Call Of Duty: Black Ops – Review (PS3)

Last years Call Of Duty game was a bit of a fun mess with regards to the single player campaign but early reviews of Black Ops seemed to indicate that Treyarch had tightened up the story in the latest instalment. So is Black Ops a better gaming experience?

The answer is undoubtedly yes.

Firstly let’s take a look at the single player portion of the game. You take control of Alex Mason for the majority of the time, with a few cameo levels in which you control other characters. Certainly there felt like a lot less switching of characters than in Modern Warfare 2 and when you started each mission it clearly stated who you were before it began.

Those of you looking for a realistic interpretation of the special forces would probably be better served by Medal Of Honor (or if you fancy something older Rainbow Six Vegas) because this is Hollywood war plain and simple.

The set pieces are great, with lots going on around you but at times there can be too much happening and it’s tough to know what you are supposed to be doing.

Often the game design is flawed with regards to waypoints etc. One example is the infamous Vietnam level – I’ll save you all some time by explaining, as this took me almost an hour to stumble across 😮

Essentially you need to make your way down a hill that has a few barricades for protection on. Your colleagues lead the charge and as you follow them down a waypoint marker appears at the bottom of the hill in the trench. So you would presume you need to get to the marker, like you do in the rest of the game. Your buddies are shouting out about ‘improvising’ and you’re faced with an infinite amount of oncoming enemies.

Hey wait! Didn’t they mention that the barrels have napalm in them? Ok no problem I’ll just shoot the barrels… No? Ah cool, I’ll use one of these grenade launchers to blow the barrels up… No? To trigger the next scene and end this madness you’re expected to run up to the barrels and press square to stick a mine on it, slice it with a knife and roll it down the hill. The effect is very cool but I was past caring.

Why on earth didn’t they put the markers on the barrels rather than the trench? Why not make the dialogue clearer? Have them actually say ‘Mason, we need to roll these barrels down onto them!’ Having them say ‘We need to improvise’ just doesn’t cut it – damn, I did improvise. I tried everything I could think of to get down to that marker in the trench. It’s just shoddy and not expected of such a huge title.

That’s not the only problem but I’m not going to list the issues. Needless to say at times Black Ops was frustrating as hell and it soured the single player experience for me.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it and it is a step up from Modern Warfare 2 but really those are school boy errors, without which this could’ve been an even better game.

Also as a side note I found the shenanigans after the end credits veered too close to bad taste for my liking. Just felt like it didn’t need to be in there with those characters.

On the multiplayer front Treyarch seems to have taken Modern Warfare’s huge offering and trimmed it down. Losing the fat and keeping the best bits while also improving it in their own way.

Sure I’m still getting my ass handed to me but I’m having fun while doing it and I certainly feel more competitive than I ever did in Modern Warfare 2.

Also you earn points per round which can be used to unlock weapons, rather than weapons being tied to your level/rank. This is much better as it lets the more casual gamers pick and choose their weapons more easily.

There is no doubt that the Call Of Duty franchise goes from strength to strength with Black Ops taking $650m in its opening week. More importantly than that though is the improvement in the game itself. While I still prefer both the single and multiplayer of Battlefield and Killzone, Black Ops is edging towards that territory. Treyarch have done a great job despite some fundamental flaws and the ball is now firmly in Infinity Ward’s court to see what they can come up with for Modern Warfare 3.

Black Ops is as close to a 9/10 as you can be without getting one. And the reason it doesn’t get one is solely the bad design in places. Without those frustrations this would’ve easily ranked higher but the breakdown that bad design causes in the campaign mode can’t be overlooked.

Rating: 8/10

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1 Comment

  1. I got the same problems. But for some reason I’m not able to join my friend’s party or his to mine.Although I am able to join the rest of my friends’ party.

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