I had just finished Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (which I thought was great) and Call Of Duty: World at War (which I thought was forgettable), when I managed to get Call Of Duty: Black Ops. I finished it some time back but decided to go back to the campaign to replay the parts that made me love it, in anticipation for Black Ops 2 (review hopefully soon to come!). The first action packed mission I selected to replay left me grinning and remembering what made this game great.
Usually with shooters most gamers hop online and get straight to leveling up their soldier without so much as a glance at the campaign mode of the game. I am the opposite; I want to be completely comfortable with the combat and controls before I play online against the super soldiers out there. The way I do this is by playing through and finishing the campaign before I shoot my first bullet in the online community. Speaking of online communities, for more on a Port Elizabeth based multiplayer team and their news check out Sector 17‘s link. I will get into the modes a bit later in the review, but let’s start with the campaign mode.
To start with, Call Of Duty: Black Ops has some huge names voicing the characters of the game. The main protagonist is voiced by Sam Worthington, who is rapidly rising on my favorite actors list due to his performances in Terminator Salvation, Avatar and Man on a Ledge. Add Ed Harris, Ice Cube and the always awesome Gary Oldman into the mix and you can get an idea of the budget of the game and the massive vision of grandeur it launched with. All of the performances are perfectly pulled off and there are moments of well acted and structured intensity throughout the game.
The story is set around the main character, Alex Mason, being interrogated and the gameplay is then a series of flashbacks which help Alex remember what happened while at the same time revealing the story to the player. The story keeps a break neck pace and once again, in true Call Of Duty fashion, there are some great cinematic moments to play through, including a trip to the Pentagon to meet with then USA President, JFK and an invasion on Fidel Castro’s mansion on an assassination mission. There are also some other great, fun missions including breaking out of a Russian prison, great urban battles on foot, vehicle missions firing mounted weapons, battling through the trenches, rivers and airspace of Vietnam among tons of other great battles. In fact, in one particular mission where the player boards a PBR (type of scout boat) in a river in Vietnam, the music that starts blaring into your ears is a classic Rolling Stones track which had me so engrossed in the music, and so enveloped in the era I forgot to shoot at the enemy! The levels do a good job to make you feel like you are battling in the particular time and war, and the interrogation aspect lends a sense of confusion and excitement to see what comes next. I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the campaign and found myself smiling while listening to the end credits remembering all the cool action that I played through. Black Ops certainly set the bench mark for other shooters. The campaign itself is worth the price of the game, but it gets even better.
What I really love about Black Ops is that although I finished it ages ago, I still find myself loading the disc into my console whenever I feel like a bit if fun. I’m talking about the other game play options apart from the campaign, such as Zombies, Local Multiplayer and Online Multiplayer.
Zombie Mode offers a fun shooter which allows you to shoot at a seemingly endless amount of the Undead as they approach with mounting scariness, and you can play alone, in split screen or online co-op. It’s fun and there is a comedic element to dismembering zombies as they approach, but beware, there were many moments where I got a huge fright at the agility and speed of some of them!
I really liked that Black Ops offers a local multiplayer mode which allows you to play split screen with a friend without the need of an internet connection. What’s truly enjoyable about it is that you have the ability to create your own loadouts from the entire range right from the start, something that only comes with higher rank in online multiplayer. It’s also cool that you can select local split screen and only play by yourself against the bots the game offers (you are able to change the difficulty of the gameplay) which pretty much gives you an idea of multiplayer without the connection to the internet. I find myself playing this the most as it’s quick, easy, fun and I don’t have to sign into my Playstation Network, it also gives those of us with a slower internet connection an opportunity to feel pretty bad-ass at fighting off friends.
The online multiplayer component is also very good and there is a cool feature called Combat Training which allows you to play against bots to get used to the excitement and action of multiplayer without having to face seasoned veterans that you’ll find online. One thing that I struggled with during the main online battles was my internet connection speed and with that comes lag and shooting at enemies that might have left a fraction of a second before you squeezed the fire button, this of course isn’t an issue against the bots. Also, I think of myself as a fairly good player having played Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 online for some time, but I struggled against the Black Ops community due to the skill and experience that they have. I’m not ashamed to say that they are good! But this isn’t an issue as even if you feel you aren’t up for the challenge against the super quick humans there are still gameplay options which can be enjoyed in the Combat Training and Local Multiplayer.
Overall I’d say that Call Of Duty: Black Ops is a great game and tons of fun. Please note that due to the graphic violence and intense sequences it’s recommended for strictly over 18’s. Definitely worth the price to buy and you won’t find yourself trading it in any time soon as there’s so much fun to be had, even after Black Ops 2 is launched.
Dubbel Gee’s Rating: 10/10