Thursday, 27 January 2011

It's freezing in the cold war!

As usual there has been serious gaming going on! It’s building up to Christmas now and I’m well into the big releases for the holiday season. This post will be my review of Call of Duty: Black Ops, but before we delve into the cold war let’s check out some other titles. I’m loving Assassins Creed Brotherhood and will be back with a review soon with that too. I also got news that the second episode of the fantastic 2D platformer Blade Kitten is coming out mid-December, only to find out it’s next year, but still I’m really looking forward to that!

By the way, I tried out an older title again recently; Far Cry 2. I wanted to give it a spin again, try and understand what disappointed me and what intrigued me in the first place. The annoying spawning of enemies is still there and it reminded me of how annoying passing each road crossing in the game is. The gunplay is alright, not fantastic but does its job. However the small nuisances, I still love the atmosphere. The environments are simply amazing and it’s just so fun to walk freely around in the African landscapes with a sniper and seeing the weather and day cycle change. It’s one of those games that could have been a revolution, but ended up flawed on the gameplay side. I wonder if I will give it any more time though, there are so many other titles to play.

Call of Duty Black Ops

Well then, the next Call of Duty game. This time from the Treyarch team, can they outdo last year’s Infinity Ward marble that was CoD: Modern Warfare 2? In multiplayer: hell yes, in singleplayer: well, yes here too! Let me make this clear from the beginning, the game is fantastic! Both the singleplayer and multiplayer deliver an awesome experience and if that’s all you need to know then go out and buy the game now!

First the singleplayer storymode; it’s all set during the cold war in the sixties. It’s in my opinion a fantastic time to take on in a Call of Duty game. It’s a time where technology, superpowers and government conspiracies raised. It is easy to make a story around actual events like Kennedy’s death, The Vietnam War and the Cuban missile crisis and incorporating imaginary characters and events. It feels very believable and it gives an interesting political insight to the arms race between the USA and the USSR. The game even takes a flashback mission to the very end of the Second World War, after Berlin has fallen, to give us a glimpse of the race from the allies to get hold of Nazi scientists and technology. I loved the setting and hope that Treyarch revisit it!

Gameplay wise it familiar territory, it’s the 60 frames per second goodness of the later Call of Duty games. The gunplay feels right and its super smooth thanks to the high framerate, once again CoD proves it’s a head higher than most of the competition in the genre! This time around there are many experimental and early versions of classic rifle and weapons. The crossbow with explosive tips gives way for some awesome and rather violent kills (by the way, there is some really strong violence in various scenes in this game). The amount of effects and details in the environments is jaw dropping and make for some awesome action sequences. It feels like you are playing an awesome Hollywood action movie with a believable setting and gun realism.

However at times all the action can prove a little too hectic and it gets kind of unclear what to do. They should pace down the game a little and let you fight in areas for a longer time before quickly moving on and changing location so often. You can pace things down yourself though and go slowly forwards. Although the zombiemode included is fantastic, I would have liked a coop mode like the one in MW2.

Minor complaints aside though, it’s a fantastic and rather lengthy game too, well compared to most FPS games these days anyhow. The variation is fantastic and the dialogue and story are interesting and will give you more than one twist. For me it actually outdoes MW2 story wise, I just find that the plot doesn’t go too far out there and the ending missions really round everything up to a great climaxe. Any FPS or CoD fan should pick up the game without hesitation. A landmark indeed and Treyarch just gave Infinity Ward a real run for it's money!



Although it’s also a fantastic I’d like to mention a few great details about the multiplayer, especially considering how much I hated MW2 online. Black Ops is much less orientated on insane killstreaks, and it tones down the amount of aircraft called in by annoying, screaming teenage boys considerably. In fact it’s rather easy to shoot down attack choppers and package deliveries. This focus on taking back the cheap kills (that includes stupid knife perks btw) and putting gun skills higher has made Black Ops the multiplayer follow-up Call of Duty 4 really deserved. I didn’t stop once to play through all the 50 XP levels to earn my first prestige. In fact I loved every minute of it and my blood pressure never once really went anywhere near the frustration of MW2!

Until next time, have fun!

(This article was first published on Friday, December 03, 2010 on my original IGN blog.)

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