After months of waiting Call of Duty: Black Ops has finally arrived and frankly, it was worth every minute of waiting. The campaign is a roller coaster just like the previous entry to the Call of Duty series, but plays out like even more of film than before. The biggest difference in the campaigns is that rather than feeling like an action film, Black Ops has a distinct mystery element that’s gradually revealed as your progress from mission to mission. The game also covers several different time periods rather than sticking to one particular segment of the cold war era.
Black Ops’ story is told through a series of recollections from the main character, Alex Mason. Before each memory is explored you’ll get a snazzy montage of documents, flashes of characters and Mason’s thoughts on the memories. Another nice touch is just before the controls are handed over to the character you’ll see bits of information start to get inked out-classified documents, an effect that truly depicts the era the game is covering. Once you do get going the game rarely gives you the chance to relax, which is also a good thing in a shooter, though you might find yourself a little flustered with the salvo of quick time events that are dropped in your lap.
Where to go next is usually conveniently marked for you but when the story decides to hit you with a twist you may find yourself plummeting to your death on the side of a mountain or abruptly watching a comrade get shot in the face while you relaxed to listen to the conversation. Certain set pieces such as clearing out the rat tunnel in Vietnam or traveling through a chemical weapon with every bullet could mean your suit cracks, genuinely generate tension. Unfortunately, Black Ops only sprinkles these in here and there during the campaign. The action-oriented set pieces are pretty grand in scale; you’ll usually find yourself in a vehicle with a heavy machine gun and a healthy supply of rockets to blow up everything on the screen.
The overarching story appears to have been influence at least a tad bit by the Manchuria Candidate, a cold war classic dealing with brainwashing. Finding intelligence scattered around each mission is actually fairly rewarding if you’re looking for more information on characters to fill in the gaps. In fact, some of the information given explains events that happen after the game, which is already pointing to plotlines for a sequel.
The enthusiasts that like to see weapons matching the setting and things of that nature, they’ll be pleased to see that Black Ops featured a set of weapons that include many that are seldomly represented in games such as the Israeli Galil or the Russian Kiparis, though many of the weapons are a few years off for a game mostly based around the 60’s.
Black Ops campaign is a thrilling experience full of close calls, tragedy and some pretty crazy revelations, that when combined together creates one of the most memorable single player experience’s to date. A decisively must play experience. Stay tuned for an in-depth look of the multiplayer experience: co-op and versus.