Full Review of Call of Duty: Black Ops - Shooty-shooty & Boom-booms
"You will answer the questions. Do you understand?" an artificially distorted and a bit ominous voice inquires. Apparently, that mysterious faceless voice knows a lot about your biography. But still, some episodes from your life, notably your work as a special CIA-agent, are a riddle even to him. And to you too, by the way... Call of Duty: Black Ops is a journey down the memory lane back to the Pig Bay days. Accompanied by screams of agony, choppers shot down and bullets whistling.
Unquestionably, CoD games have always been superbly picturesque. And Black Ops is no exception. No matter what the location it is - hot Habana, snowy Vorkuta or Asia-Pacific jungles - the surroundings never fail to dunk your imagination into the contextual atmosphere.
At some point, I even noticed that the picture of Russia's labor camp Vorkuta, located in Siberia (the coldest inhabited region on Earth), literally gave me chills. It's either that or the air conditioner that I forgot to regulate to a lesser capacity.
Although occasional glitches and freezes will remind you that nothing is perfect in our world and you'll have a chance to witness dead bodies get stuck in the air or get yourself ensnared by problematic scripting in certain areas. And sometimes slow-mo regime turns into a sickening mess.
The sound design is the apogee of excellence, in my opinion. The voice actors, portraying ferocious Cubans or brutal Russians, authentic siren and gunshot sounds, radio static, car engine roars inherent to the epoch... Ah, so good! Every minute detail has been carefully revised to create that special audio-ambiance that makes you forget yourself and just do your hardcore special force agent's job.
Your character, Alex Mason, appears in the very beginning chained to a chair, interrogated by an invisible villain. Every time Alex fails to remember something or says a rude thing, the Voice shocks him with electricity (just like sadistic Pikachu).
The entire single-player game is based on you traveling through Alex's memory landscapes, reliving all the hardships and hazards he had to face. The back-story takes place in the 1960s so you'll have a pleasure of meeting Fidel Castro and Scooby-Doo JFK personally, while saving the nation and, of course, the entire world.
I should notice that the intelligence of the NPCs, both hostile and friendly, leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, in the Vorkuta mission, I could observe my Russian prison-mates stupidly staying in the line of fire, meanwhile camp guards were eagerly focused on shooting the ceiling, metal barrels and whatever but not the rioting detainees.
The best part of the game is the co-op mode. In it you can:
· Widely customize your weaponry (even tagging your clan-name on it is an option).
· Play the hilarious Nazi-zombie mode.
· Use an exploding tiny RC car.
· Earn special points that serve as an in-game currency.
· Use crossbows with explosive bolts etc.
Don't forget: once you buy something, there will be no backsies. Spend your funds wisely.
Controls are ideally optimized for Xbox and other consoles. It's that rare case when you can relax, sit back and enjoy shooty-shooty, without having to worry whether controls fail/exhaust you or not.
Replay Value: 3.5
A decent shooter with a decent bloodbath. Can be replayed once a couple of years.
Although released in 2010, CoD: Black Ops remains quite a delicious game to savor, even today. Its plotline may be a bit clichéd and NPCs a bit retarded. And scripting gets to be a bit sluggish too. It's classic. And we should respect a classic game. All the more it's enjoyable.
- Good visuals.
- Terrific sound design.
- Extensive gameplay.
- Exploding RC toy-cars.
- Graphics a bit outdated.
- The action has no pause.
- Glitchy scripting.
- Dumb NPCs.
- No in-game refunds.