Have you ever had an establishment’s burger – the world’s most perfect food – so delicious it bordered on life-changing, and then returned later only to be fed a dry, tasteless slab of meat; limp, soggy lettuce sandwiched by stale bread? For many – justified or not – this was the experience of playing Treyarch’s biennial Call of Duty games after those by principal developer, Infinity Ward.
Another year, another Call of Duty – and once again Treyarch are at the grill. Developed parallel to Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops is the result of the team’s last two years of work – and is the first game where the studio’s entire staff has been engaged on a single project. Is it another short-order, greasy take out meal – or have Treyarch stepped out from behind head chef Infinity Ward’s shadow, to produce an epicurean delight?
It’s the first time that Treyarch have moved on from the once ubiquitous World War II setting, Â to a more modern universe. Unlike the near-future world of Modern Warfare though, they’ve still stuck to a historical period, this time focusing largely on the Cold War battle against communism and socialism. Set between 1961 and 1968, Black Ops puts you in the well-worn shoes of Alex Mason, an operative in the secret Studies and Observations Group, SOG, an elite military unit comprised of the best from more acknowledged military branches; The Air Force, The Green Berets, Navy Seals, The CIA et al that conducted covert operations prior to, and during the war in Vietnam.
The game is presented through a series of flashbacks. Mason, the main protagonist is bound to a chair, being tortured and interrogated by a mysterious unseen captor – and forced to relate and relive past military activities. No longer a silent cipher, your loquacious character sports a voice – excellently provided by Avatar’s Sam Worthington – and it’s this emotionally-connective characterisation, and the relationships between Mason and the game’s cast that make this the most narrative-driven Call of Duty yet. Not entirely too surprising; story development and script writing support was provided by David S. Goyer, who co-wrote the screenplay for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight.
Gameplay kicks off with the attempted assassination of Cuban Revolution icon Fidel Castro during the famous, ultimately unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion. Assisted by fellow SOG cohorts Woods and Bowman (voiced by, and with an uncanny resemblance to rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube), the operation appears to have been a success – but the reappearance of Castro reveals it to be a ruse, masterminded by Russian Forces leader Nikita Dragovich and his general, Kravtchenkov. What follows is the Call of Duty standard of tracking down and killing the main protagonists to prevent an orchestrated national catastrophe.
In the succeeding time-hopping flashbacks you’ll be taken on an action-packed thrill ride through a variety of beautifully presented scenarios in assorted exciting locales; city streets, the beautifully foliaged jungles of Vietnam and Laos, the gratuitous inhospitable snowy Arctic Circle and the surprise inclusion of an exhilarating chase on the ramshackle rooftops of Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Last Updated: November 9, 2010
|Call of Duty : Black Ops|
November 9, 2010 at 10:06
Sweet. Getting this tonight.
November 9, 2010 at 10:14
Cool Review 😎
November 9, 2010 at 10:26
Agghh wish kalahari.net would deliver already.
DAmn :za: but i still :heart: it here.This game is :sick: even the :alien: thought so people are going :w00t: for it.
November 9, 2010 at 10:50
Good review Geoff lovely use of the English language 😉 now get online so I can pwn your bad self!
R and L
November 9, 2010 at 10:53
cod black ops is a awsme game get it dumass
November 9, 2010 at 11:10
Played first mission so far and I like it a lot 🙂
November 9, 2010 at 13:23
Awesome review G.
November 9, 2010 at 13:25
I’m going to buy 3 copies and not play it, just to sp… wait… wrong page.
November 9, 2010 at 13:31
So did you get an advanced copy of the game? If not, I don’t think it’s entirely fair putting a “review” out just yet. I’d rather you have played the game more first and put out a proper review, because this seems more like a preview based on pre-release info.
I understand with a high profile title like this Megarom may not be able to give you the ability to review the game properly prior to its street date, but in the future I’d like to see reviews written based on enough game play by the reviewer.
November 9, 2010 at 13:34
You didn’t read the disclosure? I played and finished the game last week, and spent quite some time on the multiplayer.
Disclosure: The review was conducted over a three-day period at a review event outside of London. The single player review was conducted on an Xbox 360 at my own pace in my hotel room with no intervention from PR or the gameâ€™s developers. The game was played to completion on regular, and took in the region of 8 hours. The multiplayer component was played in a specified room with other media representatives. As multiplayer information is verified online, the multiplayer sessions were conducted over Xbox Live, although certain modes were tested using system link.
November 9, 2010 at 13:44
lol reading fail… Thankfully Megarom gave Geoff the full ability to review this game in it’s entirety.
as the disclosure explains quite well.
November 9, 2010 at 13:53
Haha… troll comment fail. You’re a funny, funny guy! hey lazy! can we keep him? :biggrin:
November 9, 2010 at 13:54
Good deal. No, I didn’t see any disclosure in the review. Unless you meant the first paragraph, that if I read it again, based on the info from your comment, hints at the exclusive event.
November 9, 2010 at 13:57
The disclosure is on page 4 just before the conclusion
“Disclosure: The review was conducted over a three-day period at a review event outside of London. The single player review was conducted on an Xbox 360 at my own pace in my hotel room with no intervention from PR or the gameâ€™s developers. The game was played to completion on regular, and took in the region of 8 hours. The multiplayer component was played in a specified room with other media representatives. As multiplayer information is verified online, the multiplayer sessions were conducted over Xbox Live, although certain modes were tested using system link.”
November 9, 2010 at 14:00
The disclosure was at the end, before the score.
Nick de Bruyne
November 9, 2010 at 14:03
November 9, 2010 at 15:51
Hot Hot Hot! Getting this as soon as I get the money together.
Thanks for the review Geoff. You are a gentleman and a scholar (albeit a hairy one).
November 9, 2010 at 16:29
@exp im going to buy 15 copies of Forza 3 and donate it the ANC youth league
Bobby Kotick for Dummies
November 9, 2010 at 16:30
I like Adriaan more than Aussious. Can we get rid of Aussious please? He’s not funny and he tries to hard. 🙁
As for the topic at hand: Very nice review Geoff, you’ve gotten me excited for a CoD game. Gavin give this man a raise.
November 9, 2010 at 16:33
Im sure each room was filled with complementary champagne and strippers lol!
@Geoff did you have fun playing the game in those conditions? seems a bit unnatural and restricted, did bobby kotick give you a visit?
November 9, 2010 at 16:34
I think I just wet myself in anticipation :ermm:
November 9, 2010 at 19:29
Good to know. Popping this in right now.
Goodbye sleep 🙂
Nick de Bruyne
November 9, 2010 at 23:35
Feeling very left out right now without my own copy of Black Ops, all my friends are playing it online :cwy:
November 9, 2010 at 23:48
Why don’t you open the prestige edition cod you guys are hording , finish the game, then put it back in the case, i doubt anyone would notice ‘wink’, if i win i wont be mad.
its all about calculated risk man
Nick de Bruyne
November 9, 2010 at 23:56
Dude, if I had the Prestige Edition here by me, I would have quit and skipped the country already. Sadly, I am not the one holding onto it. 🙁
November 9, 2010 at 23:59
lol the world is cruel, i bought black ops today and im only playing it on sunday cause of course exams im doing.
so the world is cruel lol
well if u moping about you can always look at the intro for gt5 which was leaked, but i won’t link it cause its a massive spoiler-thon.
Nick de Bruyne
November 10, 2010 at 00:00
I will have your Black Ops back to you by Sunday :whistle:
November 11, 2010 at 12:07
hmmm will wait for second hand copy rather and rather get gt5 sig. :devil:
November 11, 2010 at 15:45
I’m on a 4mb (8 or 10mb since the upgrade) line and i still battle to connect to lobbies and games are laggy as… is that everyone’s experience? Or am i being noob about something here?
November 11, 2010 at 15:49
The lag issue is a tricky one at the moment; With Mweb cutting paid-for peering links, a lot of local traffic now gets routed overseas, increasing latency and adding lag.
The best bet, to reduce lag, would be to play with people you know who’re South Africans on your friendslist – and provided you’re all peered, it should be lag free. Once Telkom and vodacom peer with Mweb without charging for it, local lag should be significantly reduced.
If you’re playing internationals, lag will ALWAYS be a factor.
November 11, 2010 at 15:54
Thanks Geoff. *envies pc users and their local servers*
November 11, 2010 at 15:56
Don’t be too envious. The Pc version of Black Ops is completely broken. Online is pretty much *fucked* 😛
November 11, 2010 at 16:05
Lolz, feeling better already then!
December 6, 2010 at 09:29
I only get 1 bar every time I play (ps3) wonder why mmmm????