Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

  • Posted November 15th, 2010 at 17:27 EDT by Adam Dolge

Review Score

Call of Duty: Black Ops

PSU Review Score
9.0
Avg. user review score:
7.0

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Summary

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.

We like

  • The enormity of things to do in multiplayer
  • The gripping storyline
  • The hilarious and immensely enjoyable Zombie mode

We dislike

  • The poor AI
  • The various clipping, shading and other visual issues

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) ...Then again, there are moments that are overly generic, and, to be quite frank, excessively violent. It may sound odd for us to point out that Black Ops is extremely violent, but it’s violent to the point that as a gamer, you start to feel desensitised to the smaller nuances. For instance, there’s a portion of the game where you and your comrades play Russian roulette, and, without spoiling anything, the outcome really loses its flair after you make an enemy chew on a piece of glass earlier in the game. Of course, we are not complaining that the game is violent (please don't interpret our comments in this manner) -- rather, we simply found the enormity of violence underwhelming by the time we finished the game.

Before we move on to Black Ops' multiplayer portion, we feel it’s important to point out that the enemy and friendly AI is less than competent. Your teammates rarely come to your aid in times of need, while enemy behaviour is equally as poor, with foes standing still directly next to us, yet somehow managing to miss their shots time and time again. Overall it’s a mediocre effort made even worse by the fact you need to cross those invisible lines to keep the action progressing. Visually the game is fairly impressive, though overall the graphics are marred by some noticeable glitches and shading issues. It doesn’t break the experience by any means, though some offenders – such as soldiers randomly clipping through a solid wall – are among the most conspicuous examples of the game’s overall lack of polish in this area.

Multiplayer

What would a Call of Duty game today be without multiplayer? Indeed, this is where Black Ops makes its biggest changes compared to Modern Warfare 2. Still, it’s worth noting that while there is some changes here that veterans will either praise or criticize, the overall experience is still quite similar to Infinity Ward’s 2009 outing. As such, the game offers arguably one of the best online FPS experiences out there, and while the addition of Wagers will likely be welcomed by all, the tweaks to CoD Points may ruffle a few feathers. As you earn experience points, you are given the ability to create-a-class, unlock custom class slots, and the different weapons and bonuses to buy. All the other goodies you’ve grown to enjoy in multiplayer are acquired by CoD Points—this includes weapons, perks, emblems, killstreak, etc. There are no buy-backs. Once you spend your CoD Points they are gone, and you’ll have to wait until you level up to earn more.

Multiplayer is extremely deep. There are 14 maps mostly taken from the single-player mission, and despite our favorite map being called “newb zone,” we can’t get enough of NukeTown—essentially a mock town used for testing weapons and bombs. Since we’ve been playing the game at launch, we feel the maps do a great job of keeping everything relatively balanced. There will always be exceptions, and snipers will certainly have an advantage if they find that perfect hiding place, but in general each map has plenty of short and long-range viewing areas. Black Ops also introduces the new Theater system, which allows you to record and share clips of your action on CallofDuty.com. This new feature could provide some hilarious moments, and we've no doubt many of the hardcore players will utilize it in order to showcase their soul-crushing kill streaks.

Oh, and then there’s the Zombies. Yep, Black Ops signals the return of World at War’s highly lauded Zombie mini-game and it’s just as much of a blast as before. Here, you can play as historical giants such as Fidel Castro, Nixon, JFK, and Robert McNamara in a side gig that offers a compelling mix of humorous dialogue, shambling Nazi’s and meaty firearms. The mode is terrific fun and there are a host of goodies to find that we’ll let you discover for yourself. Needless to say, you won’t be disappointed. In conclusion, while overly familiar and not without its annoying niggles, Call of Duty: 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.

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