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Treyarch

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Awakening

Feb 02 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: TreyarchPublisher: ActivisionReleased: February 2, 2016 (PS4) / TBA (PC, Xbox One)MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs) When it comes to map design, Treyarch is one of the best in the business. One of its go-to staples is the three-lane approach, which allows for all sorts of interesting firefights and strategies throughout every game type. It takes it to an extreme here with Gauntlet, as it hosts three unique themes in each lane -- tropical, arctic, and industrial. Each area evokes feelings of the past Black Ops maps, Jungle, Discovery, and Kowloon respectively, which is good company to be in. Gauntlet is instantly recognizable, and really feels like three maps in one. If anything it's a bit too tunnel-oriented as folks will no doubt have issues with a lack of elevation (especially in the arctic and jungle themes), but it gets the job done and I'm glad it's in the rotation. [embed]338194:62083:0[/embed] Splash (pictured up top) is typical Treyarch at its finest. It's an absurd water park map that wouldn't feel out of place at Disney World's Caribbean Beach Resort. It's bright, it's littered with shops and rides, and even has a Main Street area. Water slides dot the landscape, as do cute mascot signs that top the previous meta Burger Town franchise -- it would feel right at home in the wackier Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare games. It's crazy that you can consistently read the detail on individual signs now as well (a few of which made me laugh, like the "no selfie stick" one), instead of haphazardly trying to read blurry scrawls. It's one of my favorite maps in years, with a wide array of open areas and indoor close-quarters combat sections. Skyjacked, quite simply, is a remake of Hijacked from Black Ops II. This map was a bit divisive in the community due to its close-quarters focus and propensity to promote camping, so most of you have already made up your mind on it. Personally it was one of my favorites, so I'm glad to see Treyarch bringing it back here, and was happy to play it again. The new theme isn't a half-measure like some past remakes, as the entire affair now takes place in a floating fortress, set to the backdrop of an ongoing city battle. It's a remake of a good map that's made even better due to jumpjet and wallrunning capabilities. There's usually one map that I outright dislike in a pack, and this time it's Rise. It's far too gated and familiar for my tastes, and is nearly indistinguishable from a few industrial levels included in the base package (namely Exodus). There are times where you'd think a cool new area is just waiting around a corner, but then the game doesn't allow you to actually go there due to invisible walls. It's almost like they spent too much time building the other three to really put the proper amount of care in here. If it comes up in the rotation I usually cringe. Der Eisendrache (The Iron Dragon) caps off the DLC, which immediately adds more of an incentive to pick up Awakening. Peppering in one zombie (or alien) map is a strategy the other Call of Duty developers (Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer) have adopted for good reason -- the sheer amount of depth in these things keep people coming back for more. I really dig the whole castle theme, which basically goes full Wolfenstein from the start. I'm sad to see the Jeff Goldblum crew seemingly isn't returning for more, but the original cast is iconic enough to last, spearheaded by Steve Blum's Dempsey. The animated intro certainly helps give the level a different feel as well, and it's crazy that Treyarch is still building upon the lore it created so many years ago in World at War. Der Eisendrache surprised me as well with its open layout, with plenty of room to move, lots of teleporters, and tons of secrets that players will be tracking down weeks after launch. As Nikolai even remarks during Der Eisendrache, "will there ever be an end to this nightmare?" Not as long as Activision keeps selling DLC, there isn't! But one man's nightmare is another man's video game, and the good news is that each Call of Duty developer has been pushing itself harder in recent years to justify the price. If you still play Black Ops III, you can't really go wrong with Awakening -- especially since the new maps are now built into normal playlists from the get-go.
Call of Duty DLC review photo
Four maps and some zombies
It's still crazy to me that I'm loading up a Call of Duty DLC pack first on PlayStation 4. After years of Microsoft-dominated timed exclusivity Sony finally has its shot at heading it up, and it has perfect timing with Black Ops III. As one of the best Call of Duty games in years, it allows Awakening plenty of room to breathe, and lets Treyarch be its unconventional self.

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is having a double XP event this weekend


Plus, a Nuketown playlist
Dec 11
// Chris Carter
I'm still enjoying Call of Duty: Black Ops III, mostly due to the fact that there's so many game modes in tow. If I ever get bored of one gametype I can move on to the other, but the general multiplayer element is so strong t...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

The first Call of Duty: Black Ops III DLC is coming in early 2016


PS4 first, of course
Dec 05
// Brett Makedonski
Black Ops III getting stale yet? It has only been out for a month so I'd hope not. But, if it is, reinforcement is coming soon. Toward the beginning of Sony's PlayStation Experience keynote, it was revealed that the Awakening add-on is slated for early 2016. Of course, Sony's getting its money's worth for its sizable investment and touting it as a 30-day exclusive to PS4. Money talks.
Blops makes bank photo
Blops makes bank

Call of Duty: Black Ops III biggest launch of 2015 at $550 million


Until Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Nov 11
// Steven Hansen
Call of Duty: Black Ops III made a lot of money in three days. And while that's not surprising, it is notable, given that the series sales had been in a bit of a decline with Ghosts and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. I guess the...

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

91% of Black Ops 3 UK sales were on PS4 or Xbox One


Up from 67% for Advanced Warfare sales
Nov 09
// Vikki Blake
91% of all physical sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops III sold in the UK were for PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. According to UK chart company GfK Chart-Track, just 8% were picked up for last-gen consoles PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, leaving just 1% preferring to pick up the game on PC. The chart does not account for digital sales.
Call of Jr. photo
Call of Jr.

Carl's Duty: eat an absurd burger and win a gross gun skin


You know, for the veterans
Nov 06
// Darren Nakamura
The United States of America, right? Where our burgers are big and our guns are bigger. And our heart failures are spectacular. Or something. Let's start over. Carl's Jr. (also known as Hardee's) is teaming up with Activision...

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Nov 06 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Treyarch (PC, PS4, Xbox One), Beenox/Mercenary Technology (PS3, Xbox 360)Publisher: ActivisionMSRP: $59.99Released: November 6, 2015 I'm just going to get right into it -- this is the weakest campaign yet from Treyarch. Right from the start you can see what it's going for, and things get way too heavy-handed and exposition-laden without actually saying anything. There's lots of talk about a "new Cold War" in the future, and after rescuing an Egyptian minister after an uprising in Cairo, it's off to the races. There's plenty of Terminator-esque "Man vs. Machine" going on with the 2065 backdrop and a touch of surrealism, but all of it has been seen before and done better. To boot, none of the characters are memorable or compelling in any way, and the dialogue is the most generic it's ever been. Part of it is because you're now "The Player" (male or female) instead of someone like Modern Warfare's Soap MacTavish, a character you can somewhat connect with while you're playing. You're kind of just there, and the relationships with each cast member never really have a chance to flourish across all 11 missions. Treyarch seems to have a knack for historical narratives, but I'm not really buying its grimdark sales pitch here. Now, that doesn't mean that the campaign is all bad. The powers that be have now implemented a system where you can choose any mission you want, right from the start, without having played any prior stages. That way if you get bored and want to see the ending, you can skip right to the end. Additionally, the hub center where you can switch your abilities, weapons, and loadout around is convenient, as is the progression system with full XP rewards to encourage multiplayer playthroughs. There's also an arena-based "combat immersion" center to test weapons out in, which looks a lot like Metal Gear's VR missions. [embed]318891:61008:0[/embed] Split-screen play (for two players) is also in, as is online play for the story, on top of a "Nightmare mode" that remixes every level with undead foes. With the recent removal of split-screen from Halo 5, support for multiple players on the same console is a breath of fresh air. Yes, the framerate does suffer as a result of playing couch co-op, but I'm very glad it's there, and that Treyarch is still actively pushing for it. Hell, LAN play is even supported on consoles -- in 2015, that's pretty damn rare. Now, we get to the good stuff -- all the other modes besides the campaign. Although light, the Freerun gametype is a cool way to show off all of the new mechanics (wallrunning and the toned-down jetpack). It's only playable solo and has a scant four maps, but it's really reminiscent of Mirror's Edge's abstract DLC packs, which were my favorite part of the game. Plus, it has leaderboards, which are a major plus for a mode like this. I don't want to spoil much, but the Smash TV-like Dead Ops Arcade is back, and it's better than it was before. Of course, it wouldn't be a Treyarch game without zombies, and I think it's assembled the best cast, alongside of the most interesting setting to date. I'm talking Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Ron Perlman, and Neal McDonough in a Lovecraftian noir city unique. Seeing Goldblum play a washed-up scumbag magician is a treat, and the actors really give it their all for this new chapter of the zombie saga, "Shadows of Evil." While I did appreciate the campaign tie-in for Advanced Warfare's zombie mode, I like where this particular setting is going, and I hope it can keep this same cast going forward. It's also the most fully-featured from a gameplay perspective, with customizable weapon loadouts, individual upgrades, and a leveling system. You can also change up your "Gobblegum Gumballs," which are like miniature $500 soda machines that grant temporary perks. It's a tiny little thing, but it really helps you play the way you want, which is only a recent concept for zombies. In terms of secrets I think this is going to be the most challenging one yet for the community, as a lot of it hinges on changing into the "beast" (read: a Cthulian creature) to unlock specific areas and bonuses. I've spent nearly 15 hours in Shadows of Evil alone and I feel like I've only scratched the surface. What the campaign lacks in personality, zombies makes up for in spades, and that principle also goes for multiplayer. Now players will choose a "specialist," when playing traditional multiplayer, which operates a lot like a unique character skin, with an added ability in tow. For instance, the robot "Reaper" has access to a minigun power-up that comes out of his arm, or a skill that creates non-lethal clones of himself to run around the battlefield. One dude even looks like The Fury from Snake Eater, complete with a flamethrower special. They clearly had a lot of fun designing these creations, and it plays that way. Most of the powers feel balanced, especially when you consider the fact that they can only be used once you earn enough meter for them, which is typically only one or two times per match. This is on top of the classic scorestreak rewards -- but since those reset your meter upon death and the specialist powers don't, it's a way for casual players to engage without feeling like they're never earning anything. Wallrunning also adds a new depth to arenas (of which there are 12 at launch), where specific chokepoints can be circumvented by traversing raised platforms on the sides of some bases. Likewise, swimming, as simple of a mechanic as it is, bids a welcome return from Advanced Warfare, with a lot more freedom in terms of movement and combat. Those of you who found Advanced's crazy twitch movement system to be too frenetic will be pleased to hear that it's been toned down for Black Ops III, as the jetpack is now essentially a double jump, or a slide boost, and that's it. While I did like airdashing and all of the craziness that the last iteration entailed, I'm happy that each game has a distinctly different feel to it. Multiplayer has been overhauled from a features standpoint too, as there's now full support for streaming (including a cavalcade of spectator options), arena ranked playlists with seasons, and an even more convenient instant menu option for perma-muting anyone outside of your party. There have been hundreds of people populating Black Ops III's servers during this testing period without issues, but if anything changes we'll provide updates as needed on the front page. At this point, at least two of the Call of Duty developers (Treyarch and Sledgehammer), have it figured out. They now have a three-year development cycle, which means that technically, each individual game is not a rushed "annual" iteration. While the campaign could certainly be a lot stronger, Black Ops III is living proof of that concept. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Call of Duty review photo
Zombies...uh...zombies, find a way
Call of Duty campaigns are some of the most inconsistent storylines in all of gaming. While some entries are content with wowing you on a constant basis with new setpieces and unique sequences, a number of them (Ghosts&n...

Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Surprise! Black Ops III looks not great on last-gen, turns tanks into vans


Most likely will not care
Nov 05
// Brett Makedonski
Activision's in the fortuitous position with Call of Duty where the fanbase is so large that they haven't all adopted current-gen consoles yet. But, that means it's mostly obligated to keep releasing games on legacy sys...
Surprise Black Ops fact photo
Surprise Black Ops fact

Three-year-old Call of Duty: Black Ops II still has 12 million players a month


Called to duty, never called home
Nov 03
// Steven Hansen
Want to feel old? Call of Duty: Black Ops II is three years old. Want to feel, I don't know, surprised? Impressed? That "huh" feeling when you learn a moderately interesting but not too interesting or at all valuable piece of...
Call of Duty mods photo
Call of Duty mods

Black Ops III embracing mods on PC next year


Good show, Treyarch
Nov 02
// Jordan Devore
Call of Duty: Black Ops III is going to look a whole lot different next year on PC. Series fans have wanted robust mod support for years now, and Treyarch is listening. Players will be able to create not only maps in Black Op...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

The history of Call of Duty


Uh, maybe war does change
Oct 30
// Jordan Devore
With Black Ops III only a week out, we got to thinking about the series at large. The first installment I played was Call of Duty 2, but the first one I loved was Modern Warfare. I'm hardly alone. Over the past decade, much h...
Black Ops Zombies photo
Black Ops Zombies

Der Riese returns for Call of Duty: Black Ops III


Not included in the standard game
Oct 23
// Jordan Devore
Treyarch sure has made good use of its "Der Riese" map. The Zombies level first appeared in Call of Duty: World at War, then it was revitalized for Black Ops, and now it's back again in Black Ops III (but only for folks who b...
Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Black Ops III's new mode is more Mirror's Edge than Call of Duty


With a dash of Titanfall
Oct 16
// Brett Makedonski
Don't expect Call of Duty: Black Ops III to be all killing. Well, it'll be a fair amount of that. But there's also some running, and the game's newest mode focuses squarely on that. During a developer livestream today, ...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Treyarch is 'very sorry' about that Black Ops III tweet


'It was not done maliciously'
Oct 13
// Vikki Blake
Call of Duty: Black Ops III developer Treyarch has apologised for its recent Twitter marketing campaign. A couple of weeks ago, the studio changed the @callofduty Twitter name to 'Current Events Aggregate' and tweeted news of a live terrorist attack in Singapore. 
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Black Ops III's hardest difficulty will kill you in one shot


Veteran mode is scary enough, thanks
Oct 12
// Jordan Devore
We were only just chatting about overly harsh difficulty modes last week with Naughty Dog's Brutal option for Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and now here's Treyarch with a grueling addition to Call of Duty: Black Ops...
Broken Arrow photo
Broken Arrow

Call of Duty: Black Ops III unlocks all campaign levels from start


'Unlocking level system is [archaic]'
Oct 12
// Steven Hansen
If the (expected) seven hours it takes to finish Call of Duty: Black Ops III's single-player campaign is too much of a time commitment, note that you can just skip right on to the end of the game. (And if you're on PS3 or 360...
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...

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