Call of Duty: Black Ops PLATFORMS: PS3/Xbox 360/Wii/PC
RELEASE DATE: November 9, 2010
When reviewing a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops, one would assume the reviewer has probably played other Call of Duty games into the ground, but this is not the case at all.
I entered Black Ops as a complete noob, really. I’ve toyed around with previous installments — mostly playing with family in co-op modes — and even have Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare waiting for me to finally try it out. But technically, I’ve never really taken one of these games head-on.
This, I would have to say, was a good thing. I entered the game knowing what to expect but not exactly how well I would do or progress — especially when it comes to online multiplayer matches, which I’ve always been undeniably bad at and wanted to see if with enough practice and virtual death, this humble gamer could eventually hang with the big boys.
We’ll start with the game itself, which is a decent campaign, spanning about 7-8 hours long if you’re not playing on the easiest difficulty setting. It takes place during the Cold War in the late ’60s — you play as Alex Mason (voiced by Sam Worthington), an operative who right at the start of the game has been restrained and is being subjected to interrogation methods by some mystery men behind clouded glass.
Their mission is to get answers out of you regarding a strange broadcast of various numbers, a dangerous Russian General named Dragovich, and eventually the diabolical chemical weapon he wants to get his hands on, known as Nova 6. The mysterious men also question you often on your friend and ally, a defector of Russia’s Red Army named Viktor Reznov (voiced by Gary Oldman), who also played a pivotal role in Treyarch’s last title, Call of Duty: World At War.
A lot of military games such as this have issues with story. These game’s have a lot of complicated mission/strategy speak which sounds like gibberish to regular folk’s ears, and put most of their eggs in the action basket. That usually works, but it’s also a little difficult to fall in love with a game you enjoyed but have no idea what happened in it.
Thankfully, Black Ops does a great job of constructing a strong story to go along with the intense action. And when I say intense, I say it at the highest level of the word’s meaning. I’ve played a lot of video games in my day, but never have I had bullets whizzing by my head quite as ferociously as I did playing this game. The hell that is war is well-executed here, and though we all know it’s nothing like the real thing, you will find yourself clenching your controller with gusto on many occasions.
The game also does a great job of shaking things up; many of the levels involve the first-person action we’re used to, but there’s an appreciated amount of missions that see you taking out enemies via helicopter or guiding a team through dangerous territory using eyes in the sky. You can go into Call of Duty: Black Ops assured of the fact that you will never ever be bored, and that, my friends, is worth a few brownie points.
As for my attempt to play around in the sandbox we know as online mutliplayer matches, things are going, well…not too bad. As hoped, with more and more play, I’ve gotten a little better at not getting shot dead 35 times in a row, and this is progress! Records and statistics are still nothing to brag about on my end, but I can surely see how this phenomenon has gotten so popular. I didn’t want to buy into it at first, but can safely admit that it can be pretty gosh darn addictive.
As someone who’s new to games of this genre, it can be said that those of you who have never quite gotten into it should absolutely give Black Ops a try. It’s a fast and furious war epic that should deliver many hours of chaotic gameplay. Fans of the series have likely already devoted a week or so of their life, so they don’t need me to guide their choice.
The Modern Warfare titles in the Call of Duty franchise has done great things in the realms of video games, but personally, I’ve always preferred the games set in the past. Whether it be World War II or Vietnam or another historical conflict, there’s something so enthralling about games set in times we were too young or weren’t even alive to know.
Adding to that, Black Ops features a few very real historical figures, which only adds to the appeal. And when you play this game — and you should, immediately — don’t get antsy and skip the credits. Be sure to tough it out and take part in some intense undead action involving said historical figures. The one-liners alone are worth the cost.