In: Reviews by Miguel "DaddyGamer" Gonzaga15 Dec 2010
If you’re playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, this scenario has become all too familiar. Surprisingly, game developer Treyarch found ways to add depth and dimension to suck all your free time in the world of Call of Duty. I could waste your time telling you about the background storyline in the solo campaign, but I won’t. Play the darn thing and enjoy. All I can say is that COD is about the multiplayer mode. The solo campaign, basically, introduces players to new environments, weapons, and arsenal found in the multiplayer mode. This is my focus for this breakdown.
Bang and caching!
It’s no longer enough to shoot your way to gain experience and unlock weapons, equipment and attachments. In addition to experience, players also accumulate points to buy anything and everything in the game. This adds a new element of strategy. Should you blow 5,000 points for a grenade launcher or wait to buy a more powerful weapon later? Decisions, decisions. In the bragging-rights department, players can show off their skills by buying new emblems and dog tags (more on this later). Again, players must think of how to spend their hard-earned credits wisely.
Tactical, personal and colossal
Treyarch made a nice attempt to bridge the gap between strategic and arcade play styles. The map design in Black Ops takes in consideration that the details of the environment plays an integral part in the virtual war zone. The 14 maps in Blacks Ops are setup for a more strategic approach rather than the run-and-gun. You can still run-and-gun, but you’ll be on the losing end of the match each time. The maps also challenge players to find the vantage points rather than take advantage of graphic glitches in the game à la Modern Warfare 2. The maps are littered with organic nuances like paper, leaves, snow, and dust that are constantly flying. In the wildlife maps like Jungle and Crisis, players can hear the ocean waves and see butterflies as they camp behind a bush by the beach. The ground shakes as a Soyuz rocket takes off in the map called Launch. This is always a show-stopper. All these active elements give sense that you are fighting in a live and ever-changing environment. And it gets better.
Black Ops takes customization to the next level. Players can now showoff their artistic-side in the Player Cards. Pages and pages of icons can be colored, layered, and manipulated to create unique emblems. Players can then slap these bad boys on the weapons for everyone to see. In-game avatars are not relegated to only two looks. Black Ops gives players a chance to choose from several military appearances depending on the chosen perks. To complete the look, weapons can be wrapped in a wide selection of camouflage. Even gun sights or reticles can be colored and changed, too. There’s a lot of cool designs, but the heart-shaped reticle is pushing it. I think a lot of Black Ops players won’t admit that they’ve spent more time than they want making their avatar, guns, and emblems look pretty. I’m one of them.
If you’re into stats, Black Ops will bury you in numbers. I was amazed to see all the statistics that were recorded and reported with a flick of a button. Weapon and kill-streak use and accuracy can be accessed in the report card in the player card. The information is intuitively laid out and transparent.
Sticking with the Call of Duty tradition, Black Ops gives players an enormous amount of match selections ranging from regular team play to Demolition to the sweaty-palm inducing Search-and-Destroy. Not enough? Consider the fact that there are Core, Hardcore and Prestige variations of all these matches as your progress. Those who trash talk can put up or shut up in the Wager matches, where they lose or gain credits. Treyarch also threw in a Capture the Flag match for good measure.
Weapons, perks, and killstreaks
Simply said, Black Ops does not disappoint in these categories. Treyarch stayed true to the COD rule by rewarding players a myriad of amazing weaponry and enhancements. They really got creative with the killstreaks and perks. Black Ops introduces the spy plane, Blackbird, carpet bombing and the ultra-popular RC-XD, or explosive remote-controlled car. Get 11 kills in a row and you can call on attack dogs!
I hate those mutts.
Striving for balance, weapons and explosive damage were toned down. The days of one-bullet-two-kills are gone, if not rarefied. I have to admit, it felt weird at first after playing Modern Warfare 2 for what seems to be forever. I love the addition of the flak jacket perk, though. Noob tubers and claymore mongrels won’t always get the last laugh.
Going pro with the perks is actually worth the effort in Black Ops. The Second Chance Pro, for example, not only mimics the WM2 Last Stand perk. but it also allows your teammate to revive you as well. One of the best perks to achieve pro status is the Hardline. Having the Hardline Pro level allows players to change the contents of supply crates on the fly, whether it’s theirs or their teammate’s. I love changing my ho-hum ammo crate to a destructive Attack Helicopter.
The bottom line
Black Ops is a refreshing deviation from a tried-and-true template. Treyarch had big shoes to fill and high expectations to meet. I can honestly say that Black Ops satisfied my savvy trigger fingers and, dare I say, has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
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