They say that ‘sex sells’, but in the gaming industry, nothing sells as well as a good first person war game. Millions of gamers have spent their hard earned cash on titles such as Medal of Honor and Battlefield, with one of the highest grossing being the Call Of Duty franchise.
Over the last year, forums have been raging with debates on various pros and cons of these titles, with people even arguing over publishing houses. Are Treyarch now better than Infinity Ward for example? Do we really care I say?
Black Ops, by Treyarch is a first person shooter set in the past, around 50 years ago. Similarities will always be drawn against the epic Modern Warfare 2, but this one is grittier, and a little darker into the deal.
Modern Warfare 2 was a title based around modern, high tech weaponry which proved to be refreshing at the time, as you could laser guide missiles to destroy tanks (among other things) – Treyarch, this time have mixed it all up again, by focusing more on close up and personal combat with a plethora of weird and wacky weaponry.
I really enjoyed the storyline, because I felt it was gripping enough to get my attention, yet focused enough to drive home that war is not really a nice place to be, even at the best of times. The pacing is strong and the action is hot n’ heavy. Treyarch have really excelled when it comes to the weapons on offer, because I don’t think I have ever seen a three man molotov slingshot for instance, this deserves bonus points. Most of the game is spent on foot, but there is some water action involved, which works brilliantly in the context of the game. Lets be honest, swimming in most games is a pure suckfest, but this time, its a win.
Graphically, I found the engine to be attractive and flowing on the Playstation 3 – sure it is no high end PC experience, but many of these games are generated first on the high definition consoles, so while you have to deal with a gamepad, you dont experience the same glitches and problems often occuring with shoddy PC ports (I have yet to play the PC version so it might be great).
The single player is really good fun, and although many people will complain it is too short, I found it a reasonably good value for money experience. It isn’t going to redefine the genre and its not going to break any new ground, but it is a solid, fun game which is easily recommended.
Multiplayer I have been enjoying for a while now – all the modes we love and expect are there, from Domination to Headquarters. Just as addictive and as exhilarating as ever. Playlists have been under attack however as there is only Free For All, Search and Destroy and Team Deathmatch on offer, however Treyarch say that they can patch the playlists in real time to enhance the experience.
New to this title is a COD point system which works really well as you can choose your unlocks easier without having to wait to reach a specific rank. Money does offer other perks and bonuses so you can spend this on important additions if you feel its urgent. The money methodology also generates some great Wager Matches which mean that people can use them among the top players. I spent hours within the Sticks and Stones mode for example – you get a crossbow with an explosive bolt and a tomahawk which takes all the money from players you hit with it.
When in multiplayer I found the Playstation 3 would sometimes hitch a little and lag would rear its ugly head when I least wanted it to happen. I wouldn’t say it ruined the game, but it was noticeable from time to time and slightly ruined my enjoyment online. I haven’t tried the Xbox 360 version yet, so I am not sure if this is a platform specific issue or just something that Treyarch can fix later.
Treyarch as a development company also seem to have a strange fixation with Zombies. Don’t get me wrong, im all for a Left4Dead battle with some buddies, but I don’t think it really works in this specific title, feeling a little ‘slotted’ in, rather than a planned part of the overall concept. Again, it seems everyone and their grandmother are incorporating vampires and zombies into their games (yes even Red Dead Redemption gets them too) so perhaps it will prove popular with the audience. One of the zombie modes is hilarious mind you, but it needs to be unlocked for access.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops is a great action game which I found both rewarding and enjoyable – the multiplayer modes are fantastic and are worth the price of the game alone. Single player is also good fun, but £40 for a game which last around 6 or 7 hours is a tough pill to swallow. If you aren’t interested in multiplayer at all, then this might not prove to be the best value for money purchase. There are flaws, and we feel it is a little unfinished in places, but as an action game with friends, this is one of the best this year.