A Dynamic, Co-Op Campaign Leads the Way for Call of Duty: Black Ops III

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In the future, you’ll be able to control robots with your mind. Well, not your mind, exactly, but your Cyber Core – a piece of cybernetic technology tied into your brain stem. In Call of Duty: Black Ops III, modern super-soldiers use their Cyber Cores in tandem with other cybernetic augments to dominate on the battlefield, leaping enormous distances, sending shock waves on their landing, and yes, taking over robotic drones and using them against the enemy.

You’ll still have plenty of awesome firearms to choose from, of course; this is a Call of Duty game, after all. But you won’t have to rely on bullets (or grenades, rockets, etc.) alone. In fact, you won’t need to rely on anything alone, since Black Ops III allows for complete, four-way cooperative gameplay throughout its main campaign, either locally or online.

During our recent demo, we saw four players engage a massive battle in Egypt, in which they held back wave after wave of robotic enemies, combining different abilities together to fashion a synergistic whole. One soldier snuck to a ruined balcony to snipe enemies, while another ran interference using a weapon that fired explosive spikes into the ground. Still another employed his Cyber Core to take control of an enemy drone, and then used it to take out a flotilla of other drones. The combat was fast and furious – and hard to keep track of with just one pair of eyes – but it’s clear that cooperation among teammates (and clever division of labor) will make the campaign a heck of a lot easier to get through.

Because the campaign has been designed with co-op play in mind, the levels are far less linear than in previous Call of Duty titles. Levels emphasize replayability and imagination, with teams of players able to take multiple pathways to success. Of course, you can still play by yourself and get the whole experience… but it’s clear that developer Treyarch wants to make the campaign just as involving a multiplayer experience as its now-famous zombies mode (which, by the way, also makes a comeback in Black Ops III).

Of course, competitive multiplayer is back, too – and players will be able to fully customize their characters (including options for female characters), their equipment, and their Cyber Core abilities. There’s also a new “Gunsmith” option, which allows for deep weapon customization and modding, as well as a camouflage designer. From there, you’ll get a chance to go at it with a bunch of friends (or enemies) in the standard Call of Duty competitive modes, including Domination, Hardpoint, Kill Confirmed, and Deathmatch. All multiplayer maps are completely original, and they are designed to take advantage of the series’ new abilities and fluid movement, so players will be coming into a fresh and exciting experience no matter how much Call of Duty experience they’ve had.

In sum, Black Ops III looks like the coolest, most futuristic, and most team-oriented Call of Duty title ever. So grab some friends, power up your Cyber Core (or, you know, put fresh batteries in your controller), and get to it when the game hits Xbox One and Xbox 360 on November!