Call of Duty: Black Ops
Progress: Single player campaign completed / two hours logged into Zombie survival mode.
I'm no stranger to Call of Duty. I've played COD 2, though I have yet to finish it. (I believe i'm somewhere past the panzerschreck tank fight) I've played through and beaten COD 3, which was a damned fantastic game that left me kind of misty eyed at the retelling of some of the things the polish officers had to go through when fighting the German troops. Modern Warfare Reflex, though left a bad taste in my mouth and no matter how much the game had going for it, I just couldn't bring myself to play through it. So of course I was kind of hesitant to play Black Ops. Not because Treyarch isn't a capable developer - on the contrary i love what they have done in the past - just because of the fact that MWR in my opinion was a meh game. Of course when I had the chance to play Black Ops via Redbox's rental service I discovered something incredibly interesting...
The Rundown -
|The Spiracy Scale is back!!!|
Call of Duty: Black Ops takes place during the Cold War, in the 1960s. The story focuses on the CIA-backed clandestine black operationscarried out behind enemy lines. These missions take place in various locations around the globe such as the Ural Mountains in central Russia,Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. The single-player campaign revolves around an experimental chemical weapon codenamed "Nova-6".
The player mainly controls SAD/SOG special forces operative Alex Mason and occasionally CIA agent Jason Hudson, as well as other characters. Mason often works with Frank Woods and Joseph Bowman, while Hudson teams up with Grigori Weaver, a Russian-born field operative. Viktor Reznov, a key character from the Soviet campaign in World at War returns. Its Russian protagonist Dimitri Petrenko also makes an appearance. Black Ops features several historical figures: Mason meets John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro.
The first thing that grabbed me about Black Ops was it's presentation. The graphics are fantastic on the Wii, yes they are scaled down from the HD and PC versions, however, that doesn't really take away from the game at all. The game seems to have a linear setup that has you jumping from Cuba during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, to Vietnam to flashbacks and then to find and assassinate would-be terrorist Nikita Dragovich. The interrogation segments are a bit much as you're being tortured via electrocution while recollecting these events that you find yourself playing through, but I have to admit this really added to the overall feel of the game's covert nature.
The other thing that blew me away about the game's graphics were the lush settings. Usually you look at Wii games and the backgrounds are anywhere between okay to . "Jeez , you really weren't even trying were you?", but I just turn to look at the clouds or skyline and there's some serious effort going on here. The snow fields in russia, the villages, the lush jungles of Vietnam, Laos, the sunset skies. This is what I expect from capable developers, and I want other developers to take note. This is where I need the bar to be set for graphics in Wii games, as this is kind of the level of quality that Factor 5 had shown with the Rogue Leader games.
The controls are pretty much the same as MW:Reflex, and The Conduit / Conduit 2. Customizable, which is a definite gold standard for Wii shooters.Since I was still playing through Conduit 2 at the time I set the controls for the setup i was using in that game as to not confuse myself silly. The play itself is fast paced, and I like the AI. The only gripe I have with the game was that I noticed some lag in some of the stages. I would have a headshot perfectly lined up and there was a delay between the time i pressed the B trigger and firing. I don't know if that's due to frame drop or whatever.
The Alli AI was alright. COD games differ from the usual shooters because you can't just go in like Rambo and expect things to turn out alright, The massive amounts of enemies make it necessary to have backup, and for the most part, your people come in handy. always calling out where to go next, taking down enemies you might have missed. Solid stuff aside from the occasional disorientation of not knowing if those are your guys ahead of you or the enemy. though once you hover over them with the pointer it's pretty straightforward. maybe it's just been a while since I've played a shooter of this caliber.
The bullet-time segments were alright. It took a second to figure out where my targets where and trying to get them all in one go before time sped up again. One addition that I liked, but didn't really have time to fiddle with, was the grenade toss option. If at any time an enemy threw a grenade at you you can retrieve the grenade and toss it back at them by shaking the nunchuck. Now I didn't figure this part out until the very end of the game, but it was fun once i got the hang of it.
Black Ops can be at times engaging, and then sometimes downright difficult. I found myself stuck in a couple of spots, but I didn't find myself as frustrated as I was with Reflex. Granted Kowloon was kind of irritating with it's multiple snipers and tricky jumps, and fighting through waves of Viet Kong in Khe Sanh I have to say i felt like i had been thoroughly challenged. Rebirth Island was awesome as was the last stage, because damn if you didn't have to get your strategy together in order to win. For those of you who get stuck, you can always switch out your difficulty in order to progress further with little problems. Of course I was way too stubborn to do that.
It's a war shooter so of course you're going to expect some guitar solos, and some big time epic themes. The music was good, not really that memorable, but I spent more time focusing on the gameplay than anything.
The Verdict: Play it!
While I didn't get a chance to check out the online multiplayer option, and I only spent a little time on the zombies game. I liked what I saw and definitely wanted to play more of it. I was wrong to avoid the game based on the assumption that since it's an Activision title it wasn't worth touching, and for that I wholeheartedly take back my "i'll play no more activision games" policy in order to purchase and play more of this game. Treyarch seems to be really good at delivering solid shooters in the COD series. It's been that way since the PS2 days and why would it be any different now?
For those of you who are wondering what's the better game between this and Conduit 2; I don't think it's fair to compare the two. One is a war shooter, the other is a Sci Fi FPS made by different companies on different levels of expertise and skill. HVS could stand to look to Black Ops in terms of adding another level of polish onto what they have, and obviously Treyarch utilized the customization option thanks to HVS' efforts. I like what each game brings to the table equally.
With that being said give Black Ops a chance, if you like a good FPS for Wii, but Reflex left a bad taste in your mouth. You'll enjoy this.