In: Reviews by Dave "Holy Goalie" Gardner11 Dec 2010
So does it live up to the hype ?
As you know, Holy Goalie loves a good first-person shooter, and this one fits the bill beautifully, with enough variety to keep it from getting stale. If you have played Call of Duty before, you will find the controls very similar if not identical to previous versions, which is a good thing. It’s basically plug and play.
Aside from the usual fighting, this game also has some stealth sequences where you must avoid detection. Though not as in depth as Splinter Cell, it is a nice break from the run-and-gun the rest of the game offers.
Additionally you can fly and drive different vehicles, as well as use mounted turrets, which is a favorite of mine. All these variants are scattered throughout the game at different intervals, which keeps the game flowing and things interesting. And the vehicles are very easy to maneuver; there is virtually no learning curve.
The game starts with you strapped in a chair being interrogated by some unknown man in a light-filled room, surrounded by TV and computer monitors. Your interrogator is trying to extract information out of you but will not say why. Part of this process is to help you recall past missions, and it’s at this point you flash back and actually play those missions. You will be whisked away to Cuba, Vietnam, and Russia, to name a few locations.
After each mission, you return to the chair, and the story continues until you are whisked away to play another past mission. Eventually you do get to play a mission in the present to finish what it was you started, but when the story ended, I just didn’t get it. There was supposed to be a shock ending, but it wasn’t for me.
The campaign was fairly long, and at normal dificulty I finished without dying nearly as much as I did in Halo Reach.
Comparing it to Medal of Honor, there were a couple of notable differences. In MoH I felt as though I really could survive the missions, while in Black Ops, the mostly linear style of play forced you to fight through many chokepoints during which I felt there was no way I could really survive. My character took many hits, and I often wondered how I was still alive.
The other major difference was the fun factor. Despite the linear play, I thought Black Ops was more fun, while MoH was more intense and serious. In the former, you could run down a hallway and open fire withouth worrying about dying instantly. In the latter, you couldn’t take those same chances without it being lethal.
I also found one bug in both MoH and Black Ops, in which I had to restart a level because something wouldn’t trigger a sequence to continue the game. In Black Ops, it was when I was searching the plane. Somehow, only two men came with me instead of three, and I hit a dead end during which nothing happened. When I restarted the level, the third man came to the plane with us and I was able to proceed.
There were a few things that bugged me in CoD. The biggest problem I had was with the rooftop sprinting and jumping. I thought it didn’t work that well and wasn’t really needed, and I died more times at the hand of gravity than I did with bullets. The other was the endless waves of enemies in certain missions if you didn’t keep pushing forward. At some point you’d think they would run out of guys to fight you, but it wasn’t the case.
The multiplayer has a few new twists, like wagering points, but since I don’t do any team deathmatch, I can’t really comment on it. It did try it with a friend for 10 seconds, but after I put a full clip into an enemy who then looked at me and killed me with one shot, I left the match. But that’s a discussion for another day.
And back by popular demand is the zombie mode. Hordes of zombies coming your way has been a Holy Goalie favorite for years. They updated the Nazi zombies to play a little more like Left 4 Dead. Ah, the best of both worlds.
I can’t wait to go back and replay some of the campaign, especially the flying missions. And, of course, I’ll be killing zombies for many a night for quite some time.
So does Black Ops live up to the hype? I believe it does.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Reviewed for the Xbox 360 (also available for Playstation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS, and PC)