Recently I had the terribly serious dilemma of choosing between Call of Duty: Black Ops or Medal of Honor. At some point I will have them both but for now I could only get one and I’ll just say up front that I’m glad I picked Call of Duty, it was a lot of fun. COD: Black Ops was developed by Treyarch, the same developer that created COD: World At War which I also thoroughly enjoyed. Click through to read my review of this game. I was unable to get my screenshot software to take pics of this game unfortunately.
Black Ops takes place during the Cold War and it’s main plot point revolves around a Soviet general Nikita Dragovich (which is a bithin’ last name by the way) who has plans of attacking the United States with a bio-weapon, named Nova-6, developed during WWII by the Nazis. Throughout the majority of the game the level loads are hidden beneath a seemless cut-scene that brings the level prior to and coming up together. The story is very interesting and engaging and keeps you wanting to play more.
The gameplay in Black Ops is very similar to…well…just about every other FPS on the market. You can hold up to two weapons at a time plus grenades. A few points throughout the game you have to perform a special function such as moving a body or lifting something heavy to smash through a window. These actions are generally performed by nothing more than pushing your Use key after which you simply watch the rest of the action unfold. This would be comparable to at best one of those awful Wii games where you push a button to perform a complex set of actions and at worst the “interactive” menus on a DVD player. I suppose they should get props for trying to keep the players in control and make it as interactive as possible but I think they could have done a better job than this. A few levels attempt to throw in some simple stealth action which does add some tension to the game but not much as the stealth is very easy to succeed at. Very similar to a certain level in Modern Warfare 2, at a few times, you have to catch some enemies off guard and dispose of them quietly utilizing your knife. Even though this has been done before there is still something quiet satisfying about performing this action. Another thing that Treyarch seems to have realized is that one of the things that has made the Call of Duty franchise so successful is how much fun it is to drive a vehicle with heavy ordnances and blow stuff up. They’ve gone to great lengths to cram as many levels of driving vehicles of some kind (helicopters, PT boats, etc.) as possible. I don’t care what anyone says, these levels are still my favorites.
The graphics in this installment of Call of Duty were the best I’ve seen yet. Textures were very high quality. Gun models were extremely well detailed. The characters were exceptionally well done with very realistic facial expressions and movements. Overall the graphics were very impressive.
This is one area where I’m gonna have to say I was somewhat disappointed. In previous games explosions and weapon sounds had a serious kick to them and at the right volume level really pulled you into the game and felt like you were in the middle of battle. With Black Ops, it seemed, regardless of the volume level these same sounds had little oomph to them. Additionally at the default volume settings speech was often times very difficult to hear as it was muffled by just about every other sound. Dropping the other volume levels down seemed to remedy this but seemed odd as I rarely have had to do this in previous Call of Duty releases.
Overall this game was a lot of fun, I got nearly 7 hours of single-player gameplay out of it. The sound is only a minor issue and didn’t detract from the entertainment value of the game. Definitely worth your time if you enjoyed World At War and the other more recent COD titles.