Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Initial Thoughts

There was something immensely satisfying about booting up the beta for Black Ops 3 for the first time.

Perhaps it was the excitement of getting my hands on the latest edition of the Call of Duty franchise months before its release in November, or the thought of playing a Call of Duty game that saw me spend more time on the ground than I did flying through the air.

Thankfully, that wonderful feeling of satisfaction never flickered during my six days with the beta, as I fell more and more in love with Treyarch’s latest offering in their storied Black Ops franchise.

If you didn’t get the chance to boot up the beta, don’t worry, here’s an in-depth look at my initial thoughts of Black Ops 3.

Of course, before we get too far into the nitty-gritty of the Black Ops 3 beta, we first must remind ourselves that it is still a beta. This wasn’t the final release of the multiplayer system, just a snippet to whet our appetite. So, if there were some parts of the game you didn’t like, never fear, as they may be altered by the time November 6th rolls around.

To kick things off, let’s talk about the movement system in Black Ops 3. Black Ops 3 utilises ‘Combat Movement’, Treyarch’s answer to the ‘Exo-Movement’ system we saw in Advanced Warfare. Treyarch’s system feels like a more refined version of ‘Exo-Movement’, allowing players to use the same verticality they had last year, while reining it in, to allow more on-ground combat.

On Black Ops 3, players have a Boost Meter, which allows them to jump as far as they want, until the Boost Meter runs out. As a result, more gunfights occur on the ground, rather than in the sky, as players have to use their limited jumps wisely, along with boost sliding, which also drains the energy of your Boost Meter.

Black Ops 3 also introduces wall running, allowing combatants to literally run along walls to get around the map. The wall running is amazing, and allows for some sick plays, whether it’s running along a wall to get away from an enemy, hitting the side of the map for a quick flank, or making some big objective runs in game modes like Uplink or Capture The Flag. Overall, the new movement system brings Call of Duty back down to earth, without losing the fun element to be had when flying through the air.  

However, with an updated movement system, Treyarch were once again tasked with the difficult challenge of designing a new pool of maps.

Thankfully, Treyarch managed to successfully combine both the new features and the old, as they retained their iconic three lane structure, renowned for its success it Black Ops 2,  while adding some much needed verticality to go along with the new movement system.  

Within the beta, we were able to play four maps; Combine, Evac, Stronghold and Hunted, and they all played extremely well in the new system. Personally, Combine was my favourite, as it felt like the map had been designed with every game mode in mind. However, every single map had their own strengths, which always outweighed their weaknesses, which is great news, especially with more maps to come in the full release. 

Finally, let’s talk about the actual combat. Black Ops 3 introduces Specialists, a set of character classes with individual special abilities and weapons that allow players to add a new dimension to their game. Each Specialist ability has a cool down timer between uses, to stop players from constantly abusing them.

I opted to use the Outrider Specialist and her ability Vision Pulse, allowing me to see the location of enemy players for a limited time. I personally found this ability way more useful than the special weapon, the “Sparrow”, a lethal compound bow with exploding bolts.

However, I did encounter a lot of enemies using the Specialists weapons to their advantage, which epitomises the amazing user customisation within Black Ops 3. Each player is able to customise their own class, perks, specialists and their abilities to their own personal preference.


The weapons themselves in Black Ops 3 are pretty well balanced, with no singular gun dominating as the best weapon in the game. Submachine guns such as the Kuda and the Razorback hold up well against the strong Assault Rifles like the Man-‘O’-War and the fan favourite M8, which makes its return from Black Ops 2.  

Concussion grenades and Flashbangs, on the other hand, are unbelievably strong, and need to be nerfed fairly quickly. But apart from that, the combat system is strong, well balanced, and more importantly, a ton of fun. 

So what is the final verdict on the Black Ops 3 beta? “More of the same please”. Treyarch have used their extra year of development to create one of the most balanced Call of Duty’s I’ve played.

With good maps, balanced weapons and a close to perfect movement system, Black Ops 3 has all the makings to surpass Black Ops 2 as the new standard for the Call of Duty franchise. With Treyarch’s brilliant development support, shown through their multiple patches within the beta itself, you can rest assured that this year’s Call of Duty is in the safest hands.

What were your first impressions of the beta? Let us know in the comments below!

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