Call of Duty : Black Ops User Review
What makes this game so difficult to review are 2 facts:
1) There are far more facts to consider beyond the rated areas, and
2) This game is a big mixture of absolute awesome with absolute friggin' tick me offedness.
Graphics: There is a lot going on in the atmosphere of this game, which is wonderful. It's always nice to have so much to look at and so much to take in. However, this game definitely lacks polish. At any time, you can stop to look at the scenery and character models, and it's not hard to see that it's very pixely and grainy. Although I feel environments are a bit more vivid than MW2, I feel very much that while it's good, it's nothing special. When compared to many other titles that released this year, or even last year, there is no way it competes closely.
Gameplay: This area has the biggest mixture of awesome with mediocrity. First off, the story is actually pretty cool! I enjoy plot twists and stories that aren't so black and white in terms of who is good and who is evil. The game does well at assess people by their character as opposed to race. Afterall, you spend a good amount of time with a solid Russian ally...
The multiplayer gameplay is mostly the same old - same old. There are some nice new features, but nothing that actually affects gameplay. There's a new leveling up system and a cool wager match system, but it's nothing spectacular. Some of the glitches of the past like Quick-Scope sniping are -finally- gone, and noob-tubes are neither as easilly accessible nor as stupidly powerful. However, there are new issues that abound in plenty!
Hit detection is laggy and slow, the red lazers on claymores blend in with the environment, matchmaking and host evaluation is still shoddy, laggy users still have the upper hand on someone with good internet connectivity, knife-a-holics can still survive 3+ bullets to the face in order to knife you, and if the only thing visible is the head I REALLY think it should be a head shot...
In single player campaign, as I said before, it's a really fun experience. It has a great story and you are constantly involved in the action. I only have 2 complaints. One of them is major for me.
First, there are some game ending glitches. In the very first level I got stuck on the environment, and it auto-saved. I could not advance, and had to restart from scratch. On another level, it auto-saved with a grenade about to explode right next to me. There is no way to escape it at each reload. On another level still, it autosaved with an enemy directly in front of my face in mid shot. Instant shotgun kill. Had to restart level. These are minor to me, however, as this type of thing is not unusual to video games... although... a little too often of an occurance for my liking with this title.
My major complaint is with the veteran difficulty. Once I figured out how to predict how the AI would react to me, it became a breeze. However, honestly people... if you're going to make a veteran difficulty, actually get creative... throw in more enemies... make less ammunition available... force us to be more resourceful... force us to use our allies... anything... other than what was done.
The ONLY thing that made the game more difficult on veteran is the AI's god-like aim. Your allies still suck monkey butt with poor aim and complete lack of intelligence. The number of times an enemy would run past 2 or 3 allies just to get to me and succeed is staggering... Allies are USELESS in this game. The only thing they are good for is determining the direction bullets are coming from. Otherwise... they won't help you.
But seriously... no one... with an uzi or shotgun... from 6 miles away... firing from the hip... while running for cover... should be able to hit me behind cover when the only thing showing is my foot. Tougher difficulty should actually force you to use your brain... not just simply cheat. I find this to be a big and lazy design flaw.
Sound is wonderful. The explosions are realistic and the voice acting is great too! Every now and then, a necessary sound effect will not take place, and the surround sound audio data is clearly compressed. In MW2, I could hear exactly where an enemy was if I was quiet enough. In this title, the direction of sound lies to you. No manipulation of sound settings would remedy the problem, either. This prevents it from being a 9.0 sound score for me, as 9.0+ sound games should have solid surround sound capabilities. Other than that, it's pretty solid.
Control is excellent, as it is in most CoD titles. Controlling your character is always easy. Still, the same old complaints exist. You can't do ANYTHING to protect yourself, mid animation (why do i have to let an animation of me climbing in a window end fully before I regain control of my character?). The auto-aim is still super cheap in this game which can remove the aspect of the challenge at times. Fortunately, there is now an option to turn it off, which I happilly do everyday.
Replay value is great, but for online only. You single players out there might be a little sad, but if you're into multiplayer, you'll love the replay value. So I guess it depends on the player.
In the end, it's a fantastic game with far too many flaws to be a AAA title. They seem to continue to ignore major flaws, and in my opinion, they really have not added that much to the experience. I've only played 1 CoD title in the past, and I picked this game up to full speed in 5 minutes. The veteran difficulty for the campaign is stupid, and once you're smart enough to figure out the AI's logic, it becomes easy as pie, minus the god-like aim.
All in all, for CoD fans, it's a must buy. For FPS fans, it's a good purchase. For those that just like good games, you'll get your money's worth for sure at the $40 price point. If you aren't typically into shooters, I probably wouldn't recommend this to you.
Whatever your preference, however, I do advice you give this a shot (haha...) at some point. Definitely worth a rent. Just don't believe anyone when they tell you it's the best game evar or that "Crappivision sucks". Neither are correct. It's a great title, but it isn't perfect.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.