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Zombies + JFK + Fidel Castro = A Call of Duty: Black Ops review

Updated Thu, Nov 18, 2010 by Stow

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. Having already pushed 300 million dollars plus units sold, Activision’s new flagship franchise didn’t change the formula too much and that’s exactly what people 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 series, 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 scope’s 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, spoilers aside, the plot is all over the place and fairly convoluted, though still 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 ever.

Cautions

Cautions

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

75Pretty GoodNote 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

82GoodThis 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

87Very GoodWeapon 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.

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