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Call of Duty: Black Ops Review (PS3)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (1 Review)

By Sean Forsgren

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cover Box Art (PS3)

Call of Duty: Black Ops (PS3)

© Activision Blizzard

The Bottom Line

Call of Duty: Black Ops is a great installment in the growing pedigree of story-rich, first-person shooters. It does almost everything well, but doesn’t do much to progress the genre or create innovation in an already saturated FPS market.
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  • 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)

First and foremost, this game looks great, with beautifully rendered textures and lighting. From the roiling seas of the Bay of Pigs to Russian operatives with faces glistening with sweat in Afghanistan, the world of Black Ops is stunning. There are a few minor upsets, however, that break the spell at critical junctions of the game. An example is the strange, low-resolution vehicle models in Cuba. Perhaps a developer snuck the model in as an homage to the original Cal of Duty games?

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.

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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 3 out of 5
Call of Duty Black Ops PS3, Member Lilrangel

After playing MW2 for quite while, I had to get Black Ops. I enjoyed the campain mode although rather short. The graphics are prety much the same as the previous version and so is game play in general. The area that I would like to focus on is the online multi player mode. This is a JOKE! Treyarch has really screwed up the whole experience by not being thorough enough in their pre release testing. They have really left it up to the players that went out and paid them to do the testing. I played this game for about 3 days before I really had any issues. Then it all started to go down hill! It is too easy for hosts to ""bail"" on in the middle of a game. This is where the issues seem to surface. The host migration is worthless! There should be a way to see on a players card how many matches they have abandonded. My system has froze up at various places during the multi player. When this happens, there is no way to get out of it except to hit the power button on your system to completly restart. When you are about to complete a contract, or earn a killstreak etc. this is a real disapointer! I have read on other reviews that this was not really an issue until Treyarch released a patch. There were a couple of good things in the patch but rather than foccussing on these little things, they really need to foccuss on giving gamers an uninterupted game experience! I have resorted back to MW2~! There have been no instances of freezing on that game! Nor any major game interupting glitches. The brand went out on a limb by letting Treyarch and Activision take the reins. I hope that the complaints, and abandoned accounts will speak loud volumes and will allow Infinity Ward to retake the reins! At least they have a little better idea what it takes to make a successfull game the first time through and they don't seem to be leaving the dirty work up to us gamers! Let there be WAR!

3 out of 3 people found this helpful.

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