The Coolest New Features in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

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Certain to become one of this year’s biggest holiday releases, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 follows up on last year’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare with its own bag of tricks: There are jet packs, cybernetic superpowers, and, of course, zombies. Here’s a list of Black Ops 3’s finest assets (which, of course, you can experience starting today on Xbox One).

(Truly) Cyber Warfare

In addition to its more expansive stages – which help move the game away from straightforward corridor shooting – Black Ops 3 introduces new powers in the form of Cyber Cores (side note: The game definitely takes a page from William Gibson’s “Neuromancer,” what with all of its cyber-amenities). These grant players new abilities in three disparate areas, mixing up the way that they can approach certain levels.

One focuses on manipulating and controlling enemy machines, another focuses on enhancing the player’s own abilities (wall runs, ground pounds, etc.), and a third uses abilities like pyrokinesis and nanobots to ignite enemies. You can take control of drones, even making them self-destruct at opportune times (and thereby neutralizing everyone nearby).

Just be careful when using those special abilities in multiplayer; while they’re fun and effective when used wisely, they can also leave you very vulnerable to a prepared, standing opponent.

Cooperation Everywhere

Finally! Up to four players can play through the Black Ops 3 campaign together, both online and locally. Players can drop in and out of campaign stages, and the inclusion of full co-op support is a huge, long-awaited boost for the series.

An E-sporting Chance

For the serious combatants, developer Treyarch has also added a new e-sports-style Arena mode, which is separate from its main multiplayer modes. This mode caters to professional (or professional-minded) gamers, and introduces lots of new rules, such as bans and protections on characters, weapons, and score streaks. If you’re a hardcore Call of Duty multiplayer enthusiast, this mode is for you.

Zombiessssss!

The Black Ops staple Zombie component includes both story and multiplayer modes. The former is called Shadows of Evil – and the goal is to survive as many undead waves as possible. Players take on the roles of four different Prohibition-era reprobates (these include Nero the Magician, Jessica the Femme Fatale, Vincent the Cop, and Campbell the Boxer), all battling their own unique demons. Bearing the Mark of the Beast, they must survive the zombie plague, while gathering together a number of artifacts to complete a ritual that essentially saves the world.

To give a sense of the scale, the Shadows of Evil map includes a tram that shuttles players around, as well as secret areas that can only be accessed when one player uses a Beast altar (thereby becoming an invulnerable, tentacled creature that can open certain doors and activate certain switches).

Free the Beast

It’s also worth noting that Black Ops 3 could come as a freebie for those jumping into the Xbox One fray for the first time. It’s included as part of a brand new promotion, through which a number of major retailers are offering the chance to get a game for free when you purchase any Xbox One bundle. The official details on how to get your free game when buying a new system can be found here. Get your copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 on Xbox One today!