Call of Duty: Black Ops Review

Another Call of Duty game is out while Infinity Ward takes a back seat. Call of Duty: Black Ops is a test for Activision to see if TreyArch can rival their KIA brethren, infinity ward, in a modern setting. In addition for PC gamers, this marks another important step, for the game promises to bring back the COD franchise with missing features from Modern Warfare 2, such as dedicated servers. So, let’s get some frags, rank up, and check out this game.

The Good

Campaign length: The single player will last you about 6-8 hours depending on your skill level and what difficulty you play on (I beat the game in 7 hours on regular. Thanks for the info Steam!). This feels like the right amount for time for this type of game. Any less and it would have felt too short; and anymore would have started to become tedious and boring.

Story: Some other sites have complained about the story because it can be considered too vague at times. There were some points that were a bit confusing, but it was not to the extent of hurting the game’s story. If you follow along and try to take notice of the plot, instead of trying to just start the next area and get from point A to point B, you most likely won’t get lost. There is also a nice twist at the end of the game, which won’t be spoiled in this review, but it makes everything come together. In fact on occasion, they do try and confuse you a bit, forcing you to question what is happening.

Multiplayer: So far, it does seem quite balanced. There are a few complaints regarding a few of the weapons. Other than that, it is quite a solid experience. Customization combined with their currency system makes every game count, and it keeps the player wanting more.

The Bad

The Price for PC gamers: If you’re a PC gamer, you may be opposed to this whole $60 trend. However, some may not be agitated by this price point considering Modern Warfare was also $60. Additionally, if you recall, StarCraft 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, and a few other games were also priced at $60. It isn’t a deal breaker, but in today’s economy it may make you hesitate for a bit before you purchase the game.

Performance Problems on PC: There are quite a few individuals experiencing stuttering and freezing while playing either the single player or multiplayer portion of the game. TreyArch is currently working on a patch, but at the time of this review it is still an issue. I personally haven’t experienced these issues, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Browser Issues on PC: Another problem that is plaguing the game is the buggy interface. Some features are not there or they are broken. For example, in the server browser, if you refresh the list, there is no stop button available. In addition, when you click to join a game, it doesn’t always register and you have to join another server. A few other notable problems include the following: a broken favorite system, stats resetting, and long join times. Again, the developers are aware of these issues, and they are working on a fix.

Sub HD for consoles: This is specifically geared towards console versions. Both versions of COD Black Ops on consoles are below 720p (1280 x 720). The Xbox 360 version runs at  1040 x 608 with 2x MSAA, and the PS3 version runs at 960 x 544 with 2x MSAA. This isn’t a big deal for everyone, but if you are a graphics fanatic, you might notice some jags here and there. In the PC version you are only limited by your display and hardware.

Surround Sound: Unfortunately, if you have a 5.1 surround sound set up or greater you will notice lack luster audio quality. This is due to the fact that the game only supports up to 4.1 audio. This review was not conducted with said surround sound system, but this is worth a mention if you have a certain audio setup (Thanks Atrum).

Seizure Vision: During the single player portion of Black Ops, they frequently flash a bunch of images at you. These flashes of images are supposed to represent a flashback. While it does add some depth and complexity to the story, this aspect can get extremely annoying.

Conclusion

Call of Duty Black Ops manages to live up to the hype, and it proves that TreyArch can close the door on Modern Warfare 2. However, there are currently a few issues with the game. If you can get past some of these problems, you will have a great experience both online and offline.

Note: This review is an opinion based on the experience of the reviewer. Certain problems were not experienced and as a result it did not affect the score directly.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Review by FacTor-X