Review by ChiefP3nguin

"Black Ops is an outstanding game. but the formula is getting old."

Call of Duty: Black Ops shows that company Treyarch can keep up with its developing counterpart Infinity Ward in success, breaking sales records all around the world. The release of the yearly installment of this heralded franchise is an event for many gamers, and with each installment in the series, the series starts to feel like a yearly expansion to the prior Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which took the series in the right direction. While a fantastic game at its core, the game can attest this to the fact that it is the same tried and true formula that the Call of Duty series has been using for years. It really brings nothing major to the table that hasn't been done in a previous Call of Duty. Let's take a look at some of the core elements of the game.

CAMPAIGN: 6/10
The campaign in this game is the low point for me. The pacing is frantic and schizophrenic, the screen shakes and jolts, and I can't help but feel that it tries too hard to mimic the major set piece "cinematic" moments you can find in the Modern Warfare games. You'll pilot a helicopter with limited range of where you can go, sail a gunboat down a river, and ride a motorcycle while dual wielding shotguns. The campaign is fun at certain points, but ultimately feels like the game can't keep up with where the story is taking it. I'm going to keep this a spoiler free review, but the story takes a weird turn, and ends up so far-fetched that you cannot take the game seriously anymore.

MULTIPLAYER: 9/10
This is where the game really shines. The multiplayer is very refined, and shows the most improvements over the other Call of Duty games. The game implements a new cash system, where instead of automatically having the guns and perks as you level up, you have to buy them when you unlock them with level. You can pick and choose guns you want to buy and could go the entire time without even touching others. The system works, but whats the point if you still have to wait till a certain level to buy? The game has an emblem creator, theater mode, and file sharing system. The game feels really nice online, and your guns can be personalized with color, emblems, and even your clan tag. Black Ops does a great job of letting you build your persona in game.

ZOMBIES: 9/10
This is without a doubt one of the greatest survival modes in any video game. Survival modes have been a smash hit with players of shooter games, and Call of Duty may just be the master. There are many maps, some on disc, some avaliable as DLC . Even the classic map return from World at War. I would give this section of the game a 10, however I am disappointed that Treyarch did not let the buyers of the World at War maps have them unlocked for Black Ops. You have to buy the hardened edition of the game or buy the Rezurrection map pack. That aside, you can spend hours playing the addicting zombies mode. On top of that, the game features a bonus zombies mode called Dead Ops Arcade, and could be a $10 downloadable title in itself. It's free in Black Ops.

GAMEPLAY: 10/10
Call of Duty's core gameplay is what keeps players coming back. Not much to be said here other than that this game plays incredibly well. It is one of the most successful franchises for a reason.

GRAPHICS: 9/10
The graphics are really outstanding in this game. Expect lush jungle environments, beautiful water and fire, nice skylines, and great explosion effects. The characters look really great, and this is the best looking Call of Duty game. No Gears of War or Uncharted however.

SOUND: 10/10
Can't really ask for more in the sound department. Your room will sound like a warzone.

REPLAY VALUE: 10/10
Replay value is very important in games. With a high pricetag for games now-a-days, people make sure they get bang for their buck. You can't spend $60 much better than a Call of Duty game. Hundreds of hours of gameplay on one disc. 6-8 hour single player campaign, endless gameplay in the zombies and multiplayer modes, and you have an entertainment package to be reckoned with.

CONCLUSION: 9/10
This is a game you must buy if you are a fan of multiplayer gaming. Not many people buy Call of Duty for the campaign, and it really falls short. However, the addictive multiplayer experience will have people keep the disc in their system until the next Call of Duty. The game really doesn't change the formula, and that formula may feel like it's starting to get old, but its still a darn good time.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/12/11

Game Release: Call of Duty: Black Ops (US, 11/09/10)


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