] The first thing I noticed about Black Ops III is the addition of specialists -- a clear nod to other class-based games like Team Fortress 2. Here, you'll be able to choose between nine different "characters," all with unique names, a special weapon, and an ability. For instance, "Ruin," a Berserker-like, has short-range gravity spikes and a speed boost, and the sneaky "Outrider" sports a bow and extra vision. Don't fret though, as you can still fully customize your killstreaks, loadout, and abilities just like the previous games -- the characters are merely a template. In terms of the beta, the following playlists were available -- Team Deathmatch, Demolition, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, and Search and Destroy. The vast majority of players flocked to the former, and I have to say, I had a blast. The maps are just so varied this time around, especially "Hunted," my personal favorite. It's an outdoor map set at a resort-like location, with caves, underwater paths, and plenty of variety. It really highlights how far the series has come in terms of sound direction, because with headphones, all of the ambient sound effects are top notch. In terms of movement, Black Ops III feels like a more grounded Advanced Warfare. While you can double-jump you can't airdash, and players won't be zipping around quite as much, in favor of a more methodical playstyle. All in all, I'm not crazy about the multiplayer so far, but I'm happy with how it's turned out if the rest of the maps are as vibrant as the ones included in the beta. The beta officially starts tomorrow for PS4 users, and next week for Xbox One and PC gamers.
Call of Duty: Black Ops I photo
Check out some gameplay
Call of Duty: Black Ops III runs the risk of falling into the trappings of some of the previous bad games in the series, but as always, I have faith in Treyarch, the best developer in the franchise's history. Even if the...

Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

This is how Black Ops III has the moves like Jagger

Aim for the heart if you feel like it
Aug 14
// Brett Makedonski
Wait. I don't actually know how Jagger moves. That dude is super old. It's probably not like this now that I think about it. Disregard the headline, but retain all the flashy running, hurdling, swimming, and boosting you can do in Black Ops III. That's what it looks like if you're good. If you're bad, it likely looks more akin to Mick Jagger running around a battlefield.
Black Ops beta photo
Black Ops beta

Call of Duty: Black Ops III beta has robot bugs that rip people's legs apart

PS4 on 8/19 Xbox One and PC, 8/26
Aug 12
// Chris Carter
The Call of Duty: Black Ops III beta is coming next week, and it looks pretty hefty. At least seven modes and three maps are planned, as well as a look at the new skill system. The trailer is pretty action packed, and I really want to use whatever rips that guy's legs apart at 0:40! Expect coverage of the beta when it hits next week on August 19. Xbox and PC get the beta one week later.
Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Black Ops III has a classic Zombies map remake, but only for special editions

We've seen this trick before
Jul 10
// Brett Makedonski
Treyarch's at San Diego Comic-Con spilling the beans about Black Ops III's Zombie modes. The biggest splash came from the new film-noir "Shadows of Evil" and its star-studded cast. But, Black Ops III also has something f...
Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Black Ops III gets a multiplayer beta soon, and it may be PS4 exclusive

'More information coming soon'
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
[Update: Activision has contacted us to clarify a few points. The beta will be coming to Sony first, but it will be coming to other platforms as well. Pre-ordering will grant you beta access.] Like most triple-A multipla...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Black Ops 3 Zombies reveal coming soon

SDCC visitors may get the first peek
Jun 25
// Vikki Blake
In a tweet yesterday, Call of Duty: Black Ops III developer Treyarch teased at zombie-flavoured news coming July 9. Wondering what's so significant about July 9? Yep, me too. It's not particularly mysterious, though - turns ...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

New Black Ops III video goes deep into co-op

Killing with friends is so much better
Jun 19
// Robert Summa
In order to continue the hype-train coverage that is so much of the norm for today's AAA mega franchises (and probably lesser games too), this hot-off-the-presses marketing video for Call of Duty Black Ops III will take you on a 13-minute tour of the "cooperative campaign with the Cyber Core tutorial." Sit back, relax, and let the sounds of war bathe you in a warming glow.
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

I sucked at Call of Duty: Black Ops III's multiplayer

But I still had fun!
Jun 16
// Zack Furniss
It's easy to be cynical about a new Call of Duty release. Between the series' annualization and aggressive marketing, the urge to fire with phasers set to snark is strong. But every year I end up thoroughly enjoying an a...
Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer looks chaotic

Same goes for four-player co-op
Jun 15
// Jordan Devore
Treyarch showed competitive multiplayer for Call of Duty: Black Ops III as well as the game's four-person co-op campaign at Sony's E3 2015 press conference. The former had wallrunning and sliding all over the place while the...
Black Ops 3 photo
Black Ops 3

Call of Duty still entrenched in its last-gen ways

Black Ops 3 confirmed for old consoles
Jun 09
// Brett Makedonski
No matter what Activision says, warfare hasn't advanced all that far. That's evident by the fact that Black Ops 3 will release on legacy consoles, making it the eleventh Call of Duty title on PS3 and Xbox 360. Activ...
Treyarch photo

The Call of Duty mural at Treyarch

A quick look at the studio
Apr 26
// Robert Summa
While visiting with Treyarch for its upcoming release of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, I happened to notice some impressive artwork that ran across a few of the walls inside. Done by iam8bit artist Dave Crosland, the pieces represent the entirety of Treyarch's contributions to the Call of Duty franchise. Here's a look at some of that art.
CoD photo

Dtoid Q&A: Treyarch and Call of Duty: Black Ops III

The developers speak out
Apr 26
// Robert Summa
As part of my recent visit with Treyarch covering the upcoming release of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, I had the opportunity to sit down with three of the key figures behind this year's entry into the Call of Duty franchise. ...
CoD photo

Hands on with Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer

Complexity and simplicity collide
Apr 26
// Robert Summa
During my recent visit with Treyarch, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the multiplayer for Call of Duty: Black Ops III. After sitting through a presentation that seemed dizzying at times with the amount of changes and la...

What we know about Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Apr 26 // Robert Summa
Single player is no longer for singles As Call of Duty continues to march into the modern era of gaming, Black Ops III will introduce the option of online co-op in its single player campaign. The main campaign will now support up to four players working together. Jason Blundell, campaign director and senior executive producer, said it will redefine how Call of Duty is played. Set in the near-future, Black Ops III is all about bio augmentation and robotics. Something that will not only affect your single-player experience, but also multiplayer (but we'll get more into that later). Giving players the choice between male and female characters, the campaign will put you in the role of an enhanced cybernetic Black Ops soldier.  The intensity and theme of the game were on full display as Treyarch showed us one of the levels of the campaign, called Cairo. At first, it seemed like one of your standard Call of Duty experiences. But as the level progressed, the world awoke and the retooled battlefield was on full display. [embed]290987:58342:0[/embed] With the main fighting occurring in an open space, the ambition of Black Ops III was immediately apparent. There was an amazing scope to the level and the action within it. The world felt very alive and tangible with action happening in just about every space within the player's view. Planes flying overhead, bullets whizzing by, robots. It was hectic. New devastating weapons, such as a spike launcher, were unveiled. Rolling balls of spikes looking to impale unsuspecting victims littered the battlefield. The reliance and added value of your co-op partners certainly played a part in a level where a new emergent AI was able to make intelligent decisions based on what your team was doing. According to Treyarch, the AI was a focus during development. The team added a new animation set and claim that the goal-oriented AI can now communicate and organize itself -- which is key with the variety of options that the campaign now offers with the availability of co-op. Blundell stressed some key points Treyarch is trying to drive home with Black Ops III's campaign. Buzzwords such as cinematic intensity, epic action, a gritty narrative, and replayability are what the single-player experience is trying to be. Customization is key Allowing players to express themselves in a unique way has been a staple of the franchise for a number of years now. Treyarch is looking to build upon this by allowing players not only more set-up options, but a player experience system within the single-player that will allow extensive upgrades not only to your character and his or her abilities, but also to the weapons themselves. Cyber Cores and Cyber Rigs are cybernetic modifications that will allow added layers of player customization. Cyber Cores will let players do things from remote hacking to controlling drones to chaining melee strikes, while Cyber Rigs are passive upgrades that allow advanced movement and defensive capabilities. With the addition of the Safe House, customization and socialization options will be available. This is the area players will go between levels. The Safe House will have your own customizable bunk and provide access to a wiki with information related to the game. There will be collectibles and opportunities to purchase tokens, which can be used in your upgrades. PC will not be ignored Treyarch studio head and president Mark Lamia said a greater emphasis was placed on the PC version of Black Ops III. While not getting into a great amount of detail (such as anything server-related), Lamia said Treyarch worked closely with hardware companies to bring a high-end experience for those who have upper-tier machines and have adopted 4K.  While catering to the high-end crowd, Lamia also said the team put a great deal of effort into optimization. The current recommended specs are as follows (but they are subject to change): Operating System: Windows 7 64-Bit / Windows 8 64-Bit / Windows 8.1 64-Bit Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-530 @ 2.93 GHz / AMD Phenom™ II X4 810 @ 2.60 GHz Memory: 6 GB RAM Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 470 @ 1GB / ATI® Radeon™ HD 6970 @ 1GB DirectX: Version 11 Network: Broadband Internet connection Sound Card: DirectX Compatible But what about Zombies? Treyarch remained silent on what exactly Black Ops III will offer for its fan-favorite zombie mode. What we were told, however, is that it will have its own player progression system, distinct storyline, more depth and will include all kinds of "mind-fuckery," as Lamia put it. As with the main game and multiplayer, the social aspects of Black Ops III are set to play a key role in zombies as well. Who cares about single player, tell me about multiplayer Even with the inclusion of online four-player co-op, there still will be a faction of Call of Duty fans who only care about one thing: multiplayer. I got my hands on multiplayer, which is covered in-depth in a separate article, but I want to tell you what you should expect. As mentioned, Black Ops III has its focus on risk versus reward. Nowhere is this more apparent than with multiplayer and the complete reworking of not only gun-play, but movement as well. To do this, the team changed some of the rules. For instance, players will now be able to shoot while doing all movements in the game -- this includes everything from jumping to wall running (yes, wall running) to climbing over ledges and, for the first time, swimming. While still remaining true to three-lane map design philosophy with no buildings above two stories, the team has also added new movement abilities such as thrust jumping and power sliding, and as mentioned, wall running and swimming. Oh, and did I mention you can sprint for as long as you want? Treyarch said it wants to allow players to have full combat control with no pause in the action.  While players won't be limited with their sprint, there will be limitations to the power slide and wall run. They aren't significant limitations, but they are present. These changes are immediately noticeable with the varied results that thrust jump, wall running, and the power slide provide. There is a fluidity now to the action. While it seems overwhelming at first glance, the general simplicity and ease of use associated with Call of Duty is still in place. Dan Bunting, game director, said the philosophy is guns up, not down. They want omni-directional movement options in what he says will, "feel like a BLOPS II evolution." In all, it's about endless momentum and making the gameplay faster and more engaging. This is my rifle Through the Gunsmith menu, players will be presented with what is being billed as a whole new level of weapon customization. Here, players will be able to name their weapons, preview attachments on actual in-game models and of course, access a paint job option that will allow for near-limitless personalization. You will be able to equip up to five attachments and an optic. The emblem creator is back in a new way, this time called Paintshop. Not only will the images that players create be more visible on their weapon of choice, but they will now have access to 64 layers for three paintable sides. There are also material options such as carbon fiber and the ability to design gun camo. Looking for someone special Another significant shift within Black Ops III's multiplayer is the usage of what are being called Specialists. There will be nine total, but we were only shown four.  Each Specialist is essentially an archetype the player will choose from and develop over time. They have their own unique abilities and power weapons to choose from -- and of course their own look, personality and voice. The goal, Treyarch said, is to give every player the opportunity to become powerful within the game.  If you were one of those people who have come to despise Call of Duty because of excessive and overpowered killstreaks or scorestreaks, Treyarch is attempting to balance the playing field with the inclusion of Specialists and their unique weapons and abilities. While the best players will still have advantages, the goal is to now let everyone get involved, not just the top tier. The first Specialist we were shown goes by the name Ruin (real name Donnie Walsh). This is a rusher/bruiser character that uses Gravity Spikes as his power weapon. He's pretty much the Titan from Destiny. Once the Gravity Spikes are used, an area-of-effect blast deals damage and eliminates all enemies within the vicinity. It's devastating, but must be timed and used smartly for best results. Players will have to choose between Specialists' unique power weapon or ability. Ruin's ability, Overdrive, provides a burst of speed, making for a character that will thrive in Capture the Flag. The second specialist presented was Seraph (real name Zhen Zhen). She sports a hand cannon called the Annihilator that deals a single shot capable of taking out multiple enemies if lined up perfectly. Her ability, Combat Focus, will trigger a bonus multiplier to your score that will go toward your scorestreak for a short period of time. The third specialist, and probably my favorite so far, is Outrider (real name Alessandra Castillo). She comes with the Sparrow, a compound bow that will explode enemies after sticking to them. But this isn't why I liked her. I always suck with bows in games, so the real draw of Outrider for me was her ability, Vision Pulse. The ability will ping the surrounding area and tag the location of all enemies within range. With it, you will essentially be able to see enemies through walls for a short amount of time. Perfect for campers, such as myself. The fourth, Reaper (real name Experimental War Robot), is a combat robot with an arm that can transform into a minigun, called the Scythe. While it does take time to spin up, the results of it in action can be devastating. Reaper's ability is called Glitch. With it, Reaper can relocate about three seconds into the past to a previous position. The Specialist power weapons and abilities are only available after a certain time or score threshold has been met. Charging over time, the refill rate is directly affected by your participation within the game. However, even if you sit and do nothing, you still will have at least one opportunity to use either option.  As with everything else in Black Ops III, the power weapon and ability are a choice. You can't have both. Depending on your play style, you will quickly find which is more effective for you. Just like your load outs, all of these options will be available pre-match. To wrap it all up The goal for Treyarch is to make the "deepest and richest Call of Duty ever," Lamia said.  He said the intention is to make it easier for players to find each other, not just in multiplayer, but single player and zombies as well. While he wasn't willing to go into specifics, he said he wants players to be aware of what others are playing and allow them to do whatever they want to do at any time. Lamia asserted that the social aspect of Black Ops III is what will distinguish it from others. Near the end of the presentation, Lamia revealed a couple of special opportunities for players to get their hands on the game and see for themselves how it plays. At this year's E3, Lamia said fans will have the chance to actually play multiplayer. But even if you aren't able to attend E3, those who pre-order the game will have access to the game's beta. Black Ops III will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Overall, the promise for Black Ops III is there. This is a series that has extremely high expectations. It's obviously too early to say whether or not Black Ops III will come close to meeting those, but the foundation is there. The blueprint and makings of a great and varied experience that breaks the mold is evident.  For now, all we can do is wait. 
Black Ops III photo
Multiplayer campaign and more
Whatever you think you know about the Call of Duty franchise is about to change. As a series that is often criticized for offering more of the same, Black Ops developer Treyarch has made every attempt to alter that mindset wi...

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Scientists play God in Black Ops III's latest teaser

So little shooting
Apr 23
// Brett Makedonski
Activision's officially unveiling Call of Duty: Black Ops III on April 26, but it's not being secretive about the title. The latest teaser trailer outright states the game's name. That's not where the mystery lies. What...
Call of Duty zombies photo
Call of Duty zombies

This 2015 D.I.C.E. Summit talk explains the entire history of Call of Duty's zombie mode

Worth the 25-minute watch
Feb 12
// Chris Carter
Call of Duty: World at War's zombie mode was an incredible addition to the industry. It was a fully featured mode that was actually included in the base package, and I played the first map for 100 hours, easy. I still play z...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Activision: Next Call of Duty to be 'loaded with innovation'

This is Treyarch's baby
Feb 06
// Brett Makedonski
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise is well underway. If a Call of Duty game doesn't release, it doesn't actually count as a calendar year, you know. Activision C...

I know how to save Call of Duty in a post-Advanced Warfare world

Jan 16 // Nic Rowen
[embed]286278:56923:0[/embed] Timecop it out Ok, so you're Infinity Ward. You've spent the last two years eating shit over how much of a letdown Ghosts was. You need to rally, you need to get back to the core of what people love about CoD. You're thinking of going back to the well, maybe another Vietnam game, or something set in the '80s. People love that '80s shit. Or God forbid, some focus-test fiasco told you THIS was the time to head back to WWII, “the audience is totally ready for it!” You need to pull a Timecop. Timecop is a forgettable relic of mid-'90s cinema. The last desperate throws of the '80s tough-guy flick starring a leading man who barely rates as a punchline these days. A film you would have rented with the express intent of getting boozed up with your friends and unloading your own slurred, half-clever, MST3K commentary on. But the opening scene of Timecop is brilliant. A brief flash of what could have been a much more interesting movie before Van Damme takes the wheel and swerves the bus into a drainage ditch. A group of Confederate soldiers carrying gold bars for General Lee (who presumably intends to melt them down and stamp them into musket-balls or something) are held up by a lone cowboy-looking dude. Despite featuring the accent and dentistry of the era, the cowboy whips out two futuristic sub-machine guns and ventilates the lot of them in less than a second. It's a great scene because it sets up the entire premise so succinctly. Criminals have time travel, they can plan and commit crimes based on specific historic knowledge, and they have the tools and equipment to utterly dunk on the pathetic lawmen and soldiers of the day. So take your three-quarters built WWII game and flip the premise on its head. You're a soldier sent back in time to deliver an exo-skeletal beat-down to the third Reich before it can ever inspire the rise of a fourth in whatever crazy future you're from. Just take the game as it is, give the player character a jet-pack and a laser gun, and let them loose on the Battle of the Bulge. Videogames are power fantasies after all, and that sounds like a pretty fun power fantasy to me. I want to grapple-hook to the very top floor of the Reichstag, smash through one of those red-bannered windows, and cave in Hermann Goering's jowls with a mechanized right hook. I'd love to clown all over the Vietcong by flying over their bamboo spike traps with rocket boosters, flushing them out of their sniper roosts by burning down the jungle with a wrist-mounted microwave emitter. Make the multiplayer kill-streaks a race to rip open time portals to replace your Tommy guns and potato-masher grenades with plasma-casters and fission-powered smart-mines. I mean, I'm sure that the idea of a futuristic soldier fighting an entire army of outdated historical soldiers has never been done before. Right? Thine liege Lord sounds the horn of battle, whilst thou answer the Call of Duty? Ok, you're Treyarch, Black Ops 3 is well underway but you've still got time to pivot, still have time to grab the rudder and steer the ship to a bold new course. Screw trying to imitate what Sledgehammer has done. You're leaders, not followers. If anything, they just bit off the future-tech craze you started in Black Ops 2. It's time to flip the table over, to do the wild and unexpected, to prove you're the CoD development house with the biggest balls and the most nerve. It's time to go medieval on their asses. If people thought jetpacks were cool, wait till they ride into battle on a motherfucking horse. Steal whatever “thunder” Chivalry has and craft the finest first-person melee combat simulator the world has ever seen. Create a silky smooth, 60 FPS, beheading experience where you charge into battle with swords, spears, and cudgels. Screw all that “360 no-scope” rubbish, it's time to make the struggle real again. No more camping out in a power position, it's time to beat your berserker warrior chest, get right up in someone's face, and mash on the STAB button until something dies. You're going to hear a lot of shit. That the gameplay is a chaotic mess, that 16-person multiplayer simply doesn't work when everyone just charges across a field wildly swinging the fastest weapon they can. That your pre-planned “Classic Map Pack” DLC doesn't make much sense anymore and it looks weird to have men-at-arms marching down the streets of Nuketown. That the “catapult barrage” kill-streak is completely unbalanced. Don't worry about it, just block them all out and know you're doing the best thing you can for the franchise. Game of Thrones is the hot thing these days right? The kids are all about knights, and dragons, and incest, and you don't want to be left behind. It's time to bring the war maul of the CoD franchise down on everyone and show them what Historical Warfare is all about. (Well, except maybe the incest thing, marketing is having a shit over it and Australia is already saying they'll refuse to rate the game. You'd think we were talking about cleaning out an airport worth of innocent civilians or something.) Fuck it, just make them all dogs “We worked for years on Ghosts and all people liked about the game was the fucking dog. I missed my kid's birthday, on consecutive years. I haven't seen a movie since... Wow, I haven't seen a movie since The Dark Knight was playing in theaters. The other day a co-worker asked me something, and instead of trying to turn my head to respond, I moved my mouse to the right and was surprised when my view didn't change. Seriously, I sat there waggling my wrist wondering why my mouse was broken for a few seconds before I realized what the hell I was doing. I've given my life to this series and. All. They. Liked. Was. The. Fucking. Dog. Give the babies what they want then. Call it Collar of Duty, Call of Doggy, Advanced Tail-wag, or whatever cheeky name the internet came up with. I just want to see my family again. Maybe we can get some co-marketing synergy going. A DLC pack to play as the Valiant Hearts dog, or maybe Kojima will let us use Snake's new wolf-puppy if we trade him for the phone numbers of all the Hollywood guest stars that have been in our ads. Does anyone remember Balto? We could get him, Bolt, Lassie, and Beethoven to appear in the zombie mode if everyone signs off on it... Whatever. Pass me the bottle, I'm so sick of making these games...”
Call of Duty photo
A victim of its own success
“I don't think I can ever go back to the old style of Call of Duty.” I've heard some variation of that sentence at least once per week since the launch of Advanced Warfare, and if I were Treyarch or Infinity Ward...

Call of Duty: Ghosts Devastation DLC now out for Xbox One/Xbox 360
Call of Duty: Ghosts Devastation is now out for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 for $14.99. You get four new multiplayer maps, a new gun, a new chapter in the Extinction co-op mode, and most important of all, you can play as the g...

Call of Duty photo
You know, Arnold and Danny Glover's Predator
The new trailer for Call of Duty Ghost's second DLC pack, Devastation, is pretty standard stuff for the first few minutes. You know -- the typical overview of maps, lots of gunfire, and an Eminem track laid over it. Then you...


Sledgehammer leading development of next Call of Duty

Call of Duty series going into three-year development cycle now
Feb 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Activision has just reported on their financials for the last quarter, and among the news they've announced that Sledgehammer Games will be leading the development of the next Call of Duty coming out this year. In the past, C...

Opinion: Stop annualizing Call of Duty

Nov 06 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty 4 set the world on fire at release. It not only redefined what a console shooter could do with a campaign, but it also popularized the "perks" system -- a mechanic now prevalent in pretty much every shooter in the modern era. It certainly wasn't the first game to use this system, but it was the first to make it standard issue; and since so many games followed suit in such a massive way, it's safe to call Call of Duty 4 a trend-setter in its own right. Contrary to popular belief, Call of Duty was not always stale. In fact, the original working title for the first game was "The Medal of Honor Killer" -- a moniker predicated on rising above the competition, and in this case, EA. Said game was made by Infinity Ward -- the flagship developer for the franchise that was founded in 2002 as a subsidiary of Activision. But in 2005, along came a modest developer named Treyarch, who handled the console version of Call of Duty 2. This development crew had been around the block, creating smaller games and ports as far back as 1996, until it was acquired by Activision in 2001. It was Treyarch, not Infinity Ward, that would continue to innovate the franchise. Just as Call of Duty was getting stale, they introduced a "Zombies" mode in World at War, which lit the gaming world on fire once again. The first Black Ops even had a top-down shooter (that could have easily been sold piecemeal for $10 as a downloadable), and real life cheat codes that you (gasp) didn't have to pay for. Their most recent contribution to the series, Black Ops II, innovated in new ways, with a "choose your own adventure" style campaign that felt distinctly different from the pack. It was still very much a Call of Duty joint for sure, and more of it wouldn't change any staunch hater's mind -- but for fans, it was an improvement. So what went wrong with Ghosts? Complacency. The campaign is, in every sense of the word, predictable. Not only is the "American Invasion" tale rehashed, but the characters feel generic and forgettable, especially compared to Treyarch's particularly over-the-top style. Hell, there's even accusations of Infinity Ward copying their own ending. Multiplayer is still fun at times, but it's literally nothing new, instead opting to hold the "Squads" gametype on a pedestal -- when it's actually just a pared down version of the same thing we've played many times over. Infinity Ward even blew it with Extinction, a mode that attempted to ape Treyarch's masterful Zombie mode. To put things into perspective, there's a huge community strictly centered around Zombies, and some fans even buy Treyarch's games just to play it. There's an entire story behind the mode, filled to the brim with easter eggs and goofy weapons like toy monkey grenades. But the Alien injected Extinction in Ghosts by proxy feels like a soulless rendition of Treyarch's work -- almost like it was a check box to say "we can do it too." The crux of the problem is Infinity Ward's lack of innovation, among other issues. If the Call of Duty franchise weren't annual and were fine tuned every other year, it would not only have a better reputation, but a longer overall life span. Despite what executives may think, grinding blood out of a stone for a few years is not effective. With lower pre-orders for Ghosts (partially due to generational fragmentation) and lower review scores, is Call of Duty down for the count? Well, it's far too early to tell. I think this is a great opportunity for Activision to sit down with both of their studios, and remember what made the series so successful in the first place. Do what should have been done long ago: give Treyarch the reigns, encourage growth and innovation, and stop making it an annual series with a $50 Season Pass. Or, keep milking it until the well runs dry. Your move, Activision.
Why is COD stale? photo
It's time to mix things up, consolidate, and stop annual releases
There is room for Call of Duty in the gaming world -- I assure you. I don't know about milking it every damn year, but there is plenty of room for those of us who enjoy mindless first-person fun with our friends, oc...

Call of Duty  photo
Call of Duty

Bro! It's Megan Fox sniping in a Call of Duty video

What gets blown up in Vegas...
Nov 02
// Wesley Ruscher
Activision's Call of Duty: Ghosts hits this Tuesday, and I can't think of a better way to get hype than with a video that shows absolutely no gameplay. Joking aside, while the live-action trailer "Epic Night Out" is nothing ...

Review: Call of Duty Black Ops II: Apocalypse

Aug 28 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Black Ops II: Apocalypse DLC (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Treyarch StudiosPublisher: ActivisionReleased: August 27, 2013 (Xbox 360) / TBA (PC, PlayStation 3)MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs) First things first, Pod is a post-apocalyptic style map modeled after a failed utopian style community. Quite literally, there are "pod" housing units scattered about the map, and there are a good amount of structures dotting the landscape (with lots of browns and greens for good measure) to mix things up. It's a decent map overall, but it pulls no punches, and feels very traditional, like it was designed by Infinity Ward as filler. In short, it's very safe, and ultimately feels like wasted potential -- like they gave up halfway through designing it. There's not a whole lot to say about it beyond that. Here we are again with another snow themed map! Frost is very similar to Berlin, but not quite as memorable, or good. Lovely cheese and candy shops litter the town, as do bars, and multiple indoor areas -- so if your strategy hinges mostly on aerial support, you're going to be stopped cold in Frost. But while indoor combat helps mix things up overall, the outdoor areas are extremely dull -- capped off by just one major sniping corridor, and a pretty lifeless bridge area. Camping is an incredibly viable strategy here, as there are tons of corners jutting out next to wide open doorways. Frost does nothing to add to the map pack's value, but it's a decent one to have in the rotation. Takeoff is actually a take on the original Black Ops' Stadium, comprising one of the two remakes in the pack. You wouldn't know it at first, as it took me around 30 seconds to realize it, but it's almost a shot-for-shot remake. The remodel into a giant tanker rather than a sports stadium is a neat gimmick as it looks superior to the original, but any Black Ops fan has played this map as recently as a year or two ago, and it's simply not that remarkable of a map to charge for in the last bit of Black Ops II DLC. The space shuttle that takes off looks cool, but it's off the map in the background and you can't actually interact with it. It's quite possible that Treyarch didn't want to mess too much with Stadium's layout, but as a result it feels like a straight-up copy and paste. Yet another remake is in Apocalypse, as Dig is another take on World at War's Courtyard. Now, I was a huge fan of World at War in general, and most of the bigger maps were some of my favorites in the entire franchise. But Courtyard wasn't one of them, and the same goes for Dig. If there was ever a poster-child for "brown, boring maps," in Call of Duty, Dig would be it. It's a simple square layout with a circular bowl in the middle, and can barely accommodate even the smallest of game sizes. The areas around the square make for some interesting firefights, but other than that, you've seen it all before, and then some. In fact, the only reason I subjected myself to Dig is for the purposes of this review, and if I had the choice I would not choose to ever play it again. Origins is the bright spot of the Apocalypse pack, and is most notable for not only reuniting the iconic four zombie hunters from World at War, but also delivering a notable amount of lore into the zombie meta itself. For those who aren't aware, the zombie series has a long running story that's mostly cryptic, but actually connects together with all three of the latest Treyarch Call of Duty titles. One of the coolest additions to Origins is the debut of the power generators, which require you to power up each room by manually charging them. As you're flipping on the power, special zombies will come out of the woodwork to make your job a bit harder, which helps keep things frantic and fun. The environment contains a ton of variety, including laboratories, bunkers, a church, trenches, and an outdoor area that actually looks and feels like a battlefield. It's a bit dark at times, but the harrowing site of zombies on pikes and the numerous dead bodies scattered across the trenches add to the theme. Audio logs help augment the experience, offering up more background info on the game's world and the map itself. Oh, I should also mention that you can dig up piles of junk on the ground to find new weapons, shoot planes out of the sky, build elemental staffs, ride a tank, fight armored zombies (Panzer Soldats), and fight giant robots who periodically attempt to squish you beneath their feet. There's a lot of variety here, and I really enjoy the new school sensibilities mixed with the old school feel of the original game's protagonists. If you're a dedicated zombies fan, it's almost worth picking up Apocalypse for Origins alone, given how much it adds to the overall lore that's still alive and well after World at War's 2008 release. Treyarch really wanted to mix things up beyond smaller gimmicks here with the power generators and the magic chests, and you'll have to truly re-adapt your playstyle for the first time since Black Ops II's initial TranZit campaign. Taking into account that this is the final map pack before Activision moves full-swing into Call of Duty: Ghosts, it's fairly underwhelming outside of Origins. Unlike most of the map packs so far, I had no desire to really play through them multiple times, and at this point, I'm content replaying the prior three packs as I wait for Ghosts. Sadly, two remakes practically no one asked for, and two maps that do nothing to transcend the typical formula aren't enough to justify the price unless you're a hardcore zombies fanatic.
Call of Duty Black Ops II photo
You're better off waiting for Ghosts
We've already had three quarters of the Season Pass on offer so far in Black Ops II's lifespan, and we're finally on the last bit of DLC. Apocalypse is a curious prospect, with two remakes, two brand new maps, and a zombies m...

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Humans have spent 2.85 million years playing Call of Duty

And even more, if you count the pre-Modern Warfare titles
Aug 13
// Jordan Devore
Ahead of tomorrow's big multiplayer event for Call of Duty: Ghosts -- there's going to be a livestream and everything -- Activision has put out an infographic summing up some of the series' most staggering statistics. And by ...
Black Ops Apocalypse photo
Black Ops Apocalypse

Get a closer look at the Black Ops II Apocalypse DLC

An in-depth look at the new maps
Aug 09
// Chris Carter
The very last piece of the Call of Duty: Black Ops II Season Pass is on the way, in the form of the map pack Apocalypse. The pack will feature four maps, two of them being remakes, and a new zombies mode that looks particula...

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