Published on December 1st, 2010 | by Rob Kwong1
Call of Duty Black Ops Review: Postmortem
It’s hard to believe that a full year has come and gone since Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 came out. So many good games and so many bad games I’ve had with good old MW2. As of November 9, 2010 the newly released Call of Duty Black Ops, brought new and old things back to the series. Some good, some bad, but nonetheless still a fun game to play. Many people were a bit skeptical of where Treyarch was going to take the series, but after people got their hands on the game they didn’t really complain too much. Whether it be the new content to play, or the return of zombie mode, Black Ops has a lot to offer everyone.
Treyarch has developed many great games, but almost all of them have set their storyline about past wars. The choice of bringing the Call of Duty franchise back to the Vietnam War Era may have been a comfort choice rather than keeping the game at the modern era. The single player campaign takes place along the lines of the Cuban missile crisis to a bit after the Vietnam War. It is played out by ways of different flashback and no, I don’t mean post traumatic stress syndrome. Rather you find yourself in a torture chamber, strapped on a chair and electrodes that are hooked up to a car battery kind of inducing the flashbacks.
Surprisingly enough, the campaign story in Black Ops was deeper and more detailed than what I had originally assumed it would be. From meeting President John F. Kennedy to flying choppers through a jungle. Treyarch has some how found a way to piece together a game where it’ll hold your attention and make you want to finish the game in one sitting. Clocking in about 6 hours of game play, it’s actually possible to complete in a day if you take small breaks in between and spend the entire time in front of the screen.
The gameplay feels solid, I mean after all they did have two Call of Duty games prior to Black Ops to tweak and balance everything. The solo campaign at times can be challenging enough to make you want to throw your controller across the room. It may not be great for all gamers but we think a good challenge makes for a good game.
While the multiplayer mode is great and fixed alot of issues since Modern Warfare 2, on the other hand has some kinks to it. With such a large release, the dedicated servers are having problems keeping up with traffic. Matchmaking when you’re playing alone is fine, but if you decide that you want to pair up with friends and have a go at it, you sometimes run into problems. Multiple times when trying to team up, network errors, session not found, or connection timeouts occur. Restarting your PS3 may solve it for one or two matches until the host of the game quits and all connections to your party are lost.
Lag as we all know is always an issue, but there are times throughout the game where you’ll die and not know where shots came from until you see the person pop up right in front of you in the killcam. Also aggravating is unloading a full extended clip (usually 45 bullets) into someone and only connecting with two or three rounds. Of course you’d expect server lag throughout the first couple of weeks of release but it still exists no matter what time you jump onto the servers to play. Similar issues have also sprung up on the Xbox 360 version but not as bad. We also must note that there has recently been a patch to fix some of the issues but some still remain. ONe other thing to mention is the slight hit in graphics the multiplayer takes from the single player. Character models don’t seem inspiring at all and have found myself wondering if I want to pick the bad looking one or worst …
Besides the lag and connection problems, multiplayer is fun. Whether it be one of the three zombie modes, one of the four wager matches, or just regular multiplayer games, Treyarch has definitely made sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Although we have to say for a aka horde mode like Zombie Mode we’re not entirely sure why there is no preference option for people with mic’s only, left us rather annoyed getting into games with no one on mic’s. Getting kills, saving up your CoD points to customize your load outs and player cards to be unique is one of more rewarding options in the game. There’s nothing like getting multiple kills and having your name and player card splashed up on your victims screen to make sure they know you killed them. They have also added a replay theater to go back to like the Halo games which is always a good time and will give you insight on how someone killed you or didn’t.
Treyarch has done a great job living up to everyone’s expectations, especially mine. They packed Black Ops with great music, great gameplay, and great content. I mean after so much hype of Kobe and Jimmy Kimmel jumping on the Black Ops bandwagon blowing things up, how can Black Ops not be a blockbuster? I, myself have clocked many hours of online game time. Being a big fan of the FPS genre, I can definitely tell you that Black Ops has been reconfigured and rebuilt for the casual and hardcore FPS player. Spray and pray style with sub-machine guns, or triple tapping a semi-auto rifle into someone, both styles of gameplay is catered to. The games multiplayer seems like Modern Warfare 2.5 but with some changes that you’ll either like or won’t like. Honestly when it all comes down to the nitty gritty, everyone will definitely enjoy Black Ops, connection problems and all. Just see the lag issue as a challenge you have to overcome.
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Overall = 8.8