Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3 & [Reviewed: PC]
Release Date: Nov 9th, 2012
Genre: First Person Shooter
Price: Xbox & Playstation: $59.99 PC: $49.99
Rated: M for Mature (17+)
Since the introduction of its first game, Call of Duty has been one of the most popular series in the genre of first person shooters. With the introduction of Modern Warfare 2, which became the top selling video game of all time, Call of Duty has gained even more notierity for being a good realistic game. Call of Duty: Black Ops is the latest installation of the Call of Duty series and has garnered criticism the size of the series itself. Black Ops is the first realistic wartime first person shooter that i’ve played for Xbox and as such all of the features and experiences in game are completely new to me.
Black Ops has been out for a while now and has gotten reviews from professionals and fanboys alike, but what does any of this mean to those new to the Call of Duty series?
Comparing it to older Call of Duty games is a proper way to put it into perspective but that’s a perspective I lack. Therefore, this review will be from the viewpoint of someone new to the series. To be fair I have played previous Call of Duty games, but none to the extent in which I play Black Ops; of which I have completely finished the campaign and am fully involved in multiplayer and zombies gameplay types.
Visually, Black Ops is on par with other first person shooter games. There’s literally not much to say about it as it is similar to MW2 and other games in the genre. I own another Call of Duty game for Xbox, Call of Duty World at War (WaW) and while the lighting in WaW seems to be less dynamic and more flat than that in Black Ops, the textures and quality of the graphics rarely differ. By far the best part of Black Ops is in fact the lighting. In certain parts its quite easy to blend in in other parts its hard to not stand out. This offers an interesting variety to gameplay style and incorporates the map even more into team strategy.
Okay, so the graphics aren’t the biggest draw, what about the game itself?
Gameplay in Black Ops is similar to other Call of Duty games. The campaign itself is, in my opinion, segmented and hard to keep up with but does tell a story once you get used to and learn to roll with it. There are missions where you go in as a soldier and complete an objective and there are missions when you use various vehicles. My favorite mission was the one in which you help troops on the ground maneuver through heavy enemy areas using a plane that was able to pick up heat signatures. For this mission you got to play both as a foot soldier when there was a firefight and as a spotter in the air when there wasn’t, essentially guiding yourself through a heavily populated enemy area. It is this ingenuity when it comes to playing a game that has allowed Call of Duty to survive so long as a series, even though all of its games are basically the same thing.
The Multiplayer aspect of Call of Duty is by far its biggest draw. The game types range from the standard Team deathmatch and capture the flag, to more objective based game types such as team headquarters and Sabatoge. Each mode gives the player oppurtunities to complete challenges and contracts to earn additional experience points (xp) that can be used to purchase better weapon upgrades, better perks and the ability to customize a playercard. New to the Call of Duty Series is the Zombies gameplay mode. Introduced in World at War, Black Ops has increased the populairty of this game mode by making it more prevalent and including new maps for the game. The maps themselves, for the most part, are well constructed and focus mainly on close quarters combat with very few obvious points to snipe from. That doesn’t stop the more creative of players from picking places to snipe from. Maps are designed realistically and include both spots of extreme visibility and spots where players can blend in. On maps like Hanoi, for example, certain spots in this often dark map are swept randomly by spotlights where players can get caught and “lit up” in more than on way.
Criticisms of Black Ops are nowhere near scarce. Many people, most of whom like to just rip on the Call of Duty series for whatever reason, can pick out various ways in which the game is flawed. As my first real experience with the online gameplay of Call of Duty has been with Black Ops, I can say that despite a few bugs here and there, the game actually is pretty decent and I have no criticisms. Yes, the models move more like samurai them soldiers and yes sometimes the hit box is off, but for the most part it is accurate.
One criticism I have is that on a few maps it becomes very easy to “spawn trap” or take advantage of another team in a way that is legal and fair but notmuch fun. I remember playing on a map once and the team was spawn trapped, where the team literally spawns into the cross hairs of enemy players, to the point where the entire opposite team had killstreaks that resulted in an endless stream of attack helicopters, chopper gunners and dogs; all in addition to foot soldiers.
Black Ops is a great addition to the Call of Duty Series in that it sticks with what makes the game popular while changing very little and improving on the issues of old games.
It is really fun and offers hours of gameplay for the players, it also is part of a series that is noted for having a new game every two years. Meaning Black Ops will cycle out quickly and the community will lose the focus of the game developers which makes it easier for individuals who hack or exploit to slip under the radar. That fact coupled with the similarities between the various Call of Duty games makes Black Ops feel just like another copy as opposed to a brand new game. Still it is a fun game with a lot of offer, just not for long.
Replay Ability: 10/10
Overall Rating: 8.5/10