The latest Call of Duty is finally here. After all the trouble with Infinity Ward and Activision, can Treyarch finally step up to the plate and give us what every Call of Duty fan has wanted, a worthy successor to Modern Warfare 1? Can Treyarch beat Infinity Ward at their own game? Surprisingly yes they can!
To break Call of Duty Black Ops down let’s talk about the single player story first. Set mainly in the cold war, during the 1960s, you start out as CIA operative Alex Mason, (voiced by Sam Worthington famous for Avatar). Alex is tied to a chair, being interrogated by an unknown agent, pressing Sam for the whereabouts of a Russian, and asking about some strange numbers. To go into the story on a graphic level would be a disservice for any gamer, as I certainly would not want to spoil it, but it is done thru the eyes of Sam, as a series of flashbacks, as he is being interrogated about himself and his friends.
You play the game jumping into these flashbacks, mainly as Sam, sometimes as other character connected to this evolving story. What I can tell you is it works and on a very emotional level in places. I would have expected when it flashed forward, taking you out of that scenario, it would make the game disjointed, but surprisingly it makes you care more about the characters in the story. The game spans sections including Vietnam and the Cuban missile crisis, with some jaw dropping set piece and ambient music that it becomes a constant thrill ride; an adrenaline rush of wanting to know what happens next and not some progressive run of the mill first person shooter. The story is a complete experience, no loose ties and I’m going to say it, a better experience than Modern Warfare 2 and will last the average gamer around seven hours on standard difficulty.
Black Ops is a visceral masterpiece graphically and the game feels like you are part of a crack unit fighting through. You are usually part of an AI team fighting thru well thought levels, with never any doubt of what to do or where to go. The explosions and endless showers of particles flying, stunning lighting and graphics never fail to impress (and for those lucky enough to have 3d televisions includes stereoscopic 3d). Black ops is never stale or disjointed and at times left me with the tingle down my spine and shouting wow did that just happen, which seems to happen so rarely in a first person shooter nowadays; for once you just don’t feel you have seen it all before. There are various types of action, like stealth sections and vehicles to drive, not just running with a gun. At times it has some serious violence to match games like Chronicles of Riddick and death scenes so it is not for the faint hearted. The game just feels charismatic; some sections are out of a James Bond movie in scale and when your wandering about with Sympathy for the Devil blaring out by The Rolling Stones you cannot fail to smile. The script is first rate and has feeling behind it, due to the stellar cast of Sam Worthington, Gary Oldman, Ed Harris and Ice Cube. On the single player aspect, Treyarch have surpassed Infinity Ward with Modern Warfare 2 and brought us a conclusive single player story, with no bugs, or issues and on par with Modern Warfare 1. The pretenders have taken the throne and they deserve to.
So the single player is a joy to behold, how about the multiplayer? Well how many options would you like? Enough gameplay modes to keep you going for a year are Treyarch’s response. Lets break it down. 14maps, 4 player zombie co-op including system link, online and even a solo mode. A training mode, where you can play solo if you wish and the game will spawn bots to fight with, (and against) which rips all your friends names and tags them in game. Ok you want more? How about the usual modes taken from last years Modern Warfare 2? Same kill streak system, so you get to tick which ones you want. Oh you want some goodies? Attack dogs, napalm, sentry guns, Sam turrets (finally a decent anti air defence), helicopters and a blackbird spy plane to name a few.
The game has the usual perk system, weapons etc…As of old, but shifts it slightly by buying things with a credit system you earn from playing online modes. It is still very similar to the old Call of Duty, as you still have to be certain levels to buy them, but it is an added twist; for me I prefer it. You can now buy contracts when you reach a certain level, to do objectives for more money. The game includes a separate wager mode to put this money at risk if you so wish, with a set amount of modes tied to it.
So let’s break down the other main gameplay online modes. You like making movies and sharing them with your friends? Well now you can in theatre mode. Variations of special modes now include barebones, hardcore and a special prestige only mode. We have private matches, player matches, team death match, mercenary (random team death match), free for all, domination, ground war, demolition, sabotage, headquarters, capture the flag, search and destroy and finally team tactical. From the time played I had no lag or latency issues, fast loading to get a game and found the maps to be engaging. The perks and kill streaks feel different enough to make Black Ops feel like a new game in the series, instead of a just a run of the mill rehash. The online segment will definitely draw fans back into Call of Duty, after the lacklustre Modern Warfare 2. It looks more balanced from time testing, but of course only the community will know after extensive months, how it will all pan out. For now though, just like the single player, Black Ops is worth buying for the multiplayer aspect, especially if you have become jaded of the series after Modern Warfare 2. The series has been reinvented again and feels like the evolutionary step taken from Call of Duty 2 to Modern Warfare 1. Treyarch should be commended for pulling out all the stops and listening to the community and responding with such a classic piece of gaming.
Overall, Call of Duty Black Ops should be on everyone’s Christmas list. Some of us, including myself have become apathetic of the series after Modern Warfare 2, but Treyarch have injected new life into the series. Be at peace, as the series is in a perfect pair of hands with Treyarch. Forget the competition, the only first person shooter you need this year is Call of Duty Black Ops.
- 5 Stars!
“Forget the competition, the only first person shooter you need this year is Call of Duty Black Ops.“
Version tested X360
Call Of Duty Black Ops Trailer