Call of Duty: Black Ops super review

  • Coherent story to complement the action
  • Wager modes in multiplayer
  • Buckets of gore at every turn
  • Sticks way too close to old ideas
  • Weaker sense of impact with guns at times
  • Hidden checkpoints are annoying

A game of two halves. Now that’s a phrase that is more suited to sport rather than a First Person Shooter, but it’s exactly how I’d sum up my feelings about Call of Duty Black Ops single player campaign. The sit-rep of the review event sees me hunkered down in a hotel with twenty or so other reviewers, which means we had the ideal environment where we could share our opinions with each other over lunch, booze or while spooning each other into the night.

Once in my room, free to play alone in my pants, I played the initial half or so of Treyarch’s first non-World War 2 CoD on absolute auto-pilot. A slo-mo breach here, a Vietnam bunker run there and I’m back in familiar territory and still waiting to be blown away. The chance to finally show the world that they can make a compelling almost modern FPS was being pissed into the wind.

Above: "Yo, Soap, wait up! We gotta get to the ski-doos". "Wait, what? This ISN'T the same game?" 

Devices found in Modern Warfare 1 and 2 weren’t only being replicated but they were being done with such frequency that any impact lost all meaning. Fuck sakes, Treyarch “THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR BIG MOMENT” I shouted into the ether. But as the preamble unsubtly suggests, the second half finds its feet and suddenly Black Ops is amaze.

I don’t want to ruin the impact of certain missions, but after being plonked into a Vietnamese river for a blast of a mission with a shit-ton of carnage I immediately rang a fellow reviewer to share in my excitement. We both agreed it was a beautiful touch and the start of a turnaround. Boo-yah!

Above: The guy with the itchy trigger finger is Woods, Alex Mason's buddy and chief hater of Vietnamese troops.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. What you want to know is whether Black Ops is better than Modern Warfare 2, right? Well, unhelpfully it is and it isn’t. The story – for my money – is better told here than in either Modern Warfare. You’re Alex Mason - a Cold War operative who's been captured by some mysterious group and is being tortured/interrogated while strapped to a chair and plugged with enough volts of electricity to light up a small village. As a nice touch, this area provides the hub for the entire game.

Who are the shadowy silhouettes barking at you and what is Nova 6? What does that mysterious number sequence being repeated over and over again mean? And why can’t we discuss this over a nice cup of tea rather than syringes full of truth serum? All is revealed in time as each mission is played out in the form of flashbacks.

Although the plot is more compelling in Black Ops, if we had to pick certain key characters out of a line-up we’d struggle…

Above: OK, maybe one stands out in this line-up. But the cookie-cutter characters are disappointing

They’re not as memorable or compelling as Soap or Captain Price from Modern Warfare and their contributions just act as another sound amid the rampant gun-fire. Cameos from Fidel Castro, President Kennedy and Viktor Reznov – the vodka soaked Russian from World at War – help to add spice to the story though.

Black Ops plays out over 15 missions that take you from an assault on a stronghold in Cuba through Vietnamese towns and jungles and even a quick soiree in the Pentagon. Each level feels significantly different to the last which ensures a fresh area to conduct mass murder as you progress.

Above: Not only a campaign setting, but this epic stage is also home to a multiplayer map too.

Click over to the next page for vehicles, weapons and getting lost

More Info

Release date: Nov 09 2010 - PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS (US)
Nov 09 2010 - PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS (UK)
Available Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Activision
Developed by: n-Space, Treyarch
Franchise: Call of Duty
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language
PEGI Rating:


  • jairaptorfire - March 7, 2012 1:54 p.m.

    yo gamers you need to take a look at the web sites and i was referred to all three and they all have amazing products for both PS3 and Xbox360 from there illuminating shells to customized hydro dipped shells and there exclusive mod options, ppls this is no joke rthere are the best and certainly the only company doing it as well as they are. USA and uk and all over the world shipping please take time to visit these sites i promise you wont regret it halla at-cha boy
  • mademan33 - January 10, 2011 2:47 a.m.

    i really couldnt care about call of duty anymore treyarch did a good job with this one but im still bored of shoot this guy in slow mo, blow up this village, its all the same to me...all the more reason to get excited about Bioshock: infinite, but still a good game
  • GrahamC1992 - December 22, 2010 1:56 a.m.

    Hi I am just starting to review games, I am after doing a black ops review please go to the link and check it out and my other reviews :). thank you :)
  • blueapha092 - November 24, 2010 2:01 a.m.

    @deputy326 Shut up dude, Black Ops campaign was amazing but still it will never beat the campaign of Halo CE and Halo 2. I don't think any game EVER will. Black Ops is a fixed MW2 with a MUCH MUCH MUCH better campaign. When I realized why that one dude said, "What the fuck's wrong with you?" in the tunnels, I got chills down my spine. Oh and *SPOILER ALERT* I loved how they hinted that Mason assassinated JFK
  • nathanrcool - November 21, 2010 2:51 a.m.

    want it so bad
  • RogueRED - November 13, 2010 4:29 p.m.

    I refuse to beleive that this game got a nine. While the setpieces were similar, there was also enough variance in the others for it matter. In short, I'm fairly dissaponted.
  • DetailGear - November 12, 2010 1:21 a.m.

    well i will never buy a cod game again
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - November 12, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    Unless it got 12, I waqs going to tell Black Ops to stick it.
  • Alakasam342 - November 11, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    strawberries fly by me
  • Alakasam342 - November 11, 2010 7:19 p.m.

    lookie me I'm cool
  • Alakasam342 - November 11, 2010 7:19 p.m.

    blue green unceunceunce
  • ninjaspartan13 - November 11, 2010 5:57 p.m.

    what about gaz modern warfare and ghost modern warfare2 tha ba's of the games
  • Howetzer - November 11, 2010 2:34 p.m.

    @ JadenKnotor or what the hell ever your name is, shut the hell up. Just had to get that off first. @ NathanGR I know not everyone plays online games man, and I dont have any issue with your reveiw really so dont feel that I do, I just was trying to get my point across that I think the online portion of these CoD games and such is more heavily weighed as the true value of the games by most people who are playing them (as long as they play online of course). I was simply using a James Carville reference a la "it's the economy stupid" to convey that point, oh and no I do not subscribe to James Carville's political beliefs, but nonetheless he did have a good point in that case, but I digress. Oh yeah and Jaden, in case I forgot, shut the hell up =)
  • AGENTJORRRG - November 11, 2010 7:53 a.m.

    But...MW2 blew a fat one.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - November 11, 2010 7:17 a.m.

    @GamesRadar_NathanIrvine I wasn't complaining about Black Ops getting a 9. From what I've played so far, 9 seems like a perfectly reasonable score. I just think if any game this generation deserves a 10 its Red Dead but that's just my opinion. Good review btw.
  • Yeager1122 - November 11, 2010 5:06 a.m.

    Really dont understand why everyone has to come on the comments and act like a buncj of douches i mean say your opnion but dont be a jerk about it but anyway good review will probably pick this up soon when done with everything else
  • Chaoscoolperson - November 10, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    Well that settles it. It copied MW2 therefore it cannot be trusted. Back to REACH!!! HUZZZZZZAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
  • OrionOnyx - November 10, 2010 10:03 p.m.

    Call of Duty games are becoming waaaaay too overrated in my opinion. Especially when all people do is buy the game sit there and play multiplayer all day and not even touch the singleplayer. It just gets a little boring after a while.
  • bonerachieved - November 10, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    Lets Remember Dear T-Dards that everyone of the reviewers of is a human being, and has the right to write and say whatever they want. Just because Nathan gave it a 9 and you feel that its a 10 doesn't need to be spewed all over this article. @Visual217 @sleepy92ismypsn and the rest of you guys criticizing someones oppinion. All of you would be pissed off if there wasn't a review at all. Looking forward to more articles guys.
  • bonerachieved - November 10, 2010 6:56 p.m.

    @FoxdenRacing You can try and be like Tyler Durden all you want, but your just a space monkey.

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