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Editor’s Note: Activision sent us a free copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for us to write a review of the game.

Treyarch’s finally back. After three years of developing Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, the title is finally available now worldwide. We’ve been playing multiplayer all day today. Here’s our impressions and review.

Movement System

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s movement system has been talked about a lot. Treyarch brought all new thrust jumps, power sides, and more to multiplayer. As we noted in our impressions earlier this year, Treyarch has made the movement system in a way that players are not required to use it. Players can be successful without using the movement system because of the map designs. Movements in this game feel like an evolution from the movement set in Black Ops 2. As we’ve said before, Treyarch’s implementation of this new movement does not resemble Advanced Warfare’s Exo Suit mechanics. Sledgehammer Games’s focus with Exos was adding verticality, and a diverse ways to control your character. Treyarch’s focus seems to be evolving the core movement system to better fit the futuristic setting of the title, while at the same time retaining the classical movement feeling.

When playing with the new movement system, it easy to tell Treyarch is attempting to evole upon what Black Ops 2 had. We know a lot of players may say they want boots on the ground only, but Treyarch’s new system does not take away from the experience like Exo Suits did; these movements add to the experience, giving players quicker ways to get across the map.

Specialists

Black Ops 3 introduces 9 different specialists. This is probably the biggest change to multiplayer that Treyarch has included with Black Ops 3. No longer are all players limited to the same set-ups; with specialists, each of them provide different voice overs, abilities, and more. Treyarch has taken a page out of Bungie’s book here. Destiny has different character classes with their own abilities and personalities. That’s the same way specialists are – each one is unique. The specialists all have their own back stories, which can be read in game through the specialists menu.

At first, we were skeptical about the specialists. Would adding characters with such game-changing abilities keep the game balanced? Those abilities looked quite overpowered at first. After playing for a while, we have realized that the abilities of the different specialists balance each other out. Ruin’s Gravity Spike can end Firebreak’s flamethrower. Seraph’s handgun can be knocked down by Battery’s grenade launcher. All of the abilities can be countered in one way or another.

The best part about the specialist system is the ability for the specialist abilities to change the entire pace of the game. Your team could be dominating a Hardpoint location, when out of nowhere Ruin can storm with a Gravity Spike and change the entire pace of the game. The abilities provide for unexpected changes to the game; you do not see it coming, and it somehow feels enjoyable that the pace of a game can change with the abilities. Of course, the abilities stand out the most in objective based games. There are many instances where players are cluttered together for objectives, and these abilities can be devastating.

Black Market

Ah, yes…the Black Market. Technically, Treyarch never actually revealed this feature pre-launch. This feature was revealed following leaks from early copies. But let’s talk about it. The concept of Supply Drops was introduced to Call of Duty with Sledgehammer Games’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Supply Drops offered fans a new loot system, where players could earn new gear and more. With Black Ops 3, Treyarch took a different approach to Supply Drops then Sledgehammer. And we approve of this new way.

Instead of getting Supply Drops randomly, Treyarch has added an in-game currency specific to the Black Market. The currency is called Cryptokey. This currency can be used to get Supply Drops in the Black Market. Players have the ability to buy either a Common or Rare Supply Drop. Common Drops costs 10, while Rare cost 30 (which changed this morning from 40). And the best part about these? There is no weapon variants. Sledgehammer Games’s version was heavily focused¬†on weapon variants, and that seemed to give players an unfair advantage. Why should someone have a better gun because they’re willing to pay for Advanced Supply Drops?

But there is an issue with with Black Market. The Cryptokeys are hard to earn. We have had to play 10 games to get 10 of them. You can track how many you have in the Black Market or in the After Action Report. Treyarch needs to offer a way to get these more often, either by completing challenges or increasing the rate at which players can earn them.

With the Black Market, all of the items you can get are cosmetic. New camos for specific weapons, new taunts, new specialist gear, and more. There is a Common, Rare, and Legendary status for the items that can be earned. All of the items do not impact actual game. This is the right and – we believe – the only way to do it. And, it’s pretty obvious to think the next logical step in this is micro transactions. Activision and Treyarch will – or should – implement a way to acquire Cryptokey with real money.

Map Design

With Black Ops 3, Treyarch has kept their map design they’re known for. The maps take on similar feel to that of Black Ops 2, with the three-lane, fast paced design. Majority of the maps are medium sized, which is fantastic for the new movements. Unlike Advanced Warfare, the verticality is limited. While the new movement allows for thrust jumps, players cannot jump as high as they could with Exo Suits. The map themselves all play very well. Treyarch has done a fantastic job incorporating fan feedback into their designs of the maps.

Another aspect of the maps: the looks of the maps are incredible. The graphics and design are superb. If you get a chance to take tour of the maps with theater*, looking at the attention to detail Treyarch has put – not just within the maps – but also the exteriors are incredible.

Theater Mode*

Treyarch has brought back Theater Mode* from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Infinity Ward decided to leave it out with Ghosts, as did SHGames with Advanced Warfare. Theater Mode allows players to access recordings of their gameplay to view, edit, and share with friends. In addition, players can remove the HUD to get some incredible screenshots to show off.

As you expect, you are able to enter Free Camera mode and roam around maps; you can follow third person view of players, and you can change the player that you are currently viewing. The controls are simple, and easy to use. Treyarch has made it more accessible for fans.

Gunsmith and Weapon Paint Shop

Black Ops 3 also introduces completely new ways to customize and design your weapons. The Gunsmith allows you to design weapons that can be used in multiplayer and campaign. Gunsmith allows players to add optics to their weapons, add attachments, paintjobs, and camos. The game features a set of camos for each mode in Black Ops 3, but players can also create their own creations with the Paint Shop*.

Using the Paint Shop*, players are able to customize up to 64 layers on three sides of the weapons. The Paint Shop feature was available for use during the beta, and many fans instantly got hooked to it. It lets you create incredible designs just the way you like, bringing a whole new way to customize weapons in Call of Duty. There are also decals in the Paint Shop that are classified. According to the game’s messages, you have to unlock those from Supply Drops from the Black Market. The Paint Shop brings a new level to customization in Call of Duty, giving players more control over the look of their weapons.

As we said earlier, there is the option to apply pre-set camos to your weapons. The game features different set of camos for the campaign mode, multiplayer mode, and the zombies mode. Camos are unlocked via headshots. In addition, there’s a whole set of camos that can be unlocked via Supply Drops in the Black Market.

Conclusion

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s multiplayer is the best multiplayer in Call of Duty since Treyarch’s last release, Black Ops 2. Looking at the development studios, Treyarch seems to be the most grounded and have understood the desires of the fans, and they have found ways to incorporate so many of those into Black Ops 3. Infinity Ward seemed to be too shy to bring new innovation with Ghosts, and Sledgehammer Games’ first attempt at Call of Duty on their own did not mingle well with players because of the advanced movements.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is Treyarch’s first go with the three year development cycle, and it has paid off. While there are things that Treyarch could have done better – and maybe even explained better, like the Black Market – this is the first step in the right direction for the first 3 year-cycle Treyarch. And this is just the start. There’s plenty more to come with DLC, Call of Duty World League, and the mod tool support for PC players.


*Certain features, including Paint Shop and Theater, are not available on PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of last-gen. Our review was conducted on PlayStation 4. More info on last-gen available here.

Call of Duty

Best Call of Duty Zombies map: Every map ranked from World at War to Cold War

At least one Call of Duty Zombies map has a special place in player’s hearts. So we’ve picked our best Zombies maps and ranked them.

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Call of Duty Zombies has gone from a mini-game to pretty much a must-have feature in every CoD game. So we’ve sifted through every Zombies map ever made, settled on the absolute best ones, and ranked them.

It seems that nearly everyone has a favorite Zombies of all time, and a different top five list, such is the impact of Call of Duty Zombies on players. Treyarch’s post-World at War mini-game went on to become as important to people as the online multiplayer itself.

The latest official entry into the series, Black Ops Cold War, offered up several new maps including Firebase Z and the intense Forsaken, introduced terrifying new enemies in Mimics, and produced several memorable Main Quest Easter Eggs.

Vanguard aims to carry the Dark Aether storyline on in Der Anfang, and CoD Zombies will continue to grow. But before we get to Call of Duty: Vanguard, let’s go through and rank every Call of Duty Zombies map in history so far.

Every CoD Zombies ranked

mimic zombie in cod

In total, there have been 49 Zombies maps, and we’ve taken it upon ourselves to complete the difficult task of ranking them all.

Here is every CoD Zombies map ranked:

  1. Mob of the Dead
  2. Kino der Toten
  3. Der Reise
  4. Nacht der Untoten
  5. Zombies in Spaceland
  6. Origins
  7. Der Eisendrache
  8. Shadows of Evil
  9. Moon
  10. Ascension
  11. Firebase Z
  12. Five
  13. Ancient Evil
  14. Call of the Dead
  15. Mauer der Toten
  16. Shi No Numa
  17. Die Maschine
  18. Gorod Krovi
  19. Buried
  20. Forsaken
  21. Shangri-La
  22. Die Rise
  23. Verruckt
  24. IX
  25. Nuketown Zombies
  26. Revelations
  27. Rave in the Redwoods
  28. Classified
  29. Der Rise
  30. Attack of the Radioactive Thing
  31. Descent
  32. The Final Reich
  33. Shaolin Shuffle
  34. Outbreak
  35. Blood of the Dead
  36. Zetsubou No Shima
  37. Beast From Beyond
  38. TranZit
  39. Voyage of Despair
  40. Carrier
  41. The Shadowed Throne
  42. The Tortured Path
  43. Infection
  44. The Darkest Shore
  45. Tag der Toten
  46. Grosten Haus
  47. The Frozen Dawn
  48. Alpha Omega
  49. Dead of the Night

Top 5 Call of Duty Zombies ever ranked

giant robot in cod zombies origin map

Now that we’ve managed to rank every single Zombies map ever made, it’s now time to do a deep dive into our top five CoD Zombies maps of all time.

We believe each of our picks has a special quality that makes them so endlessly memorable, and while not all are as refined and packed as other maps, they are in the top five for a reason.

5. Zombies in Spaceland map – Infinite Warfare

cod zombies zombies in spaceland

Zombies in Spaceland moves away from the largely serious nature of Zombies and throws its players into a mad, exhilarating theme park of thrills, spills, and kills.

It carries on the novelty of Zombies maps around that time by having celebrity David Hasselhoff as the host and also demanded that players work together by having doors that needed to be opened by multiple teammates.

As well as the bright aesthetic, fun traps, and nicely divided up areas of the park, there were also the mini-games in the Astrocade. Featuring multiple, interactive arcade games, players could amass a collection of tokens to redeem for cool prizes.

To sweeten the pot further, players could also grab a bit of a breather on the Triton rollercoaster, a moving shooting gallery. As a whole, Zombies in Spaceland is a fun novelty that separates itself from a lot of the pack to form an identity.

4. Nacht der Untoten map – World at War / Black Ops III

nacht der untoten map in cod zombies

It’s entirely up to you which version of Nacht you opt for, but there’s a part of us that yearns for the simplicity of its original form.

When players completed Call of Duty: World at War, after the credits rolled, many were surprised to be whisked away to a random room with creepy music and only a pistol.

So began the legacy of CoD Zombies, and unlike the Black Ops III remake, the pure nature of Nacht der Untoten still makes it a challenge to this day. No Perks, no Pack-A-Punch, just 1-4 players in a handful of confined rooms.

Given how many Wonder Weapons can be obtained in modern CoD games, the feeling of pure euphoria when you got a Ray Gun from the Mystery Box in Nacht der Untoten was unlike anything else.

3. Der Riese map – World at War

der riese map in cod zombies

Another entry for Call of Duty: World at War in Der Riese, and the genius of some of its ideas are still at the forefront of many Zombies maps today.

Teleporters, Easter Eggs, and the aforementioned PAP and Wonder Weapon features were all introduced via Der Riese. These novel ideas were complemented perfectly by the map’s extraordinary map design.

All the channels and pathways blended together seamlessly, making a smaller map, in comparison to later maps, seem big enough, fair, and keep players keep coming back for more.

2. Mob of the Dead map – Black Ops II

mob of the dead map in cod zombies

As a DLC-only map, it may not have been enjoyed by as many people as base maps, but the legacy that Mob of the Dead has left been is unreal.

Fans of Warzone’s Rebirth Island would already have been familiar with Mob of the Dead as the map is set in the world-famous Alcatraz prison. It manages to intertwine the themes of the undead with mobsters, and create a perfect scenario in which you need to escape the island.

Action in Mob of the Dead is intense unlike any other, particularly with the tightness of the corridors and its surroundings at times. The Easter Egg for Mob of the Dead is tremendous, and we definitely need to see it reimagined in the future for all players to experience.

1. Kino der Toten map – Black Ops

kino der toten map in cod zombies

Sometimes, less is more. Whereas Nacht der Untoten feels barebones and a modern map like Die Maschine is chock full of features, Kino der Toten strikes that fine balance of power, whilst delivering the best map in CoD Zombies history.

Kino’s cinema is probably the most iconic setting in the franchise and its level design makes the map unbelievably accessible. Turning on the power, going through the curtains, and seeing the decimated venue is a cool feeling.

You can manipulate how the Zombies will get to you, depending on which doors you unlock, and the Projector room offers the perfect respite from the chaos. Kin der Toten never stops being a blast to play, and that’s why we think it’s the best CoD Zombies map in the game’s history.


So there you have it! All 49 Zombies maps ranked, and our top five CoD Zombies maps in order as well.

For more Call of Duty Zombies content, check out everything we know so far about Vanguard Zombies.

Image Credit: Activision / Treyarch / Infinity Ward

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Is Black Ops 2 being remastered? Rumors & leaks

Fans have been wondering for sometime if CoD: Black Ops 2 is going to be remastered, and we’ll answer that today.

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Several Call of Duty games have received the remaster treatment in recent years, and it’s left fans wondering if the mega-popular Black Ops 2 will get one. Here are all the latest rumors and leaks regarding a Black Ops 2 remaster.

The popularity of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 simply cannot be understated with the game being considered the greatest of all time by many. But fast-forward to 2021, and players want to know if this beloved entry in the CoD franchise will be remastered.

The premise of Call of Duty remasters was kickstarted by the 2016 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered title. Since then, we’ve also had the Modern Warfare 2 campaign be remastered, and there are rumors of Modern Warfare 3 being remastered, despite Activision saying it isn’t.

Is Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 being remastered?

action in black ops 2 campaign

From what we understand, no, not at this time. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that any form of Black Ops remaster is in the works.

Naturally, people would think that Treyarch’s Black Ops may receive the same love that the Modern Warfare franchise has gotten, but alas it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Why isn’t Black Ops 2 being remastered?

players trying to take flag in black ops 2

We believe there could be two strong reasons for Black Ops 2 not being remastered, one being that it would oversaturate the CoD market, and also that we’ve already seen a few of its maps recently.

If a full Black Ops 2 remaster were to exist anytime soon, it would mean that Activision would have the end of Black Ops Cold War’s run, 2019’s Modern Warfare, Warzone, Vanguard, and Black Ops 2.

One of the problems 2016’s Infinite Warfare suffered from is that it released with the full Call of Duty 4 remaster, and consequently, the player base was divided between the two games.

nuketown '84 in black ops cold war

Furthermore, Black Ops Cold War featured no less than seven Black Ops 2 map remasters throughout its multiple seasons, and they feel too fresh in the memory to warrant a remaster of the multiplayer.

We could see a remaster of the Black Ops campaigns, following the successful rerelease of the Modern Warfare 2 campaign.


Activision may have some surprises and remasters up their sleeves, but for the time being, we can only speculate and ask you to keep checking in to see if anything becomes official.

Also, check out everything we know about Call of Duty: Vanguard.

Image Credit: Activision / Treyarch

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Infinity Ward announces new Austin office as studio gears up for CoD 2022

The original Call of Duty developer, Infinity Ward, is expanding its operations via a new office in Austin, Texas for CoD 2022.

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One of the three developers behind the Call of Duty franchise is getting a new office. Infinity Ward is expanding its operations via a new office in Austin, Texas, in preparation for CoD 2022.

Infinity Ward is the developer behind the original Call of Duty game. Activision founded Infinity Ward in 2002, with the first Call of Duty title being released in 2003. This birthed one of the most iconic video game franchises to date.

Infinity Ward would go on to develop Call of Duty 2 in 2005 before alternating developers. Now, Infinity Ward is known for developing the Modern Warfare titles, which are released roughly every three years.

With Infinity Ward releasing the last Modern Warfare title in 2019, the developer is gearing up for another release in 2022. We don’t know what CoD 2022 will be just yet, but we do know that Infinity Ward is expanding its operations with a new office.

Infinity Ward Austin Texas office

call of duty modern warfare

Today, Infinity Ward announced via Twitter that it would be opening a new office in Austin, Texas. This would be the fourth development hub for the company, with the other three being located in Los Angeles, Poland, and Mexico.

This also means that Infinity Ward is hiring. According to Infinity Ward, the Austin office is currently hiring for all positions, and you can find all of the available jobs posted on the Infinity Ward website.

Call of Duty: Vanguard releases in less than a month. It’s taking players back to WWII, where Infinity Ward is expected to bring the franchise back to modern times, with CoD 2022 speculated to be a sequel to Modern Warfare 2019.

That being said, we have no official idea what to expect from Infinity Ward going into 2022, but with the significant success of Modern Warfare 2019, it will no doubt be a Call of Duty game plenty of players will love.

Regardless, Infinity Ward is planning something big, and the new office proves just that. So, if Vanguard isn’t your cup of tea, CoD 2022 is just a year away.

For more Call of Duty, check out the insane number of weapon camos for Vanguard, and stay tuned for more news and guides.

Image Credits: Infinity Ward / Activision

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