Seach Independent Gamer Blog

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Call of Duty Black OpsPS3/Xbox360/PC Review

So much content so little time.

CoDBO front

Call of Duty is one of the bestselling games since the day it debuted because of its fast paced and quit thinking type gameplay. As time went by the gameplay kept getting more and more intense to the point where if you react a too second late, you’re probably already dead. Call of Duty Black Ops continues that tradition but this time taking place during the Vietnam War where you take the role of a sleeper cell who knows the location of a secret broadcasting tower that will release a poisonous gas called Nova 6 against the US. With a strong story and fast paced action, Black Ops is a game that doesn’t disappoint.
 CoDBO 1
The story of Black Ops takes place in an interrogation room where the story is unfolded during flashbacks of what Alex Mason went through from 1961 to 1968. During the Bay of Pigs invasion Mason fails to assassinate Castro and is left behind enemy lines only to follow being captured and taken to the Russian prison of Vorkuta Gulag. After several years Mason joins a plot to escape Gulag with Viktor Reznov who makes a regular appearance in the game. Throughout the story mode you will travel through many different places from Vietnam to the white house to meet President Kennedy.
At the end of the day when all is done, you will get a chance to play as President Kennedy in another rendition of Zombies in which you must survive a hoard of Zombies coming to beat you to death. This mode can also be played online with other fun characters like Castro and Richard M Nixon. 
Black Ops is a fast paced game where every second counts. You will have enemies coming at you from every angle but at times it can get annoying because you don’t know from what angle you’re being shot at. Before you know it you will be on the ground restarting from the previous checkpoint. That’s not to say it happens all the time but it happens enough to get you frustrated from time to time however shooting all those enemies can be a lot of fun. 
The weapons are what make the games and there are a lot of weapons for every type of player to feel comfortable playing with. Some weapons you can also use in Duel Wielding mode such as handguns and light automatic weapons. You also get your choice of Assault Rifles, Shotguns which tear the enemies to pieces, Light Machine Guns, Sniper Rifles, Grenade Launchers and Rocket Launchers. If you wish to only use Sniper Rifles however you are only limited to use them in certain levels as they are not found everywhere. Grenades are an item I would not use as they are weaker in Black Ops compared to other CoD titles. There have been many occasions where I’ve thrown grenades after cooking them for 2.5 seconds into the enemies way where they are not at least bit affected by the blast. Using grenades may help in certain situations but I’d recommend that you stay away from them and instead opt for a weapon that has a grenade launcher attachment. 
The weapons also have attachments which will help you throughout the game such as: Redsight, Ranged Scope, Grenade Launcher, Double Mag and infrared which is only used in one level. Of course you also have your choice of choosing weapons with no attachments at all if you just want to do some straight killing. All weapons can be found with an attachment expect for regular guns.
When it comes to the graphics in Black Ops, I don’t think they can get any better and I am not saying that as a good thing but rather I think this is the best Activision can do. The graphics seem unchanged from Modern Warfare 2. The most impressive feature though is flying limbs whenever you shoot an enemy when you use a shotgun or a grenade but you can also achieve flying limbs with regular guns too. 
The settings of Black Ops are ones to be appreciated, specially the Vietnam level where you literally have hundreds of enemies filling up your screen. Nothing says hurry the hell up than a Vietnamese soldier trying to kill you with grenades exploding all around you. While graphics aren’t being pushed here the details are amazing, especially when flying with the chopper or running through the jungle.

The sound effects are OK depending on what location you’re playing but where the game really shines is in the voice acting which drives you deeper into the story. My favorite voice over was the one used for Kennedy, Castro and Richard Nixon during the meeting before zombies decide to attack the white house. This was done as a comedic relief but it never the less works perfectly and sets you up for some zombie face smashing. The soundtrack at times feels out of place with rock music playing in the background in some levels. It’s done to get the player pumped up for the coming event but it kind of takes away from the experience. Yes CoD 4 and CoD MW2 did have some type of rock music playing but it was done to match the theme of the event and in Black Ops it just feels slapped in there.
Activision games only have a 9 month dev. Cycle which means that in 9 months the developers must finish the game and ship it and in doing so there are a lot of noticeable bugs that are left in the game. In the beginning CoD Black Ops had a lot of issues signing in to the PSN which was fixed in a later update. Several updates later the game is still buggy as sin. Some of the bigger bugs that I found during gameplay were: A helicopter diving underground only to have its tail stick out of the ground like a shark, a crazy soldier that would never die, soldiers falling underground or appearing in the middle of the room and of course the grenade bug where the grenade doesn’t kill anybody. So far I have not experienced any crashes or freezes and it is kind of entertaining watching some of these bugs.
There are 2 modes of online gameplay in Black Ops the first being Zombies where you and several partners team up and try to kill as many waves of Zombies as possible and good old regular death matches where you go up against other humans in trying to get the highest score on the map and level up your profile and unlock rewards. You can also purchase anything with a new currency system that has been added as well as gamble in a wager match where you bet your COD points and either win some or lose some. 
There is so much to do in Black Ops that it requires several weekends to explore. The story alone is 6 hours long but can take as much as 8 hours if you keep dying or if you just like to explore or spend a crazy amount of time shooting at enemies. Zombies is also another mode that is entertaining in its own right whether playing alone or with friends and online mode is one that can be played even after everything in the game has been completed. As of this writing there are 3 available map packs to purchase which adds more to the big bucket of content that is already available in Black Ops.
Verdict: Possible Buy

Call of Duty has so much to offer yet with it being on the market for 7 months it still has not received a price drop and it’s still selling for the full price of $59.99. From time to time there will be a sale which you can get it for $39.99 but those sales come once in a while. Chances are the price won’t drop until Modern Warfare 3 gets here. It is a fun game if you love FPS and there is a lot of content available. If you can find it for $39.99 it’s a buy but for $59.99 I’ll leave it as a possible buy, possibly a rent.

GamePlay: Fast paced action that doesn’t let up for a bit but be prepare to die several times. 8.5/10

Graphics: Nothing really changed from MW2 but the details of the environments are one to notice and the flying limbs are also a nice feature: 9/10

Story: A great story that ties in many historical events into the eyes of a single man that ends on a shocking note. 10/10

Sound: Great voice acting with some comedic relief at the end. Music feels out of place in some levels but the action will keep you from paying attention to it. 7/10

LifeSpan: 6+hours story mode, Zombies and Online deathmatch will keep you coming back for weeks to come. 9.5/10

Total Score: 88/100

Minimum PC Settings

    • OS: Windows® Vista / XP / 7
    • Processor: Intel® Core™2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom™ X3 8750 or better
    • Memory: 2GB
    • Graphics: Shader 3.0 or better 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600GT / ATI Radeon® X1950Pro or better
    • DirectX®: DirectX® 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 12GB*
    • Sound: DirectX® 9.0c-compatible

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