Hands-on impressions of four new classes and their special abilities shaking up Call of Duty multiplayer.
What’s exciting about this year’s Call of Duty is that we were able to get hands on with three different multiplayer maps and four of the new classes this early in development. Although the number of maps is still to be confirmed, we do know there will eventually be nine specialists in the base game.
The game isn’t out until November 6, but developer Treyarch is confident enough to show the press already, with more multiplayer playable at E3 this year in June. Activision usually waits until Gamescom to show off multiplayer, so it’s another sign that Black Ops 3 is well passed early development.
The big change for multiplayer this year is you get to choose from 9 different Specialist soldiers, each with a special weapon and ability. You can only pick either the weapon or ability before each match, and each is charged differently as you play and with scores and kills. Once charged a weapon or ability will only last for a set amount of time, all of which are still being tweaked.
Characters can also be cosmetically customised by switching out heads and body (Treyarch isn’t going so detailed as to mess around with different coloured kneepads – only stuff that you can really see on screen) and each character can still be ranked up alongside global and weapons XP, as you’d expect.
We were told multiple times that the build we were playing was “pre-pre-alpha” but to be honest it felt a lot further along than that. So here’s my quick impressions of four specialist soldiers, but keep in mind none of these builds are final:
I can’t say if Outrider is overpowered at this early stage but she felt like it during the three maps I played through. Armed with a bow and explosive arrows, Outrider kills with one hit, even if there’s a split-second delay after the arrow finds its target. As her arrows are explosive you can use them tactically and shoot ahead of moving enemies. What I’m saying is, you don’t need a direct hit to use Outrider’s special weapon successfully.
She also has a Combat Focus ability which will reveal enemies through walls. It’s another strong skill so you can see how she was the most attractive character to begin with, giving you a real upper hand against enemies once fully charged.
This experimental war robot also felt overpowered compared to some of the other specialists. Or maybe its power is right and Seraph and Ruin need a little more deadliness. Reaper’s arm transforms into a mini gun that cuts through anyone. If you’re caught in its fire you’re dead, basically.
The Glitch ability is interesting, allowing you to teleport back to a position you held a couple of seconds ago. It takes a bit of getting used to but is great for getting out of tricky situations when you accidently stumble headlong into three or four enemies.
Seraph is armed with a one-hit kill handgun that punches through multiple enemies. If you’re quick enough to line-up the shot it works perfectly and is a real buzz, but as you’d expect from a handgun it has a slow rate of fire that feels like an age in a fast-paced battle. Less glamorous but more effective is the Combat Focus ability that increases your scorestreak for a limited time.
Ruin was my least favourite of the four character’s on offer. Armed with Gravity Spikes, this guy’s melee attack is supposedly a brutal area effect blow. I found it took too long to initiate. Both times I tried to use it I was killed during the starting animation. After that, I didn’t want to get up close with enemies. I suspect it might work better as a defensive move when surrounded or surprised. His Overdrive ability speeds up his actions for a short period of time, which suits the gameplay as Black Ops 3 instantly feels a lot quicker than even Advanced Warfare.
Matt Martin recently visited Treyarch Studios. Activision paid for accommodation and flights.