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Old 11-21-2010, 07:02 AM   #1
coyls3
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Please Rate This Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

Pleased to Meet You, Hope You Guess My Name.....It's Rambo.

HIGH The hilarious intro to Zombie mode that features Kennedy, Nixon, and Castro.

LOW Not getting to choose the character I wanted in zombie mode. I bet Nixon's one-liners would have been hilarious.

WTF The ending of the story.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is the latest installment of the popular Call of Duty franchise. Produced by Treyarch (Call of Duty: World at War), Black Ops is a prime example of the typical first-person shooter. What is a typical first-person shooter? It is shooter experienced from the first-person perspective that usually has a strong online multiplayer, but is lacking when it comes to the single-player campaign.

This description fits Black Ops perfectly.

The campaign starts well enough with the main character, a Black Ops agent named Alex Mason, strapped in a chair while being interrogated about a pattern of numbers. During the interrogation process, Mason begins to have flashbacks about his missions during the cold war; hoping to remember the number's significance. It's during these flashbacks that the player takes control and immediately becomes acquainted with the game's many over-the-top set-pieces. Players will rappel from bridges and mountain sides, crash through windows while swinging from helicopters, jump on a speeding train from the back of a moving truck, all while gunning down waves of enemies with a variety of weapons. That's just a small part of what's in the first half hour. The action sequences are bountiful and the Rambo side of me enjoyed every one of them. Come on, is there anything better than gunning down waves of enemies from a gun boat while the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil plays in the background? I didn't think so.

While Black Ops definitely delivers on the action, it comes at the price of story and character development. Despite the decent beginning, the game's plot quickly dissolves into “go here,” “shoot that,” and “defend this spot.” Although, I will say that the ending offers a little plot twist and a new look at a popular conspiracy theory, but even that's nothing to write home about. Also, despite having a talented cast of actors doing the voice work, there were no major attempts made at developing the characters. One would think that a company willing to shell out the money for big names like Ed Harris would hire a couple of decent character writers as well. Out of the entire lineup, the only character that seemed to have any personality at all was Victor Reznov, who was also in Treyarch's last game and voiced by Gary Oldman. Reznov is a Russian soldier who was wrongfully imprisoned after being forced to watch his squad be brutally murdered during the testing of an experimental weapon. The only thing the game says about the other characters is that they like to drop f-bombs, a lot.

Overall, the campaign isn't bad, it's just average (or competent as Richard puts it).

Thankfully, the multiplayer makes up for the campaign's shortcomings. Treyarch took the same Call of Duty multiplayer that fans have grown addicted to and added a lot of new features. They added a theater mode that allows players to record, watch, and edit their matches; brought back the zombie mode from World at War that lets players party up with their friends and fight wave after wave of zombies; and have added four types of wager matches where players can bet virtual money and compete for bragging rights. There is even a combat training mode that allows players to receive the online experience without actually being online. In addition to the custom classes and perk system that comes standard with Call of Duty, Treyarch has expanded the customization options by allowing players to create their own emblems, choose different face paints and camouflages, and even customize the dot of the reflex sight on the guns.

Not only is Black Ops dripping with features, but it's also one of the most balanced multiplayers in the series. It's no secret that Modern Warfare 2, the previous Call of Duty, had multiple balancing issues. Players were constantly bombarded with overpowered kill-streaks, knifed from ten feet away thanks to the commando perk, and repeatedly blown up by players using grenade launchers with unlimited ammo. In Black Ops, no such problems exist. There is no gun to powerful, no perk too cheap, and kills from kill-streak rewards do not count towards the next one, making the top kill-streaks harder to get; meaning no constant stream of chopper gunners.

The only issue I have with the multiplayer is lack of innovation. Even though features such as combat training and theater mode are new to the series, they were first introduced in other games from the genre. Everything else was part of Call of Duty at one point or another, and if someone did not like the previous games, I don't think wager matches and custom gun sights will be enough to change their minds.

Even so, Black Ops is one of the best multiplayer games on the market and I have no problem recommending it. Just be aware that the campaign is nothing more than a typical first-person shooter.

7/10

Disclosures: This game was obtained via [retail store] and reviewed on the [PlayStation 3]. Approximately 6 hours of play was devoted to single-player modes (completed 1 times) and 30 hours of play to multiplayer modes.

Parents: The violence is extremely graphic and the F-word is used a lot.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: The game has subtitles for all dialog.

Last edited by coyls3; 01-08-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 11-27-2010, 12:12 PM   #2
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

Hi coyls3. Enjoyed the review. It is well organized. I think it probably needs another pass to clean up some things.

First, there are some spelling and grammatical errors. For example, in the first paragraph "perspective" is spelled "prospective". Another example, the second paragraph has a sentence that begins "There is many more action sequences...". This should read "There ARE many more action sequences...".

Aside from those, there some other things that didn't work for me:

The 4th paragraph has a sentence that says "I will say that the ending offers a little plot twist and a new look at a popular conspiracy theory, but even that proved to be a little, meh." The "meh" strikes me as very internet chatroom--or lazy, I guess--I would prefer some other adjective there.

Also in the fourth paragraph, you say that there is barely any plot development. Then you proceed to delve into detail on the plot, only to abruptly halt and talk in vague generalities. I guess I was expecting more detail, with an example of how thin the plot is - like just one example of how two missions were loosely tied together.

Something that struck me as inconsistent is that you say (end of 4th paragraph) that the "campaign ... doesn't offer anything that would make me recommend this game to anyone." But the 2nd paragraph is all about how awesome the controls and action sequences are - essentially recommending the game to people who like Rambo.

Finally, the last paragraph starts with the sentence: "Now, there is one issue I have with the multi-player, and that is the fact that aside from the wager matches, nothing new is brought to the table." This made me do a double-take, because two paragraphs up you discuss how all of these new features have been added. Of course, the following sentences explain that you meant there is nothing new when compared to other FPS games, but I think the transition could be clearer.

Again, like the review. Currently sitting at 3/5 for me but could easily get 4/5 or up to 5/5 with some TLC. Going to reserve voting for now.

Disclosure: I have NOT played Black Ops, or any Call of Duty game for that matter.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:52 PM   #3
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

I think it's very balanced and notes the pros and cons equally. As the person above me stated, there are a few errors, but if those are cleaned up the review would be even more effective. It had alot of detail, and was insightful for someone like me (who has never played the game).
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:56 PM   #4
coyls3
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

Thanks for the feedback guys. I have posted a new draft.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:12 PM   #5
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

Really nice review, just one thing:
Quote:
Players will repel from bridges and mountain sides,[...]
AFAIK it's "rappel" if you mean the act of getting intact from a mountain by using a rope.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:38 PM   #6
coyls3
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

Quote:
Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
Really nice review, just one thing:

AFAIK it's "rappel" if you mean the act of getting intact from a mountain by using a rope.
thanks.

AFAIK????
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Call of Duty Black Ops

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Originally Posted by coyls3 View Post
AFAIK????
Well, I usually call it "abseilen"
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