As a bit of a surprise the 3rd Runner Up for New Fairbank News PC Game of the Year is something that I am sure you never expected from me and certainly nothing I expected from myself.
I am of course talking about Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
Now as you may (or may not) know, I've been on a bit of a SciFi/CyberPunk thrill seek recently, and then come October/November I see an advert for the 2015 Call of Duty game.
It is not news that these games get churned out annually by distributor Activision, and as per usual here you see another 'Campaign Trailer' with lots of action, very nice visuals and... Woah what is that? Cybernetic arms! Neural Interfaces! Holy shit! It's cyberpunk!
You see there is no denying that the Call of Duty games are popular. They create very well produced single player campaigns, complete with action filled and balanced multiplayer that within minutes of playing will have you reaching for a bottle in despair as your ass is repeatedly handed to you by someone who you assume (based on the stereotype) is at most 14 years old.
But it's fun!
This is why people come back year in year out for the latest offering, the games are bloody fun, and this version is no different.
What is different is that it's cyberpunk and as such scratches an itch I haven't really felt since games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Had the upcoming Mankind Divided be released in 2015 rather than 2016, chances are I would be talking about it rather than Black Ops 3, but I'll take what I get, and in this case we are talking about a game that felt a lot like Deus Ex: Lite while referring to the campaign (there's only so much multiplayer humiliation I can take).
The storyline is engaging and it does begin to ask the usual questions raised through cyberpunk storylines. You know the ones: "when is an AI truly alive?" And "am I truly alive?" Along with global conspiracies and that sort of black hat nonsense. It's fun, it's escapism, it has guns that feel good and sound good, it's nothing new.
Yup, putting this game alongside such greats as say Deus Ex or Remember Me results in something that by all intents and purposes is quite mundane and run-off-the-mill. But at the same time it doesn't stop it bring fun and enjoyable!
I suppose the way I have come to see Black Ops 3 is very much in the same vein as Warhammer 40,000 is for war gaming. Now I know a lot will disagree to me, but in my eyes 40k is a game of non-committance. From the rules who appear to have little to no balancing, through to the story and fluff which despite being extremely popular seems to hold absolutely no nuance. Despite all of this 40k is very much a gateway game and gateway storyline. Black Ops 3 is the same.
It's no surprise to those familiar know that the Call of Duty games are very popular with teens, and as such there is a possibility no matter how narrow that some of them may not have had the joys of experiencing the cyberpunk genre, well here is Black Ops 3 with Cyberpunk-lite ready to wet their appetite and get them to explore further.
Personally I say the more the merrier.
And even if that is total bullshit, if Black Ops 3 isn't a gateway game to the wider Cyberpunk genre, if it is literally the cyberpunk equivalent of trash-fiction; let us be honest, we all have that one book or film which we acknowledge is trash but we love it despite itself!
And that for me is Black Ops 3!
Tune in next time where I tackle the 4th and final runner up in the New Fairbank News PC Game of the Years Awards!
Until then stay safe and be excellent to each other!
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley