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Published on November 15th, 2010 | by Charlie

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Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops

Release Date: November 11 (EU and US) Genre(s): First-Person Shooter Publisher(s): Activision Developer: Treyarch Rating: M (Mature), 18+ [Rating:9/10] The most anticipated game of the year has finally been released. Known as the sequel to Call of Duty: World at War, Treyarch have gone all out, spending millions of dollars to give you the ultimate experience. So Treyarch said that they tried to give the campaign more of a story. I suppose you could say the story starts not long after you put the disc in your console, where a woman with a cigarette speaks into a microphone, saying random numbers. Once you actually start the campaign, Mason, the character you play, finds himself in a torture chair. It’s not long before he realise he is being interrogated. Throughout the campaign, his interrogators keep asking about the numbers, and what they mean, as for some reason, Mason can not stop hearing the numbers in his head. More so, the campaign see’s the return of Viktor Reznov, which might just explain why this is a sequel to World at War. What is a little confusing is that the story feels like we’ve begun the game half-way, and yet we’re starting at the beginning, but all seems to become clear at the end of the campaign. With a story that may keep you guessing all the way through, and with some shocking twists, you won’t care that it’s a short campaign. (If played in regular difficulty, the campaign lasts about 7 hours.)

Why So Serious Woods?

So each Call of Duty game is near enough the same, with the campaign and multiplayer. Let’s continue with the campaign side. In the campaign, there will be some big thrills, but the problem with that, is that there aren’t many, despite the gorgeous visuals. There is a level which you could call the opposite to “Cliffhanger” from Modern Warfare 2, which is a level that happens early on. At the end of “Cliffhanger”, you’re travelling down a mountain on a snowmobile, killing many other enemies on snowmobiles. In the second mission of Black Ops, you are on a motorbike, shooting your enemies also on motorbikes with a shotgun. Not as thrilling as Modern Warfare 2’s version, but still fun none-the-less. There are other missions which you will enjoy, but there’s just so much that could be told and I just don’t want to spoil anything. However, what I can say is that both the campaign and multiplayer contains new weapons that you may just find pleasing. The crossbow is the newest weapon addition to the franchise, in which you can use regular arrows, or explosive tipped arrows, which are certainly more fun when you see your enemies blow up from an awesome shot. Another weapon is the Tomahawk, which is basically the “Throwing Knife”. As soon as the Tomahawk hits an enemy or player, they die instantly, which is kind of ironic when the Tomahawk hits someone’s leg and they die. They wouldn’t die “instantly”. Maybe of blood loss, but that isn’t the case. Now we move onto the multiplayer, and there’s been debate on whether the multiplayer is just copying Halo or not. Let’s just say this. The multiplayer is so awesome, who cares if Treyarch copied Bungie? The multiplayer adds a new CoD Point system, where as you earn experience from your games, you also earn CoD Points (this doesn’t occur in Wager matches which I’ll come to). As you gain levels, you unlock new weapons, as you do, but you also unlock new features where you can customise your multiplayer character. What’s unique about the CoD Points is that you can unlock what you want, when you want. You are still limited with some items, as you still need to level up to unlock weapons and such, but this feature gives you more freedom. As every Call of Duty game does, the game comes with new multiplayer maps. 14 maps have been implemented in this game; some of them are fun, others are not. The thing that I don’t really like in the multiplayer is the fact people can vote for a random map, the previous map you have just played, or a new map. Treyarch have removed the “Veto” feature and now people just vote what map to choose. The problem with that is when you want to try out a new map you haven’t tried before, you get people who choose the map you have just played, which gets annoying. Yes, you could always leave the matchmaking and hope when you look for a new match, you are on a different map, but the fact is, we shouldn’t have to do that. One map this happens most of the time with is Nuketown. Indeed, it’s the most fun map there is, with all it’s hidden secrets, but if you play this map too often due to stupid players, you may just get annoyed with it. Of course, the multiplayer comes with the usual game modes, such as Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, Search and Destroy and so forth, all still as fun as the previous CoD games.

Guns and Fire is what every Call of Duty needs.

The multiplayer adds a new type of multiplayer map, known as “Wager Matches”. There are four types of matches, and three settings on how much you spend on those wager matches (100 CoD Points, 1,000 CoD Points and 10,000 CoD Points. How brave are you?). People have the choice to Double Up with how much they spend, meaning your bets are doubled, but in order for the feature to work, every person has to vote, so if one person doesn’t vote, nobody doubles up, which is only right as it should always be up to the person how much they want to bet. There are four modes of Wager Matches:
  • One in the Chamber
  • Sticks and Stones
  • Gungame
  • Sharpshooter
The only two I have played are insanely fun and tense. One in a Chamber is where 6 players enter a map with one bullet in a pistol and the ability to melee. You need to use that one bullet to kill a player, but if you fail to do so, your only option is to melee that player. Once you kill a player, you earn a bullet whether they have a bullet or not. In One in the Chamber, you have three lives, and once you lose all three, you are out of the game. The three people who have the most kills [by the time the 5th or so (depending on if people leave) person loses all their lives] wins. In Sticks and Stones, you get a crossbow, a tomahawk, the ability to melee and a ballistic knife. You need to use all of these weapons to earn points, but as soon as somebody tomahawks you, you lose all of your points and become “bankrupt”. Depending on what weapons you use depends on how many points you earn. For example, using a melee knife will only get you 25 points, whereas using your crossbow will give you 100 points. The three people with the most points at the end of the match wins. Wager matches are insanely fun and tense, and I’d love to see then occur in every Call of Duty game, hopefully with even more game types too.

"You ready to kick ass, Mr. President?"

The mode people was looking forward to the most (I still have no clue why this is so popular) is Zombie Mode. The zombie mode is almost exactly the same as World at War, with only a few minor differences. Those differences are such as the people you play as, the new maps you play on, and some of the new weapons you obtain in Black Ops itself. It’s very silly why this is so popular as I would go for Left 4 Dead over Zombie Mode any day. Yes, sure, Zombie Mode is thrilling for the first 10 minutes in a game, but when there’s just the two of you playing, or indeed just yourself, things get so dull as you realise you won’t last long. The thing that should also be added… A PAUSE FEATURE! A few times now playing Zombie mode I had people having players leave their Xbox as they need to go to the toilet or such, and the fact you can’t pause makes you lose the game, because your team mate has been downed and you are on your own. I know Zombie Mode fans will be killing me for not loving it as much as I would like to, but there’s just nothing to gain from the Zombie Mode and there’s better things to do in Call of Duty games. There were a few surprises, like being able to play as JFK and other political figures from the past, but that’s pretty much the only surprise. However, Dead Ops Arcade is certainly fun, which is a new type of zombie mode with an Ariel view. Think of it as Alien Breed mixed with Zombies… and prison break…. oddly. There is tonnes more I could go into, but there’s just so much crammed into one disc that I feel you should find for yourself as there is so much to try out in Black Ops. Black Ops doesn’t have the best campaign a Call of Duty title has had, with less thrills than Modern Warfare [2], but it certainly has the best multiplayer a CoD title has had, with it’s new features, weapons, maps and so much more. Zombies doesn’t have a long lasting appeal, as it’s just the same old Zombie mode from World at War, and with a new game, you would have thought Treyarch could have upped their game. Next year should be interesting, just due to the fact that Sledgehammer Games has never made a Call of Duty before and it will be an interesting find on what they’ll make.


About the Author

Some say I should be a video game journalist, others say a video game designer. Shame you can't be both.



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