After the last three iterations progressively shed their now-tedious modern trappings I think we can say that, even without the recent announcement of the frankly ridiculously-titled Infinite Warfare1, the Call of Duty franchise has now fully committed itself to being a proper near-future sci-fi shooter. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from Ghosts and Advanced Warfare it is that the supposed genre trend-setter is evolving in response to its competition – slowly and at times painfully, but the move to that sci-fi setting opens up a more interesting design space to the various developers involved, allowing them to introduce mechanics that should fundamentally change the way the game plays – at least in theory. I bought CODBLOPS 3 (I love that acronym) because I’d heard it had improved movement mechanics including wallrunning and double-jumping, which intrigued me since it appeared that this would be the franchise’s first real response to the unfortunately short-lived Titanfall. Having finished the single-player now I feel that it’s also the first CoD game I’ve played that’s really started to explore the possibilities of the sci-fi setting. But the catch here is that exploration always carries with it an element of risk, and Black Ops 3 is a long, long, way from being an unqualified improvement on what came before.
- Annoyingly this happened literally the day after I wrote the bulk of this review, meaning I’m now not so much making an observation as I am stating the bloody obvious. ↩