Review by Jord911

"With all the hype surrounding Black Ops, does it live up to the expectations? Yes and No..."

With all the hype surrounding Black Ops, does it meet the high expectations of it fans? In my honest opinion, yes it does, but you'll have some mixed emotions along the way.

Story [9/10]

Right off the bat, like many CoD games, the story puts you right into the heat of the action. With not very much information known about the character (Mason) you're playing, players are placed in the seat of a torture chamber, being forced to answer questions, and relive flashbacks of events leading to the present situation. Without spoiling too much, players are sent on assassination missions, from infiltrating a base while averting sentries, getting into aerial firefights with helicopters, escaping thousands of armed soldiers running from rooftop to rooftop, to killing important political figures. One aspect of the single player campaign I enjoyed was the constant feeling of fighting to survive. The story is engaging, and just the right length and I found that treyarch did a phenomenal job in constantly keeping the player under fire, with little to no time without being shot at, and kept it fresh with helicopter fights and twists along the way. While I can't compare this game to the previous CoD (World at War), when compared to Modern Warfare 2, there is significant change (contrary to popular belief…) A whole new cast of characters, for a whole new period in time, with a whole new set of guns (with a couple of exceptions). My only minor complaint is that sometimes there would be checkpoint glitches, where you would respawn where you died, but if you died surrounded by enemies, you would just continue to die every time you respawned until you managed to run away before you got shot, or managed to kill everyone. Also, sometimes on higher difficulties, levels were just stupidly hard; for instance when running off the rooftops with the scientist (won't ruin his name), you come to a point with no cover at all, and a hoard of enemies shooting at you from ahead, causing you to die a ridiculous amount of times until you get frustrated and just run past the scientist rather than actually follow him. All in all, the twisted story of Mason is interesting and keeps you guessing until the end.

Graphics [9/10]

On a SD television, the graphics are decent, but on HD is truly shines. While I was primarily playing it on an SD television, I felt like certain features are more appreciated through an HD TV, which is disappointing for people who don't have them. For instance, in multiplayer, when trying to change your reticule colour, I could only use yellow because all other colours were blurry, and I couldn't even distinguish between some of them, such as the skull (and even then it was sometimes hard to distinguish). There were also some minor texture popping on some levels and an object or two (such as trees or a crate) with no shadows. All in all, great graphics; explosions from explosive minigun rounds look great, grenade explosions seem more realistic, underwater scenes are done very well, and kill are as bloody and gruesome as ever. The graphics are definitely a step up from MW2, but once again, I haven't played WaW to compare it.

Gameplay [9/10]

All in all, gameplay is great. Very few glitches, helicopter fights are simple but intense, and battles a much more realistic than previous CoD titles. There was an instance during single player where I respawned and the NPC I was supposed to be following was moving without moving his legs for about ten feet, then reverted back to normal, which was kind of weird but didn't hinder gameplay in any way. Another minor glitch was a couple of times my gun would be poking through a wall or cover and I'd be able to kill enemies without being able to see them or them see me, simple because of my barrel poking through the supposedly "solid" object. There's also a new feature they've implemented where you can press the crouch button while running, which causes you to dive to escape gun fire. This new feature is cool, diving from grenades and getting game winning kills diving through windows make for some epic moments and is definitely appreciated in multiplayer.

Multiplayer [9/10] [4/10]

I've given multiplayer two scores; one with X-Box Live, and one without. With XBL, the game is super addictive. Zombie mode is a blast, Combat Training is great for honing skills (Nuketown 1P V 9 bots: epic battles. Though bots at higher levels hack... Headshots with a Tomahawk over a bus and a truck? I don't think so…) and Online Multiplayer is great. There are a ton of new killstreak rewards, like attack dogs and the RT-XD, which keeps the multiplayer fresh and fun and they've removed the function where killstreak reward kills count towards your killstreak reward packages, which make getting a 10+ killstreak more of a challenge. With the addition of new attachments and perks, multiplayer is a blast and as sales figure from Treyarch have shown, is attracting a lot of attention from gamers worldwide. The only feature really lacking in terms of multiplayer is a co-op campaign mode, which would have been super awesome, but we can cross our fingers and hope to see it in the next COD release.

For those without XBL, you really miss out on all the fun of BO. Zombie mode is limited to two player split screen, unless everyone playing has XBL, which really limits it's enjoyment, and the same can be said for combat training. Combat training is only available to people with XBL, which is honestly incredibly disappointing and incomprehensible seeing as they could have easily added the bot feature offline. Local multiplayer is fun and balanced compared to MW2, since everyone has access to all guns and customizations from the start, but once again, had bots been implemented without XBL, this feature would have been a lot better. All in all though, multiplayer is still very fun and as epic as ever.

Overall Satisfaction [8/10]

All in all, the game is fun, but without zombie mode, you don't really see anything you haven't in MW2. The physics engine in the game makes the game seem more realistic, and guns sound more defined than MW2, where they almost all sounded almost all the same. One disappointment is the lack of Special Ops, which were a blast to play in MW2. I mean replaying the missions is fun, don't get me wrong, but seeing another play mode like Special Ops would be really cool and add to the single player (and multiplayer if you have XBL) features of the game.

Overall Score - Not an average- [9/10]

Great Game, ton of multiplayer fun, though XBL is essential, and Single player is just the right length. Definitely worth the purchase, but if you not looking for multiplayer, maybe it's better as a rental (but definitely worth a play).

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/01/10

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

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