The Good the Bad and the Ugly: Call of Duty Black Ops

I don’t really know what to write here, because frankly if you don’t know what Call of Duty Black Ops is then you must live under a rock. To review a game that is already loved by millions is a daunting task and some might say that hind sight is 20/20 , but fuck them I’m doing it anyway. The franchise of Call of Duty is known for its short but sweet single player, its addictive Multiplayer experience and the game series that will come out every year from now until eternity. I’ll tell you what I perceive to be the Good the Bad and the Ugly of Call of Duty: Black Ops.

The Premise

Call of Duty has always been about war. In the earlier games it was always world war 2, but in these most recent games we have since shifted to more modern battles. In Call of Duty Black Ops you play as a few different characters but mostly assume the role of Alex Mason a soldier involved in covert operations against the Soviet Union during the cold war. The single player story is told through flashbacks as Mason is being interrogated by a mystery man questioning him about a radio broadcast of numbers that somehow Mason knows the reason behind it. This game, like the Modern Warfare counterparts, takes liberties with actual historical settings, and this time has a greater focus on character.

The Good

Black Ops starts with a bang and doesn’t let up until its done. If your a fan of war movies your going to love the shit out of the single player mode. From fighting in the Bay of Pigs to the Vietnam war this game covers all the ground from the cold war. There is even a scene where you meet Martin Sheen.

Thats not Martin Sheen...

Each mission has some memorable moments; my favorite is when the viet cong mount a second offense that can only be described as ants swarming food. The amount of eneimes on the screen is utterly overwhelming. When your finished with the single player campagin you still have Zombie mode where you and friends fight off a never-ending hoarde of zombies and hell hounds. The object of the game is to survive by barracading yourself in and setting traps for the zombies. For every zombie that you kill and every board placed on a barracade you get points to upgrade weapons or to set more traps.

Of coarse there is the multiplayer mode which is by far one of the most addicting experiences this side of  heroin. Its real easy to sink 4 to 5 hours into the game with out even realizing it. There are dozens of modes to choose from. From the classic death match to Domination a mode in which you capture and hold postions on the map to earn points to win.  The addicting part is the customization options that you earn. For every kill and some actions you get experience points. When you receive enough xp you rank up and unlock more weapons. Black Ops also has credits that allows you to unlock new weapons and abilities. These credits can be earned by winning matches, buying contracts, and betting them in wage matches. Contracts are personal bets you can place which stipulates that you complete a task, such as getting 50 kills with a particular weapon, and you get bonus xp and credits. Wage matches you bet x amount of credits saying that you will do better than another player. Even if you don’t bet credits you can have a blast searching for that perfect load out. Kill streaks are back which are still as satisfying as ever when you do it, but as annoying as ever if its done to you. With a few well place head shots and grenades a person can earn a spy plane letting everyone on your team know where the enemies are. Score a few more kills and you can call in a napalm strike on strip of the map. Score a few more kills and you can release the hounds as Mr. Burns would say-calling attack dogs that flood the map searching and destroying your opponents.

The Bad

Black-ops taught me never to go to war with my friends, because I can guarantee that I will shoot them in the back. Not because I don’t like them, but because its hard as shit to tell the difference between your friends and your enemies. Oh and fuck those load screens telling me that I should watch out for grenades because they explode. NO SHIT GRENADES EXPLODE.  Also there is something  weird about fighting in both the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam. Those two military action were kind of a moral grey areas at best and down right evil moments at worst  in American history. That’s why fighting Nazi, Aliens, and Zombies are great generic enemies- there is no grey area. The single player is rather short if that matters to you and it ends with a whimper instead of a bang. Its sort of a let down after the build up to this great threat; the game just sort of ends. Go America.

The Ugly

Despite the game being fun for what it is, the game is very cookie cutter. Black Ops is pretty much the same thing as Modern Warfare 2 which came out the year before. Change a few settings, characters, and time period and its hard to tell the difference. The Call of Duty franchise is going to be the new Madden, Tony Hawk,  Guitar Hero, and Dynasty Warriors. They already have the mold to pump out game after game without any real improvements to the series. Hell this year Modern Warfare 3 is coming out that looks like MW 2 and 1. As fun as this game is it’s hard to say that on its own if its really an improvement on an already fun franchise or just Activision fishing for more money. The only real reason to get it is if all your friends stopped playing Modern Warfare 2 and jumped on to Black Ops leaving you to drop nukes all by your lonesome.

Closing Comments

So besides peer pressure, there is no real reason to jump on the Black Ops bandwagon. Its a polished game with a short but memorable singleplayer experience and a tired but true multiplayer. I just hope other people see that its really just the same shit different day when it comes to the Call of Duty franchise, because right now Activision and Treyarch look at their customers and see the zombies from the game buying whatever they slap the Call of Duty title on.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Pour me a drink Superman…

Superman is going to make it rain

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~ by Andrew Braid on July 9, 2011.

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