Video Game Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

CoD_Black_Ops_cover

Video Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops
Developer(s): Treyarch & n-Space
Publisher(s): Activision & Square Enix
Platform(s): Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Mac OS X
Genre(s): First Person Shooter (FPS)
Game Mode(s): single-player, multi-player
ESRB Rating: Mature; Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Release Date: November 9, 2010
Review Date: December 26, 2014

“Dagum backlog! I should have played and finished this one sooner.”

My Personal Stats

Yes, I realize I am about four years behind the curve, but better late than never. I am trying to clear out my back log. I played Call of Duty Black Ops on the XBox 360. To get through this game, I played on the Easy difficulty, touched a little bit of Zombie, and did not play multi-player (if that is even still an option). I received 325 / 1700 achievements for 19% complete.

Quick Synopsis

As with previous CoD games, you take on roles of various characters during the campaign, changing perspectives throughout the story. The story takes place during the 1960’s during the Cold War with JFK as the US President. The characters are special forces operatives conducting CIA clandestine black operations behind enemy lines. The main protagonist is a SAD/SOG special forces operative, Alex Mason. Viktor Reznov, a key character from the Soviet campaign in World at War, returns along the Russian protagonist Dimitri Petrenko.

The+numbers+mason+what+do+they+meanThe game’s present day is late February of 1968. You start the game as Alex and are strapped to a chair in an interrogation room. You are drugged, zapped with electricity, and bombarded with questions by your unseen captors asking about the location of a numbers station. The campaign missions are you recalling events, in an attempt to answer their questions.

This takes us back to 1961 in Cuba with an operation where you have to stay behind to protect the rest of the team to escape. You are captured and taken to a Russian prison where you befriend Reznov and eventually escape. Not before Reznov tells you about his enemies and how truly evil they are. These individuals happen to be the same that have tortured you, Alex, and are weaponizing a bio weapon, Nova-6.

The campaign takes you through learning of the past defected Nazis, learning about Nova-6, and the mysterious numbers station.

Initial Thoughts

I don’t have a lot of background in CoD. In fact, I believe this is only the third one I have played. Modern Warfare one and two being the others. So I went into it with an open mind, but knew a lot of my gamer friends liked it. I was blown away that the protagonist actually spoke. This made it a lot easier for me to be able to follow the story, and I believe it got me more vested into the character.

Game Play

Pros:
1637034-cod_blackops__20_1) Story. I think with the protagonist actually speaking not only in cinematic but during game play as well, was a huge plus for me. I became invested in the character. I did not feel this way with the Modern Warfares. The modern day integration room also gave you not only more information to go a long with the story, but I think it helped with the connection to Alex.
2) Zombies. Players take the roles of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro as they fight zombies at The Pentagon. I played a few rounds as JFK. He had some funny lines. It reminded me of a horde/firefight mode. I can see it being a lot of fun, especially with friends.

Cons:
3) AI. There were plenty of instances when someone in my squad would advance past an enemy and neither would shoot at each other. There were some instances where I didn’t notice this happened until it was to late and I started getting shot in the back. ‘Wait a minute, wasn’t this area just cleared?!’ At the points where I was supposed to follow a comrade I would often get a head of them and have to wait for them to decide to catch up and actually lead me where I am supposed to go.
4) Zombies. There was absolutely no tutorial or explanation of objection.
cod-blops6_1756671c5) There are instances in the game where you are being bombarded with enemies and if you don’t advance to a certain point, they just keep coming. This is typical for CoD in my experience; however, I didn’t feel like I could advance. I never felt that there was a ‘safe’ point to move forward. If I wasn’t playing on easy, there would have been plenty of times where I would have died because of that advancement.

Game Play Rating: 4 / 5

Graphics

Pros:
1)
In consideration that I am playing this four years later, the graphics were good. Just like any CoD game. It was smooth, I didn’t have any choppiness nor did I notice any texture pop in.

Cons:
2) There were a few times were some of the graphics were off. One of the most memorable was when an enemy I shot floated around in the air, then walked again. I shot him again, he floated some more. Then he started following me around without a gun and would not die. Really wished I would have played this on PC so I could have recorded it.

Graphics Rating: 4 / 5

Audio

Pros:
1) Voice Acting. They casted this game really well. You have Sam Worthington as Alex Mason, Ed Harris as Jason Hudson, and Gary Oldman as Viktor Reznov. All of these actors have done movies similar to this game and they all did really great jobs bringing you into the story of the game, just like they do with their respective movies. Another noticeable actor was Ice Cube as Joseph Bowman. This threw me off at first, and then I just laughed.
Black-Ops-helicopter2) Soundtrack. Who doesn’t like 60’s rock ‘n’ roll.
3) Foley sounds and sound effects were spot on. Lots of bass-y explosions. I wonder if Michael Bay was a consultant on this game?

Cons:
n/a

Audio Rating: 5 / 5

Conclusion

I enjoyed the campaign. I cannot stress enough how much I liked the way the story was told and how awesome the voice acting was. I am not much of a multi-player gamer unless I am with friends. I definitely want to go back and play and laugh with Zombie mode.

Averaged Rating: 4.3 / 5

Overall Rating:
Rating 4Great – 
An enjoyable game. It might have had a major flaw or a few minor ones that just stuck out. Overall the greatness of the game would overshadow it. You decide whether to buy it now or on sale, but it needs to be on your radar.

“Drink craft beer responsibly. Play video games regularly.”

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