The PlayStation Vita can use all the big names it can obtain, and there’s no bigger game in video games today than Call of Duty. Developer Nihilistic has teamed up with mega-publisher Activision to bring handheld gamers Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, which, given the Vita’s fantastic capability, should provide fans with that familiar, always popular CoD experience consumers have come to crave. No scaling back or fiddling with a winning formula here!
As the name implies, this portable iteration is tied into the Black Ops plot, as we will follow Mason, Woods and Hudson on a unique adventure. The single-player campaign will focus on what I’d call “express entertainment,” in that progress will be quick thanks to rapid-fire missions. We’ll tackle various objectives in each mission so the action should remain fresh and intense throughout. The only question is what sort of modes and game types we’ll find in this campaign; survival-style missions are a given, but what else might we find?
Obviously, the core of the game will revolve around multiplayer. CoD veterans will recognize the available modes, which include the traditional deathmatch and team deathmatch along with popular franchise modes like Kill Confirmed and Free-For-All. The developers have also taken strides to include the requisite depth, so we’ll see that Create-a-Class system as well as other mainstays like perks, killstreaks, experience, prestige levels, etc. The Vita will support up to 8 competitive players via Wi-Fi, which may not sound like much, but with all the necessary components, we should still receive the quintessential FPS experience.
As for available maps, there will be six to start although more may arrive via downloadable content. The Vita’s dual analog sticks will be key to solidifying the first-person shooter feel, which we first enjoyed with relish when playing through Nihilistic’s Reistance: Burning Skies. Although the game fell short of expectations, it absolutely proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that FPSs could indeed work – and work exceedingly well – on Sony’s new portable. Hence, the control in Declassified should feel tight, fluid, and above all else, natural.
Vita-specific features are coming as well; you’ll touch the front screen to execute a melee attack at close range, the back touchscreen can be used for sniping, and you’ll even enjoy your Killstreak bonuses by pressing an on-screen button. Lastly, Nihilistic will implement Near functionality, which will let you share your customized classes with interested friends. All in all, for CoD fanatics, it really seems like Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified could be a premier shooter title, one we almost never expected to see in the handheld realm. …that being said, I still think Killzone: Mercenary will push the Vita to greater heights. ;)
8/20/2012 Ben Dutka