by John Resendez
You are attempting to escape from a communist prisoner of war camp beside your only friend. The communist army is directly in front of you armed well with machine guns, grenades and snipers. They are everywhere; enemies on the ground, covering the exits and bridges and watching from above in the watch towers. You have one pistol, a make-shift knife and a former slave mining cart as your only protection from sure, immediate death.
Call of Duty: Black Ops developed by Treyarch is the newest game in the esteemed Call of Duty franchise which puts you in extreme situations such as the one above. The game is the first Call of Duty game to be set in the Cold War and is told through the memories of a man named Alex Mason.
The game begins in medias res, with Mason strapped to a chair with a sort of electrical shock torture that also extracts memories. Through these flashback memories, the story of the game is told.
This storytelling device is one of the best elements about the game. There is little time listening to dialogue and little time waiting till you can go and shoot more commies. On top of that, even when there is dialogue going on, it is placed in the setting of a torture chamber, so there is hardly ever a dull moment.
The combat as a whole feels pretty good. Even on regular mode, if you start to get shot, you better get to cover fast. The enemy artificial intelligence (AI) is just challenging enough to not breeze through the game, but not too challenging that it gets frustrating. This paces the game nicely and makes it really enjoyable.
Overall, the campaign is a really enjoyable experience that Treyarch did a fantastic job at making. The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series that everybody knows about was made by Infinity Ward, and many people were wondering if Treyarch could live up to the Call of Duty reputation and they did it even better. Black Ops has a more involved and engaging campaign than any Call of Duty game yet.
So, while the campaign is enjoyable and that is nice and everything but let us get down to what a Call of Duty game is really all about, the multiplayer. The way the multiplayer works has mostly stayed true to the structure of the Modern Warfare series. Killing enemies and winning matches grant experience that levels you up. With each level up there are new guns and new equipment to use and upgrade.
There are 50 levels, and you can enter prestige mode at level 50, which resets your level, allowing you to rank up to the level cap a maximum of 15 times.
The multiplayer described in one word is smooth. The menu and character customization screens are easy to navigate and look really nice to boot. The graphics are great, though still slightly similar to the Modern Warfare series. The combat feels smooth and competitive.
The multiplayer structure of the game has not changed much from previous games but that does not mean it is a bad thing. The game retains the addictive “just one more match” feel as before, but also adds in few good twists to keep it fresh.
On a final note, the crazy popular game mode from one of the previous games is back: Nazi Zombies. This mode pits up to 4 players in a confined space to ward off continuous attacks of Nazi Zombies. This is one of the best modes in the game. Black Ops is worth getting just for this.
Many people were worried for the future of the Call of Duty franchise after the discontinuance of the Modern Warfare series made by the former Infinity Ward, but Treyarch has proved itself worthy of creating a great Call of Duty game and has lived up to the reputation in Black Ops.