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style="font-style: italic;">The most unlikely weapon in a
Call of Duty game yet, the Crossbow is a force to be reckoned with...
if you can hit someone with it.

I never thought I’d be saying this,
but the next game in the
Call of Duty franchise really needs no introduction.  Now
that the series dominates the sales charts
of the west, Call of Duty: Black Ops has arrived with a (flash)bang.
already pushed 300 million dollars plus units sold, Activision’s new
franchise didn’t change the formula too much and that’s exactly what
wanted. If you’re a fan of the series, it’s time to ask yourself if a
series of
multiplayer updates and the return of zombies are worth the $59.99
price tag.

For those living under a rock, Call
of Duty is a fast paced
modern military shooter. The multiplayer is all about unlocking new
toys and
ways to make your opponents miserable, and kill streaks are greatly
rewarded. This
encourages a more passive style of play, but unlike the Medal of Honor
it’s pretty much impossible to snipe from the same spot over and over
again due
to the Killcam, which reveals your location to your killer through your
perspective as they lie there lamenting walking between your crosshairs.

The single player will have you
traveling throughout a
variety of landscapes and settings, and especially time frames. The
game isn’t
called Black Ops for nothing, and you will be engaging forces in the
middle of
all kinds of semi-historic scenarios, such as the plots to kill Fidel
Castro. It’s
told through the eyes and memories of one soldier in particular and,
aside, the plot is all over the place and fairly convoluted, though
highly enjoyable.

Did I mention zombies? Yes, there’s a
cooperative zombie
killing mode that returns from Call of Duty : World at War and it’s
better than



Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language. This is not for the little ones. Even the opening cinematics have a variety of …flowery speech.

Gameplay - 75 / 100

Note that I will strictly be talking about the single player experience in this section. For multiplayer, see page 2.

The standard FPS formula of moving from point A to point B killing everyone in your path applies in the single player campaign. There are a few annoying problems with it though, most notably the fact that your AI companions are worthless. Sometimes there will be times when your soldiers will run forward and completely ignore the soldiers running by them with weapons drawn and firing on you. It is these signs of silly scripting that can ruin one’s immersion in the battle. Sometimes your objectives aren’t immediately clear and you’ll chalk up a few unnecessary deaths realizing that no, you shouldn’t be going down that hallway just yet, despite the seemingly endless flow of soldiers coming from there

Zombies just aren’t a lot of fun by yourself. It would be nice, for those who have to play offline, if the game included some basic bots to occasionally watch your back.

Graphics - 82 / 100

This score will likely come as a shock to many, but this game suffers from pathetic frame rates at times, both on console and on PC. These events are inexcusable for a game of this caliber and especially on a console where you know the limits of the device. Until recently, the game was nigh unplayable on PC and would stutter constantly which, again, is inexcusable. These are things that need to be corrected with a day-one patch, although the game shouldn’t even be pressed until it is ready and tested.

Technical problems aside, the game looks and feels like every other modern shooter on the market. If you compare it to Medal of Honor, Black Ops looks slightly better,

Sound - 87 / 100

Weapon sounds have come a long way in Call of Duty, and it is no longer a glaring problem with Black Ops. High powered rifles now sound like high powered rifles and not like Cracker Jack toys. The voice work in the game is very well done. Notably, the Russian accents sound authentic and cheesy at the same time. It’s rare to notice the music, but when a big escape or dangerous situation arises, the music rises to meet the occasion.

Multiplayer - 95 / 100

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style="font-style: italic;">From tundra to tunnels, no two environments are the same in the campaign.

Multiplayer has changed, but only
slightly. As you level up
and gain experience you also gain points of which to choose your weapon
unlocks. You can get access to many of your favorites a lot sooner this
way and
ignore a lot of the garbage you had to go through along the way in
Warfare 2. There are a plethora of new and interesting modes for the
game, such as One in the Chamber, which gives everyone one shot and if
miss, you are forced to knife people until you get a kill and take
bullet. Redundancy brings the game down overall, but the new modes and
keep it afloat.

Note that the PC version is now
running dedicated servers as
opposed to Modern Warfare 2’s iw.net system, but there are still a
plethora of
bugs and issues. Buyer beware, issues like the stuttering frame rate
can be
quite frustrating until Black Ops is patched up.


Value - 65 / 100

I can’t help but feel that Black OPs could have been done as an expansion to Modern Warfare 2. The graphical differences are amazingly slight, the campaign rather short (7-10 hours), and the multiplayer rebalance and reimagining amounts to little more than what a downloadable patch might contain. There are a lot of cool additions, but none that warrant an entirely new game. You absolutely must enjoy this multiplayer to warrant a purchase, as the campaign is not worth near the $60 price tag, not to mention that playing Zombies alone is quite frustrating and even boring.

Lasting Appeal - 50 / 100

Each of the previous Call of Duty games did something different that set it apart from its predecessors. Zombies, the prestige and perk systems… Black Ops offers nothing new. This is not to say that Black Ops isn’t fun, because it is. But the moment the next game in the series comes out, Black Ops will be completely forgotten except for the occasional new Zombies match. So this game basically has a timed lifespan, both to the hardcore (who have to move on), and to the casual (who have nothing to stick around for).

Pros and Cons


- Zombies returns with a vengeance!

- One of the more unique storytelling methods/plots actually makes you want to watch the cutscenes.

- The game-of-the-year winning multiplayer returns with many things fine-tuned and slightly upgraded.


- Why the hell am I getting choppy frame rates on a PS3? Let me try this on PC…. Oh God, it’s worse.

- Wonder how many map packs we’ll have to pay for this time?

- Terrible scripting/nonsense moments in single player from time to time.


Call of Duty: Black Ops is exactly what everyone expected it to be—Modern Warfare 2.5. Actually, let’s call it Modern Warfare 2: Vietnam, to reflect the new setting. This is what the previous owners want and love, so those of you who love it probably already own the game and are fragging every night. For those of you who avoided the craze and didn’t like it to begin with, stay far away. So long as this game keeps selling 10 million copies, the formula isn’t going to change much, as Black Ops proves.

Overall 68/100 - Okay

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016