Call of Duty is one of the true classic video games of all time. It’s become an amazing game that has spawned into one of the best multi-player online experiences yet, and even the single player campaigns have produced decent stories and amazing game play.
With the release of Black Ops we see the game expanded more and tweaked to make it even more addictive and fun to play. However, will hardened Call of Duty fans be pleased, or will they feel it’s simply a huge overhyped let down?
You being the game as Alex Mason, and are being interrogated – however you have memory problems and simply cannot remember the information you are being asked for – so you start ‘playing’ through the memories. It’s a clever introduction to a game that has a pretty decent plot, perhaps the best of the Call of Duty series, and while there are some slow parts, there are some nice twists that counterbalance some of the slow parts.
Wow, did they really get Gary Oldman and Ed Harris to voice act? They sure did! There’s no doubt that adding Hollywood stars really enhances the characters giving them a reality that has been lacking before.
Multiplayer mode: most people buy the game for the multiplayer modes and this is where the game delivers. You essentially have the same modes as Modern Warfare 2, but this is OK – why change something that works so well?
Nazi Zombie mode – OK so this is how my daughter got me into the original game – this addictive and fun mode has been expanded, but there is still a huge amount of satisfaction as you face countless Nazi Zombie invaders! And then there’s the special Nazi Mode (that unlocks eventually) where you play JFK or other famous world leaders including Castro.
While the game is not linear at all, there are parts of the game where you simply don’t have a choice and are ‘led’ into certain situations – this feels fake, and a little bit arbitrary. There are also some parts where you simply don’t know what you are supposed to be doing, and end up groping around trying to find the plot.
AI – the only game I’ve ever played that has had half decent AI for enemies and friends was Dragon Age – sadly I expected more from Black Ops – the AI is flawed like most games of this ilk, and it really does reduce the enjoyment.
I must admit that I couldn’t decide if these are good or bad features, so I created an Ugly section!
CoD points and experience – this is a huge change to the game, and I often wonder why designers have to tinker – I hate it when a successful series (such as Final Fantasy) changes their experience system – why do I need to work through another different system to upgrade items and stats? In Black Ops, you use experience to had custom class slots, new modes, availability of weapons and bonuses. Everything else in handled by the CoD points system. So, when you level up you’re given 1000 CoD points to spend – it gives you a huge amount of flexibility in designing your character, but for me it’s become overly complex and to be honest I’d prefer the system to handle all the idiosyncrasies – just give me the basics to twiddle with and I’d be happy! There are even new Wager Match modes that highlight how important it is to tweak Cod Points, and some of these are almost like tutorials. They are fun…but heck just let me get to the Death Match!
Overall this is a great game that continues in the best traditions of the Call of Duty series. I’m undecided about the new CoD points system and do miss the leveling from MW2. Single player mode features a great story, although the AI is still severely lacking. Multiplayer mode really hasn’t changed that much, but that’s OK as it worked so well in MW2 and MW1!
The game still looks fresh and exciting, and the addictive quality is still there – especially with the Zombie games that just beg to be played again, and again and again! If you liked MW2 then you’ll love this game! If you’ve never really fancied Call of Duty, then try this one – you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised!