Now, before we get too far, I wish to state that I mark Rotations based on Treyarch titles, considering CoD 3 was the first game to start the Rotations system up.
The Rotation the past three years has been eventful and seems to have had a profound effect on the franchise going into Black Ops 3.
Black Ops 2:
With the continuation of Treyarch's Black Ops Saga came many upgrades to the franchise that have stuck from then on.
Firstly, the introduction of customizable Campaign loadouts was revolutionary, and an easy way to add replayability to a relatively mediocre campaign.
The Pick 10 system debuted here and I personally disliked it. The limitations cause problems with trying to build amazing loadouts, but with the introduction of Wildcards allowing up to 6 perks, the balancing means of this was well and truly effective.
Zombies maps had some major revolutionary moves, as well as some faults. TranZit, the on-disc, foggy map with the bus tried to emulate how a large map would work, but was burned out by limitations on hardware. Die Rise has some verticality issues that, without PhD, can end a round early. Mob of The Dead, based on California's Alcatraz Prison brought many amazing features, from Afterlife to the Plane, and is the closest thing I think we've seen to a Zombies Campaign so far released. Buried ended out our new crew from TranZit, and can be seen as the easiest map on Black Ops 2. Origins brings us into the Black Ops 3 timeline and shows us the new faces of an old crew, with the thousand foot robots adding a level of frustration to the game.
Ghosts is called the worst CoD to date, and I must say that I agree wholeheartedly.
The Campaign I was unable to finish. With what felt like a half-hearted effort to revive the classic character "Ghost" from the Modern Warfare Trilogy, Ghosts attempted to focus on stealth... with completely unsilenced weapons and everyone seeing you.
Multiplayer's mechanics just didn't work quite right. The Create-a-Squad has it's uses, mainly in the world of account sharing, but otherwise goes unnoticed. The perk system is my favorite part, giving each perk a "value" and equipping perks based on it's use of value. Knifing is nigh on impossible in this game, considering the animation takes roughly 4 seconds to end if you make contact, and about 1.5 without contact.
Extinction, like the rest of the game, feels half-hearted. The gameplay is resonant of Zombies, but with infinite Jumping Jacks as the aliens bound off walls and roofs to mess with your ability to hit them. The challenges become near impossible due to this as well.
The final game of the rotation, alot of weight laid on newly-joined Sledgehammer Games to make a CoD that did everything Ghosts did not. What we got was a game that lay squarely on decent.
Campaign is pointless. Exo movement is limited to the point where you wonder why Mitchell wears the thing at all. Again, I couldn't finish it because it was just so... meh.
Multiplayer is where this game shines. Exo abilities and movements allow for a whole new level of verticality, one that would feel right at home in exploded skyscrapers and giant prison wards. The Pick 10 system returns as the Pick 13 system with the ability to select scorestreaks based on the class you have equipped. Wildcards also return, so this game feels like an upgraded and reskinned BO2 multiplayer.
Exo Survival is another reskin, but without the same results. The Exos are limited again, although not as badly as in Campaign, and the requirement to have a good run in order to get the good guns really breaks the game in my opinion. Exo use by the enemy is sparing if at all, and really falls to poorly executed boost dodges in the attempt to catch you off guard. Nice attempt, but big failure overall.
Exo Zombies is another reskin, and lands squarely between ES and Multiplayer in my feelings towards it. The game has the charm of Treyarch's installments, but not the same vibe. Early on works almost the same as Treyarch, but after gaining an Exo, the game changes completely, with the ability to boost jump away from Zombies to leave them behind. Luckily, no limits on exo movement. All of the amenities of Treyarch return, including Exo Slam, a "PhD" of sorts, which was something sorely missed in BO2, and an all new perk, Exo Stockpile, allowing more carrying capacity for ammo. Unfortunately, Stockpile is exclusive to Descent.
Overall verdict: Good rotation, but not the perfect run in terms of actual gameplay. I welcome Sledgehammer with open arms, and want to knock IW out of rotation with one.