Platform: PC/Xbox 360/PS3
Call of Duty: Black Ops is the successor to Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2; developed by Treyarch. Being a sequel to a highly acclaimed game, developers Treyarch would obviously have been under a lot of pressure to not only deliver a thrilling experience like the one we all enjoyed in the last game, but to outdo it. In some areas, Black Ops does out-perform Modern Warfare 2. That isn’t to say that the game doesn’t fail in some key elemental areas, which it does.
Just like in the previous Call of Duty games, you play as different protagonists over a series of missions. The single-player campaign is over 8 hours long, give or take a few hours depending on how good you are and on what difficulty you are playing in. It is widely known that the game under performs on the PS3. ‘Inferior’ is an understatement when it comes to describing the game on the visual-front. No wonder that 1000+ gamers who play Black Ops on their PS3s demanded a full refund for the game from Activision, because the game looks terribly bad. The textures are outrageously bland, and one can even go to the extent of saying Battlefield: Bad Company 2 looks more beautiful than Black Ops ( Battlefield games are comparably inferior to Call of Duty games when it comes to graphics ).
On the gameplay front, the game gets some things right and some other things terribly wrong. The hit-detection system is a bit off, with headshots not being registered accurately at times. Veteran Call of Duty gamers will feel right at home with the controls, with the rarely used ( in my opinion ) dive feature still present. The character animations are disappointingly not fluid – rigid in fact, and downright funny, to say, at times. Wherever the game fails in terms of gameplay, it makes up for it in the variety of missions offered. Many missions are challenging, fun and enjoyable. Kudos to Treyarch for managing to pull that off. Although, Treyarch hasn’t quite shown the same flair that Infinity Ward did while transforming a seemingly boring moment into an epic moment . Many a times, during some really tense play-through, a small falter in the cut-scene drops the pitch considerably, ruining the tension and enjoyability of that particular mission. One of the most appreciable and innovative gameplay elements is bullet time; watch the video below and you’ll know what I’m talking about:
But, as I mentioned earlier, where the games fails in aspects of gameplay, it impresses in terms of mission variety. One of the most interesting missions is the strategy mini-game in the mission where you control a squad by leading through a densely snowy terrain.
Moving on to the multiplayer component – which is primarily and important part of every game because it’s the sole feature which adds replay value ( not exactly in case you’re talking about games such as Red Dead Redemption ) – has changed in ways unexpected. As in most Call of Duty games, is fast-paced. Fans of World At War craved for the Zombie mode to be introduced again ( which originally was a part of Call of Duty: World At War ) and that is exactly what Treyarch has delivered. Treyarch has even introduced a currency system. an emblem editor and a Theater Mode – where you can watch and edit multiplayer session replays. There are quite a few new modes to play online, ranging from Wager Match ( which is similar to gambling ) to One in the Chamber to Sticks and Stones. Read more about the multiplayer modes here, and then check out the trailer for Wager Match:
You can even customize your weapons extensively, with the ability to add emblems and customize attachments and camouflage painting. Just as in Modern Warfare 2, you also have local splitscreen co-op gameplay, which is great fun. All through your online career, you’ll earn “CP” – CoD Points – which you can use to unlock weapons. You can even purchase CoD Points with real money ( anyone smell monetizing features here? )
And because history repeats itself, or at least rhymes, Black Ops suffers from tens and thousands of glitches, just like Modern Warfare 2 did ( and probably still does ). I wonder why none of the Call of Duty games ever undergo some rigorous BETA testing… and it certainly doesn’t look like Treyarch is doing its part to fix all this.
Treyarch seems to have set an impossible high target which it has failed to achieve. Overall, Call of Duty: Black Ops is without a doubt – a must buy, if you’re a diehard CoD fan. Else, it’s a passable title, worth a rent. There are surely better titles out there worth your money such Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and Gran Turismo 5, or LittleBigPlanet 2 even – in a few months.