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Published on November 11th, 2010 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor

Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Release Date: Nov. 9, 2010
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platforms: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, PC

Do you remember the times when Call of Duty was a solid WWII shooter,built on PC Tech? Or when it made the jump to console with Call of Duty 2? We have come a long way since the days of Activision’s juggernaut was a 2 year development cycle deal, to now a 20 million plus seller year in and year out. The question, however still remains, “Can Call of Duty still maintain it’s iconic statue through all of the drama the series has had over the past 12 months?” After playing through Black Ops I am happy to report, YES!

Your journey begins with Alex Mason, a soldier who is being interrogated for information that he has no recollection. He is constantly seeing numbers in his head and hears voices of people he remembers being in contact with-5 years prior. You travel through different time period in Masons career in order to rebuild the lost memory. You will fight in the Cold War, Vietnam, and the stages of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the efforts to provide a strong historical background, you will meet many historical figures such as JFK. This will also lead you to unravel plot attempts on his assassination. Treyarch went all out for voice talent on what I consider one of the best single player experiences in the Call of Duty universe. Voice of Sam Worthington, Ed Harris, Gary Oldeman, and Ice Cube all lend their voices and nail every line of dialogue. Voice acting and the character models work very well in this time swirling experience. There seems to be a little bit of a slow down period about half way through the campaign, but quickly picks up and prepares for the fireworks that is the ending.

To say that Black Ops was a linear and short experience seems to be an understatement. Yes, this campaign will take you roughly 6 hours to beat, but at times seems to almost take the controls right out of your hands and pull you through some of the games action. This leads you either into a cut-scene or check point. Treyarch did get rid of the mini map that always appeared in the lower left of the screen and showed Gold Stars for your next objective. This time they gave you a compass. This time your objectives are all on screen in front of you.

Visually, Black Ops is fantastic. It brings you into the era of the game and looks extremely authentic. I saw no slow down when multiple enemies were on screen. Unlike the recent Medal of Honor, I never saw enemies spawn right in front of my gun sights. There was very little texture problems, but we did notice some odd clipping hiccups and small collision issues. These bugs are definitely not game altering or serious concerns. Although this is true, the AI doesn’t quite paint the same picture. The enemy and partner AI in Black Ops is awful. I can’t count how many times I’ve had enemies run right up to me, past three of my squad mates, and melee me to death. All of this while shooting at a different area of the map.

The game does feature a few new weapons that gave us chills of excitement. The crossbow has to be the most favorite. Altering the ammo to give you either straight arrow shots, or explosive rounds, gives you plenty of options to keep you sticking people in odd portions of their bodies. The RC car was a little trick to recon with. It seems to be a bit over powered when used and has a very big blast radius. These are some of the items that may prove to be great tools in the multiplayer.

Call of Duty multiplayer is back and in rare form. If you thought you were getting tired or bored with Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops will bring you right back into some new action. Your standard game modes are back and the covenant level 50 prestige modes are back as well. The experience system has been altered. Players still gain experience to level up, but this time you earn money for completing challenges and winning games. Your money will be used to unlock perks, weapons attachments, and character and gun customizations. Yes, the opportunity to actually put emblems and tags on your weapons now. Rep for your clan and throw your tag on the side of your Beretta! Be prepared to spend a hefty amount of COD points to unlock those however. Do you need quick COD points to unlock those cool items? Treyarch has included a “Contract” system that will let you put up a small amount of your points, to wager on completing certain challenges. The pay off is big, with little to lose, but if you are new to Call of Duty, you may want to practice before betting your COD points.

One of the biggest departures from Modern Warfare 2 was the inclusion of “Wager mode“. “One in the Chamber“, a game mode that gives you a pistol with one shot. If you miss, you are left running around with a knife, in hope of killing someone to take their bullet. The second is “Gun Game” which gives you a window into all of the glorious guns that Black Ops has to offer. Killing someone will promote you to the next gun. Getting knifed will demote you to your past gun, having to re-earn that gun back. Joining these games requires you to wager points, and the top three players split the total points that were wagered.

In case you may have been wondering, Zombies are back. This time around they are even better than what World at War offered. Take some of your friends and fight off zombies a couple of different ways. First you can fend off the old theater, in typical zombie fashion, or get in the shoes of JFK, Fidel Castro, Richard Nixon, or Robert McNamara, and listen to the funny dialogue as they hold up in the pentagon. If your into easter eggs, there is a third zombie mode that can olny be told through the game. Good hunting folks!


Call Of Duty: Black Ops, truly showed how far Treyarch has come with this franchise. They used the tech that Infinity Ward handed them and mastered it through their two year development cycle. They built off what made Modern Warfare great and added their own elements. The game looks stunning, and features one of the best told stories in the entire COD series. Multiplayer is just what you would want out of a Call of Duty game, with interesting twist. Earn COD points to boost your perks, and looks, and not depend sole on challenges and leveling. It’s a no brainer that Black Ops should be on every gamers Christmas list this year. If you were wondering if Treyarch and Activision can pull off another stellar Call of Duty without Infinity Ward, the answer is,yes. The name is Black Ops!

[xrr label=”Rating: 8/10″ rating=8/10]

+ Stunning Visuals

+ Very Compelling Story Line

+ Solid Multiplayer


+ COD Points can become addicting

– Minor bugs

– Checkpoint issues

– Horrible AI

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About the Author

I have been a video game enthusiast for many many years, and have been in the industry for the last 10 years. I love what I do and I love, well VIDEO GAMES! I have a degree in computer programming and currently working on a arcade/indie title.

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