Whoa....sleepless weekends return for me. With the release of the newest Call of Duty game by Treyarch, I've been getting less sleep these days (oh my!) What makes Black Ops so enjoyable? I shall be putting in my 2 cents about Black Ops and what makes it the best Call of Duty game by far (to me that is.)
First off, the minimum requirements:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750 or better
VGA: 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT / ATI Radeon X1950Pro or better
OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP
At first, the requirements don't seem to be very high but remember: these are the bare minimum requirements and that if you want to play at high resolutions with all the settings turned to the highest, opt out to upgrade your system or start overclocking (hehe.)
Story: The story kind of reminds me of some type of action thriller movie (which is a good thing since it's a lot more interesting than Modern Warfare 2's story.) I'm not trying to bash Modern Warfare 2's story but Black Ops does trump it in terms of a good plot. Mainly, you play as a C.I.A agent named Alex Mason who goes on a globe-trotting mission to bring down a Soviet general who's planning on using weapons of mass destruction against the United States. The setting for this game is during the Cold War (you know, the time when the U.S was at "war" with Soviet Russia around the late 1960s.) During the campaign, you switch character roles to help flesh out the story.
Gameplay: Just like previous Call of Duty games, the gameplay is fast and full of action and the controls are very slick and easy to get used to. They implemented a few new movement schemes. One of the schemes is that you can now lean left and right to peek and shoot behind corners. Another new move (that has never been introduced in Call of Duty) is the "dolphin dive" move. Basically, while you are sprinting, hit the prone button and your character will "dive" into a prone position. This helps you reach cover faster and more safely. The problem with the dive is that I sometimes dove past the area that I wanted to hide behind and got my ass lit up. So, it takes some practice and is especially useful in multiplayer (I've seen players use this effectively to get some kills in.) There are a couple of complaints that I have with the campaign though. First, the A.I. is RETARDED! Literally, I had a Russian soldier run in place right next to me without firing at me. I mean come on Treyarch! Step up your game and make these bots intelligent. What kind of intelligence are you running for your "artificial intelligence" in this game?! Hell, even my A.I. teammates were as dumb as the enemy. There were times where they totally ignored the enemy even though they ran right past them. Other times, my teammates were just shooting at walls. I'm really hoping that Treyarch could release a patch that would make these guys smarter so they don't do stupid ass shit like shooting blankly at walls or just ignoring each other despite which side they are on.
For the online aspect, there are plenty of things that return from Modern Warfare 2 and some that are missing and then some that were added by Treyarch. First off; the perks. Yup, perks are back but this time, the perks that were highly exploited and annoying in Modern Warfare 2 are now gone. Treyarch cleverly made it so that Tier 1 level perks changes the way your character looks. For instance, the Perk called "Lightweight" has your character wearing casual wear and the "Ghost" perk has your character wearing a ghillie suit. This has its pros and cons. Pro for the fact that you can tell what kind of player your enemy is and con is that well, your enemy will also know what kind of player you are. Speaking of perks, there are 3 Tiers of perks to customize your character with.
The experience point and level up system makes a comeback but with some nice tweaks. While leveling up does unlock certain things for you to truly use them, you have to purchase them with Cod Points. For example: let's say I reach level 15 and unlock a weapon, with the Cod Points, I can purchase the weapon I unlocked. Once purchased, you can purchase the attachment that YOU want thus giving you some versatility and not having to wait a specific level to unlock a certain attachment that you want. Killstreaks make a comeback but this time, they don't stack up. What I mean by this is that for each kill that your killstreak makes, it doesn't count towards your killing streak, which eliminates those dumbass boosting players and their want to get kills only by their killstreak. Speaking of which, you can also purchase killstreaks. Other things that are purchasable are: player card emblem shapes, reticle shape and color, dot-sight and reflex sight lens color, face paints, weapon camo, the ability to add your clan tag onto your weapon and much more.
The types of matches got bigger too in Black Ops. Atop from having the regular game types that were in Modern Warfare 2, Treyarch added several game types. First off are the Wager Matches. These are Free For All type matches that are split into 4 different types: Gun Game (great for all you Counterstrike nuts!), Sticks & Stone, Sharpshooter, and One In The Chamber. Theater mode is where you can record your gameplay and play it as many times as you want for whatever reason you have. Some people will find this a valuable tool to learn different strategies while others will use it as a tool for bragging rights. Only problem with Theater Mode is that you CANNOT upload them onto YouTube (not sure if this is 100% true but that's what I've heard.) Lastly, Zombies return! Yes, the zombies are back and ready to run havoc. However, Treyarch put in a little twist to the zombie mode and I won't spoil it for those of you that have yet to play Black Ops.
Also new to the Call of Duty series is Combat Training. This mode is basically kind of like an online match but with bots. This is to help people to become familiar with Black Ops and also as a strategic tool to help you get used to maps, weapons, etc. Lastly are the Contracts. Basically, contracts are ways to help you gain CoD Points and EXP. faster. What these consists of are things like: "Get 20 headshots with an assault rifle." or "Plant the bomb a certain amount of times." With contracts, you have to pay a small amount of your own CoD Points and then get to working on them. Once you accomplish the contract, you are awarded a bigger amount of CoD Points as well as EXP.
Graphics: To me, the graphics were great! Some people have said that they aren't up to spec with current games and look drab. I don't know what the hell they are complaining about but they looked terrific to me. There were places where the colors looked a little washed out but that didn't have any negative impact for me concerning the game. All in all, the graphics look just like (if not better) Modern Warfare 2's graphics to me. There were times when the screen turned completely yellow but then returned to normal after a second or two.
Sound: Man, the explosions and weapon sounds are LOUD! It was hard to hear people in Ventrilo when I was playing the game (
. ) There was one part of the campaign where I was quietly walking around a dark cave. There was no sound nor background music so that added a lot of tension. The voice acting is spot on and adds more emotion to the game and to the characters (although Ed Harris' character looks exactly like Bruce Willis) and doesn't come up short for being a Call of Duty game.
Misc: While being one extraordinary game, Black Ops does have its fair share of flaws. First off, the game does stutter and lag (although not much now since the update.) I mean, the stuttering and lag is still there but doesn't happen as often. Also, there were some people who had problems connecting to servers and matches and then there was/is the Steam disconnect problem (happened to me a few times.) If Treyarch can fix these problems with a patch, then it could make this game perfect for Game Of The Year for 2010. The upside to this game is that dedicated servers are back! Hell yes, servers are back but with 1 catch: you must rent servers through Gameservers.com. I don't know how good they are but I haven't had problems connecting to central U.S servers (Dallas, Chicago, and so forth.) The reason for this is to try and stop piracy and hacking. But as we all know, hackers always have a way to break a game's code. Look at Modern Warfare 2 for instance. Infinity Ward (now defunct) stated that with IWNet, piracy would be stopped but "Oh no, what do we have here?" Hackers broke the code in a week! Hopefully, Treyarch will keep a good eye on these stupid ass hackers and keep them from ever ruining a great game like Black Ops.
Conclusion: Black Ops is a fantastic game and is a breath of fresh air for the Call of Duty series. While not up to par with its predecessor, it does have a great amount of muscle behind it compared to Modern Warfare 2 (mainly being dedicated servers and a huge ass customization system.) Also, while this game is great, it has some flaws which need to be dealt with quickly and I hope Treyarch does release a patch soon. With all this, I give Black Ops a 8.75/10.0 because I feel it falls short of a 9 due to some of the problems associated with the game.
+ DEDICATED SERVERS!
+ Huge customization system
+ New CoD Points currency system
+ Balanced online gameplay (well close to it)
+ Thrilling story in campaign
+ New Combat Training mode helps new-comers and elites alike to become better at Black Ops
+ Wager matches let you gamble your currency away for a higher pay. Not recommended for those with gambling addictions.
- Stuttering and lag still exists (not as frequent but still exists)
- A.I. is WEE TOD ED.....herp derp...
- Colors are a bit drab but doesn't hurt it too much
- Can only get a server via Gameservers.com
- Steam disconnect problem, problems with connecting to servers at times
- A couple of other graphical glitches (yellow screen)