So I think I discovered my new favorite pastime in Call of Duty.
There’s a map in the game’s popular online mutliplayer mode called Combine. It features a white-and-blue wall players dart across to quickly get to the other side. This wall is especially important in a game like Domination, since there’s a capture point nearby once you hit solid ground.
My pastime involves parking next to a wall, watching opponents scurry into view, then picking them off like some sick hybrid of Call of Duty and Duck Hunt.
Every year, it feels like the pace of Call of Duty can’t get faster, yet there seems to be a new way developers ramp up the speed. Last year’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare introduced boosts to make your virtual soldier more nimble on the battlefield.
In this year’s installment, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the first-person shooter from publisher Activision introduces thrusters (similar to the jet packs in Electronic Arts shooter Titanfall) and the ability to run across walls (also a Titanfall feature).
As if boosters didn’t give soldiers a burst of speed already, Black Ops’ thrusters and wall-running create a battlefield where players are more quick and agile than ever before. Maps are also designed to give players plenty of reasons to run along that building wall or thrust to an out-of-reach ledge.
To give players more incentive to practice their movements, there’s a Freerun mode, featuring a series of obstacle courses players must complete. It mixes in all moves such as wall runs or slides, pushing players to notch the fastest time.
It took a little time adjusting to the speed, but once players figure out the timing on thrusters and wall running, it’s rewarding. There’s nothing cooler than taking out an enemy or two while sprinting along the side of a building.
But it’s not just additional mobility players inherit in this latest Call of Duty. Instead of creating their own character, players choose between a group of Specialists, each of which boast a special ability represented by a power meter that fills during combat.
For example, Ruin can earn a significant speed boost with Overdrive, while Prophet calls up the Tempest, a firearm shooting arcs of electricity that can chain to nearby enemies. Other abilities include the ability to call up bows and arrows or miniguns, and the option to lay down traps springing a group of nano-drones. Naturally, a lot of the more interesting Specialists don’t appear until you unlock them during the course of boosting your character’s level.
While player customizing is limited to selecting fresh gear for your Specialist, there are more options for creating custom weapons, right down to selecting unique paint jobs for attachments such as scopes.
Once you dissect those new perks, Black Ops III is pretty much your standard Call of Duty competitive experience. It’s fast, frantic and fun. As I’ve said before, this is the first-person shooter equivalent of Madden NFL: fundamentally sound with a handful of subtle changes to keep players from remembering we get this franchise every single year. If you’re a longtime Call of Duty fan, you should be pleased multiplayer stands its ground as one of the best in the market.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
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