Call of Duty: Black Ops Review – Best For Zombie Fans

  • 9/10/10
    Graphics - 9/10/10
  • 6/10/10
    Story - 6/10/10
  • 8/10/10
    Playability - 8/10/10
  • 9/10/10
    Replayability - 9/10/10
  • 6/10/10
    Originality - 6/10/10

As the old saying goes, the only certain things in life are death, taxes, and annual Call of Duty games. Given the wild popularity of the franchise, all Activision has to do is slap the Call of Duty title on something and try to not drown in all the money gamers eagerly shell out. As you read this, gamers across the country are already preordering the next game out holiday season 2012, Call of Duty: Data Entry. Like an alcoholic sex-addicted sea captain on a cargo ship full of booze and loose women, it’s only a matter of time before Activision inevitably runs the CoD franchise into the ground. The only question is when, and Black Ops proves that there’s still a few miles left on the series.

The single player campaign follows the tried and true formula of previous titles. In fact, you could go back to any CoD game including the ones that took place in World War Two and copy and paste in a level or two, and you’d hardly tell the difference. It is still the same idyllic world of CoD we’ve come to know and love, Russians are homicidal maniacs, guns have no recoil, simple huts are made out of Kevlar, and every helicopter will always fly just long enough to crash. Although the game tries for a more immersive story by focusing mostly on one main character the plot rarely gets any deeper than “OMFG EVIL RUSSIANS!” Although to be fair it does briefly graduate to “OMFG EVIL NAZI RUSSIANS!!” and “OMFG EVIL LAUNDROMAT OWNERS!”

The first half of the game feels like the developers got really drunk and watched a shit ton of action movies and decided to add those scenes in their game. There is the mini-gun from Predator, a prison break straight out of The Last Castle, followed immediately by the motorcycle scene from Terminator 2 (complete with firing a lever action sawed off shotgun with one hand). For whatever reason, the over the top ridiculous action sequences seem to fit. CoD games have been gradually stuffing their games full of not-really-believable-but-hopefully-“badass” shit hoping to top the last game. It’s obvious pandering, but hey it’s a Call of Duty game. So now when I attach a flamethrower to the bottom of my M-16 and launch knives out of a tube of lipstick, I hardly bat an eye. In the next Call of Duty game, I fully expect to be slicing through bad guys by swinging a giant flaming samurai sword duct taped to the end of my dick and farting out chainsaw wielding zombie Velociraptors.

The single player does an admirable job of breaking up the action with several rail shooting segments. The helicopter mission particularly stands out as it lets players feel like they are freely piloting an attack helicopter along a river while cleverly hiding its limitations. It puts Medal of Honor’s Apache level to shame. I also got a kick out of blasting the shit out of jungle villages in a patrol boat with the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil playing over the chaos, giving the game a much needed Apocalypse Now feeling. The single player was competent enough, but let’s be honest, no one really plays Call of Duty for the campaign. Buying Black Ops for the story is like inviting a hot girl over to “watch a movie” without trying to bang her. At the end of the day, you’re still just playing with yourself.

Black Ops feels exactly like its predecessors. Gamers will feel intimately familiar with the controls and movement as soon as they get their fingers on the thumb sticks. Graphically it’s the best CoD game to date, and its various locales are rich in texture and detail. Zombie mode is still awesome, (especially the unlockable in game zombie arcade mode) and the surprise cameos are absolutely priceless. There is a decent enough number of multiplayer maps to start off with and hopefully some insanely overpriced map packs we can all scoff at, but then grudgingly end up buying in the future.

To say the multiplayer is reminiscent of Modern Warfare’s is to say that Bobby Kotick is kind of a dick. There really isn’t anything new here that you haven’t already spent countless hours doing. There are a couple of tweaks here and there but nothing game changing. For the most part, the changes help balance out the game play. For example, Kills gained by Killstreaks don’t count towards your Killstreak, and there are no nukes or nuke equivalents, so there are less douchebags camping in some random corner the whole game. Players now gain “cod points” in addition to experience. Experience works much like it always has by unlocking new weapons. Now players have to purchase weapons, perks, and weapon attachments using cod points which are earned by playing matches, completing challenges, etc. This gives players more control over how they want to play for example I bought stealth perks (Ghost, Ninja) and equipment, but simultaneously limits their options until they level up. Overall I think it works, giving players incentive to keep playing, but the difference it makes between this game and previous titles isn’t as large as you would initially think.

Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of Treyarch’s games, (CoD 3, CoD World at War) but Black Ops is different. This is essentially the same game you’ve been playing since Modern Warfare but in a pretty new package. Is this a bad thing? Not at all, especially because it works. The multiplayer seems a little cleaner than Modern Warfare 2’s but keeps everything that continues to make Call of Duty the premier multiplayer first person shooter.

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