Developer: Treyarch / Publisher: Activision-Blizzard / ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language) / Played on: Xbox 360 / Price: $59.99
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Call of Duty Black Ops has one of the most solid single-player campaigns I’ve ever played in a Call of Duty game. The gameplay itself is ridiculously fast-paced and frenetic; there is always a sense of urgency and immediate danger in all the missions you play, whether you are breaking out of a prison, flying an attack helicopter blowing up Vietcong encampments, or manning an assault boat on a nighttime river raid while killer 60’s music is blaring in the background. It’s quite the accomplishment and I think having the game played as a series of flashbacks helped to nail the feeling of never really knowing where you will end up next. That’s the beauty of this game: you could be in the jungle one minute and on top of a snow covered mountain the next. It keeps the core action gameplay fresh and exciting, and keeps you on your toes. The single-player story took me around six and a half hours to finish, and while normally I would want more, this seemed to be the perfect fit for the story and events within the game. If it had gone any longer I think the pacing and the overall impact of the experience would have suffered.
Call of Duty Black Ops has the most immersive and satisfying multiplayer experience on the FPS scene. It seriously will blow your fucking mind. I could not believe the amount of different game-types, matches and varied ways to play this game… it’s almost overwhelming. We’ve got a lot to cover in this section so bear with me. First up, Call of Duty Black Ops has implemented a new way to upgrade your character, load-outs, and customizations within multiplayer. Now, instead having to kill a certain amount of enemies with a specific type of weapon to upgrade abilities and attachments, you earn in-game credits by just playing matches and by completing time-sensitive in-game contracts that you can buy and use to gamble. The better you do in a multiplayer match the more points you earn.
This leads to a new game-type among the multiplayer modes called Wager Matches. This is where players can go and put their points on the line and bet that they will finish in the top three spots to finish in the money and win more credits. There are three levels of gambling in Wager Matches: the first is Ante Up, which costs 10 credits to play, the second Weekend Gambler costs 1,000, and the third High Roller costs 10,000. Within these you have the ability to double down and increase the wager but only if everyone agrees to do the same. Within the wager matches there are four different game types: Sticks and Stones has you armed only with explosive crossbows, ballistic knives, and tomahawks where you gain points by killing your opponents and risk losing all your points if an opponent hits you with a tomahawk. One in the Chamber gives each player three lives and a single bullet that will instantly kill opponents if hit. When you kill an opponent either with your gun or knife you get a bullet back, and the player with the most points at the end wins. Up next is Gun Game that has you battling with a preset sequence of 20 weapons that will progressively change after each kill. You can humiliate an opponent by knifing them and set them back a weapon, but the first one to earn a kill with each of the 20 weapons wins. Finally, there’s Sharpshooter, which gives you random weapons but cycles them after a certain amount of time. Each of these game types are extremely fun and addicting and I found myself playing these more then the other multiplayer game types.
Now, on top of the Wager Matches you have the standard multiplayer game types with four main categories: Core, Barebones, Hardcore, and Prestige, all of which have 11 sub game types available: Team Deathmatch, Mercenary, Free For All, Domination, Ground War, Demolition, Sabotage, Headquarters, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, and Team Tactical. I am completely and utterly blown away by the amount of options you have in COD Black Ops when it comes to multiplayer. On top of the sheer number of options, all of these modes are executed flawlessly and are endless fun. The shelf life of this game will extend well beyond most games. Now if all that wasn’t enough there’s still more.
The ever terrifying and extremely fun Zombie mode is back as well and looks and plays phenomenally. I actually found myself being frightened this time around with all the sound effects and the pace at which the action can get completely out of hand. There are also some secret game modes for you to discover, as well, including one called Dead Ops Arcade, which is a top down 4-player co-op shooter in the vein of SmashTV . Believe me when I tell you that Treyarch has created one of the deepest, most rewarding, and epically fucking fun multiplayer experiences I have ever played, hands down.
The graphics in Call of Duty Black Ops are absolutely brilliant. I was completely amazed at the characters in the game and just how great everything looks. You can tell that the design of the environments was expertly planned and executed, and that this game is a complete labor of love. Never once did the game suffer from any sort of graphical hiccup that we are so accustomed to these days. It was truly an amazing game to look at and you will be hard pressed to find a first-person shooter that looks better.
The sound in the Call of Duty franchise is the stuff of legend and Black Ops doesn’t miss a beat. All of the sound effects in the game are spot on and sound as realistic as ever. On top of the realistic sound effects, the game has a great soundtrack that is completely appropriate for the the game’s period settings. Plenty of politically charged rock songs from the 60’s are included in Black Ops as well as an amazing score that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Call of Duty Black Ops surprised me. I had a feeling the game was going to be pretty good going into playing it, but I had no idea just how amazing it actually is. It’s hands down one of the best first-person shooters I’ve ever played. The sheer amount of content packed into this game is absolutely staggering. From the amazing single-player campaign and story, to the endless multiplayer modes, Black Ops will continue to reward players with engaging and entertaining gameplay well beyond the majority of most titles shelf lives available today. It’s perfect. I fucking love this game. I have a new addiction in gaming and its name is Call of Duty Black Ops.