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Call Of Duty 4 is already better than unicorns, robots and light-sabers combined, but in just under a week it’s aiming to get even better with the release of the first downloadable add-on, the Variety Pack map collection for online multiplayer.
General gamer consensus seems to be that developer Infinity Ward makes the "real" Call of Duty games, having originated the series to begin with, while developer Treyarch makes the "other" Call of Duty games. Based on what I just witnessed at publisher Activision's E3 booth, however, that rule might be changing. A half-hour and two levels of Call of Duty: Black Ops were enough to convince me that the benchwarmer is now fully capable of outshining the superstar. At least in these four ways…
Not all gamers agree about which Call of Duty game is the absolute best. However, it’s a generally accepted fact that the Nazi zombies and flamethrowers in 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War resulted in the most satisfying pairing of people and fire since the invention of the barbeque grill. Now, the developer of that title is back with Call of Duty: Black Ops. We’d seen a trailer already, but publisher Activision invited us to peek behind the curtain and check out two levels of full, playable chaos. Here is our war journal...
We've had our first hands-on time with Black Ops, the Cold War-spanning opus that finds Treyarch mining new eras for face-blasting inspiration. While this is the developer's most Modern Warfare-esque offering to date, Black Ops manages to distinguish itself, most notably with the introduction of Wager Modes, in which players can put their money where their trash talking mouths are. From the rampant customization options to the unique new Killstreaks, Black Ops is shaping up to be a worthy entry in the Call of Duty canon.
While we were hoping to get a taste of the rumored Commie Zombies, there was more than enough competitive multiplayer to keep us occupied for a few drunken hours. Here's what we managed to write afterwards...
With the Infinity Ward ranks in disarray, Activision has seen fit to promote its most trusted platoon to the frontlines. Can Call of Duty: Black Ops turn the emerging battle for wartime supremacy on its axis? And, more pertinently, how does one follow Modern Warfare 2? There goes the fear. Talk to developers Treyarch about pressure and they respond with how it is “welcomed”; “embraced” even. To the outsider looking in, it doesn’t look like an outfit with the weight of the world on its shoulders. It looks like one that’s ready to rewrite history...
Confession: I’m crap at Call of Duty multiplayer. Oh, I do well enough against other journalists and love competing at review events, but as soon as that game releases to the general public, I’m finished. I can’t devote hours, days or weeks to mastering every weapon and memorizing every map, but plenty of other folks can, so I’m quickly rendered obsolete and lose all interest.
Call of Duty Elite could change that. Activision representatives dropped by our office earlier this week to demo the service and, despite my cynicism, I immediately recognized how this could make FPS multiplayer fun for me again – and for the countless other average players just like me...
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