Guys and gals, regardless of your preference behind the Call of Duty series, we have a clear winner this year for outstanding sales: Call of Duty: Black Ops. It’s managed to sell over 5.6 million copies in just its first few days, and I’m pretty certain it’s going to keep right on selling those. What this effectively means is that my review is, once again, totally pointless. But something deep inside me feels obligated to write up something or other about the game, otherwise I wouldn’t be as fair and balanced as Fox (oh I’m clever!). So let’s do this review right and tell you what works and what doesn’t about Call of Duty: Black Ops.
First, what works: Everything. Now, what doesn’t work: The PC version. There, that about sums things up. Oh, whoa, I’m not even two paragraphs into this and already I’m out of material. Okay, I’ll elaborate since I suppose that’s what I’m supposed to do.
Treyarch, the publisher better known as the “In Between” Call of Duty developer responsible for World At War, took on the project of outdoing Modern Warfare 2, a seemingly impossible task. Apparently, and this is just what I’m hearing from exactly everyone, they managed to make a game that’s not only better than Modern Warfare 2, but Halo: Reach and any other FPS multiplayer game available. Oh snaps dude, that’s heavy.
The setting here is very thankfully not World War II and instead we get sent to Vietnam, more or less. Setting a game during the period of the Vietnam War hasn’t yet paid off really well, but Treyarch seemed to pay very close attention to what made the Modern Warfare games work so well: Unrealism. The fantastical moments where you get to ride all manner of whatever across random terrains is what differentiated Modern Warfare from a lot of other FPS based around the “modern” or “very near future” settings, but Black Ops decides, “Hey, why not? This is a game, it should be fun!” Therefore, variety becomes the spice of life and we get a game packed with an almost ADD-laced campaign mode. While it takes place during the Vietnam War, you’ll be hopping around the world playing various characters in various situations, all totaling a really cool experience that doesn’t exactly allow you to connect with any one character but sure does make for a cool story.
I hate zombies. I think they’re overdone and putting them in games anymore just feels tired. Therefore, when I heard the zombie-survival mode that made World At War so popular would come back, I said, and I quote, “Meh.” Then I saw the screenshots of who you play as during the zombie-survival mode: JFK, Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro, and Robert McNamera. WIN!
Then comes the most important aspect of a FPS these days: The multiplayer. “How is the multiplayer? Is it better than previous games? Why won’t you tell me?” Calm down random person asking me these questions, the answer is coming in the very next sentence. Treyarch took copious notes regarding what worked and what didn’t work about the previous Call of Duty games and implemented what they learned into Black Ops, placating fans and making a multiplayer experience that once again raises the bar for what you expect an FPS multiplayer experience to be and ensures that Medal of Honor will be remembered as “What game?”
The new addition in the multiplayer rankings is the updated point system. You’re able to earn points as usual for doing just about anything while within a match, but there are certain modes that allow you to wager these points on the outcome of the match. One game type in particular has you play against six other players, place a bet on who will win, and then the top three players have their bets taken seriously. It all makes for a great match-type.
There’s just too much to say about the multiplayer. The amount of content here justifies the $60 price tag. It’s kind of obvious that Black Ops is going to be topping a number of Game of the Year lists, though it does make sense.
BUT! There is one snag: The PC port is broken. Don’t purchase the PC version of Black Ops unless you don’t care that the multiplayer aspect doesn’t work due to poor matchmaking and constant lag. I’ve seen instances of the PC version being the review copy and causing the entire review score to drop significantly (we’re talking Jim Sterling’s Destructoid review), so plan accordingly and prepare to accept a broken game if you buy the PC version. If you get the Xbox 360 or PS3 version though, you should be fine.
And that’s all you need to know about Black Ops. If you love First Person Shooters, this is a no-brainer. Call of Duty: Black Ops is a game you want to play right now, so go do that. There, review over. Did it make a difference? Nah, I didn’t think so. C’mon Nixon, let’s get all quagmire on these undead.
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