Nothing innovative, but still a great shooter.
Lets be fair here, the Call of Duty series is long past introductions, as practically everyone who knows about games, knows about this series. Black Ops is the next itteration in the series created by Treyarch, who were also the creators of CoD: World at War.
The game begins with Alex Mason, Frank Woods, and Joseph Bowman attempting to assassinate none other then Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba as a part of Operation 40 .
Mason apparently succeeds in the assassination, but their escape plan goes awry, with Mason staying behind to protect the extraction plane and soon enough he is captured by the real Castro and the Cuban military. Having formed an alliance with the Soviet Union, Castro hands Mason over to General Nikita Dragovich, who sends Mason to the dreaded Vorkuta Gulag for two years.
I don't wish to tell anymore of the story because as far as story in Call of Duty games go, I found this one to be the most interesting and fun to play by far, although it lacks some of the "Wow-factor" of Modern Warfare 2's campaign. I found the situations your character found himself in were different enough to keep me entertained throughout the +- 6 hour long campaign. Some rather cheesy moments notwithstanding.
The campaign isn't the only thing you'll find: Zombie mode in which you and up to 3 other players hold out against an unending wave of the undead makes a return from World at War as a sort of fan favorite. Although I was sort of disappointed in the lack of Spec Ops missions from MW2. Even though I feel overindulged in zombie this year, this mode is still fun enough to open up sometimes by myself, but of course mostly with friends.
But let's get to the most interesting part for most people: the Multi-player. Black Ops has made a couple of changes - such as the COD Points system.
Players still have to level up to unlock weaponry, however this isn't the case anymore for perks, attachments and kill streak rewards. In this iterations players will be able to simply purchase the things they need and just spend the rest on cosmetic upgrades such as face-paint, camouflage and player emblems to slightly customize their weaponry to their liking.
On paper this sounds like a great idea, because we don't run into the problem of having to level up for certain perks to become available. But if you can access all the items you want very quickly like this, you'll likely have most of the things you want by the time you're halfway to 50. And at that point you sorta feel done already.
Undoubtedly a point which caused some controversy among Modern Warfare veterans was the announcement that quickscoping has been effectively removed from the game. Although many feel that this nerfed sniping to the point where it's become useless, I have tried some sniping and I can assure you that even though "quickscoping" is gone, sniping is still viable if you play it smart.
Multi-player matchmaking on the PC version is done in the form of dedicated servers, but undoubtedly you have heard of major problems such as the inability to party up with friends, that you can't just type in a server IP to connect, and general jankiness.
Having played the Xbox360 version as well, I can safely say that the experience is a lot more stable on the console then it tends to be on the PC version. But in the times that it works and it's all stable, the experience is fun and will keep people entertained for a long time.
The final addition to this game are the Wager Matches, which are special Free for all games in which players gamble their COD Points for a chance of tripling their wager. If you are able to get in the top 3 you'll walk away with profits, and be what is called "In the money!". The other players will walk away with empty pockets.
The wager matches are divided into:
- Gun game: players start out with a revolver and have to kill each other with a weapon to "level-up" to the next weapon, all the way up to 20 weapons, ending with the ballistic knife.
-Sharpshooter: Everyone starts out with the same weaponry, and getting kills with it will give you perks and points. Every 45 seconds the weapons change into a random one, and this continues until time runs out.
-One in the Chamber: undoubtedly the most intense, One in the Chamber gives you a pistol and one bullet which you have to use wisely. Each hit kills, and grants the killer an additional bullet but you have to be careful since you only have 3 lives in this mode.
-Sticks and Stones: players are given an explosive crossbow, a ballistic knife and a tomahawk to kill each other with and score points, but be warned because a tomahawk hit on you will instantly bankrupt you of ALL your points.
Call of Duty: Black Ops is another great first-person shooter, but the keyword here is "another". I feel we've reached a point where the Call of Duty series will have to seriously innovate on things like it did in Call of Duty 4 to remain as interesting.
Black Ops is still different enough to be fun and exciting for veterans of the series.
And with around 7 million copies sold on day one...