Call Of Duty: Black Ops III Review — Stuck In The Black

The most amazing thing about Call of Duty: Black Ops III is that it fails to meet expectations following the first two Black Ops, hits the bar set by the franchise as a whole, and surprises in ways no one saw coming. Throwing it all together, the result is a perfectly good game that only fails at being great.

Set 40 years after Black Ops II, the story picks up in the year 2065 in a world that looks an awful lot like that of Advanced Warfare. War is now conducted by covert agents that are more machine than man, which is exactly where we find the player as he hunts after a Singapore crime organization called 54 Immortals.

And by “player,” I really mean Player. You are an unnamed character of your own creation, including a chosen gender as a first for the series. This makes the proceeding narrative exceedingly impotent, as the subtitle placard “Player” serves as a constant reminder that your existence in the story is immaterial.

This is rather disappointing considering what many found interesting from the first two Black Ops games was the super whackadoo story and insane moments of pure non sequitur tying together two generations of killer Mason men. Granted, there are some times back to them, but it comes across as more ancillary than anything. (Christopher Meloni as Commander John Taylor, however, should be a necessity to everything ever made from here on out.)

Going from the ambitious branching elements of Black Ops II, the undeniably linear nature is all the way disappointing. There are some large and spectacular moments in the story, but Treyarch’s eyes used to be so wide looking at this series. It has unfortunately regressed back to when everyone dismissed the campaign almost categorically.

It does try to go to some nutso places regarding the game’s ongoing technological singularity and poses interesting questions in that context, but they were also asked and answered even in Advanced Warfare, let alone any other sci-fi movie about robots. The facets regarding agency are a bit Mason-esque, but even those never feel fully rewarded despite being very Treyarch.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

As for playing the game, its almost exactly what you’d expect. It is 60 fps-smooth and moves perfectly fast with overflowing precision. In terms of mechanics, it brings in a lot of what Advanced Warfare offered with wall running and boosted jumps. None of it feels quite as necessary, though, as it did last year.

You have all these expanded mobility tactics and none of it ever feels useful so much as a inconsequential. Aside from the bonkers Free Run, Mirror’s Edge-style gameplay mode, the best you find is that you can jump over some ledges rather than mantling them. Worse yet is that there are some spots that are easily reached but are blocked by an invisible wall, which is a great discouragement for experimenting with this enhanced locomotion.

When you do force yourself to start messing with your bolstered movement, it plays like the best moments of any Call of Duty game, campaign or otherwise. Sliding around corners to blast a barrel as you dash out of the way of the ensuing explosion is some of the greatest fun you’ll have, which goes doubly true when you’re playing competitively online.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

The game also expands on the idea of robotic superpowers including the ability to blow up dudes with your mind and setting a swarm of robotic bees onto your foes. It feels a bit like if Treyarch had decided to make a BioShock game, which is as cool as it sounds. It’s a bit limited in scope, but the utility and value are immediately apparent. (You blow dudes up with your mind.)

Unfortunately, in the campaign, they pull a classic God of War where you are given every single power-up all from the start—making you feel super badass and awesome—before ripping them all out of your hands and leaving you to wonder how you can be mugged by a video game. And since these abilities are specced out across a (tiny) tech tree, you don’t even get to be that powerful again until you beat the entire game and hit level 20.

You might be less inclined to care about that, though, if you are playing with some buddies all the way through. The campaign is built around the constant availability of four-player co-op like Halo 5, which is for the better since you can be revived in the moment and you can approach more bullet-spongey enemies with tactics.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

As for the multiplayer, it’s basically the beta but with more of it. In it, you’ll pick from one of several character classes (referred to as “specialists”) and further drill into a subclass. What truly differentiates these folk are their special abilities.

Ruin’s subclasses, for instance, allow him to use his gravity spikes to AOE people to death or get a speed booster. Outrider, gets to use her compound bow that fires powerful exploding arrows or highlights enemies within range. (She’s very popular.)

They add missing variety to the multiplayer, which stacks nicely atop the diversity that the pick 10 system offers. That style of perk and loadout management has always engendered perhaps only a handful of truly different arrangements, but the specialists toss in some unique flair to the proceedings, especially if you use something like Prophet’s ability to rewind his physical location.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

It’s unfortunate, though, that every player looks like one of these several characters. Even in the midst of playing as half-robot mercenaries in the future, it’s a bit too surreal seeing several Reapers standing right next to each other. It feels very MOBAish, which is a successful eSports structure but still weird to see in a Call of Duty game. (And holy crap, melees aren’t one-hit kills anymore.)

There’s also the return of the zombies mode, which is probably the most You Know If You Like This of any video game thing out there. It’s impressive how much this mode has expanded since its inception within World at War. These maps and their specialized functionalities are huge, offering multiple gated routes and hidden tasks.

There’s a new story included with new characters (voiced by Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Neal McDonough, and Ron Perlman), but it’s once again incredibly light and mostly inconsequential, though the noir style is a nice touch. It makes me miss the more ambitious bus stuff of Black Ops II, but at least here you can become a The Darkness sort of demon and lay waste to a lot of undead all at once.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

They’ve also included a super weird Nightmares mode that basically puts zombies into the campaign instead of robots. Like, you’re fighting the undead and working to take them out in place of battling corporate armies. It’s kind of insane.

This game very obviously has a lot of content that spans a ton of different modes. It’s more than we’ve ever seen from a Call of Duty game, but it’s also the most unfocused we’ve ever seen as well. Everything has enough polish to where you can’t fault its inclusion, but it’s all also borderline milquetoast.

The story tries to go to new and unexpected places, but none of it quite pays off. The enhanced mechanics are great for adding spice to a traditionally flat and linear gameplay loop, but it all feels ancillary. And the multiplayer is functional but lacks any real grip. Piece it all together, and Black Ops III is good but not great.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

+ Added mobility gives you plenty of options for how to kill someone
+ BioShock-inspired abilities makes combat scenarios feel fresh
+ Runs smooth like butter all the way through and looks great doing it
– Story reaches high but fuddles around what it seems to really want to say
– Multiplayer maps makes using the expanded traversal mechanics a liability

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Game Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Release: November 6, 2015
Genre: First-person shooter
Developer: Treyarch
Available Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Players: Single-player, multiplayer
MSRP: $59.99

Fisher-Price Power Wheels Ford Super Duty Pick-Up

Built tough for foot-powered, ride-on fun, the Fisher-Price® FORD F-250 Super Duty brings the excitement of the road to your child! With life-like motor sounds and flashing lights, the realistic-looking F-250 Super Duty pickup truck has a wide and sturdy four-wheel base for exciting indoor or outdoor adventures. It’s the only licensed Ford foot-to-floor play truck that gives little ones the thrill of riding on a Super Duty pickup truck! For children ages 12 to 36 months.

Boy on truck

Foot-to-floor play truck that lets little ones explore
Storage compartment

Storage compartment under the seat for take-along fun
What does it do?
Vrrooom! The Fisher-Price® FORD F-250 Super Duty pickup has Super Duty styling, with cool “chrome” accents and realistic design cues, fueling imaginative role play adventures for children ages 12 to 36 months. The pickup has a “truck-bed” storage compartment under the seat for take-along items and it’s sized and shaped just right for toddlers, with durable wheels for non-stop role-play journeys. Doing yard work? Picking up the crew for a big construction project? Imagine it – then bring it to life!

How does it help my child develop?
Designed for children ages 12 to 36 months with a maximum weight of 44 pounds, the Fisher-Price® FORD F-250 Super Duty is part learning tool, part developmental tool – and all fun! The pickup teaches balance and coordination as children develop spatial skills by driving around on the pickup, and thinking and problem solving skills are promoted as children learn to make the vehicle stop or go in different directions. The FORD F-250 Super Duty will improve your child’s gross motor skills development and balance through fun and exciting ride-along adventures.

Isn’t it amazing?
Watching their faces light up as they explore, discover, play … all those moments when children learn best. That’s why Fisher-Price® builds learning into everything we make. With playful ways to engage curious minds, exercise little bodies, and nurture budding personalities. Because nothing’s more amazing than sharing the joy of learning with your child.

What’s In The Box?
Fisher-Price FORD F-250 Super Duty pickup truck and 1 AA R6 battery.

Wide and sturdy four-wheel base for exciting indoor or outdoor adventures

Product Features

  • Classic foot-to-floor fun
  • Realistic Ford Super Duty pick-up styling
  • Has a cool, chrome front
  • Features lights and realistic motor sounds
  • Designed with toddler-friendly features for the littlest riders

King Motor Front Heavy Duty Aluminum Upper Plate (silver) Fits HPI 5b, SS Baja

King Motor Brand New Aluminum Heavy Duty Front Upper Plate

This is a great affordable way of strengthening the front of your baja and will save you money and time down the road from fixing bent up front ends after crashes.

Strong Thick Aluminum Construction.

Product Features

  • Front Heavy Duty Aluminum Upper Plate (silver)
  • Strong Thick Aluminum Construction! High Quality! Looks Great!
  • Ready to Bolt Right On!
  • This is a great affordable way of strengthening the front of your Baja and will save you money and time down the road from fixing bent up front ends after crashes.

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Xbox One Limited Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle

(photo: credits) I’ve come to believe that the Xbox One Limited Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle is probably the best deal yet if you plan on purchasing Xbox Call of Duty: Advanced…

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – “Induction” Gameplay

The video above shows gameplay from the “Induction” campaign level, which follows a group of US Marines as they drop into the battle lines of Seoul, South Korea. This gameplay looks…

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HPI Baja 5b SS *DRIVE SHAFTS* Heavy Duty Dogbone Boots

HPI 1/5 Baja 5B SS Buggy (Model 10610)
Heavy Duty Drive Shafts & Boots

MSRP: $37.99
Local Hobby Shop: $33.99
Dollar Hobbyz: Up to 95% Off MSRP! More Truck For Your Buck Since 2002!

This Product Includes:
Two (2) Heavy Duty Steel Driveshafts 15 x 120mm (Part # 86610)Four (4) Rubber Shaft Boots

Product Features

  • Product For Sale: Heavy Duty Drive Shafts & Boots for the HPI 1/5 Baja 5B SS Buggy (Model 10610)
  • Product Information: Sold By Dollar Hobbyz – More Truck For Your Buck Since 2002! This product is NEW in OEM Packaging and is from a New, Unused HPI 1/5 Baja 5B SS Buggy (Model 10610). Due to disassembled nature of our products, some parts may show slight signs of disassembly. The parts included with this product are exclusive to what is pictured in this listing. See Product Description below.
  • Shipping Information: Orders cleared by 2PM CST Ship Same Day! (Excludes Weekends and Holidays – Restrictions Apply). 2.3 Days Average Transit Time in the USA using our Standard Shipping Method (Based on 30 Day Average of Dollar Hobbyz’ Shipments)! International orders are delivered within average of 5-15 business days with Standard Shipping. Shipping rates are calculated by Amazon based on weight.
  • Terms of Sale: Hassel Free Returns! All returns are subject to a 10% minimum restocking fee. Orders CANNOT be changed or cancelled by seller. All orders are shipped to address provided during checkout. Please confirm shipping address before placing your order! Because orders are shipped so quickly, we cannot change addresses once orders are placed! When purchasing this product, Buyer agrees to contact manufacturer for all warranty replacements. Import/Customs fees are responsibility of Buyer.

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pre-Order Details

(photo: credits) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, developed by Sledgehammer Games (co-developers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3), harnesses the first three-year, all next-gen development cycle in…

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Trailer Roundup: Nintendo, Call of Duty, H1Z1, And More

Yeah, I moved Trailer Roundup from Fridays to Mondays. It just seemed to make sense considering Fridays are actually quite the popular day for new trailers to come out. Also, I’d much rather waste away the beginning of a week watching videos on the Internet than the end. (But honestly I like to spend both and everything in between doing just that.) Anyways, here we go!

Fearless Fantasy

Umm…so I guess there’s, uh. Well, if you look at it this way, it could be—oh who am I kidding. This trailer is a solid 60 seconds of nonsense.

Self-described as “the weirdest RPG you’ll play this year” by the same guys that made the fantastic SpeedRunners, Fearless Fantasy is a turn-based game where combat is determined by gestures with the mouse. From its press kit, the game’s features include “a full-on story” and “RPG stuff.” Count me in. I think.

Nintendo’s E3 Plans

Sometimes I wonder just how much free time Reggie Fils-Aime has. It seems like either he’s got a lot of that or he’s just super self-aware how much people like watching him do things. It’s a toss-up, really. Produced by Mega64, this video actually coincides with one of the bigger pieces of news from last week, albeit not one of the bigger surprises.

Just like last year, Nintendo will not be hosting a traditional E3 press conference like Sony and Nintendo. Instead, they’ll be holding a tournament in the Nokia Theater for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. But they will be bringing back the ability for those not at E3 to play their unreleased games at Best Buys all around America. Also, no new console?


It makes sense. People like playing online with their friends and they like playing around in giant open worlds but they don’t like lots of emptiness in between. So what is relatively easy to implement that can fill those large gaps?

Zombies! Simply directed AI and vast expanses of terrifying openness. Hence State of Decay, DayZ, and now H1Z1. It’s free-to-play and there are zombies and, well, you get it, right?

Watch Dogs Season Pass

The trailer itself isn’t doing much for me, but its contents are, like, really weird. It’s boasting an additional single-player campaign with a character named T-Bone, a character we’re not at all familiar with, let alone the game he resides in. And you can dress Aiden like Eliot Ness and also fight techno zombies? This is some super strange stuff, guys.

Outlast Whistleblower DLC

Nooooope. Nope nope nope nope nope.


If you haven’t played Nidhogg yet on PC, fear not because now it’s coming to the PlayStation 4. It looks simple, but it’s actually quite an impressively deep game of one-on-one sword dueling that, honestly, I can’t get enough of. If I had more friends with commensurate time to waste, I’d be playing it basically nonstop.

Axiom Verge

Looks essentially like a class 2D Metroid game but with entirely modern sensibilities. I don’t just mean that very obviously has side-scrolling trappings that you would see from today in its gameplay, but that its atmosphere feels very present. Axiom Verge‘s trailer’s ability to create a foreboding sense of narrative impetus and its purposefully electronic tunes makes me want to believe that this game is going to be the real deal.

And come on, Sony. “Announce” trailer? I thought we were done with that. Not just as an industry but as a people.


I’m so in love with the art style of this game, not to mention its combat system is all up in my wheelhouse of fighting mechanics: brutal, swift, and deliberate. Not that I’m always particularly good at those types of games, but I appreciate it when their systems are made to be quick and decisive, like it appears to be in Apotheon.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Listen, I’ve played a lot of demos of Wolfenstein: The New Order. I can tell you that the tactile route is totally viable. It’s also totally boring. And when you go in guns blazing, a lot of your time is actually spent trying to find enough ammo to keep the bloodbath raining. Of course, things could have and probably have changed, but that’s just what I know. There’s a reason why it cuts between the “cool” parts.

Call of Duty and VICE

I like a lot of what VICE does. They make some good videos of investigative journalism. This one, no doubt, could be also quite good if it wasn’t a three-minute prologue to another Call of Duty game. But the weird thing about this one is that it’s trying to play that we’ve never gone through this before.

True, Americans and the world at large don’t know much about the actual operations and risks and legality of private military corporations, or PMCs, but gamers are quite familiar with the philosophical intricacies of it all via Metal Gear Solid. And every other modern military FPS, really. A little late to the part, COD.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Granted, I’m pretty much over anything modern military shooters have to offer (I mean, how many times can you be impressed with blowing up a national landmark?), but that doesn’t mean that genre as a whole doesn’t make some damn good trailers. This one especially is worthwhile due to Kevin Spacey being Kevin Spacey and talking politics, filling a void in my life since I finished season 2 of House of Cards.

Super Time Force

In total, I’ve spent about 15 to 20 minutes with Super Time Force, and I love it already. This trailer exemplifies every reason why.

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HPI Racing 86715 Heavy Duty Aluminum Pinion and Clutch Mount, Baja 5B

This is the replacement Heavy Duty Aluminum Pinion/Clutch Mount for the / Baja 5T Buggy from HPI(HPIC1600) / / FEATURES: Aluminum construction, gun metal in color / Uses oversized bearings for increased durability / / INCLUDES: One pinion/clutch mount / Two 13x33mm Bearings / One tube thread lock / Instructions / / REQUIRES: Installation onto vehicle

Product Features

  • This product is made from high quality materials, and it is designed for lasting performance
  • Use HPI replacement parts and after market accessories to get the most from your HPI vehicles
  • This is for use on RC products such as the HPI Baja 5B, consult your user’s manual for exact parts listings

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