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Call of Duty: Black Ops - Declassified Review


Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified is the latest title to arrive for PS Vita. Some see this as the console's great big hope for the year due to its name alone, and it's perhaps in part to these huge expectations that the game doesn't quite live up to them.



Activision entrusted Nihilistic Software with the development of Declassified and it seems, pretty much left them to it. What this means for the campaign is that you don't really get any of the trademark story lines associated with the series, but rather a set of ten mini missions which range from about two to five minutes long. In general these missions will have you rescuing hostages or going in all guns blazing, with a mixture of light and heavy weapon fire along the way. To be honest these missions are fun enough for a portable experience, although there isn't really a lot to them. When you finish a mission you are ranked out of three stars, so I'm guessing the reason for the short length is that you are meant to go back and improve your score and if your not bored by the time you do that, then you can always up the difficultly too.

The execution of the missions is decent enough. Enemies provide a tough challenge, although there is the odd occasion were they tend to shoot or blow themselves up. On the bright side, at least the missions to mix things up a little, giving you the chance to call air strikes, use your night vision goggles and generally cause havoc in the enemy base. Add to this the decent graphics, the mechanics for shooting, cover and the touch controls for grenades, then you have the ingredients for an FPS which at least works, even if it's far from perfect.

Finally, if you are the competitive type then you'll be pleased to know that there are global and friends leaderboards for each of the missions included, although whether this will provide enough motivation to return to the campaign once complete will very much depend on the person.



Away from the main campaign, there are a few other offline modes, although they are of little value. The first of these is the Time Trial which has you shooting your way through various maps while shooting at pop up targets. The idea is to get through as fast as you can without shooting civilians. It's fun enough, although over before you even begin. Finally on the single player side is Hostiles mode, which basically has you come up against various waves of enemies, taking them down as fast as you can before moving on to the next level. This mode is a bit mindless to be honest, offering a whole load of killing without little reward.

Throughout the entire single player experience you'll gain in experience and rank, although I've yet to figure out what purpose this serves, especially since this does not see to carry over to the multiplayer. Perhaps if it did so then this would serve as some motivation to keep playing.

Even though I was thinking to myself that I enjoyed the single player, it would seem what I've wrote about would suggest otherwise, thankfully though the games multiplayer does provide some entertaining, if not a little frustrating moments. Given that we are playing on Vita, multiplayer matches have been scaled down to eight players on very compact maps. The most interesting of these is Nuke House, a smaller version of the Nuketown map.



To be fair I really enjoy the multiplayer, it's just so compact that it's carnage, while also providing much of what makes COD online so appealing. What I mean by this is that you'll rank up, earn perks, ave the ability to create your own class and more. You'll also get the chance to take part in various game modes, such as the simply wonderful Kill Confirmed. There are a few issues though.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the multiplayer is the spawning. Often you'll find yourself appearing behind, next to or not far from the enemy, which generally results in your or their instant death. This is no doubt due to the compact nature of the maps, but it's definitely a big issue. As far as connecting and finding people online goes, I didn't have any trouble at all, in fact I connected to each match within minutes and had a lag free experience in each and every one of them. To me, despite its obvious issues, Declassified online is a great experience.

So there we have it, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified may not be the most perfect handheld version of the series, but it does at least have some redeeming features in terms of its multiplayer, although even taking this into account, longevity will most certainly be a big problem. Is Declassified worth 45 GBP? Not a chance, but maybe one day it'll reach a price that will make it worth considering.

(Version Tested: PS Vita)

Words by Joe Anderson

Pros

- Fun Multiplayer
- Looks Great

Cons

- Single player is lacking in all departments
- Spawning is too random
- AI is occasionally poor

Edited On 15 Nov, 2012

Comments
( 20 )
iamthe11oyd's avatar
iamthe11oyd 4 years ago
This has to be one of the most balanced reviews i've read so far. I've seen a lot of really low scoring reviews until this one..... A part of me wonders, why not just add [PSV] remote support for the PS3 version of Black Ops 2 instead? Or create a digi 'cross buy/play' combi for a PS3 & PSV version of Black Ops 2... Perhaps cross buy/play is shooting for the stars a bit, but remote play should be feasible.
Robichoico's avatar
Why? Simple. Activision can take the money for the £45 you paid for Black Ops 2, then take the £35 you paid for Declassified. More money in their pocket. Releasing a cross play version would mean people would buy either the vita or the PS3 release. This way they buy both.
Robichoico 4 years ago
iamthe11oyd's avatar
I see your point, but think of all that money wasted on development of a game that by all accounts is getting universally panned, and probably wont sell that well.... Why not invest (internally) in cross buy/play, sell your PS3 version in 2 flavours; vanilla retail boxed version at ?40-?50, and a Digi Combi edition (with a code for the PSV version of the same game - ala Portal 2 [PS3] allowing for PC use) for ?50-?60..... Even better How about a PS3 'Digi-Combi' DLC edition for ?70-?80 that gives you; the PS3 (boxed) version, PSV digital version, and season pass for both Sony formats..... This would promote more sales of the PSV, without taking away the exclusivity deal from Microsoft... Which would you want more, maps first, or 'Team Death Match on the go'?
iamthe11oyd 4 years ago
lou86's avatar
lou86 4 years ago
I love a good single player campaign shame this sounds rubbish ten short missions you will finish the game in about an hour or two. I think i wait for my friend to get this before i commit to buying it.
yoda soldier's avatar
yoda soldier 4 years ago
So the single player is about an hour long? colour me interested :)
Robichoico's avatar
45 minutes to an hour at max.
Robichoico 4 years ago
Bruticus's avatar
I hope that was sarcasm 'Yoda Soldier'
Bruticus 4 years ago
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
Pretty much the opposite to my online experience. Kept getting an error message saying couldn't connect to my broadband...which manages to connect to every other game. I even went off this and onto Everybody's Golf and got straight on that. And when I did I kept getting errors or booted back to a screen. I'm glad I got this one from a brick and mortar shop since I took it back the same day and labelled it as a broken game. Seems like the shop had a few other people with the same problem.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
This is the most positive review for this game I have read so far. But really who would but the Vita version over the mother version
Skiba's avatar
Skiba 4 years ago
this game was a pleasant surprise has other modes it is not really a SP story type game I'm enjoying it playing it more than my PS3 copy.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
It's great that you're enjoying your purchase
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Bruticus's avatar
Bruticus 4 years ago
What would have been nice was if Joe said "It's a poor man's Unit 13"
Datastatic's avatar
But its not. Its a rich mans Unit 13. Just for clarity - its nowhere near close to touching Unit 13's loading screen.
Datastatic 4 years ago
Bruticus's avatar
Good point, haha
Bruticus 4 years ago
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 4 years ago
While I'll give it that the core gameplay and online implementation in this game seem to be well done, there's no getting away from the fact that this release is an utter insult to Vita owners from Activision. The amount of out of the box content here is laughable. They apparently only gave Nihilistic FIVE months to develop this game, despite them announcing COD for Vita well over a year ago, and even then they wouldn't let Nihilistic utilise the license fully (eg. no Zombie mode allowed) and still they have the nerve to charge more for this game than any Vita title to date? Pathetic. It's Nihilistic I feel sorry for. They were left to take all the crap for this game's poor amount of content to the point where they quit the console game business and renamed their company before Declassified was even finished. Activision are the worst company in the industry by a mile.
Datastatic's avatar
Datastatic 4 years ago
This is about as honest a review as you are going to get, and commendable from retail. My review - I have this, its rubbish. Don't buy it. I will let you have an equally detailed Persona 4 review next week when I have played it for a bit.
Anonymous user's avatar
Tyrone 4 years ago
No wonder they didn't give hardly ANY review copies to big news reviews and waited for it to launch and leave it! just like EA did with FIFA 13 for the PS Vita!!!! Its not looking good now for the Vita at all, and I feel as if I've wasted all this money and time waiting for THAT one game to make it blow up again. Might just sell it and just keep this 3DS because it hasn't failed ONCE gaming & update wise!
SuperJag86's avatar
The Fifa 13 situation was/is embarrassing and shameful for EA. I was relieved that Most Wanted was not the same case becuase that would have broke my heart. It does feel frustrating to be a Vita owner when games are released but don't take full advantage of the hardware like the Lego games for example. I really hope Sonic Racing Transformed is the real deal on Vita...
SuperJag86 4 years ago
Scatigno's avatar
Scatigno 4 years ago
There was no doubt in my mind that this would be a less than sub-par game. I'm not just going off the reviews, I actually purchased it and played it. It boggles my mind why Activision would let such a mediocre developer let loose on their biggest franchise. This game could have possibly shifted millions of units as well as push hardware sales of the Vita through the roof. Don't get we wrong, at times it feels like a Call of Duty game, and the multiplayer is there and intact to some degree, but there is absolutely no polish. The game looks ugly, plays wonky, and is buggy. I wanted this to be a great game, I want the Vita to succeed, but it's this type of attitude that is causing the Vita to fail. Two big name franchises now, Resistance and Call of Duty have been released on Vita, both by the same developer, and both bad games. Sony should have took a more hands on approach I think and asked Activision to allow one of their own first party studios to take it on. I mean Sony Bend created the great Uncharted: Golden Abyss for Vita but they also made the Resistance game for PSP which received pretty good reviews. I fear that if Sony don't buck up their ideas fast, then this game could be one of the final nails in the Vita's coffin.
SuperJag86's avatar
SuperJag86 4 years ago
This game seems a step back from even Resistance Burning Skies. At least that attempted a decent campaign. Also look at other games on the Vita like Uncharted, Gravity Rush and Liberations with their solid console like campaigns and great graphics. It's really disappointing from Nihilistic but I forgive them slightly because I'm sure that a lot of fault lies with Activision who didn't give these devs enough time to make a complete game. This game really isn't work anywhere near £45 and instead more like £20 at a stretch. Finally some have compared the singleplayer to Unit 13, but that has many more missions, mission types, playable characters and a random mission generator. If Declassified copied this format but with the traditional CoD gameplay this would have been a much much better game.

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