Call of Duty: Black Ops
System: Xbox 360
Release Date: November 19, 2010
Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.
Another year, another Call of Duty. The latest edition is from Treyarch, who also made Call of Duty: World at War and COD 3. Black Ops is their first foray into “modern” warfare, although it takes place during the 60’s and addresses both the Vietnam War and the Cold War. I must say that I am quite happy Treyarch didn’t go back to “ol’ reliable” because the last thing we need is another World War II first person shooter. Although the modern warfare FPS genre is beginning to get a little saturated as well, Black Ops keeps it fresh by going into the 60’s.
The single player campaigns are beginning to become almost an afterthought in the Call of Duty series, but they are still typically a lot of fun to play through. Black Ops is no exception, and it follows the story of a soldier who is being interrogated about information that he cannot remember. You play through various events in his life, picking up on bits and pieces of memories as you go along. There is a big plot twist at the end, but anyone who has seen a select movie or two will know exactly where the story is going. The individual levels are solid and some are particularly memorable — I loved riding in on a boat and blasting everything on screen while “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones played. I was a little annoyed that picking up guns and ammunition is basically worthless since you are given new weapons for every level, but that is a minor inconvenience. The campaign isn’t as good as the two Modern Warfare titles, but it’s still worthy of at least one play through.
The reason the majority of gamers play COD games is for the multiplayer. The same basic online play is still here, but there are some notable differences. For one, this time around you have to purchase upgrades for your weapons rather than unlock them via leveling up. The money required to do so is earned by performing well during game sessions and by gaining XP. One cool new “wager” mode provides the ability to gamble these COD points in an attempt to get even more. Most of the old favorite game modes are still here, such as Deathmatch, Headquarters and Domination, just to name a few, and most of the perks/weapons are back as well. There are also some welcome new additions that are unlocked over time. What I like most about Black Ops’ multiplayer is that you can pretty much mold your character into what you want it to be right from the beginning. It may take some time to unlock your favorite weapon, but you can gain access to all of the available perks very quickly.
Since this is a Treyarch game, it should also be noted that the Zombies mode is still available, if you’re into that sort of thing. The Spec Ops mode introduced in Modern Warfare 2 is nowhere to be found.
Overall, I cannot deny that Black Ops is an incredibly well made game, and it is easily the best COD game that Treyarch has released yet. I still prefer the previous two Modern Warfare games, but this one is right up there with them. Although the single player campaign is the usual six hours in length, the multiplayer provides countless hours of gameplay, and the new COD points system adds a whole new dynamic. I know I am going to spend a lot of time with this one…