258 of 351 people found the following review helpful
The COD gravy train of hype churns on, but I'm glad to be along for the ride,
This review is from: Call of Duty: Black Ops - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Ah, another year, another Call of Duty game. It seems like the annual release of the next installment in the iconic first-person shooter series should be a national holiday, given how many people attend the midnight launches for the game and no doubt skipped work or school the next day (myself included). Having hit the apex of popularity with Modern Warfare 2, the big question is how Black Ops will compare. I don't live and die by COD games as some people do, but I can say that Black Ops is one of the most satisfying and intense shooters I've ever played, with the best campaign out of all the games in the series and a multiplayer aspect that I can finally enjoy.
Perhaps I'm the odd one, but I mainly buy these games for the single-player campaign as I am not the best at online shooters. The campaign in Black Ops is easily the best out of the series, with more cohesive storytelling and a more satisfying conclusion than the previous entries. Set in the Cold War era (early to late 1960's), you fight your way through diverse terrain in Russia, Cuba, and Vietnam, among other locations. As with other games in the series, you play as two main characters and you go back and forth between their missions. Without giving too much away, the story is pretty stock, but the manner in which it's told and presented is a big step forward for the COD series, which has lately felt like a batch of multiplayer games with a brief single-player campaign tacked on. Black Ops gives players a better experience in this regard, and despite being brief (7 hours roughly), it doesn't feel too short or seem to end as abruptly as the Modern Warfare games. The difficulty settings are standard for the series, and for achievement/trophy hunters, the biggest rewards come when playing on "Veteran" difficulty.
The style of gameplay, the weapons and the linear design is all par for the course, but Treyarch has done a wonderful job at bringing this era and the surroundings to life. The cinematic quality that made Modern Warfare 2 such a hit is still intact here, and the graphics and sound are as amazing as you would expect. What I've always enjoyed about the COD games are the tight controls, and Black Ops will fit like a glove for any FPS fan. The multiplayer, undoubtedly the biggest day of Black Ops, is surprisingly accessible for people like me who typically get owned when going online. The focus is on class creating and experience points, and while I've only played a couple of hours, everything seems to run smoothly and without lag. My only fear is that the usual frustrations, such as campers and rude teenagers acting like idiots, will eventually creep in, but I'll be optimistic and see how things play out.
I don't believe in gushing over games and hailing them as the "Best Game EVAR!", so I'll avoid hyperbole and simply say that Black Ops one of the better FPS games that I've played. If I have any negative feedback, it surrounds some of the difficulty spikes and the dumb-as-bricks AI of your teammates (and some enemies), but that was the same case with Modern Warfare 2 and especially World at War. Black Ops is not a perfect game graphically and it doesn't reinvent the wheel for FPS games, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying experience that I don't regret investing the time or money into.
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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 9, 2010 12:37:45 PM PST
L. Owyang says:
Great review. I, too, actually enjoy the single-player story mode over the idiotic teenager -- um, i mean, multi-player mode, but I'm guessing we're in the minority.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2010 12:47:48 PM PST
Michael A. Huenemeier says:
Ha! Me too.. I do enjoy multi player but only when I mute everyone <20 years old..
Posted on Nov 9, 2010 1:13:38 PM PST
David Peach says:
Finally a real review. Glad to see an opinion of someone who feels the same about these games as I do. Very good review.
Posted on Nov 9, 2010 3:29:36 PM PST
Donald D. Carlson says:
Posted on Nov 9, 2010 4:01:06 PM PST
T. Bonavita says:
Good review, Ben. :-) Finally, a review from someone who's actually played it. Nicely done, with valid criticisms and praise.
Posted on Nov 9, 2010 6:00:53 PM PST
no one in particular says:
hi everyone. I just wanted to ask if you recommend I start with the very first Call of Duty since I've never played that game before , or just start from Black ops???
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2010 8:10:20 PM PST
Evan M. Tirrell says:
no you dont have to start with the very first call of duty, but it would be considerably cheaper if you did. If you were to start with an older game, i suggest modern warfare, world at war, or modern warfare 2. Personally i dont think you would have any troubles starting with black ops (although multiplayer may be very difficult for you)
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2010 9:29:57 PM PST
R. Schulze says:
If you're wanting to jump into Call Of Duty, the earlier entries will be cheaper, but if you believe you'll eventually go for Black Ops, just spend the money on it now. Unless you're interested in the single player campaign, then you'll get more enjoyment for your dollar out of the earlier entries. The benefit to Black Ops is that it has an OFF line Multiplayer mode so you can play against the computer or with / against a friend and learn the maps and the way the game is played before you venture into the tough world of COD Deathmatch. I just dove in with Modern Warfare and after logging enough hours (about 5 days between MW 1 & 2), I'm finally a pretty decent player while still never being one of the top players in any match I'm in. It takes days of practice to be decent and understand the way it works, but if you get over the fact that you're gonna lose a lot, it can still be fun. Especially since Black Ops has No Nuke Perk.
Posted on Nov 10, 2010 7:20:44 AM PST
Ben Rowland says:
Glad you all liked my review :) I guess the people who found the review unhelpful are the same ones who gave it a one star, one sentence review. Very helpful indeed.
To answer your question, No One In Particular, each COD game is stand-alone and you can play them in whichever order you like. The two Modern Warfare games do have some plot elements and characters that connect, but outside of that all games have their own story and you're not going to feel left in the dark if you start with a later installment. The earlier games in the series are fantastic and definitely more challenging than the latter ones, but there is a definite difference in the graphics and gameplay mechanics. Actually, starting with the earlier games like COD 2 and COD 3 will give you a better appreciation for how far these games have come when you get around to Modern Warfare and Black Ops. Having said that, if multiplayer is your thing, start with the first Modern Warfare as this is where the series hit it's stride in that regard. If you're a single-player campaign type of person, you can't go wrong with the second and third installments in the series.
Posted on Nov 10, 2010 10:11:06 AM PST