Quantcast
Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist



Call of Duty: Black Ops  



Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops


2:00 PM on 11.10.2010
Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops photo



It's that time of the year again. November is officially designated Call of Duty month. It's the reason why this time of the year no longer has a huge saturation of top-quality games, as publishers scrabble to steer clear of Activision's almighty entertainment behemoth. 

With its power to completely empty launch calendars, Call of Duty: Black Ops sees Treyarch taking the reins from Infinity Ward for another crack at the whip. With Infinity Ward on its knees at the moment, has the "lesser" studio stepped out from the shadows to seize the series as its own? We'll probably need a videogame review to answer such a burning question!

Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC [reviewed])
Developer: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Release date: November 9, 2010
MSRP: $59.99

Black Ops finally sees Treyarch leave behind the ever-popular environment of World War II and embrace the slightly more modern era of the Cold War and Vietnam. Taking place throughout the 1960s, the latest Call of Duty boasts what is perhaps the most comprehensively structured, story-focused narrative that the series has ever had. In fact, I'll go one step further and say this -- Black Ops boasts the best single-player campaign that the series has ever had. 

From its genuinely intriguing plot, full of dark twists and historical cameos, to the endless set pieces that throw the player from one ludicrously action-packed scenario to the next, Call of Duty: Black Ops is the game with which Treyarch has finally put its definitive stamp on the series, and even eclipsed Infinity Ward in terms of in-game narrative and memorable moments. 

Much praise must also be had for the variety of gameplay. Not only is there plenty of traditional FPS action, but a number of vehicular sections are liberally spread throughout the game, and all of them are surprisingly fun. Expect to pilot helicopters, boats, motorcycles and more throughout the course of the game, and expect to be excited while doing so. 

Even the pedestrian sections are spiced with variety, with guns that differ not just in model, but in modifications. Throughout each level, you'll come across guns with scopes, guns with extended mags, and guns with shotgun, grenade and even flamethrower attachments. Each gun feels powerful and heavy, with shotguns especially packing a punch. Throw in a new bunch of incredibly vicious melee kills, and you've got a brutal game that should please even the most blood-starved gamer. 

The campaign pretty much does everything right. The grenade spam that plagued World at War has been annihilated, while the level designs feel inspired and heartfelt, and sometimes horrific (the section involving a certain gas attack is especially intense). Truly a magnificent single-player experience that manages to tell more in its one story than the Modern Warfare series has done with two.

Unfortunately, the quality of the single-player campaign has not been matched in the multiplayer mode, at least on PC. While you can tell that there is a very well-built, solid multiplayer experience at its core, the game is almost impossible to enjoy due to intense lag, server connection errors, and matchmaking issues. These aren't just annoying bugs -- these are issues that render the game damn near unplayable. 

Even when it "works," Black Ops still stutters tremendously, and should you venture online, you best be prepared to eat several deaths simply due to the game's issues, all the while reading in-game chat complaints about how laggy everything is. For a Call of Duty game, having a poor multiplayer mode is unforgivable, due to the relative brevity of the single-player campaign, and with a multiplayer this poor, Black Ops becomes a total let-down. 

I'd love to focus this review on the interesting "COD Points" system that allows you to spend in-game currency on unlocking Perks and equipment in whatever order you choose. I'd love to talk about how balanced the gameplay is and how cool the maps are. Unfortunately, after getting a "connection error" message the very second I began a last-ditch effort to fight through the problems, I've officially given up trying to suffer it. The frustrating part is that from what I have played of the multiplayer, I can see piles of potential fun. I've loved Call of Duty's multiplayer for many years, and this looks to be as good as any other, with a few extra unique twists and fun Kill Streaks. Unfortunately, it's not fun right now. Not at all. It's excruciating, frustrating, and broken beyond forgiveness. 

Luckily, at least one multiplayer mode partially works properly -- Zombies. Matchmaking seems to have its own set of issues, since it can be difficult to get a match started, but at least when one starts, the amount of lag is kept to a minimum, usually only stuttering a few times per game. Zombie mode is also very fun indeed, with Treyarch making a far more involved and character-driven version of the minigame first found in World at War. The use of historical figures such as John F. Kennedy may be considered tasteless by some, but it's far more amusing than it has any right to be, and provides a sense of humor that offsets the intense, sometimes nerve-wracking gameplay that only waves of encroaching undead can provide. 

I honestly, truly wish I could say more in Black Ops' favor. This is the first Call of Duty in which Treyarch has stepped out of the shadow of Infinity Ward, but the triumph has been ruined by an unbearable PC port, and this is coming from a game that had promised to do much more for PC gamers than Modern Warfare 2 did. Since we currently lack a 360 or PS3 version of the game at the time of writing, I can't say how much better they are, but this version is a disaster. 

The truly stunning single-player campaign offsets many of the multiplayer's flaws, and the Zombie mode is tons of hilarious fun, but neither manages to be lengthy or deep enough to make Black Ops the truly great game that I know it should be. This is an incredibly well-made game that, once patched, will easily sit among the hottest titles of the year. As it exists right now, however, I can't recommend the game for purchase. Wait until an update comes, and then by all means jump in, but anybody who currently buys the game will get shafted.

Once the multiplayer is fixed, feel free to pop at least two more points, most likely even three, into this review's score. I can only review what I've got in front of me, however, and what I've got is a superb game that has pissed all over itself.



THE VERDICT - Call of Duty: Black Ops

Reviewed by Jim Sterling

6 /10
Alright: May be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled. Check out more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
Call of Duty: Black Ops



1:30 PM on 10.11.2013
Get Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition on PC for $18

[Update: Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition has sold out at this price. The other deals still appear to be available.] It was only a couple of days ago that the Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition launched in North A...more



2:45 PM on 09.19.2011
Call of Duty Elite beta for PlayStation 3 starts today

Call of Duty: Black Ops owners will want to sign up for the Call of Duty Elite beta sooner than later, as invitations for the PlayStation 3 version are going out beginning today. Stat tracking, custom player groups, competiti...more



4:45 PM on 09.12.2011
Black Ops' Rezurrection does PC and PS3 on September 22

The fourth downloadable content pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops is once again fashionably late, depending on which systems you own. Rezurrection will be available for PlayStation Network and PC on September 22. The $15 price...more



11:05 AM on 08.18.2011
Call of Duty Zombie Labs goes to the Moon

Activision and Treyarch are really taking this zombie thing seriously, with an all-zombie map pack coming to Xbox 360 for Call of Duty: Black Ops next week. The pack will contain five maps -- swamp, night, asylum, factory, a...more



5:00 PM on 08.11.2011
To the moon in Call of Duty: Black Ops Rezurrection

Activision released this latest behind-the-scenes look at Call of Duty: Black Ops focused on the upcoming "Rezurrection" DLC release. The primary focus here is on the "Moon" map, which sounds like it could be terribly g...more



4:52 PM on 08.03.2011
Zombies! COD: Black Ops Rezurrection DLC coming August 23

Yes, that's the correct spelling. Rezurrection. We can let that slide as this new fourth DLC is an all-zombie affair. This DLC, coming August 23 for Call of Duty: Black Ops, was just revealed by Activision this afternoon duri...more



12:30 PM on 07.28.2011
PC and PlayStation Network get Annihilation for Black Ops

The obligatory month of Xbox 360 exclusivity is up, so Call of Duty: Black Ops players on PlayStation 3 and PC can now download the new Annihilation downloadable content for $15. As has been said many times before, this pack ...more



2:45 PM on 07.19.2011
Storm's Adventure with Halo: Reach and Black Ops

I guess the theme of this video is "I don't like old stuff." And as a Destructoid viewer, I hope you can understand that none of my anger is directed towards you. On top of the list today is Halo: Reach. I believe I've cover...more



10:15 AM on 07.15.2011
Call of Duty: Black Ops 'Annihilation' dated for PS3, PC

"Annihilation," the third downloadable content pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops is hitting PlayStation 3 and PC on July 28. Actually, Activision's press release said it's "13 days away," so I had to pull out a calendar and co...more



9:30 PM on 07.14.2011
Call of Duty: Elite beta kicks off for Xbox 360

Millions of you have signed up for the Call of Duty: Elite beta, which is being rolled out to Xbox 360 players over the next few weeks on an invite-only basis. The first invitations went out earlier today. While Beachhead is ...more





Win your choice of console from Destructoid! in Destructoid's Hangs on LockerDome

First-person shooter

8:30 AM on 07.28.2014
The Destiny beta is gone forever, tell us your stories

The Destiny beta was extinguished late last night, leaving us with six long weeks to carry a torch for the shooter until Bungie rekindles the affair this September. "Your mission in the Destiny beta is complete," Bungie ...more



1:00 PM on 07.27.2014
They grow up so fast: Game Informer interviews Aaron Linde about writing Battleborn

It doesn't feel like it has been that long since former Destructoid reviews editor Aaron Linde moved on to work in the game industry, but it has been almost six years now. In that time, he has contributed to a number of deve...more



8:00 PM on 07.24.2014
Ubisoft is sending someone to Mt. Everest to play Far Cry 4

I want to play Far Cry 4 and, yeah, scaling a mountain like Everest would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip -- but playing Far Cry 4 *on* Mt. Everest? Not for me, sadly. That said, someone out there -- the one lucky person chosen...more



View all First-person shooter






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more