Call of Duty: Black Ops

Posted: January 30, 2011 in Beaten Down Path, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Genre: Historic First-Person Shooter

I feel like as if I’m the laziest person in this whole universe. I didn’t add any other entries for a long time even though I planned for some movies. I was away from online gaming for a whole long time. I wasn’t even excited about any new release. I continued playing Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 for more than two months. Even though Call of Duty is my all-time favorite series, I didn’t bother to buy and try it out. But, eh! Here I’m writing another epilogue of the most talked first person shooter of the year.

It’s 1968, the world is on the verge of destruction and war. You are Studies and Observations Group (SOG) operative Sgt Alex Mason, who’s tied to a chair and bombarded by questions by someone whose only voice rings your ears. As your unseen captor interrogates debriefing about the incidents, you start to remember them. What you remember, hence you play. You are set for the assassination of Fidel Castro in Cuba. But fate doesn’t like your company so you are captured by the Cubans and later handed over to a Russian Ultra-nationalist General Nikita Dragovich. He by-the-blood throws you in a prison in Vorkuta where you befriend with an ex Red Army named Viktor Reznov. One as usual perilous but lucky day, Viktor raises a war cry with the help of all other prisoners, and sets you free. You are then invited back to your Home by President JFK who authorizes assassination of Dragovich, because he’s building a devastating chemical weapon named Project Nova. You set course with Jason Hudson, Frank Woods and Bowman, who serve as your brothers-in-arms till the end.

Who painted this red?

Treyarch had worked upon a previous title in the same series- World at War. Activision was impressed and Treyarch got busy. Graphics wise, as I mentioned in my previous entry, it’s way good. But considering the game has half-a-kidney-selling hardware requirement, it needs an improvement. The character details are very good, a standout improvement in the current genre. The character shadows, specular and geometry are very neatly designed. But the environment is not an eyeful. The textures are dull and somewhat lifeless. In a jungle or wild vegetation, there should be enough places for you say “oh snap”. But apart from a couple of positions in a vast world, I can say- bring your damn cameras home. But inside of a city is just spectacular. It’s like coming to Chinatown in evening.

In default version of 1.0 installation, there are many bugs which causes a slowdown, frame skips and sound lags. I even heard there are several connection hassles, spawn points, matchmaking and map issues in multiplayer mode. But update 1.04 fixes it all. Thank god, the update was out by the time I played it.

HQ, there is a bee coming to sting me

Overall sound is good. But I was expecting more bang for the buck. If you compare Medal of Honor or Bad Company 2 in sound of weapons, you will feel like shooting in a sewer. But the voice overs are good. Sam Worthington speaks for Mason. Now I feel like an avatar. Then there’s Ed Harris for Hudson and Gary Oldman for Reznov.  One addition to this game is the background music. Sometimes there are fast rocks or similar and some stages there’re tracks. I must say to my reader folks that beware and keep it away from being played by kids. It has a mature ESRB because of intense violence, blood, gore and strong language.

Now the biggest thing- gameplay. There are a variety of activities. You run like crazy inside the prison, go gaga over the roofs of Cuba, drape your wares in snows of Russia, fly a Hind in a mission of raining death, Burn rubber by riding a motorcycle to freedom, Provide an aerial support for your troops on ground and cut through Cong where you are pounced upon occasionally.  One thing that is common in all the stages are unless you go ahead, enemies will continue erupting up. In the Nam and Cong missions the number will be somewhat close to a small country. But as long as you cut ahead, constantly reloading your dingy gun, help from your co with some luck of not getting hit in head, you’ll do fine. It was a matter of time, I became wise, did so and learned it.

Look pop! Human Torch from Fantastic Four!

There is neat detailing on the functioning of the weapons. There are a hoard of weapons to choose from like MP5K, Skorpion, Spectre, M16, Gail IL, G11, Colt Commando, RPK, M60, Crossbow,  LAW, China Lake and Grim Reaper. My experience says to stick to Gail, AK74, M14, STG, SPAS, crossbow and PSG1. If possible, don’t pick up Dragunov because it has a high reload time. FAMAS has low accuracy but utilitarian and Mac11 has a fast firing rate.

One thing I missed is lack of a sniping stage. There’s a solo stage of you playing one man sneak army, but it doesn’t fill my heart. Another mission I feel useless is a stage where you fly a supersonic jet and guide fellows below. It’s just point and click and nothing else. The overall gameplay time is short. It took me around 8 hours to finish in a regular setting. Playing the vietcong mission, I felt like playing back CoD World at War. There is also no tactical mission where you NEED to mark it green n it goes boom. It’s just an option in some stages.

Bring u some dead eh, you say, Mr President?

After the game is finished a Zombie stage is unlocked. I find it so invigorating that I sometimes feel it is the best part of the game. But it’s sometimes. You play as any character from JFK, Castro, Robert McNamara and Nixon. Difficulty level is very high here. You are in a floor where there are 6 windows. The zombies drag there feet towards the windows, break it and as soon as they see you they RUN. Either you run putting your feet up the head or make a hole in their rotten brains so that they can achieve their evanescence and you your earnings. You repair the broken windows again and again for which you earn points, also you earn points for every headshot. Then you use these points to buy new weapons and ammo and go out to new areas, this goes on. I never found out what lies beneath because, I was metaphorically hiding under my blanket (also I got killed).

When you are the descendant of a great family, it’s implied and matter of pride for you to keep it alive. The same thing has happened with Black Ops. All releases in the Call of Duty series have been a content of Buzz. The way the series has kept the great American History alive, it’s stupendous. When CoDBO was out for the first time, there was so much hue and cry, I thought it’d consume Medal of Honor by a black hole. But to me it is Honor vs Duty. Medal of Honor has excelled in many features. Over one and half million copies have been sold on the first week of its release and it’s sweetly accepted throughout.Currently Treyarch is developing the expansion for this named as First Strike which features 5 new maps.

Had there been more mission variety and tactical gameplay additions, Call of Duty Black Ops would have been a blockbuster of all time. But it’s nevertheless. To conclude, with a grind teeth I give it an 7.5. I need new mechanics of the gameplay and less or no vietcong missions. Next time I play an Eastern history, I might think my mouse as a grenade and throw it on my screen where they emerge from. Now I sincerely hope and wait for the next name to come.

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Comments
  1. Anup Anand says:

    very well said Arabind….

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