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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- 6:29pm EST - November 15th, 2010
I prefer black ops ......mw2 is for a bunch of camping noobs where everyone on your team is tring to get a nuke to end the game and others a diving 10 feet away with commando perk yeh black ops could be better but it is better than mw2 good review haters can suck a magic stick
- 6:32pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Well i love it... i finished the campaign on veteran and i played some multiplayer and yes the zombie mode is hilarious.... DOn't hit me ...Again or i will kill you....Again... i have a couple of problems with one particular trophy dough... the one where you have to stab someone with the upgraded balistic knife so you can revive.... that's just crazy...i can't even find the ballistic knife and the random case never gives it to me... oh and the other one where you have to get all the weapons in a zombie game... anyways the game is a 9 no doubt... great single player and awsome multiplayer after playing bad company for like 2 months now i'm glad i picked this one up.... PS: could you please send ACtivision the money for the game maybe they'll send the next one sooner and not make some type of excuses....
- 6:36pm EST - November 15th, 2010
oh come on, a 9/10? I like this game as well, but there are obvious flaws in this game that other people are having a problem with which should actually bring that down to 8/10, whatever though, just because a game is "the hot new thing" doesn't justify it enough to give it a 9/10. The cons on this games review are also pretty rubbish because everyone right now or at least A LOT of people are struggling trying not to get booted from a damn game. Heck, it's almost a job just to play this game with a group of friends when they send you an invite and somehow the game decides to pull errors out of no where.
- 6:42pm EST - November 15th, 2010
meh same thing as the other ones, the only real good one was CoD4 and W@W was alright too, MW2 sucked and this one is just alright not great. the only part i enjoyed in this game was the zombies, that is a lot of fun.
- 7:27pm EST - November 15th, 2010
I have over 500 000 in 4 different shooters combined at a K/d of over 2.5. I am a clean and honest player so your excuse of "you suck" is not going to work. COD is a noob franchise for noob players who cannot shoot to save their lives. GTFO.
- 7:42pm EST - November 15th, 2010
I just finished it last night, really enjoyed playing through it. The game as a hole is far ahead of MW2, that game really did suck. A well deserved score! I would have gave it 9.5 :)
- 8:04pm EST - November 15th, 2010
LMAOOO i never knew there is so much anti cod people here...Call of Duty owns...
- 8:06pm EST - November 15th, 2010
Poor AI yet still a 9.0...? At any rate just want to point out to Spotted that your claim that anyone who doesnt like COD just isnt any good at it is just about as childish and narrow of an explanation one could come up with. Granted im pretty sure that statement holds water for quite of few of the haters but it doesnt for myself. I've owned only one COD and that was MW1.(My buddies owned the rest and I'd just go and play at their places) Was always the one of the better players locally and faired pretty well online. Also you're acting like COD is the only game of its type. To some extent a persons experience in another FPS will effect how well they play in COD. So for example a person who owns epically in Resistance 1 online or Halo or something may as a result have a headstart in terms of skill in COD online. That person might still think COD is crap anyway, and in fact besides me there are quite a few people i know in which that example fits perfectly. You can keep telling yourself that everyone who hates the game just isnt good at it if it helps you sleep, I'm just here to bring you back to reality...
- 8:57pm EST - November 15th, 2010
i love reading the comments down here, really interesting discussions lol. Henry, stop trash talking about Black Ops, its just a video game! if you dont like the game, why do you even bother reading articles about the game and then posting hate comments on them? id like to see you explain why lol
- 1:53am EST - November 16th, 2010
I don't reckon anybody reviews online games well enough.
It's not good enough to say "there's plenty to do in multiplayer" when it comes to COD.
The game online is designed for Payback kills (Kill the last player that killed you) so nobody gets pissed at the game when they suck, so all the spawn points are messed up. Seriously, you kill somebody, and they respawn right behind you! Also it takes a full clip of hit markers to kill somebody if you're not using the MP5K. Also the lag is ridiculous and at some points makes the online un-playable (No it is not my connection it is actually the game itself) for people who are actually good at this game it's ridiculously annoying to be getting killed by noobs who always respawn behind you.
Zombies is fun but is also too laggy, sometimes a shotgun shot to the head doesn't even register, and when you're in the deeper rounds of the game you can imagine how crucial that is.
The AI in the Campaign is terrible, i mean terrible; at one part your teammate is about 20 metres ahead of you standing by a corner in the open, an enemy came from around the corner, kicked a table down and starting firing at me from behind it, while my teammate stood right next to him firing the other way. On top of the terrible AI and campaign is extremely short, shorter than Modern Warfare 2's.
The only thing I enjoy about this game is the theatre mode and wager matches which is a fun thing to play around with, other than that, it's not much better than MW2.
I personally prefer the online of MW2.
I think there needs to be a full revamp of how primarily online games are reviewed.
- 3:31am EST - November 16th, 2010
Well I've completed the single player, indulged in some serious multiplayer and played Zombie mode. So having spent some serious time with this I think it's certainly not worthy of a 9.0 score (Come on PSU - the last thing we need is more reviewers in the pocket of the games companies - we get enough of that on gamespot).
So why not a 9?
Let's compare it to MW2 - the single player story struggles to engross until right at the end. The levels are mostly rehashes of existing concepts: The underwater base felt just like playing the oil rig level from MW2, but worse. The blackbird mission was very similar to the bombing from above mission in MW (fair credit, I enjoyed the zooming in to the live action). All the other levels felt very samey.
It suffers from something that Treyarch always seem to put in their games (apart from the poor plot), which is that they sometimes overwhelm the player with just too much action. While you could find that this is immersive, it quite often comes over as too much.
Good points from the game? Some very nice multiplayer levels, and the JFK Zombie level is very enjoyable - for 30 minutes.
It just doesn't cut it when you compare it to the thrill that was MW2.
Treyarch have a history of putting out second rate MW games and this has only further that assertion. It'll be interesting to see what the next MW game will hold after the recent battles between EA and Infinity Ward.
6.5 / 10
- 4:19am EST - November 16th, 2010
@31 and 32 agreed also wintee im guessing you meant COD when you said MW. only infinity ward does the MWs. lol nice review tho. Im actually shocked PSU sold out to this extent. I really hate when sites pander to the hyped up titles...justify it all you want psu but blackops is definitely NOT one mark away from being a perfect 10. You guys have to be crazy over there.
- 4:20am EST - November 16th, 2010
Oi Spotted... it would seem you lost all credibility as a game when u said CoD is a tough game to play online. CoD is the easiest game I have ever played online. No one is actually skilled at it, the game just makes itself so easy to play anyone can get 20 kills in a round...
I dont like bad company 2 much either...but for different reasons...the closed beta was when bad company was at its best...unfortunately they gave into the whiney weak gamers of today and made it so u can have the .50 cal in 1 multiplayer session...
boy do i miss the days when u had to actually work to earn something...but i guess people have just gotten weak and forgotten their roots..truly sad
- 5:40am EST - November 16th, 2010
black ops is waaay better than MW2, less campers, less snipers, killstreaks harder to get and more rewarding, no glitchers, better maps
- 10:46am EST - November 16th, 2010
@ all who responded to me...
So, you're good at the game, the graphics are incredible, the story is epic, features online unmatched, a lot of maps, huge community, weapons galore.....YET YOU BASH THE GAME EVERY DAY??????? O.K, so tell me why it's such a horrible game then because I can't figure it out? That's been my point for over 2 months you nubs? How can you bash a game that is as close to complete as you can get? At least have some reasons. How immature to just start ranting over a game that is loved by millions for obvious reasons...IT'S A QUALITY GAME! Not opinion, FACT!
- 3:37pm EST - November 16th, 2010
I maybe wrong but... I am guessing alot of people here trashing MW2, Black OPS, Bad Company, Halo, Delta force 2, ect,ect,ect. Forget how far Video games, connection speeds, Graphics have come in such a short time. I can only assume alot of the bickering is coming from younger people. People who dont remember the days of being dropped off at the Arcade for a couple hours. *Good times* Look you will never find the perfect Video game for everyone; They will always have flaws,cheaters, or not YOUR style of play. Thats Life get used to it. Enjoy the wonderous marvel that is the video game. IMO I give the game a 9/10.
- 4:22pm EST - November 16th, 2010
So here's an example of someone (I'll leave out the name) who blames the game for their own stupidity and a perfect example of what I preach about people not liking COD for the wrong reasons. Ready???? Read...
"The game online is designed for Payback kills (Kill the last player that killed you) so nobody gets pissed at the game when they suck, so all the spawn points are messed up. Seriously, you kill somebody, and they respawn right behind you! Also it takes a full clip of hit markers to kill somebody if you're not using the MP5K. Also the lag is ridiculous and at some points makes the online un-playable (No it is not my connection it is actually the game itself) for people who are actually good at this game it's ridiculously annoying to be getting killed by noobs who always respawn behind you. "
A) They are respawning behind you becuase you still haven't figured out they are using the TACTICAL INSERTION perk. I guess I better tell you since you would have never solved the mystery. How do you combat it, use Tactical insertion and respawn yourself somewhere safe. Duh.
B) The lag is the same as it was for the first week of MW2. What do you expect when over 600,000 people are playing at one time? Obviously, as with MW2 it will be fixed soon.
C) Are you saying you're good at the game but can't even figure out why the enemy is always shooting you in the back. Again, Tactical insertion child.
*Lastly, for everyone, I'm always available online if you want to show me how good you are. Just add me. And you pick the shooter. Then we'll see if you are as good as you say you are. Have a nice day. Damn I feel good, I need a beer!
- 3:33am EST - November 17th, 2010
Havn't played MW2 or Black ops but I like to see what people think about these blockbuster games! so most of you find black ops better than MW2, I thought that it would of been the other way round? Funny how henry gets owned each time he make a comment, lol!
- 4:05am EST - November 17th, 2010
I'm well aware of what tactical insertion is u little nub, if that's what you think was happening you may be missing a fair few brain cells. Judging by that entire comment I would guess your age to be roughly 14. Or if you are older than you have the intellect of a 14 year old. Clearly you read my comment with your sub-conscious looking for any point you can highlight and try refute. Reading your argument it's clear you couldn't even manage to get any of that information into your little head. Anyway, no point in arguing with little virgin pre pubes who just learned how to construct an argument in english class. (I laughed so hard at the "I need a beer!" line, just gold)
- 5:28pm EST - November 17th, 2010
Moderated - Please let's focus on the review :D
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