Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

Written by Patrick Maginnis

Here’s how you play Call of Duty Black Ops: You turn off your brain and run-and-gun your way through the levels, occasionally taking cover for two seconds to flex out the bullets. Hell, you don’t even have to think about where you’re going, because the game puts a little marker as to where your objective is or whom you’re supposed to be following. It’s bad, and that’s putting it lightly. Not to say that this game is in anyway unplayable, you just would never want to.

The pace of the game is that of a high-speed rail being propelled by a jet engine. Black Ops is every action movie I have ever seen, multiplied by ten. Explosions are non-stop. I’m being serious here, you cannot go 30 seconds without one. Some people might argue that this is not a bad thing. They’re wrong. A good game requires pacing and breaks in the action from time to time.

The story of the game, I’m fairly certain, was strewn together by a four year old. The campaign is told through a series of flash backs through the eyes of the character you play as, Alex Mason, who is a CIA operative. Throughout the game, he is screamed at by an unknown interrogator about “THE NUMBERS”, which is a broadcast being sent to Soviet sleeper cells in the United States who are about to release a deadly toxin. There are a number of plot twists that are all very predictable and boring. The writers of the game seem to have started out with an interesting idea, but executed it very poorly. The campaign is also only five or six hours long.

Graphically speaking, the game does look good. This is to be expected though, because it had an enormous budget. There are still some muddy textures, graphical glitches, and horrible animations. Not to mention there are other games that came out around the same time that look better. There are also times when the subtitles do not match what the characters are saying, which at times can be very funny, but for the most part it is obnoxious. The characters will occasionally swear and half the time the subtitles say the swear word and the other half it will replace it with numbers and symbols.

Music in the campaign is fairly unmentionable, so much so that I originally forgot to write about it and had to go back. There is a lot of rock music that you would expect to see in any generic action film. The one song I did enjoy was the first song of the end credits, which was Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones. It is a very good song, and felt very fitting for the end of the game.

The main focus of the game, of course, is the multiplayer. Activision achieved exactly what they wanted to achieve with Black Ops: a completive multiplayer shooter that appeals to a mass audience. Anyone who has played a shooter can pick up Call of Duty and be good at it; the learning curve is nonexistent. This of course is because of how the game works. Whoever sees the other person first, wins. There are no health bars and it only takes a few bullets to kill someone.

The multiplayer suffers from immense server lag. There will be times when you will knife someone, or shoot them at point-blank range in the face with a shotgun, and somehow, they will live and you will die. It seems to me that Activision should have used some of their money to set up servers of their own instead of having the games connect to hosts.

There are a number of different game types, but the most popular and most played one is “Team Deathmatch”. In this, the only objective is to kill the members of the other team and whichever team kills more people first, wins.  You do not have to cooperate and strategize with your team, hell, you don’t even have to work with your team. All you have to do is run around by yourself and shoot at things that move and watch pretty numbers pop up on your screen.

There is nothing new or innovative in the multiplayer. It is the exact same thing we have all seen and experienced since Call of Duty 4, with exception of a few minor additions. It seems that Activision is pumping out the same game every year and slapping a new name and a $60 price tag on it.

As I said previously, the game is in no way unplayable, it is just not at all polished. The controls work, there is decent hit detection, and for the most part, everything does what it is supposed to. There are a lot of minor graphical glitches and some very poor animations.

If you are considering buying Call of Duty Black Ops, don’t. It is not worth the money. It is not worth any money. The story is told very poorly and is not compelling or believable. If you’re getting it for the multiplayer, then play something different. Team Fortress 2 on the PC (which is now free to play forever) is a fantastic, stylized, competitive first person shooter where there are nine memorable characters/different classes. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is an extremely good realistic first person shooter, where there are different classes, real objectives, huge maps, the ability to pilot helicopters, and bullets are affected by gravity.

After seven Call of Duty games, and no fresh ideas or content, the series needs to be done. They should have stopped after Call of Duty 4.


Overall: 56

With a poorly told, unimpressive, boring 5-hour story, and a multiplayer that brings absolutely nothing new to the table, Call of Duty Black Ops is despicable and a game no one should spend money on.

Genre (First Person Shooter): 50 

With so many other better first person shooters out there, I have to wonder: why do people still choose to play Call of Duty?

One response to “Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

  1. ddog13 June 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Lol. I didn’t realize the censored subtitle issue until you mentioned it. I do play Call of Duty but I honestly am starting to despise the franchise due to their lack of support. BUT Treyarch does do a good job with patches and innovation. If Black Ops 2 isn’t good, the franchise is really in trouble. I may have to pull out of it.

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