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Black Ops is the seventh game in the call of duty franchise. The main thing to note is that this game was developed by Treyarch, the same guys who brought us world at war.
Fans of the CoD franchise will be familiar with the game mechanics on black ops as they haven't changed. You assume the role of a foot soldier who can use a number of firearms; throw grenades and other explosives. Pretty much the same as most FPS.
I won't go too much into the story line as I don't want to spoil it for you but basically it's made up of flashback setting at the end of WW2; some period during the cold war and then in Vietnam. The story unfolds throughout the game like you'd hope and is pretty easy to understand and follow; I don't remember ever wondering where this section of the story is set or wondering what is going on here.
Gameplay may not be for everyone since it is a very fast paced corridor shooter opposed to battlefield games. Throughout the game however you get the chance to use a few vehicle such as a hind helicopter which is great fun if not a little difficult.
Talking about difficulty, there are 3 modes, recruit, hardened and veteran, veteran being the hardest. On recruit mode you can steam through the game within a day possibly it's that simple. Crank up the heat with veteran mode and it gets a lot harder if not ridiculous. Now it's not impossible to finish the game on this mode, if you're like me however, there will be countless of times where you just wanna snap your disk in half. The enemies seem endless and if you do not push forward they will never end, what's more annoying is the fact that the game forces you to move forward and to move out from cover into the line of incoming fire by making the enemies have unlimited grenades. Now when I say unlimited I really mean unlimited and the bad guys all love to throw them! you can be hiding behind prefect cover which allows you to pop and shoot and then all of a sudden there's 4 grenades at your feet, which a lot of the time ends up killing you because there's no way of moving away from them.
Graphics are nothing special and kinda out dated. In other words there are better looking games out there such as MW2!
It has returned and it is more amazing than it was in world at war. This time there are more undead creatures to lay waste to, I won't list them because that will spoil the fun of it when the game goes quiet and you have no idea what's coming next.
Weapons, weapons, weapons, zombies mode has loads. Most of the weapons appear in the main single player game with the addition to some extras such as the ray gun, thunder gun and winters howl just to name a few.
Since writing this review all map packs have been released and although there about £11 - 15 the last pack which includes moon is really the only one worth getting considering it unlocks all the old maps from world at war. If you're a hard-core zombies fan and don't mind spending around £60 to unlock all maps then I definitely recommend doing so as they unlock hour upon hours of zombie killing fun. Countless of times I've found myself still playing zombies at silly o'clock in the morning, it's that addictive!Multiplayer mode is what it is and fans of the franchise will fit right in and notice the slight changes. The level system is still in place and so is the guns unlocking system but with a twist as you now have to buy your guns using COD points. You can earn these points by playing the multiplayer game, levelling up, completing challenges, contracts or by gambling them with the new game modes. These modes include:
Sticks and stones - you fight with only crossbows and tactical knifes
gun game - kill other players to cycle through different weapons levels, the player to reach the last level first wins.
And a few more which I cannot remember at the top of my head...
You may already have got an idea how much I dislike Call of Duty Black Ops simply from the headline. Make no mistake, it sold quite substantially and broke previous records set by Modern Warfare 2, but that doesn't necesarrily make it a good game.
In fact the situation was so dire, that till date I have yet to play the offline story mode simply because I pick up these games to play with my friends. I wish I could do that however as multiplayer is just farcical. From day one there were huge lag issues on DEDICATED servers of all things. They soon solved this, but that isn't the major problem.
The major problem lies in the fact that YOU CANNOT join a server to play on the SAME TEAM as your FRIEND. In reality, the server decides which team you end up in and for the majority of times you do join, you will be playing against each other. I have been told however that this is not the case for XBOX or PS3 gamers and that they can team together from a lobby and join games. So what on earth is stopping Treyarch from implementing the same feature for the PC version? Its beyond explanation. Till date after many many complaints this has not been addressed.
Then there is the pathetic map design. Maps are tiny compared to MW2 and unimaginatively designed. In MW2 there were plenty of shrubbery, hiding spots for sniping and general hunting; not so with Black Ops. Hilariously shrubs and tall grass are SOLID objects. Sniping is made reduntant in this game and the usual comedy of NOOB tubing continues rifely in various serveres.
The killstreaks are even more ridiculous; there is a 11 killstreak called Dogs where you guessed it dogs come out rampaging people with 1 rabid bite. Thats right folks, you can't kill someone with 1 sniper shot, but you can die from a dog biting you once. Even more hilarious si the fact that the Ballistic Knife is a better sniping weapon than a sniper rifle itself. No, I don't snipe that much but it is rather funny when you can kill someone half way accross the map with ballistic knife.
I have gameplay footage recorded where I have done this numerous times and it is the most preposterous thing I have seen in any game.
Going back to the friend issue, I wouldn't have taken such exception to the game if that problem had been addressed after so long. So I would say look to other pastures for your multiplayer PC gaming. Battlefield 3 is on the horizon as is Moder Warfare 3; however if MW3 repeats what Black Ops does you know what that review will say. Bin it.
Not worth the £29.99 price point.
=== First Thoughts ===
When I first got this game I was very impressed, installation was easy and it runs well on my PC. I did however not like the fact it's a steam game, most games you buy can be bought in steam or just on disk, Black Ops is on disk but has to be connected to steam making the game unplayable to anyone without an internet connection.
=== Single Player ===
The Single Player offers great playability and loads of fun. It has more levels and challenges than I expected making it a game you can play for hours. The storyline was allot different to the old Call of Duty games, instead of just pure warfare it seemed like a movie with something you're not allowed to know until you have got to the end "...but the numbers, what do the numbers mean?!" Kind of confusing but it's a great cliff-hanger making you play the next level. The graphics were good and single play is a nice way to try out all the guns before you hit the multiplayer.
I would rate Call of Duty Black Ops Single player: 4/5
=== Multiplayer ===
Well multiplayer was disappointing for me. I was expecting big maps with new game types, I got the opposite. The game features no new game types from the last Call of Duty and the maps seem very small. I am a person who was very impressed with the Battlefield series with games like Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142, those games feature big maps, big servers and new game types from your average fps. Black Ops Multiplayer is extremely repetitive with 12 hours of gameplay over a few days then I started to get a bit bored.
I would rate the Call of Duty Black Ops Multi Player: 3/5
=== Servers ===
As a clan leader I am responsible for all the clan servers and clan management. After playing Black Ops for a while I decided to buy a clan server. The first point of call was what game server provider to use, it was an extreme disappointment that Activision had done a deal with gameservers.com so that only they can sell game servers to people. This is a huge mistake; it removes all competition from game server prices. There many problems currently with the game servers. They have a major bug that causes them to crash frequently but randomly. It has been said that Treyarch, the makers of the game, will bring out a fix for the servers but they recently updated the game with only minor fixes to clients not servers. They are also about to release new maps that you have to pay for. I think that this is outrageous.
Do not buy this game if you want to play it in a clan.
I can only give the servers a rating of 1/5
=== Graphics ===
The graphics have improved since the last call of duty. They are quite stunning but do use a high level of resources, it is not advised that you have the graphics settings high unless you have a high level CPU and Graphics Card (Would suggest Quad cores and up).
I would rate the graphics on Black Ops 5/5
=== Value for Money ===
I think this game is value for money as long as your willing to sit playing the same game types for hours on end, the new maps offer more interested in the game but once again thanks to those money making scammers we have to pay for it. They shouldn't be releasing anything new until they have fixed the game server issues, simple.
I would rate the value for money as 2/5
Over all the game gets a 2/5 for the fact that they are out to make as much money as they can, after you buy the game don't expect them to fix it.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS is the seventh in the arcade series CALL OF DUTY, this instance is developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. It is rated "18" by the BBFC and "18+" by PEGI.
I spin around the corner, and check for enemies. I stay crouched, I can hear the footsteps of the enemy slowly approaching, I reload my weapons. All of my team members pile up against the door way, and the footsteps gradually grow in sound, in amplitude. The decibels were rising, and the heat was on. I hid behind the wall that interchanged my death for that of the unfortunate Russian squad that were just about to enter. The door swings upon, its shadow dances in the light, shining in angle down through the crooked doorway. The squad enter, and Reznov silently closes the door behind them. I bring my weapon up to my eyes, stare through the sight. We sit, silently waiting for about three seconds.
"Weapons Free", calls Reznov. I pull the trigger and the man's lifeless body crumples to the ground. The other men in my squad engage, some with brutal up-close combat. Reznov pulls in for a silent kill, but is shot in the leg. He stammers back and stumbles to the ground, firing from his helpless back-layed position. My weapon clicks as I pull the trigger, the terror, the dread of running out of ammo in a combat situation overwhelmed me. I dropped my weapon, pulled my knife to hand, lunged at the enemy and he no longer stands. Reznov congratulates me on my kill as he pulls himself to his feet, turns, and pops the head of the final remaining enemy.
-- There are spoilers to the themes of the campaign in the paragraph below --
It's very rare for me to write primarily about the campaign of a game, especially in an instance such as this, but I felt that it was necessary, as it was perhaps one of the best campaigns that I have played in an FPS in recent years. To sum up the campaign, I would use a single word, vicernal. It's vicious and quick; the enemy doesn't have a second chance to take a pot shot at your squad before they are eliminated. There are also some brilliant examples of innovative gameplay mechanics. There are several driving elements where you actually get to control the vehicle, instead of man the gun on a seemingly-on-rails shooter. There is also a scene where you guide a squad through a combat situation from the sky, at times taking control of one of the squad members as the action kicks in. In addition, the game also tells the story in a way that I haven't seen before. In short, it is shocked out of you. In the long, you are in an interrogation room, being shocked into remembering exactly what happened leading up to the point of interrogation, to prevent a war that the country is currently standing right on the brink of. There are so many twists and turns to the story, so many delicate, controversial themes. A vast majority of the game takes place in Vietnam, and some of it covers the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, it's not all roses with the campaign modes of Black Ops, there are also excruciating problems. There are sections that are made stupidly hard, and sections which occasionally glitch and kill you needlessly. These sections are infuriating, but can often be beaten by a mad sprint to the objective, where the game stops spawning the enemies for that section. Other than that, it's a genuinely fun, if completely unrealistic, campaign experience.
The "Nazi Zombies" game-mode which popularized Treyarch's last game, Call of Duty: World at War, also makes a high-profile appearance. Gone are the days where you must unlock the zombies by finishing the campaign, here are the days where it is listed as a feature of the game, not an unlockable. The zombies are actually quite well done, despite only having a few (very well designed) maps. There is a lot more variety to the game type now, with different stylings of zombies, zombie dogs and a large variety of traps and weaponry. It's all seamlessly connected and for some, a major selling point for the game. There is also an unlockable arcade game, based upon Nazi Zombies known as Dead Ops Arcade, a top down, frantic zombie shooter which can be played cooperatively with up to four players, just as the usual Zombies can be. The zombie maps include an area with a large indoor path and extensive outdoor region, Dead Ops Arcade and "One", a map based in the White House where you are given control over certain US Presidents, including of course Jonathan F. Kennedy. The zombies is also a lot harder than the World at War zombies, giving extra replayability and always pushing you the extra distance to try and do better each time. The zombies are a brilliant addition to the game experience.
However, as with any Call of Duty title, it will always be the multiplayer that gets people talking about it. The multiplayer formula in this title remains mostly unchanged since the previous game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, despite being by a totally different developer. The game has actually had a lot of balance added, the perks are no longer overpowered and the days of a single weapon dominating the battlefield are long gone. The maps in the game also tend to be well balanced, allowing for a fun and fair gaming experience throughout. The variety of game modes is just as good as other Call of Duty games, with well-loved game modes such as Search and Destroy, Headquarters and Team Deathmatch making a comeback for this rendition of the series. However, there has been a major change undertaken to the gameplay of previous Call of Duty games, the levelling system has been completely redesigned. Now, when you level up or complete "Contracts", you are allowed to receive "CoD Points", a virtual currency that can be used to buy weaponry that you have unlocked for buying with the levelling system. It may sound overcomplicated, but the idea is executed really well, and it's one of the reasons that I still have a desire to play. However, with CoD Points comes a different type of match. The Wager Matches are a fantastic addition to the standard game modes, adding such game modes as 'Sticks and Stones', where the player is handed only a crossbow with exploding bolts and a throwing knife, as they are pitted against each other for the CoD Points that they can earn (everyone has to put a certain number of CoD Points in to compete). Other Wager Game-modes include GunGame, a game mode that was originally found in the Counter-Strike community, where kills allow you to get the next level up in a weapons ladder, until the only weapon you have is a knife, which the first person to kill with wins. The excellent thing about the wager matches is just how tense they are, they're extraordinarily tense, and you always want first place. It's an extremely brilliant way of doing the game-modes. In conclusion, the multiplayer is balanced, fun and has some extremely interesting points
The graphics is Call of Duty: Black Ops are far from astounding. It's still using the modified Quake 4 engine, but that doesn't mean that it can't deliver some cinematic set-pieces, with cool slow motions and brain shooting detail. There is also some impressive shadowing and lighting effects that are apparent throughout the game. Particle effects, especially throughout the parts in the snow, are extremely visible and help add a new dimension to the game. The specular lighting has also been massively improved, and for those that do not know, Specular Lighting is the effect that changes the shading around the edges of the characters depending on their surroundings. The textures in Call of Duty: Black Ops are also crisp and easy to look at, the bloom is a bit overblown, but it helps add to the cinematic feel at some points, especially during levels with lightning. The game also looks extremely crisp at higher resolutions, especially since it features some really fancy Depth of Field effects, blurring the areas that are further away, focusing your vision on those that are closer. However, there is a price to pay for the graphics, and those are generally high system requirements, that are detailed at the bottom of the review.
There are a few professional voice actors in the game, and it does occasionally show. Perhaps the most notable actor that was prominent in the game was Ice Cube, playing Bowsman, who is painfully related to throughout the games story, to the point of "It was freezing cold, Ice Cube was in his element". It sounds ferociously silly when you're listening to the voice acting, but it wouldn't be Call of Duty without some element of cheesy humour that the developers attempted to sneak in inconspicuously. The gunshots also sound fairly realistic in the game, as do the dying screams of the enemies and the battle chatter ("Nice shot, Mason"). The soundtrack is also distinctly heavy metal, and it suits it really well. The sound is better in this game than many others, although the game's multiplayer voice chat does sound a little lacking in quality.
Value for Money / Longevity
Black Ops is most certainly not cheap, especially for a PC Game, and it's unlikely to be cheap for quite some time yet (most stores are still selling Call of Duty 4 at near full price), but there is quite a lot to be doing in Black Ops. There are optimization issues, especially in lower end computers, resulting in stuttering, which will drastically break how good it is for the money for users of such low end computers, but if you're computer is fine, there's a lot to be looking forward to playing. The multiplayer is endlessly replayable, the singleplayer, especially after the first go, feels too scripted to replay, so it's a good thing it lasts about 6-7 hours off the bat. The zombies is also replayable, especially if you're a fan of the gamemode from World at War. In short, I think that the Value for Money is a bit off, but the longevity is excellent.
The game is most certainly not hard, save for some very badly done singleplayer moments that kill you unnecessarily until you get it exactly right. The multiplayer can really range in difficulty depending on whom you are playing with, but for the most part, and the zombies can definitely pull up a challenge, but the game is actually quite easy in the field that you can play it without that much prior knowledge to the genre, meaning it's a perfect, popular entry point for potential FPS gamers. The learning curve is extremely mild.
Ranging from cooperative to competitive, the multiplayer is a core aspect of Black Ops. The zombie mode is incredibly fun and brilliantly addictive with friends, and the competitive multiplayer is brilliantly replayable and extremely fun to play again and again. There are addictive points to the multiplayer modes and enough variety in the game-modes to captivate any audience. It is easy to say that the multiplayer was definitely the focus of Black Ops.
Black Ops, being rated '18', has some moments, especially in the singleplayer, that may disturb some.
In the multiplayer, you shoot the enemies and they fall down. There is no post mortem damage to be done and there is no mutilation of limbs. There is, however, a brief blood splat, that occasionally stays on the wall if your weapon is powerful.
The following notes relate only to the singleplayer
There is a significant allowance of mutilation, shotguns can tear limb from limb and machine guns can chop people up better than a meat cleaver.
There is several points throughout the game where the game slow-motion glamorizes headshots, showing pieces of brain and gore flying out of the head.
The scripted melee attacks cause large blood splats and sprays
When dead bodies fall into the water, blood separates out from their bodies. The effect is gory and intense.
You are shocked rather brutally in an electric chair to get your memory going.
A man is stabbed in the eye, but the man doing the stabbing blocks to view. The next time you see him he has a bandage over it.
The entire plot line revolves around a poison, the poisons effects are particularly brutal, and you see them in a somewhat disturbing gas chamber scene.
Some of the gore effects can be turned off in the main menu.
The marines occasionally use strong language, and the language used by players in the multiplayer can be strong at times.
A mature teenager should be able to make it through the game just fine. Perhaps a fifteen year old should have absolutely no problems, unless they are particularly squeamish. Younger children are very unlikely to understand the plotline (Vietnam, Cuban Missile Crisis, Genocide)
It has excellent campaign moments, fun cooperative zombies and extremely addictive multiplayer. If you pay £1 for an hour of gameplay, you're getting more than your money's worth. A brilliant game, hampered only by a few optimization niggles which should be fixed in due time. Extremely well done.