Last night, Activision held a multiplayer event for Call of Duty: Black Ops III. It was the first time we were able to experience the multiplayer portion of the highly anticipated game from Treyarch. Being a fan of the first two Black Ops multiplayer, I was pretty stoked to try out what's new.
The focus was on the movement and combat readiness of the player. Treyarch's goal was to eliminate barriers of movement as much as possible without taking too much skill. The gun is constantly up no matter what you are doing so you can shoot at any time. Traversing over objects is quick and easy with a push of the jump button. You can also do so strafing and going backwards, which makes for some interesting maneuvers.
In multiplayer, you have unlimited sprint. There's no more perk needed to get this as everyone has this option from the start. This adds to the fast and furious pace that Treyarch is aiming for.
There's no dive to prone anymore, but you can power slide in the game. Take a running start and then slide towards your opponent, again with the gun up and ready to fire. You can queue up the slide and also alter your direction as you are sliding with the thumb button. And yes, slide backwards to do one of those crazy movie type maneuvers.
Treyarch has added a thrust jump into the fray allowing you to double jump in and out of action. There's an analog control as to how much thrust you want to use so you can save some of your power if you only need a little boost or use it all if you want to get to higher places. The power meter, which is also used for power sliding, is replenished over time and lets you know how much thrust or sliding power you have left. As with traversing, you can thrust in any direction.
Wall run seems to be the rage these days and Treyarch has put this into the game as well. One unique item about the wall run is that you can stop along a wall and reverse direction while still on the wall. It's pretty slick and was fun to use. You can also chain wall runs off various walls as well.
Swimming won't hinder your firing either. Your gun will always be ready and Treyarch showed some maps where there was underwater fighting.
All the moves described above can be linked so imagine running around on a map, wall running over an open area, thrust jump onto a platform, sprint and traversing over an area, then power sliding towards an enemy while taking them out in the process. It's fluid and it's spectacular when all of the moves work together in harmony.
A feature called the gunsmith was showcased and it demonstrated the gun customization ability of Black Ops III. You can put on different decals, materials, and paint job with 64 layers to work with. You can save and share your creations for others to see. The paint jobs are on the prominent surfaces of the gun, so they can be easily seen by others. Oh yes, you can add up to five different attachments as well and really make your gun unique both in style and substance.
Black Ops III features specialist classes with unique weapons and abilities. Some have been shown such as Ruin with his gravity spikes, Seraph with her one shot killing revolver, and Reaper with his chaingun arm. Specialists all have a unique weapon or ability you can pre-set to use before a match. You earn the ability to use them over time and killing or scoring can shorten that time. The special ability can be saved to be used later, but you won't earn time back to use it until it's depleted.
Two new specialists were on hand at the event last night. Prophet has a gun that can shoot electricity to shock his enemies. What's nice is if there are nearby foes, it will daisy chain and hit them as well. His special ability is called Glitch and it's sort of a teleportation. A pretty slick way this is used is if someone's chasing you, you tag a wall as you run past it, wait for the enemy to run past it as well, teleport back and take him out. It elicited a lot of oohs and aahs from the crowd.
The other specialist was called Nomad and he had nanobots as his special weapon. Tag an area on the map and if an enemy runs into the trap, a bunch of nanobots come out and swarm the enemy. His special ability allows him to come back from near death with a serum injection.
I played two sessions, one was kill confirmed and the other was capturing hard points and I had a ton of fun. After a few minutes, most of the maneuvers became easy to use as you get used to the map and timing of activating a move. Treyarch has really achieved their goal to deliver fast, fluid multiplayer action. I found myself power sliding into enemies or wall running into the action without even thinking. Everything became second nature and it was a ton of fun to have feeling in freedom of movement around the map with very little barriers in place because of the movement system in place.
After the initial encounter, there wasn't any long periods where I wasn't engaged with an enemy near me. The maps were tight and mostly close quarters, but I'm sure there are more open maps that I didn't get to play.
Overall, the feeling I got from the multiplayer sampling has me very excited about the next Black Ops. As I said, I've always been a fan of the way they do multiplayer and they really seem to have ratcheted up this side of the game. It will be on the E3 show floor as well so a lot of people will be trying out a multiplayer Call of Duty game for the first time before it hits the stores. And we haven't even gotten into the zombie mode yet.\
I'd like to thank Activision for hosting this event and I had a great time trying out multiplayer Black Ops III.