"Call of Duty: Black Ops 3," the highly anticipated franchise installment from Activision, hits stores Friday, but reviewers have had it for weeks. Their first impressions reveal a surprisingly robust solo campaign, a great zombie mode and plenty of new tweaks to gameplay.
The most comprehensive first take on "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" is from Kotaku. The site does not provide an actual review just yet, but Mike Fahey was impressed with the quality of the game's solo campaign. The futuristic setting provide the opportunity for powered-up super soldiers. The additional Cyber Core abilities -- which give players an even greater range of destructive abilities outside of the standard guns and grenades -- adds a new wrinkle to the gameplay.
There are additional modes, outside of the main campaign, where players can have fun. The "Free Run" mode in "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" is a Parkour-style multiplayer race course. Free Run gives players the chance to compete without needing to rack up kills or points.
IGN's review is currently "in progress" because actual players cannot play the game just yet. Many gamers buy "Call of Duty" just for the multiplayer experience. If the public servers can't hand the crush of players -- or if there are bugs or other problems that cause the gameplay to suffer -- that would be a huge blow to the experience of "Black Ops 3."
Its review also praises the desire of Activision and developer Treyarch to really push new designs and gameplay mechanics. Specialists make a player's choices even more important because each character has a different set of skills and powers. "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3" is heavy sci-fi with some heady themes that doesn't get in the way of blowing things up.
Both reviews really enjoyed the zombie mode of "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3." "Shadows of Evil" features its own perks along with a completely different map and unique noir setting. After completing the game, there's even a "Nightmares" mode that swaps humans for zombies. The dialogue and story is also tweaked to reflect the undead setting.
Ahead of the official release of "Call of Duty: Black Ops 3," the only controversy surrounding the game is the U.K. exclusivity of the popular "Nuketown" map. Based on Activision's pre-order advertising, players believed they would be receiving the map regardless of where they pre-ordered the game, according to Eurogamer. It turns out that it's a GAME exclusive for the standard edition. Pre-ordered bundled or limited editions will have the "Nuketown" map and gamers pre-odering the digital version fo the game will also get the map.