Now that PS4 players have had the chance to let the beta resonate after a long week of gaming, it’s time for us to review the first real taste of Black Ops III. I’d like to get some minor issues out of the way real quick that can be solely based on it being a beta itself. There were plenty of times we’re lag was an issue and waiting to find matches took ages. Friends lists worked off and on and joining parties often created errors which needed to be resolved by closing out the application at times. While these things were a nuisance at best, this is all part of the beta. The developers over at Treyarch now have the opportunity to debug the issues and will hopefully provide a much better experience on release day. That being said, let’s move onto the game.
Now the experience we had will certainly change in regards to balancing and hopefully spawning. The accuracy for just about every weapon seemed to be dead on, almost too good to some. Assault Rifles didn’t match up well in close quarters against Sub Machine Guns, but some of the SMG’s matched very well against AR’s in medium range battles. Most likely we will see a nerf in the SMG’s. I’m sure the range will be adjusted and most likely the damage will be as well. The thing that is bothersome about nerfing SMG’s is that they usually nerf them so bad they are rendered useless. They are made for run n gun style players and while I can appreciate the nerfing the range, these guns should shred anyone not using them in a close quarters battle. Assault Rifles will likely see a boost in damage which could create a problem in overall balance, hopefully we don’t end up with constant battle of tweaking them every week.
I didn’t spend much time with Snipers, but this may also end up getting a readjustment in the range department. In cases where I was midrange from a sniper, I managed to survive headshots and take them down with SMG’s. Personally I’m not a fan of getting sniped, but I wouldn’t want players that do enjoy using the weapon type to be shafted with a broken SR so this tweak is welcome. LMG’s seemed well balanced as well as pistols, but what is the most overpowered weapon in the game? Grenades and anything that carries an explosive. The problem isn’t so much the damage as much as it is in the blast radius. Honestly it doesn’t me much to die from a grenade and I’ve always felt the grenades in these games were underpowered, but when I nailed a few triple kills with an HC-XD where the players seemed too far apart to be included with the initial target made we feel like I had grabbed a couple of cheap kills. Everything in the lethal and tactical department is efficient and powerful, I’d like to see them left alone, but that's on Treyarch.
An interesting addition is the specialists abilities. Advanced Warfare had Exo abilities you could loadout or leave behind, Black Ops III has specialists abilities that must choose from in order to play. Once you’ve selected your ability it always stays in your loadout until you choose to change it. Your specialist ability recharges and can be earned faster through earning points similar to score streaks and can be activated by pressing R1 and L1 simultaneously. These abilities will definitely see nerfing before the games release and patches have already begun to roll out during the PC and XB1 beta currently going on right now.
Once your specialist ability becomes available you can use at will depending on what you chose. There are 2 abilities you can choose from each specialist. You can go on the offensive with a special weapon that will annihilate your opponents or choose a passive perk that can either save your life in an instant or power boost another ability in some shape or form. During the beta you couldn’t customize your look, we aren’t sure how deep customizing will go for players characters and most of the time paint shop didn’t work for weapon camos so there is nothing to report there till the full title release.
A big concern for a lot of fans of the series was the movement system and Treyarch definitely gets it right. With thrust jumping having a smooth transition all the way around, many will agree this is how a fast paced title should work. The thrust jumping works real well and wall running can be a lot of fun, but takes a little getting used to. At times I felt as though I were playing chicken with an enemy or teammate and even collided causing us to fall to our deaths. Aiming down sights while on the wall was great and I had some fun moments regardless of the outcome.
3 out of the 4 maps were large for the most part, to me it was important for larger maps to be able to take advantage of the movement system. Being able to dive, swim, use weapons and streaks underwater is a nice addition in the series. While it seemed there were plenty of moments players would camp in the water, I enjoyed escaping death and sneaking up behind other players for a flank using the swimming system. None of the stats from the beta will be ported over to the full game so it was a great opportunity to goof off while learning the steps without consequence, that's a major bonus in itself.
Myself many others really enjoyed the beta and there's a fair share that did not. As far as final product goes, I really can’t tell you much because a beta is simply for testing and there will be plenty of tweaks that will certainly change the experience that I had. Either way I look forward to the full version and can’t wait to see everything we didn’t get to see during the beta. Black Ops III will release on PlayStation this November 6th, 2015. We’ll have a full review of the final product once we’ve gotten the chance to play through it all. What did you think of the beta?