The Bottom Line
- Deftly woven story with twists and turns and great performances by well-known Hollywood talent
- One of the best FPS online multiplayer games out there
- Graphically, Call of Duty: Black Ops is gorgeous "most" of the time
- JFK vs Zombies. Need we say more?
- Great soundtrack, tracks like "Fortunate Son" really set the tone
- The same old FPS with a new story
- A few graphical glitches really can break the scene
- Painful moments of confusion and insurmountable odds with little or no guidance
- The single-player campaign is relatively short
- Publisher: Activision-Blizzard
- ESRB: Mature (PC, PS3, XBOX 360, Wii), Teen (Nintendo DS)
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS
Guide Review - Call of Duty: Black Ops Review (PS3)
The story in "Call of Duty: Black Ops" is a pinnacle of the linear game model, feeling like half-movie and half-game in which you are the hero. Although it isn’t a new method of storytelling in games, it does stand out as one of the best examples on any platform. Black Ops lets you navigate the annals of Cold War history; allowing you to play a pivotal role in events like Vietnam and The Bay of Pigs. For good, or otherwise, you’ll meet John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro and Robert McNamara in your travels. The game’s most important characters are rich and relatable thanks to the performances of Ed Harris, Gary Oldman and Sam Worthington.
My main critique of this game is that, while beautiful and compelling, it’s not pushing the genre forward. After a series of successful games of its type, Black Ops becomes a simple retelling of a well-used model. With games like Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2 paving the way, I would have liked to see more innovation in a product so ripe with potential. It becomes too easy for developers to plateau in their efforts when games like this show such financial success, which can lead to a stagnation in design. I spent a few, glorious hours defending our capitalist democracy from Cold War enemies in Call of Duty: Black Ops. In return, I’d like to see the capitalist model of innovation-means-success take hold in the hearts of the big developers. Challenge our notions of the FPS game, I dare you!
The campaign mode of Black Ops is short and sweet, so to get the best bang for your buck, you’ll want to spend some time with the multiplayer options. This is where the “been there, done that” feeling will hit you. This game does little to change the existing experience for multiplayer gameplay. However, the zombie incursion is back!, This time they aren’t Nazis, just Cold War-era baddies with ill intent and glowing eyes, but they need eradicating nonetheless. The show-stopper for this title is the chance to slay the undead as JFK himself. The voice-acting and dialogue done for this bonus feature is bar none. This game went from a rent-it-and-return it title to a must-own once I sampled White House defense as the iconic leader. In sum, if you’re a fan of this genre of games, you’ll enjoy the latest Call of Duty installment. If you’re a Zombie-fighter, it’s yet another opportunity to show your disdain for the walking dead. If you’re looking for a new experience, this one might be rental.