ESRB rating: Mature
Release date: Available now
Call of Duty games have been around for awhile. Until recently you’d have to have been living on a deserted island to not hear about them. Games in the series are known for being highly rated and wildly entertaining. Call of Duty: Black Ops, developed by Treyarch, is the most recent one to hit store shelves and digital download queues. Can this entry in the famous series live up to the hype?
The story takes place during the Cold War. Alex Mason wakes up strapped to a chair in an interrogation room. There are a dozen monitors in his face with red numbers flashing on them. A distorted voice is heard commanding him to describe what the numbers mean and divulge the location of a numbers station so that countless lives can be saved. He’s told that he is the only one who can help. Mason is dumbfounded by what the interrogator is asking him. He is forced to relive memories of a time long ago, when he was in black operations. The story then unfolds into something much deeper.
Each mission in the Black Ops single-player campaign is a memory that Mason must relive to figure out what the numbers mean. The memories are sometimes intertwined with historical events and sometimes not. In a couple of missions, you play as other main characters, but they’re significant to the memories of Alex Mason. A much-hyped multiplayer mode is also included. In multiplayer you can customize your character’s appearance, weapons, equipment and perks, which are abilities you can choose that enhance a certain feature, such as being able to run faster than normal. You receive COD points and experience based on how well you do in the match. COD points are the currency you use to purchase new weapons, items, equipment and so on. The experience determines what level you are and what equipment is available for purchase. There are a dozen game modes within multiplayer. You get your standard deathmatches, territory controls and scenario maps. Each one has variants that are standard for a game in the Call of Duty series. Zombies is another game mode that comes nicely bundled with the game. It’s a co-operative mode in which you must survive wave after wave of the undead. There are various challenges that get in the way, such managing money you receive from killing zombies or repairing barriers, to getting better weapons and more ammo, or opening a new area of the map to get better items. Reviving injured fellow players who are overrun by zombies and others beasts is another challenge thrown into the mix.
I don’t know where to start to describe what I love about Black Ops. The single-player campaign takes what I thought could be experienced through storytelling in video games and launches it out the window. The fact that you basically follow one individual, Alex Mason, offers a tremendous opportunity to feel connected to the story. Then, on top of that, you add the exciting, heart-pounding moments that Call of Duty games provide, and you get an unforgettable gaming experience. If it just had a single-player campaign, Black Ops would be a perfectly fantastic game by itself, but it does come packed with multiplayer goodness that is arguably the best in its class. It also throws in a few minor changes and customization to make pure gaming greatness possible. I like how the average person can feel comfortable with the controls and the game in general after only a few multiplayer matches. The Zombies mode is a nice addition to a game that is already fully packed with hours of entertainment.
Black Ops is a nearly flawless game, but I still found some things that I didn’t like. The single-player campaign is a little on the short side. I know it sounds very greedy, and quality is better than quantity, but just give me more hours to immerse myself in the amazing storytelling. Then there is one thing that I felt was left out of multiplayer on purpose: the “Do more damage with your weapons” or “Stopping Power” perk, something I would always use in a non-hardcore match type. But in the end, I can nitpick little things about Black Ops, but there is really nothing major wrong with the game, other than the many hours you lose playing it.
Call of Duty: Black Ops is a game that has amazing storytelling with exciting action that will go down in history. Multiplayer is absolutely fantastic, offering hours of entertainment and a new customization feature. There’s also a co-operative game mode that adds even more hours of gaming gold. The only problem is that there’s a good chance you’ll become addicted to it. What are you waiting for? Go out and purchase this game. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the Call of Duty series or shooters in general, this game is a must-buy.