Top 10 Games of E3 2015

08. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

The next chapter in the Call of Duty series, Black Ops III, developed by Treyarch and published by Activision, has been given a November 6, 2015 release date for Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Yes the entire spectrum - more on that in a moment.

A direct sequel to 2012s Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the story in III is set in the dystopian future of 2065, fully forty years after the events that played out in Black Ops II. What sort of dystopian future are we talking about? The sort that pits man vs machine, that sort.

You see in 2065 the pursuit of battlefield supremacy has caused the world governments to invest in war sciences -- think robotic cyber-enhancements that have recast the soldier from well trained and disciplined but still fully human to part-human part-robot lab-designed Supersoldiers who have been engineered to offer the most effective fighting capabilities on the battlefield.

Based on the demo the basic plot here is that this new generation of soldiers that are more machine than flesh and blood are a problem that has left humanity genuinely in fear that the cyber-soldiers will eventually take over!

The worry is that the human species, or better put, what represents the human species, may well be redefined by these part-human-part-robot creatures, who it is feared may decided that the organic humans are simply not worth the effort of defending.

That is some serious angst and fear there mates, and it has solididied in a society violently protesting the technology put to use by the military, while it attempts to halt further advancements that have been touted by scientists as progress for the sake of efficiency.

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Here is the thing - that premise would work really well for a game story about a revolutionary force of protestors, but as the POV in BO3 is that of the soldier? Because yeah, the game follows a team of Black Ops soldiers -- just like in the previous games in the Black Ops series -- soldiers who HAVE Supersoldier capabilities.

The natural result of this is a certain amount of discomfort and concern on their part over the fears of their own society that, well, let's be honest here, has not always treated its warriors well even when they were not cybernetically enhanced!

With that caveat in place, and based on the demo and briefing, and what we have seen for ourselves, this deep deep plot and its sub-plot off-shoots make for an immersive and thought-provoking game play and story experience.

Now granted, deep plot and thought-provoking game play and story experience are not exactly what we were looking for in past games in this otherwise bang-bang shoot-em-up testosterone-laced isn't-modern-military-tech-cool fire fest of a game play experience That said though, it prompts us to make other observations.

Like in the case of BO3 this new level of story and content that provokes thought actually works really well. Like maybe there is room for thinking about feeling about issues in the story that are deep and emotionally tug at you...

In fact our experience with the game is that they found the right tone, the right undercurrent if you will, to make those issues part of the story without sacrificing that bang-bang shoot-em-up testosterone-laced isn't-modern-military-tech-cool fire fest of a game play experience which to be brutally honest is what we came to this series for in the first place!

So yeah, kudos to you Treyarch! You got us to think and care and still let us shoot and blow stuff up! Yeah! But wait, there is still one small fly in the ointment that is BOOM Ops 3... Full generational support.

As previously noted, BO3 is being released for both the current gen AND the previous gen hardware. And while we were impressed by the game play experience we had we were still left thinking, in that wee spot in the small corner of the little room in the back of our head, that it shows that this game was created for all platforms.

The current gen game version seemed to leave us feeling like, well, like it could have been much more than it is. That the differences between the two platforms generally means that games that go for the full spectrum have to be sacrificing something. Right?

Ah, but then our intern reminded us of something really very important... He said “but what about all those fans man? What about all those gamers still on the PS3 and 360 that have been waiting for the next installment? Sure, flash and boom cutting-edge graphics are cool, but that demo did NOT suck!”

Ah, youth. Ah, the voice of reason from tiny brains. The thing is - in this one instance the intern was right. So we gave him a tooth brush and some soft soap and made him clean the bathroom floor as punishment.

But still, the final product for Black Ops 3 is a game that we were not sorry to play on the current gen hardware, and that is really the important bit after all.

Our pleasure was not diminished by the fact that all those gamers still stuck in the 00's who really have NO excuse now that the 360 games will be playable on the One (and we expect Sony to do something like that too) get to play too. In fact, that fact made us feel good. Not good enough to tell the intern to stop cleaning the floor, but pretty darn good nevertheless!

Posted: 22nd Jun 2015 by CMBF
Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC,