Call of Duty: Black Ops Review
Console: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii, Nintendo DS
Release Date: November 9, 2010
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: Single, Local, Online
Welcome to the Jungle.
A FPS title? I guess I’ll get through the mediocre campaign and then move on to the fun stuff. In about 9/10 FPS titles I would say this, but when I decided to take my journey back to the Vietnam War in treyarch’s controversial Call of Duty game I was blown away by the campaign. We’ve come to expect some entertaining single player experiences with Activision’s annual title, but Black Ops proved treyarch’s legitimacy and showed that it’s possible to make an interesting story from wars in the past, along with ones set in the future.
Sure there were plenty of explosions, heavy gun battles, and varied missions that went deeper than “go here and kill these guys, then go there and kill those guys,” but the story made me feel like I was watching a psychological thriller with confusing plot twists and multiple playable characters. The opening mission even had me kill Fidel Castro (or at least I thought it did). I was able to shoot down towers from a boat, take out enemies with a helicopter, and, my personal favorite, use Dragon’s Breath rounds in a shotgun that acted as a very powerful flamethrower. Black Ops’ campaign was the most impressive single player experience I’ve ever been exposed to as a gamer. However, it wouldn’t have become the highest grossing title in video game history without its fantastic mulitplayer offering.
In one of the best time sinks available, a Call of Duty game never seems to disappoint with its online gameplay. In Black Ops I was able to play any of the plentiful online modes in gorgeous landscapes that stretched from Asian jungles to snowy Russian settings. I could work my way up to level 50, then prestige and start from the bottom again. I really enjoyed being able to customize my equipment. Sure, it was a little ridiculous making your crosshair sight a purple heart, but it made my online experience feel more unique. Anyone can run around with an assault rifle and a handgun, but customizing your weapons make them feel like your own.
The maps varied greatly in size. While I found success with a sniper rifle out in the jungle, camping on unsuspecting foes, the very next match was a hectic, grenades exploding everywhere, and up-close-and-personal Nuketown with one-shot kills at a premium. Now with multiple DLC packs available it’s a great time to get your hands on Black Ops if you’ve yet to play, or are waiting for MW:3 to come down in price.
If I found myself gaming with a buddy on the couch it was usually killing zombies in a great survival mode. It had a great economic system that resulted in earning cash for rebuilding barriers, and for every kill. I used the money to purchase better weapons as well as open the new areas. Playing survival was fun for awhile, but it got to be old after a few rounds. This is where the arcade style mode comes into play. In an overhead view that allows for lives to be earned, heavy weapons available at will, and one of the best secondary gameplay options on the market, I spent a good chunk of my time with Black Ops in this arcade simulation. In an already impressive game, this mode acted as icing on the cake and gave you more than your money’s worth.
A great Call of Duty game is nothing new. We’re all used to it, and every year we add hundreds of millions of dollars to Activision’s bank account. But Black Ops goes the extra mile and, in my opinion, is not only treyarch’s greatest accomplishment, but it’s the best game in the Call of Duty series. That may be a bold statement with many considering the original Modern Warfare as the best in the series, but I was never as entertained during the campaign in MW as much as in Black Ops. And when I discovered the arcade zombie mode I was sure I had the best FPS title available. There was never a dull moment.
Call of Duty catches a lot of flack even though they are proven to be well-produced games. What are your thoughts on the Call of Duty franchise?