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Call of Duty: Black Ops super review

AT A GLANCE
  • 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

Where Black Ops differs again from Modern Warfare is the amount of vehicles it throws into the mix. Motorbikes, cars, planes, boats and choppers are there for you to command – some good, some downright fiddly.

Said helicopters are an exception to the rule as they’re both good and bad. Like so…


Above: Blasting things that are stationary = good


Above: Blasting things that are moving = bad

It’s hard to write about Black Ops without ruining key elements for you, which is why I’ve avoided it thus far, so I’ll tell you about the fundamentals instead.

Treyarch can at last play with a new armoury and they’ve gone all out with crossbows, assault rifles and automatic shotguns that fire incendiary rounds aptly named Dragon’s Breath. Even if it isn’t bang up to date, Black Ops never feels like it’s dealing with old, fudgy weaponry. Well, except when there’s a flashback to the 50s but even then the PPSh-41 from WaW is as awesomely potent as ever.

One of the main things I noticed is that the accuracy of dropping a man wasn’t as consistent as before. I swear I plugged a guy square in the chest only for him to stand tall like a mighty redwood tree. This wasn’t a constant thing but it happened enough for me to get annoyed. And as discussed with other people reviewing the game at the same time, there was an unusual amount of missions having to be completed through trial and error.


Above: There's a fine selection of death-bringing weaponry on offer - from rifles to automatic shotguns.  

Black Ops has a number of poorly sign-posted objectives to the point where I started questioning my gaming skills instead of the game. For example, there's one mission where a flood of Vietnamese soldiers can only be stemmed by piercing two barrels of napalm and then lighting them. If you don't they'll just keep coming but there's very little direction to doing this. But lo and behold, I answered a call to a friend who was stuck at exactly the same point on the same mission. 

There were also more than a few moments where déjà vu struck me like a god damn bunker-buster. Picking off snipers in trees and dealing with flamethrowers? World at War. Running off a sinking ship? Modern Warfare. Sprinting across rooftops and claustrophobic streets? Modern Warfare 2. And this is the biggest disappointment with Black Ops – it plays it too safe with tried and tested mission structures of old.

The aforementioned slo-mo breaches, civilians being maimed (O Hai No Russian!) and up-close melee kills are all overused here, which is a shame because when you do see something new it almost feels like Treyarch are testing the water rather than going balls out and saying “suck on this set-piece Infinity Ward!”.


Above: A descent into the abyss. Don't worry the gun-blasting fun isn't far away.

But I’m not going to rain on Black Ops' parade because when it’s delivering action it’s up there with the most intense missions from previous CoDs.

Using the crossbow on the snowy missions is a great change of pace as you pierce patrols and their guard dogs. Whether you’re flying the chopper or piloting an attack boat the amount of stuff to blow into the atmosphere is incredible – a real thrill ride. And ‘that’ bit where you’re just setting off up a Vietnamese river – the one with the music – sent tingles down my spine. I almost spelt it 'spain' because I was so excited at the thought of it.

See next page for multiplayer, Zombies and a 2D surprise

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:
18+

132 comments

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

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  • 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 :) http://grahamc1992.blogspot.com/2010/12/call-of-dutyblack-ops-review.html
  • 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 Gamesradar.com 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.

Showing 1-20 of 132 comments

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