Call of Duty: Black Ops Review
- Posted November 15th, 2010 at 17:27 EDT by Adam Dolge
- 46 Comments
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While overly familiar, Black Ops offers a compelling package of intense multiplayer action and a gripping single-player campaign that will ensure fans have plenty to do until next year's iteration.
- The enormity of things to do in multiplayer
- The gripping storyline
- The hilarious and immensely enjoyable Zombie mode
- The poor AI
- The various clipping, shading and other visual issues
November is with us once again, and with it comes the one franchise we review each year that creates as much discussion behind the scenes as it likely will in our comments section. The lines are drawn, the sides are taken, and the division runs deep on just about every facet of the Call of Duty series—is Modern Warfare 2 too much to top, is Infinity Ward better than Treyarch, does Activision deserve the mammoth early sale indicators for the latest version in the seven-year-old series? How will fans react to yearly Call of Duty installments; will we get more than just an exaggerated patch, or will each new game push the limits of its predecessor? To make matters worse, we can only assume that out of every review we publish during the year, our review of any Call of Duty game will probably not convince the disenfranchised or the devout follower.
With that seemingly daunting task, we delve headfirst into Activision’s latest entry in the multi-million selling franchise, with Treyarch taking the reins at creating a worthy successor to last year’s mega-blockbuster Modern Warfare 2. While we cannot ignore the clear bias some have for the series, we advise everyone to look beyond the hype, the sales figures, the controversy, and enjoy the game for what it is: a terrific first-person shooter with a well-told, impressive campaign and an enormous multiplayer component that is, despite some minor problems, easily one of the best offerings in recent memory.
The story in Black Ops is surprisingly interesting and captivating. It is one of the few games we reviewed this year that made us truck forward another level or two just to see what happened next. Black Ops' narrative hits the ground running, as we see protagonist Alex Mason wake up, tied to a chair, and interrogated by a group of mysterious men. Throughout the campaign they torture Mason to get information about numbers – that is, numbers Mason apparently has information of, but has little recollection as to why.
You essentially play out Mason’s memories of when he was a soldier during the Cold War. The story has you visiting a plethora of locations throughout the world, taking you to the likes of Cuba, Russia and Vietnam in search of communists who have access to biological weapons. While we’d love to give more details about those aforementioned numbers, the real political figures you’ll encounter, and how it all ends, we believe everyone should experience the campaign for themselves -- meaning no spoilers here. We will say that Black Ops does a great job of putting all the pieces together at the end, even after a portion in the middle when the plot seemed to get a little disjointed in places.
The story is told in often overwhelming action sequences that feel more like a summer blockbuster flick than a fall videogame. Within the first few moments of the start of the game, you are whisked away to a foreign country, driving through city streets as cars and buildings explode all around you. Black Ops mixes up the action with a heap of varied gameplay segments, ranging from standard run ‘n gun, to piloting a stealth bomber. Unfortunately, the latter is a fine example of Treyarch missing ample opportunity to provide a unique gameplay experience, as all you do is simply press a button to take off and that's about all there is too it. Needless to say, it rendered the whole sequence decidedly underwhelming.
Although the story is different, and the action seems a bit more intense than in previous games, Black Ops follows the same ideas from previous iterations. As such, you'll still encounter the same ubiquitous, irritating invisible lines required to activate the next cinematic or signal the next wave of enemies; heck, there’s even the same slow-motion technique thrown in at the climax of a couple of the game’s stages.
Despite these niggles, it’s where the story is told, and how it is told that'll keep you hooked. There are a couple of terrific spots in the game, certainly not tucked away, where the era, soundtrack, and action all intermix to make for an utterly brilliant 20 minutes or so of gaming goodness. Then again, there ... (continued on next page)
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- 12:58pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Thanks for another COD article PSU. This site is quickly losing my interest. Posting obvious news and obvious fake reviews on an obvious crap game is annoying.
- 1:08pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Don't hold back Henry, tell us how you really feel.
- 1:11pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Gonna trade in Black ops shortly, same old s*it different year. The only difference that black ops has over MW2 is a slightly better campaign and more bugs. Back to a real FPS game. Back to B company!
Oh and yeah, be nice if this site updated before or at least the same time as the rest of the internet and not 2 days (Or 3 weeks in this case) after everyone else!
- 1:18pm EST - November 15th, 2010
HenryPSN, I didn't want to even justify your comment with a response, but I couldn't help myself.
This is not a "fake review" as you claim. Some of us happen to enjoy Black Ops, despite the fact that you very clearly don't. While everyone has a right to his or her own opinion, we don't respect the claim that our review process is biased, which it most certainly isn't. We have never adjusted or inflated a review score due to outside pressure, and we never will.
Listen -- Black Ops is the "hot" game right now. There's a reason there are so many articles about it -- people are very interested in it, and we give the people what they want. However, interest will undoubtedly wane soon enough. Perhaps, until that happens, you can simply avoid news about Call of Duty, rather than click on the news pieces and complain about them. You don't have to read every post, you know.-----
Oh, and Cogan1, the reason this review is a week (not three weeks) late is because Activision royally bungled shipping out the review copy of this game to us. They sent it to the right address... in the wrong city and state. So, because of that mix-up, we didn't receive a review copy until two days after the game came out, rather than a week or a few days prior to release.
- 1:39pm EST - November 15th, 2010
I hope PSU posts alot more about Black ops just so Henry goes away. At the end of the day henry you don't have to read it, nor click on it. Get a grip.
- 1:51pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Props to PSN for Replying to #1 comments. I think the Black Ops is a good game but not the best in the series. As for Eric, If you hate reading articles on COD, then why read and post a comment on it. That makes no sense. Thats like me saying I hate all these Coffee houses but still go to Starbucks.
- 1:53pm EST - November 15th, 2010
*facepalm* @ this review. I guess this site is quickly going downhill with all of the other gaming sites.
- 2:03pm EST - November 15th, 2010
If you don’t like the game wow your missing on out on a lot of fun. Oh well there are still plenty of people that are enjoying it and will for long time to come.
The game offers tons of customization to your weapons not to mention a load of weapons to choose from and if you don’t like kill streaks it offers game modes online that don’t use those kill streaks. The graphics are really on par with all games, it may not beat out some of the other ones out there but the point here was to make an overall first person shooter be solid and fun. And they nailed it here with black ops. I really am enjoying this game so much.
- 2:20pm EST - November 15th, 2010
personally, I have to say I much prefer Black Opps to MW2. The gameplay, maps and depth of different game modes along with Zombies puts it way ahead of MW2 for me.
- 2:24pm EST - November 15th, 2010
So, once again here's the truth behind you hating COD...you're not good at it. Here's the reason you like games like BFBC...you are good at it (because a weaker gaming audience plays it). Stupid reasons to like or dislike a game, especially when you start bashing Activision and the COD franchise just because you suck online. Instead of blaming your lack of talent on COD, why don't you try to figure out what the guy owning you is doing so you can stop him from doing that? Creativity. It works in video games, try it.
For awhile now gaming has gotten away from the only thing that really matters...HOW GOOD YOU ARE AT THE GAME! Credibility.
I swear there are a group of 3 retards on this site. Everyday they type their way to more embarassment. Can you guys spot them? LOL
My review COD 9/10.
- 2:43pm EST - November 15th, 2010
So the review has been live for a couple hours and there's already some great discussion - just as PSU hoped. I am technically the author of this review, and as my colleague Eric stated, some of us liked it, some of us did not. PSU will not defend a review that is conceived to be biased just because the game is popular, sorry.
Again, as Eric stated there was a mix up in shipping and we received the game a few days late -- actually, we were told this happened to other sites, too. This is THE busy season for reviews, so expect a lot of them, and we will try to push them out in a timely manner, in REAL review fashion (yes, we play the games extensively, we discuss them internally, we judge, we write, we critique one another, etc.).
- 2:48pm EST - November 15th, 2010
haha!! its always funny to read all this haters/fans battles
@10 just relax!! in this gen there is only one online game that really skill-baset its Warhawk
- 3:15pm EST - November 15th, 2010
@12...you're right I just hate reading rants and lies about games I like (like COD). If I'm not interested in a game, I don't go into a thread I just skip it. The worst part is, it's all for attention. Attention online? Almost as bad as acting like a ganster online. And I never played Warhawk, but SOCOM measures the most tactical talent (you get one life).. COD measures twitch reflex talent.
- 4:37pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Site reviews a game, they liked it.. the review reflected that. People say the site is going downhill.
Love the stupidity! xD
- 4:56pm EST - November 15th, 2010
LOL the stuff going on in the comment section is hilarious, especially comment # 2. xD
Anyways, I agree with this review, the game is good. The storyline is actually interesting cause I actually care about what's going to happen. I mean, I did care for the storyline in MW2 but what pissed me off was that Ramirez guy, I hated playing as him. -.- The multiplayer is good but I hate how small the people are and the spawning system. But other than that, the game deserves 9/10. =)
- 5:22pm EST - November 15th, 2010
@ 4 - Thanks for that but it made no sense. PSU has become a bunch of raging COD fanboys.
- 5:24pm EST - November 15th, 2010
@ 1 and 7
If you don't like COD just simply skip the thread instead "reading" and posting stupid comments. And it's obvious that you two dislike the game because you both get pwned online.
- 5:50pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Excellent game! Definently the best multiplayer game.
- 5:55pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Listen to these kids. "PSU reviewed a game which I've never played, but don't like because I wanna be cool and different. It's not possible that it could be good because I said so!" I personally thought KZ2 was complete and udder crap, but I didn't go spamming their review because that's just a waste of time.
- 5:58pm EST - November 15th, 2010
@ cod fans. stop posting things like "you dont like it because you suck in it"because like and skills not equal!!i SUCK in Warhawk, but im still love this game!!@13 exactly!! pure reflexes and no skills like Quake or Unreallets be honest cod this gen is the easiest FPS game to join and master of
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