‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 3′ Is Basically 3 Games in 1

You can practically set your watch to it: each November a new installment of Call of Duty hits the shelves, giving shooter fans a fresh dose of what they crave. This year’s installment comes from developer Treyarch, the company responsible for the previous two Black Ops games, as well as 2008’s World at War.

The structure of Black Ops III is similar to Treyarch’s previous games, which means it’s divided into three parts: a story campaign, an online multiplayer mode, and a zombie co-op mode. Each part is completely separate from the rest, so it’s kind of like three games in one. (It also means your character’s progression doesn’t carry over from one mode to the next.) Here’s a run-down of what to expect from the game.

Story campaign

The story campaign continues in the same world as World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2. It takes place 40 years after Black Ops 2, in a dismal war-torn future. Robots and technologically-enhanced super soldiers roam the battlefields. You can choose to play as a male or female soldier, and your job is to go behind enemy lines to find what happened to your friends, who have gone missing.

Much of the story remains murky, even after watching the trailer above, but from the looks of it, plot twists abound. What we do know is that you’ll be able to play through the campaign with up to three other players cooperatively, and that all story missions are unlocked from the start, so you don’t have to play them in order if you don’t want to.

Online multiplayer

The multiplayer mode doesn’t have a story, but it’s where many players spend most of their time in the game. This mode is basically a set of contained digital war zones in which you and other players try to kill each other. If it’s as good as the online modes in most Call of Duty games, it will be loads of fun.

The maps are designed for players to compete against one another in a variety of match types, including team deathmatch and everyone-for-themselves. As you play, you’ll level up, unlocking new weapons, abilities, and attachments. Probably the biggest difference between this installment and previous games is your new movement capabilities. Now you can run along walls, slide, and easily leap over obstacles. That should add to the intensity of the competition, and keep the action fast paced.

Zombies

Last up is zombie mode, which in previous installments had you and your buddies try to stay alive as waves of zombies came after you. This year’s zombie mode looks quite a bit different, thanks to the film noir story you can check out in the video above.

That star-studded trailer sets up the story of four characters who get roped into a set of challenges presented by a mysterious figure who seems to know a lot about them. It’s unclear how similar this will be to the series’ previous zombie modes, but it’s great to see Treyarch taking some risks and making changes to the standard formula.

No story campaign on Xbox 360 or PS3

Activision has announced that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of the game will only include two of the three modes: online multiplayer and zombies. The reason given for cutting out the story campaign is this: “The ambitious scope of the 1–4 player coop Campaign design of the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions could not be faithfully recreated on old generation hardware.”

But really, if you haven’t upgraded to a new system yet, now is the time to buy a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

That’s about all we know so far about Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Stay tuned for more information in the lead-up to the game’s November 6 release.

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