Call of Duty - Black Ops

After another year of controversy and a ton of media coverage we're back again in the hands of Treyarch, usually in the shadow of its "bigger brother" Infinity Ward with the hottest franchise of the moment, Call of Duty. We find out if a new approach, and setting, can invigorate a series that some are losing faith in. With the release of Modern Warfare 1, we saw the invention of a completely new game, far away from what the Call of Duty fan base was used to and a re-invention of the IP Activision had created. Ditching the WW2 setting we saw a new direction, backed up by a revolutionary multiplayer experience and an explosive single player narrative that Hollywood would have been proud of. Since then both Infinity Ward and Treyarch have been given the reins to the title, each trying to outperform the original in every single way, with sales only growing with each release. Does Black Ops continue the trend?

In a word, yes. Call of Duty: Black Ops offers more of what regulars are used to. Generally the series has been built on two components, an engaging, cinematic single player experience offering thrills and spills a minute, coupled with a simple but effective multiplayer, offering even the most rookie Xbox user a fun experience with action and replayability aplenty. The single player in Black Ops shows a new direction Treyarch have taken. A more story driven campaign triumphs over the "good guy versus bad guy" regime we're so used to and a fresh set of locations helps update this to create an engaging campaign with a passible, if not slightly predictable ending. The settings are gorgeous and well rendered, with the trademark Call of Duty 60 frames per second graphics running as fluid as one would come to expect from the series now. Set pieces come thick and fast, with Treyarch mixing up the action from leading your squad through a snowstorm to their objective from the eyes of a spy plane high above the clouds to storming enemy trenches with your fellow soldiers. Although well-presented however, it can at times feel as if you are simply playing to get from one explosive set piece to the next, led along by the linearity the series is so used to by now. If played on the easiest setting the campaign will not take long to complete, if cranked up to the highest difficulty however (which will be Veteran for the hardcore) players will see a marked increase in the speed and accuracy enemy AI will kill you and some sections will require a lot more patience, something which may become frustrating for the less versed in the series who are simply seeking points to boost their Gamerscore, especially when the friendly AI can be so slow to engage the enemy or simply react to your actions. Despite this however it offers an engaging and at times excruciatingly exciting single player experience that keeps the player pushing for the end result.

The multiplayer however is where the game truly shines. Following the tried and tested results of past successors Black Ops only improves on creating a system that expands the depth of that seen in Modern Warfare 1 without unbalancing the gameplay some fans have described in Modern Warfare 2. One particular change sees the inclusion of a currency system, aptly named COD points. Performing well in matches earns more COD points and with these you can purchase the new weapons, perks or killstreak rewards to match how you play. Despite some weapons still being level dependant unlocks, it does add more freedom in how you design the perfect class and style to match how you play, giving more power to the player in general, which can only be a good thing. Perks (upgrades to the player in the game) are largely similar, potentially offering players the abilities to reload faster or carry more ammunition, creating a range of variables that can suit a variety of play styles. Additionally with a new currency system Treyarch also saw fit to add another upgrade to the equation in the form of 'Wager Matches'. Giving the player the chance to bet COD points in a variety of online game modes up the stakes and the tension displayed in these matches is almost worth the initial price alone, with the last few seconds of a match potentially deciding the fate between total loss of your 'money' or the doubling of a wager you have made paying in.

Another Treyarch staple is 'Zombie Mode', giving players the chance to team up to take on a horde of the undead in an attempt to survive the longest. This mode sees players start off with basic weaponry and partake in survival conditions, ran parallel with a rise in the number of enemies in a race to see how long they can last, similar to the Horde mode seen in Gears of War. With four friends this can often result in highly addicting matchups that see you not only try to beat personal bests but also any records set by friends in an attempt to gain bragging rights across your Xbox friends list as well a host of achievements.

With more class depth added, a host of news maps, weapons, ranks, challenges and the inclusion of "Zombies" so often seen in Treyarch titles, the multiplayer to Black Ops is more of the same (which is never a bad thing) to Call of Duty regulars, and a welcome addition to the games collection of what is soon to become a new generation of online Xbox players.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

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