The Call of Duty franchise has always set the bar high for first person military shooters with Infinity Ward and Treyarch taking turns developing each year’s game. Many people worried about the franchise’s future as a result of last year’s disaster amongst Activision and Infinity Ward. Medal of Honor had already been released with much anticipation and was impressive in its own right. Treyarch had a lot to prove and they knew that they had to step up to the challenge by making a solid game. Does Call of Duty Black Ops deliver an explosive experience? Read the review to find out.
Call of Duty Black Ops plays out like an episode of the hit TV show 24. Operative Alex Mason gets interrogated by a mysterious man behind a glass window while being strapped in a chair. He is constantly being questioned about the people whom he was in contact with, the ascension group and about a numbers station. The game’s missions are played out through flashbacks that take place between 1961 and 1968. Supposedly Mason has all the answers to the mystery man’s questions. The game’s story definitely takes a different path and it is confusing a little bit but it remains solid nonetheless. Black Ops takes place during the Cold War in the 1960’s. Even John F. Kennedy appears in the game. The single player campaign takes about 6-7 hours to complete so it would have been nice if the campaign had been a little longer.
The Call of Duty franchise has always been about delivering Blockbuster type moments and scenarios and Black Ops is no different. There will be some people who criticize the game’s new formula but it works out really well. The story is very well-written and people looking for a thrilling experience will be in for a real treat. Call of Duty Black Ops seems more cinematic than in previous Call of Duty games because previous installments relied on dialog that was told during loading screens. The game features awesome set pieces that are adrenaline filled. The game’s intense melee kills are utilized very well during stealth sections. There are missions where you take control of a tank and a Hind Helicopter adding to the game’s excitement.
The game features some pretty impressive visuals. Environments and terrain have lots of detail. Water effects are done very well. Character models are amongst some of the best that the franchise has featured. For some reason explosions look muddy but don’t hinder what is undeniably a great looking game. Melee kills look as brutal as ever. Set pieces are very impressive looking. There is a greater depth of field when the 3D aspect is utilized but it isn’t utilized to its full capacity. Movements become blurred when the camera moves fast.
The Call of Duty franchise has always delivered a solid audio package and Black Ops is no different. The audio is top-notch. The voice acting is spot on and very accurate. The game features an impressive list of actors that lend their voice work such as, James C Burns, Ice Cube, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, Sam Worthington and Steve Blum to name a few. Explosions and gunshots are intense as ever. The game’s soundtrack is equally as impressive especially during intense moments.
The zombie mode that made its debut in Call of Duty World at War makes its return in Call of Duty Black Ops. It has been revamped the second time around. It features a four player online and a two player split screen co-op mode. Players take the role of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro as they fight hordes of zombies at the Pentagon. There is even a map that features characters from Call of Duty World at War.
Multiplayer is a solid mode as usual. There is the Team Deathmatch where the team with the most kills wins. In Capture the Flag players take other team’s flags and return to their own base. In Free for All players are not separated into teams. Multiplayer features experience points and an unlockable reward system that have been around since Call of Duty 4. A significant feature this time around is the ability to socialize and customize. Multiplayer features a mode called Create-a-Class 2.0 which allows further customization such as perks, weapon emblems, attachments and even camouflage. Modifications can also be made to reticles. A player can even unlock face paint. There are new killstreak rewards as well. There is also a currency system where players can purchase weapons, accessories, and clothing. There are timed objectives known as Contracts that can be purchased for gaining currency and experience points. Local split screen doesn’t feature a progressions system. Defining win conditions is no longer possible. For the first time in a Call of Duty game players can record clips from online gameplay and share it with other gamers and it is a really nice feature.
Call of Duty Black Ops may have taken a different approach in its storytelling but the story is still impressive. The visuals look really good despite some muddy explosion effects. The game features a solid audio package. Zombie Mode is back and as is as good as it was in Call of Duty World at War. Multiplayer has been revamped and is really well done. Treyarch has proven that it can deliver an exciting and explosive gaming experience. Call of Duty is a must buy and is easily one of the year’s best games.