Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

Thinking back on my Call of Duty experience, which started on PC with the original Call of Duty to where the series has traveled, it makes sense that the FPS genre would move forward out of World War II into more recent times. Since Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, the FPS genre has shown that the narrative is just as important as the multiplayer experience.

Treyarch’s previous title Call of Duty: World at War was a bit flat in terms of narrative, feeling like it glossed over the Pacific theater of World War II and contained characters that really had no connection to the player. The multiplayer borrowed heavily from Modern Warfare and included the now expected Zombie mode.

In Black Ops, which is a slight nod to World at War; players take the role of Alex Mason who is being interrogated. Throughout the title, Mason will recall events which are relived by the players for the FPS single player. The story is much more focused with the help of David Goyer, though half-way through the single player, it’s pretty clear what’s going on. My one issue is that the previews up to the release have focused that the title was going to develop the Black Ops branch of the government, which the single player story actually didn’t.

The visuals do have a slightly higher resolution look, through this Call of Duty feels a lot more artificially enclosed with invisible boundaries. The gameplay has remained the same, though Treyarch seems to continually support the movement to large gunfight to movement to large gunfight type of gameplay. It’s not bad, but does become expected.

Mixing things up, Black Ops features some combat on a river with players controlling both steering and shooting (which works and doesn’t at the same time) and helicopter combat (somewhat on rails though the player controls the movement). They’re sort of fun, but also aggravating. The FPS gameplay is the same and is solid like usual.

The single player will probably be glossed over by many for the online multiplayer which features some bigger changes. The multiplayer features both XP and a currency system. So rather than just level to open new weapons, players have to purchase weapons and accessories that are opened from higher levels.

It’s both a positive and negative because it caters to individual styles, but is also annoying because unless you got Black Ops first day, a vast majority of people online have better everything. Call of Duty has one of the biggest multiplayer communities and with the many different maps and modes, there are lots of months ahead for the multiplayer, especially with DLC and tweaks that Treyarch will continue to work on until the next announcement for the series.

Call of Duty: Black Ops isn’t the huge step that Modern Warfare took. It fact, it’s just more of the same type of experience, but which is unfortunately a little more broken due to the way the plot unfolds. It’s not an A to B type of experience, but much more A to D to G to B story.

Though Gary Oldman is the best voice actor in Black Ops.

A solid single player, but enormous multiplayer experience. Until a new series takes over, Call of Duty is the multiplayer experience.

Review Copy Provided