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Black Ops Multiplayer: Day 1 Impressions

Color me unimpressed. So, my friends talked me into caving and getting Call of Duty: Black Ops after telling me about how things were “new” with the game. Let me be one of the first to tell you this; don’t let anyone convince you that anything in Black Ops is new, things are just a little “different” than what you might have seen in the previous three Call of Duty games.

It's more Call of Duty.

Call of Duty finally took a page or two from Halo by adding file sharing and theatre mode to the mix. In the previous games I’ve had some pretty awesome moments that I can only retell through my memory with no physical evidence of it ever happening, this is no longer an issue. You can also customize your character and weapons a little bit now, this doesn’t affect gameplay what so ever but I guess it’s nice for those who’ve wanted it. Considering your average life isn’t nearly as long as it would be in Halo or Bad Company I guess it doesn’t matter to me since people won’t be seeing me for that long before I get taken out.

A new “dive” function is in place that will send you immediately to a prone position when you are in a full sprint. It’s mostly handy for diving through windows or for jumping unsuspecting players around corners. Using it in a lot of situations will end up getting you killed, however when used correctly you can get some pretty nice John McClane styled diving kills.

The killstreak rewards have been tweaked so that one streak will not lead to another which is good since you won’t have to worry about the rich getting richer, think about how easy it was to go from Predator Missile to Harrier to AC-130 in Modern Warfare 2. The other thing that is nice is that Black Ops doesn’t really have as many redundant killstreaks as Modern Warfare 2 has.

The downside to the killstreaks though is that most of them are just recycled from the previous two games, with only a small handful of things being truly original.

3 Kills – Spy Plane [UAV from COD4]
3 Kills – RC-XD (RC bomb) [New]
4 Kills – Counter Spy Plane [Counter UAV from Modern Warfare 2]
4 Kills – SAM Turret [New]
5 Kills – Care Package [Same from Modern Warfare 2]
5 Kills – Napalm Strike [Airstrike from COD4, just with fire]
6 Kills – Sentry Gun [Same from Modern Warfare 2]
6 Kills – Mortar Team [Artillery from World at War]
7 Kills – Attack Helicopter [Same from COD4, only stays stationary in the air]
7 Kills – Valkyrie Rockets [New]
8 Kills – Blackbird [New… but just a beefier UAV]
8 Kills – “Rolling Thunder” [Stealth Bomber from Modern Warfare 2]
9 Kills – Chopper Gunner [Modified from Modern Warfare 2]
11 Kills – Attack Dogs [Same from World at War]
11 Kills – Gunship [Hind with machine gun and rockets, pretty much MW2’s AC-130]

And since killstreaks do not lead to other killstreaks anymore, people seem more prone to camp (compared to previous titles) until they get their three killstreaks in order to put a big hurt on everybody once they get it. This is nothing short of annoying to be honest.

Grenade spam has always been a complaint when it comes to Call of Duty, but you might as well take the frag grenades in Black Ops and cram them up your ass. Frags are near useless now and I’m finding it hard to figure out what situations call for them anymore. The fuses on the frags are ridiculously long and the splash damage from the explosion is quite pedestrian, so in order to kill someone with a frag grenade you need to hide around a corner for a few seconds cooking your grenade before you throw it at your opponent. By then the guy you were going to throw your grenade at has either ran off to kill someone else or has run up around the corner you were by and blasted you away. And if the guy is rocking the flak jacket he’s going to shrug off pretty much any single explosive anyway, so a grenade would be an even bigger waste of time. I can only recommend getting really good at sticking people with Semtex grenades at this point.

Purely my opinion, but Black Ops graphically looks inferior to Modern Warfare 2. Textures look kinda bland and guns seem to lack the same level of detail that Modern Warfare had. Granted Call of Duty has never really been a staple of graphical perfection, it exchanges pretty for framerate, but it really seems like there was a step back in this game.

A new purchasing system is in place with Black Ops as well, you earn money after each match and you can use it to buy new attachments, perks, and other things with these Treyarch Disneyland Dollars. It’s basically not too different than the same credits system that’s in Halo: Reach, except you buy stuff that actually effects gameplay. On paper this system sounds like it’s nice and new for the series, right? Unfortunately not so much and in a few ways it takes away from the game in my opinion. You still end up with the same result, having specific attachments for your guns, it’s just that the purchasing system allows you to basically shortcut your way around having to use certain attachments in order to gain others.

The secondary issue with this purchasing system is that you still have to be at certain levels in order to gain access to other guns. The purchasing system would have been a lot better off just giving you total access to every gun and with silly high price tags on some of the top tier weapons. As it is right now the purchasing system is just a supplementary system tucked inside the same old level up system that’s been in place for the last three other games and you still have to grind out levels in order to hit your next rank. Now instead of actually earning stuff along the way between ranks, you can just buy what you want right away and then stick your thumb up your butt killing people until you get enough XP to level up again.

It should also be noted that the attachments you purchase are for the specific gun you purchase and for nothing else. If you buy the infrared scope for the WA2000 you can only use it for the WA2000 and nothing else at all. It seems pretty prohibitive against actually trying out new guns when you’ve spent so much money pimping out one gun but can’t take anything you bought with you to another gun of the same classification. Also of note; to do any kind of cosmetic customization, to the point of even editing your avatar, pulls from the same pool of money that you use to actually get better at the game.

The Stand Off... or just my initial judgement
Day 1 didn’t leave me with much to be really excited about in regards to Black Ops and to be honest made me kind of regret buying it, which hasn’t happened to me with this franchise since Call of Duty 3. If you’re looking for an expensive glorified expansion pack or patch to Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer, then this is probably your game. If you are expecting or wanting stuff to be new to multiplayer however, I’d tell you right now that Halo: Reach brought more new stuff to the table than Black Ops did and that Killzone 3 is looking like it brings more than before as well.

Black Ops is a lot of the same multiplayer that we’ve seen from the last three previous titles, so take that as either good or bad depending on your stance. A lot of the “new” stuff brought in for this game is just a covered up and reconfigured way of giving you the exact same stuff you had before.

For me, I’m going to give this game a couple days more and give it a fair chance. If I’m not enjoying it any more than what I am now, it’s going to go to my trade in pile and I’ll likely just wait for the Vietnam expansion for Bad Company 2.
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About Sephzillaone of us since 9:27 AM on 07.15.2008

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Who am I? I'm a guy who plays video games, talks way too much about comics and movies, likes Godzilla and Robocop. Why should you read my blog? Because when I write I have fun, make up bullshit lists, and when I do get a little serious with some blogs I try to be insightful and use resources and facts to try and back up my opinion as much as I can. And if you don't follow my blog, I'll send you a picture of a sad kitten who wants some love.

Also, I tend to debate a lot and get up on a soapbox a bit from time to time. I like to debate for the sake of debating and I tend to find it fun to get other peoples perspectives on things, and sometimes I like to play devil's advocate a bit just for the sake of it. Basically, don't take me so serious sometimes even if it seems like I am being serious.

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