“Call of Duty: Black Ops” is a game that, living up to the “Call of Duty” name, will draw you in for hours at a time. If you’ve ever played a “Call of Duty” game before, you’ll know that as the series has progressed the game has become less about the story and more about the multiplayer.
Naturally, employees at developer Treyarch know that multiplayer will sell their game. But they also know that even if they add lots of extras into the game, glitches and bad design choices will end up making the game unpopular, something that plagued “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.” The end result is a bit of a compromise: Treyarch adds a lot, makes a few additions that cater more to each player’s style and tweaks some issues of “Modern Warfare 2.” However the company also made some risky design choices that could turn off some hardcore fans.
In multiplayer, “Black Ops” returns to the original system of limiting the secondary weapons to pistols, launchers and a few specials, removing the “Modern Warfare 2” system of giving the player machine pistols or shotguns as a secondary. As changes go, this is the most controversial of the bunch as it makes combat situations much less varied.
Coupled with maps being designed with lots of turns and close quarters situations, as well as the shotguns being moved to primary and losing a large amount of their range, it makes most combat situations consist only of automatic weapons. As a result, the multiplayer doesn’t seem as varied. So while players are now allowed to pick the order in which they unlock perks, attachments and weapons, there just isn’t a lot of strategy.
The story mode for the game is interesting. It’s completely different from any “Call of Duty” game before it as the player relives memories of the characters in order to put together a code, resulting in a finale that aims to be more haunting and powerful than any game in the series before it.
The setup is very well done, and the presentation is made in a very cohesive way that ends up tying everything together well in the end. It’s interesting, because while “Black Ops” is definitely the most intriguing “Call of Duty” to date, it’s also the game that somehow manages to make these experiences feel downright unexciting.
One level, for example, contains a boat ride to recover the contents of a plane that ends with a tense ambush. Treyarch gets props for bringing in more epic vehicle play, but the ambush at the end of the level ends very quickly, barely giving the player any real fear before propelling them to the next level.
“Black Ops” is a game that will not appeal to everyone the same way. Some people may love it if the multiplayer is their only focus, even if some of the long-time players feel that the new points system cheats the player out of fully experiencing the game. Those going for the story will probably feel like it intrigued them, but that it wasn’t as exciting to play as they had hoped. Finally, those who are looking to enjoy each portion will love it.
The game is still addicting, and it has enough surprises to get the player engaged. “Black Ops” won’t blow anyone away, but it’s a good game that’s worth being on your Christmas list.
Austin Sandford is a freshman journalism major from Austin.