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Call Of Duty: Black Ops Review

publisher: Activision
developer: Treyarch
genre: Shooters

ESRB rating: M

release date: Nov 09, 10
» All About Call Of Duty: Black Ops on ActionTrip

Well, cover me with explosives and detonate at will! Another Call of Duty game is upon us. Yes, as dreary as it sounds, Activision and the folks at Treyarch made one more addition to the long-running shooter series, which boasts an impressive financial success each and every year. Call of Duty: Black Ops continues down the same road of classic, inevitably scripted FPS gameplay, but it also adds some changes to the mechanics we've seen in Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - especially in the multiplayer segment.

Traditionally, the single-player campaign gives us a chance to experience the storyline through the eyes and ears (and weapons) of different soldiers or in this case, agents. Once again, you'll be following a variety of characters, as they struggle to complete their tough mission objectives under hellishly difficult circumstances. Each chapter in the game denotes specific tasks that need to be carried out quietly, but, of course, in each one of those missions, all hell breaks loose and a massive shootout ensues. Anyway, you'll accompany special forces operatives that have to handle a lot of hush-hush black operations behind enemy lines, which is always cool you have to admit.

The game is set during the 60s, at the height of the Cold War, when CIA was force to commence black operations on various locations worldwide, from Cuba all the way to the Ural Mountains in Russia and even to Laos and Vietnam. In most missions players assume control of an operative named Alex Mason. Then again, on other occasions you get to be the cold and brutally efficient CIA agent Jason Hudson. There are a few flashback missions to go through as well, although I must say they were quite skillfully woven into the main story.

Similarly to recent iterations in the Call of Duty series, production values were high and, by God, it shows. Voice acting, the graphics and explosions and special effects (though mostly scripted) look rather spectacular and create an absolutely immersive warzone, where you need to be quick on the trigger otherwise you're a goner. Okay, Modern Warfare 2 had the same qualities, so in terms of production, visuals and general atmosphere, the developers (at IW) had it all covered. One important aspect was, however, overlooked and certainly felt underdone - the story itself. Astonishingly enough, Black Ops doesn't fall into such a trap. It lays out a very well-written narrative, with neatly assembled characters, all of which fit perfectly into the "bigger picture," which becomes apparent near the very end of the game (not gonna throw any spoilers at you though, so don't worry). Suffice it to say, you're bound to enjoy the story more than you have in MW 2; I know I have. For a game that relies heavily on direction, scripted events and dashing from checkpoint to checkpoint, having a well-thought out plot is vital.

The solo campaign also does its best to introduce players to a wide variety of different environments, a solid range of vehicles and, of course, a reasonable amount of heavy and light weaponry.

Still, the best part and definitely the biggest improvement in the game are the additions made to the multiplayer. First of all, there's the new unlock scheme, powered by the game's currency system (CPs, as they are referred to in-game). Basically, gamers earn points and you'll find that matches offer so-called CPs and exp. points. CPs are utilized for purchasing equipment (in addition to killstreak rewards and perks) and exp. points are used to level up your character. There's a choice of modes and matches on offer. Those that feel the most interesting to us were Wager Match and Sticks and Stones, both of which involve combat with specific weapons and limited ammo. We also mustn't neglect the ever-appealing Zombie mode that puts players onto a single Nazi Zombie map and eventually leads to another map - the Pentagon, where you step into the shoes of different political icons such as Kennedy, Castro etc. This is a co-op variation that many gamers are going to be thankful for, because it adds a great and genuinely fun element to the game. Even though you can't experience the main campaign in co-op (like in CoD: World at War), we welcome what the devs have done here.

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8.8   Very Good

Every piece is in place here; the story, the characters, the atmosphere, the music, sounds and voices and, of course, the gameplay;

Again, we feel that the CoD recipe needs some new elements, we have grown tired of the same old mechanics, and yes, the campaign may still be too short for some gamers.


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