Review by Undefined808

"No Matter how much polish, some things just don't shine like they Can."

OK, first things first; I am a huge fan of Modern Warfare 2. I don't have any particular dislike for Black OPS, but I feel that it does not deliver quite up to snuff. I have only played COD since World at War, but I am definitely no newbie to the FPS scene. My intention is to provide my honest opinion of this game, without any bias, if at all possible. I will be breaking this review down into five categories: Graphics, Sound, Single Player, Multi-Player (MP), and Fun factor.

Graphics: 3/5
This is an argument I hear a lot about. The single player graphics look halfway decent. It's difficult to score this in terms of stand alone graphics; comparisons to MW2's graphics are unavoidable. These two games have different art styles, but I will say that MW2's graphics seem a bit more crisp and smooth. That's not to say that BO graphics are horrible however. As a point of note, there are times in MP where the frame rate bogs down a bit -- I'm no technical expert, so that could be due to hiccups with XBL.

Sound: 3/5
Again, different game, different guns, different sounds. Another mixed bag of opinions here. Some of the guns sound simply spectacular. The FAL comes to mind. Others sound like they were pulled from a random internet sound board. M16, FAMAS, anyone? Those two weapons sound like they were recorded with an entirely different setup from some of the other weapons. Voice acting is pretty standard, I like the Nixon, McNamara, and Kennedy impressions though, they put a nice touch on it. On a final note, why is ICE CUBE announcing the MP game happenings? Weird.

Single Player: 4/5
I enjoyed the story, and the way that it was told. I like the fact that they tried a lot of new things with the new system. I can't remember the last COD game where you could actually control your "rail style shooter" vehicle, and this game lets you do that at least twice. I like the way that the story was told, a bit of a Quentin Tarentino style that I can appreciate, complete with Sixth Sense style story line twists. I would have appreciated a bit more of weapon variety in the campaign though; I think that they could have integrated the ballistic knife / tomahawk in the single player game without too much trouble. Would have liked to see a throw back sniper mission, because the game pretty much has you running and gunning the entire time, minus that short stint where you are up there in the black bird.

Multi-Player: 2.5/5
This is where BO really bogged down for me. Treyarch did so many great things to eliminate parts of MW2 that were game breaking. They eliminated the infinite grenade launchers, they removed commando, to state a few. They also added a few new great game modes (wager matches, high stakes...) and integrated a shiny spaking new system of credits that you earn to obtain unlockables. They balanced the guns, and added more customization. Now, here's where it gets real: The guns are TOO balanced. There really is no noticeable difference when I shoot the Galil, as compared to maybe when I am shooting the Enfield. This extreme balancing tends to make players gravitate towards those few guns which actually hold somewhat of a slight advantage over the others. The new perk system, while creative, has you doing some pretty odd things to unlock the pro version (Reload, then kill someone in last stand?). The camos that you can buy look somewhat bland and there is no sense of accomplishment when you get them. Win a TDM or one game, and BAM! It's yours. I'm somewhat of a utilitarian, so I can't speak from an unbiased point about the customization of emblems on the guns, and different RDS types. I just think it's kind of stupid, to be frank. I've got about 30K credits saved up because nothing worth buying has come up for me yet! There are times when I play and I get 4-5 hitmarkers, and the guy I'm shooting still makes it around the corner! WTF!

Fun Factor: 3.5/5
Zombies is a blast. What can I say. Nothing to complain about there. It's the best part of this game, hands down. Black OPS in general is just a bit bland for my tastes. It's got a lot of spit and polish, and it's thrilling to see this level of community support that Treyarch has (thus far) put in. I only hope that they continue to refine and shine their gameplay, and listen to the community. Arcade style FPS ala - MW2 works! Just keep your improvements in there!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/12/11

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

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