What to expect from the Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer beta

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Activision’s multiplayer beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops III is getting ever nearer and, as promised, there are more details inbound concerning what players can expect from the closed, you-have-to-pre-order preview of the only part of the game much of the world plays. This is what you will get from Black Ops III when the PlayStation 4 beta kicks off next week.

We’re getting more maps and game modes than expected

Blops ModeThe multiplayer beta will be taking place over the period of a week but Call of Duty: Black Ops III gamers will have their work cut out for themselves experiencing everything that Activision is going to be serving up. That’s because there will be three maps on offer for the test: Hunted, Combine and Evac. Hunted takes players to Ethiopia and looks to combine stealth, sniping and some close-combat interiors, Combine will emphasise vertical combat with more than a few booby-trap opportunities in the Egyptian desert, while Evac combines water with rooftop combat among the plants in Singapore. You might be thinking ‘Three maps, big deal’ but there’s more. There are seven game modes incoming and they’re all classics. Team Deathmatch, Domination, Demolition, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint, Capture the Flag and Search and Destroy are all up for exploration. Nothing new here, but there’s lots of it.

There are a total of eight specialists to play with

Blops ClassThere are eight specialists, playable characters with their own look, callsign and biographical info, as well as specific weapons and abilities outside of the whole ‘firing hot lead at anything that moves’ thing. There will be four specialists available at the outset, with more unlocking as players rank up. Up first are Ruin, Outrider, Prophet and Battery, with the others unlocking once players have gotten past ranks 22 and 28. The final two – Reaper and Spectre will be unlocked by Treyarch and Activision later in the beta.

There’s a whole whack of unusual weaponry on offer

Blops WeaponsCall of Duty: Black Ops III looks to be coming full circle. The series is built on the Unreal Engine, which first appeared in Unreal and Unreal Tournament, and the weapons and abilities in this upcoming military shooter are getting closer and closer to that futuristic setting. Players will be able to use: shockwaves, explosive bows, electricity-firing weapons, bouncing grenades, nano-drones, mini-guns and dual blades as far as weapons go (besides, you know, the guns). And then there are the specialist-specific abilities, like: increased acceleration, revealing nearby enemies, deflection armour, a Last Stand-like nanobot ability, and invisibility. Black Ops is starting to look like a cross between Unreal Tournament and Crysis at this point.

You can visually customise your conventional weapons

Blops CloseSlow down there cowboy, this isn’t Fallout 4. We don’t really know the extent to which you’ll be able to tweak your weapons in Black Ops III but you should be able to change sights and attachments at the very least. But for the upcoming beta there will be Paintshop, where players will be able to adorn their firearms with designs of their own creation, using up to 64 layers to build their very own masterpiece. Or, in our case, abstract art piece. A little bit of customisation never hurt anybody. But this did…

They’re including dismemberment? Really?

Blops DismemberYes, really. Unless this is just a feature for the trailer but based on how many times it pops up we really don’t think that’s the case. Dismemberment in a shooting game isn’t something that has been done against a human foe effectively since… Soldier of Fortune in 2000, mostly because ratings boards don’t like it and the destruction engine tended to chew up a lot of processing power. We guess that’s changed but having online multiplayer with limbs being blown off is definitely something unusual. And a bit twisted. We’ll have to see how this one plays out but the game looks more graphic overall. Bring it.

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