REVIEW: Black Ops lives up to Call of Duty franchise’s expectations

Ashley Nadeau

Publisher: Activision

System: PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

ESRB: Mature

Release Date: Nov. 9, 2010

Rating: 9.0/10

What’s Good:

  • Addictive online multiplayer
  • Engaging single player campaign
  • Combat training provides a fun outlet for everyone

What’s not so Good:

  • Would like to see more in weapon customization
  • Relatively short campaign

Each entry in the Call of Duty series has been tremendously popular. Since its inception, the popularity and innovation of the series has consistently gained momentum and a greater fan base. Call of Duty has become synonymous with the first person shooter and arguably sets the standard for online multiplayer.

Needless to say, Black Ops has been highly anticipated, so much so it set the record for most pre-ordered game in GameStop history.

The Cold War inspired military shooter, retains the best elements of the series, while adding unique elements that breathe new life into the genre.  The single player campaign immediately draws you in, giving you pieces of the intriguing story, one mission at a time.

Just as in previous renditions, the Black Ops campaign features an uber badass protagonist and his dispensable teammates, facing one impossible seeming mission after the next. The only drawback being the mere six to 10 hours it takes to complete.

Black Ops introduces several new game modes, including combat training.  Combat training simulates online multiplayer, pitting you, or you and your friends, against AI. This mode allows you to customize the difficulty level of your opponents, who are cleverly named after random players in your friends list.

Combat training feels a lot like the real thing, experience and weapon customization is all the same.  However, this option is much more approachable than traditional online multiplayer, for noobs or those who are new to the series.

For the brave and veteran COD players, the same competitive multiplayer is still here, with some additional challenges. Contracts are similar to other multiplayer challenges but with added risk and incentive. As the name eludes, contracts require you complete specific objectives and reward you with experience, the more difficult the challenge, the higher the cost and the greater the payout.

Adding even more variety to multiplayer is the fan favorite, cooperative zombie killing mode that made its debut in the previous COD game, World at War. New characters and maps make this intense, frenzied fight-for-survival a blast to play online, with four players, or locally with two.

Along with zombies and combat training, there are also a few *spoiler alert* secret game play modes. Using a computer terminal accessed by toggling the left and right triggers at the start up menu, you can enter two codes that unlock an old school text game called Zork and more importantly a third person arcade shooter called Dead Ops.

Dead Ops follows a Contra or Metal Slug style, except from a bird’s-eye, third person perspective. This mode allows four players to cooperatively fight off zombies with a variety of weapons and is an addictive and fun addition to the COD series.

No matter what your skill or commitment level there are plenty of challenging and fun ways to play. The variety of game play modes and new additions make Black Ops the most approachable Call of Duty to date.