Call of Duty: Black Ops – Review

Call of Duty Black Ops is Treyarch’s third title in the franchise and it is the best one yet. Unlike previous Call of Duty titles that were set in either World War II or “modern warfare”, Black Ops takes a different approach. Going through the campaign you will be jumping around to different time periods. The game starts off with your character in the custody of a mystery organization and you are recounting your career. You never quite know what is going on and Treyarch did a great job at providing twists and turns in the story. There are definitely some surprises as you progress throughout the story and you find out that not everything is as it seems. Throughout the game you did have intel that you can look at, however, a lot of it was redacted. Even when you first start a mission you can see all of the info on the bottom left of the screen but then it gets blacked out so that you can only see the keywords. Essentially you are on a need to know basis.

I had a lot of fun going through the campaign. Treyarch did a great job of mixing thing up to try and prevent the gamer from getting bored. Treyarch always puts vehicles in their Call of Duty titles and Black Ops is no exception. There was a really cool segment where I got to drive a boat and take out some enemies and then another instance where I was flying a helicopter and I was engaged in an aerial battle with an enemy helicopter. Some of the locations that you visit throughout the campaign were also very intriguing, however, I won’t mention what they are here to prevent spoilers. You will know the locations that I am talking about when you get to them in the story. Like every other Call of Duty title, this one was definitely chaotic with enemies coming at you from every direction. There were a few different spots that I had to play multiple times and I can just imagine how hard those parts will be if, and when, I go through the campaign on Veteran.

Call of Duty Black Ops

The concept and the variation within the campaign is fantastic. Unfortunately the technical execution wasn’t as good. Black Ops utilizes the Modern Warfare 2 engine and, as such, it is a beautiful game. Unfortunately there are some bugs in the game that keep it from reaching the heights that the Modern Warfare titles have reached. As I was going through the campaign there were some instances where I could see definite slowdown and the frame rate would stutter from time to time. There were also some big graphical glitches as I progressed in the game. My favorite one was when I tossed a grenade in a room and it sent an enemy combatant’s leg through the wall. Monster closets have also made their return in Black Ops with their being an infinite number of enemies in certain locations until you advance. Modern Warfare 2 had done away with that and had finite numbers of enemies that you would have to take down so it is disappointing that Black Ops took a step back in that respect. I realize it is two different development teams making the games, however, I would hope they would be watching either other so that each game could reach its full potential.

Zombie mode makes its return from World At War. At the beginning you only have one map to play with, however, once you beat the campaign, another one will open for you. All I will say is to hang around when the credits are rolling because something does happen once the credits are finished. You can play zombie mode via Xbox Live, Split Screen, System Link or by yourself so you can play it whenever you want. Obviously it is more fun to play with friends, however, solo is good practice. As far as the “normal” multiplayer is concerned you have a lot more to work with. You have the standard “Player” match where you can level up and the standard “Private” match to play with your friends. New to the series is the “Wager” match. If you think you are really good then you can play this mode and put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. In Wager Match you will gamble the COD points you have earned in other modes against other players in special game modes. You have the “Ante Up” match which features a variety of Wager Match game modes with a low buy-in entry fee. Then you have the “Weekend Gambler” and “High Roller” which is basically medium and high in terms of buy in and what you can do. If you want to get some serious points then you can pick the “High Roller”, however, if you lose than you will be losing some serious points as well. The different game modes here are good variety as well. You have the “One in the Chamber” match where you only have one bullet, a knife, three lives and instant kills. You will receive another bullet after you kill someone or get killed. “Sticks and Stones” is where you get a crossbow, a ballistic knife and a Tomahawk. If you get Tomahawk kills you will reset enemy scores to zero. “Gun Game” lets you use multiple weapons. You have to kill players with your current weapon to move on to the next weapon. First player to get a kill with each weapons will win. Finally there is the “Sharpshooter” mode. In this mode weapons cycle every 45 seconds so you never quite know what kind of weapon you will have at your disposal. It’s a great way to keep people on their toes and add another level of tension to the match.

Treyarch and Activision also included a couple of other games in Black Ops as an Easter egg. In the main menu your character is sitting in a chair with your wrists bound so you don’t escape. If you quickly alternate the triggers you will escape. Once you are free you can walk over to a computer terminal. If you enter “DOA” on the terminal you get access to a fun arcade-style shooting minigame. You can also type in “Zork” and Zork I will load up from the very beginning. It’s a great way to extend the replayability of the title as a whole with the main campaign, zombie mode, multiplayer and now these easter egg games.

Overall, Call of Duty Black Ops is a game that will keep you busy for quite a while. The multiplayer is really deep and you’ll probably want to go through the story at least a couple times so that you can full understand what was taking place. This is definitely Treyarch’s best Call of Duty yet even with the bugs that I mentioned above. If you are a Call of Duty fan (or a shooter fan in general) I would definitely recommend that you pick up this game. Visiting the different eras in the campaign was fun and it was interesting to see which historical figures made appearances. With all of the games that have come out recently be sure to enlist for duty with Black Ops.

Score 8.5/10

Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network

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