18
Jan
11

Call of Duty: Black Ops Impressions

On the bright side, there's no wedding scene to sit through.

Call of Duty: Black Ops arrived about two Saturdays ago. I promptly beat the single player campaign the next day.  I’d be curious to know how many people play the single player component in earnest, but it’s clear that the multiplayer mode is the main attraction. As far as the campaign is concerned, I wasn’t as impressed with it as I was with Modern Warfare 2’s campaign.  I don’t think I would necessarily rank it beneath the first Modern Warfare, but my sentiment in general was that the Modern Warfare games succeeded because Infinity Ward was free to make everything up.  The gratuitous Vietnam War sequences in BLOPs felt like they were pulled straight out of movies.  Not in the sense that I got to “play” a movie, but I literally just watched scenes that were recreated from movies and weren’t interactive.

I enjoyed Modern Warfare 2 more for showing me something that I hadn’t already seen.  Since BLOPs wasn’t at liberty to make up world changing events in a similar fashion, it instead relies on creating drama for the game’s characters.  It’s definitely got a more solid plot, structurally speaking, than Modern Warfare 2 had.  But there isn’t really a sense of urgency, just curiosity for what was really going on.  Being placed in a framework of real-world events, you know that the Soviet Union isn’t going to actually succeed in a doomsday strike against the U.S.  So unless you really think Alex Mason, nondescript super-warrior extraordinaire, is just super cool, there isn’t a whole lot else to really motivate you to complete the campaign.  BLOPs’ gun play is solid (which is good, since that is what’s most relevant to the multi-player mode) but the mission/level design could tend to get a bit irritating.  Sometimes the game would ask me to follow a character, but it would eventually become clear that the mission wasn’t going to move forward until I took the initiative and charged forward instead.

The multi-player mode is everything I could have really asked for from a Call of Duty game.  The experience points system really keeps you motivated to play on, almost indefinitely.  The maps I’ve seen were well designed and were easy enough to jump into if you had never played them before.  And as I had mentioned earlier, the gun play is great.  The game experience has a lot of highs and lows, and the people that are around me while I am playing it wonder if I am actually having any fun.  It can be very frustrating to have to grind through periods where it feels like you’re being blown away nine times out of ten.  But overall, the slow grind eventually feels rewarding.

Single Player Campaign:

Multi-Player Mode:

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