ishoturface's Call of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360) review

A great story with both great multiplayer and zombies mode.

The Good: Campaign has plenty of intense action - Story is quite intriguing - New theater mode allows you to save your favorite matches or moments from the multiplayer - Zombies mode is better than ever.

The Bad: Multiplayer is starting to grow stale - New currency system is rather annoying - Short campaign.


Call of duty has managed to draw millions and millions of gamers to its Multiplayer and fast paced high action single player.
But with this latest Call of Duty title, I cant help but feel the franchise is starting to grow a bit stale.

The single player campaign is set during the Cold war/Vietnam war era. Which is something that has yet to be done in the series.

You play as Alex Mason, a highly trained black ops soldier tasked with doing the dirty work of the government.
The game starts with you being interrogated by two unknown people.
You flash back and end up in Cuba, your task? Kill Fidel Castro.
Flashing back happens quite often and is the basis for nearly every mission in the game.
But it goes along with the story since your interrogators are trying to make you remember a series of numbers. And you are flashing back remembering different missions and what happened during them.
During the campaign you will go to quite a few different locations including, Cuba, the snowy tundra of Russia, The jungles of Southeast Asia and even the middle of the Ocean.

In your time with the campaign you will encounter vehicle sequences including a mission where you are flying a chopper. And another where you are spotting enemies in a SR-71 for your allies miles below you.
You will also experience escaping a Russian prison, crawl through vietcong tunnels, race over the rooftops of a city and discover several dark secrets regarding a chemical known as 115.

While there is a lot to do in the campaign it is still very short. Clocking in at around 5-6 hours for most people. While it is disappointingly short the campaign is not the main reason people but call of duty anymore.

They come for the multiplayer.
While the multiplayer is still fun (thought frustrating at times) a few new additions make the multiplayer worth the price of admission.

You have your standard game modes, Free for all, Team deathmatch, capture the flag, search and destroy among others. Which I find rather disappointing that the didn't try to include any new game mode types in the multiplayer.

But there are wagers matches, which pit you against 5 other players in a battle to place first in order to win COD points.

Gun game has 20 levels of different weapons, starting you out with a pistol, working your way up to shotguns, SMG's, assault rifles, LMG's Sniper rifles, explosive launchers and then a crossbow and finally a ballistic knife. And whoever gets to the last weapon and gets a kill with it first wins.

In sticks and stones you have only the crossbow, ballistic knife and tomahawk. Getting kills with the crossbow and knife get you points while killing a enemy with a tomahawk with bankrupt them and put them at the bottom of the scoreboard.

Sharpshooter is probably the most simple and most fun wager match. You start out with a random weapon and every 45 seconds the game gives you a different weapon, sometimes with a attachment sometimes not.

One in the chamber is just as it sounds, you have one bullet and 3 lives. If you kill an enemy however you will gain another bullet. But run out of lives and it's game over man.

While wager matches are fun and a good way to earn cod points, for most people they are nothing more than just a distraction from the regular multiplayer.

Cod points are the currency of the game and quite unfortunately I feel that they take from the game rather than give. In order to unlock guns, attachments, and killstreaks you have to earn enough COD points and then spend them on what you wish.
In previous call of duty titles to unlock attachments/weapons you had to reach a certain level, and then complete challenges for that weapon in order to unlock a attachment for it.

In Black ops you still have to reach a certain level to unlock a weapon but you still have to use COD points to unlock it.
Customizable killstreaks are back from MW2 and long with that there are new killstreaks.
Old standbys like the UAV and counter UAV and care package are back. But some new killstreaks are where the fun is at.
Such as the RCXD (a remote control car strapped with c4) makes for some fun watching enemies trying to flee from your obviously faster remote controlled car.

The napalm strike, which covers an area in napalm and kills anyone who decides and try to walk through the fire.

But if you really want to get lots of kills with your killstreaks then the higher killstreaks are where it's at.
Like the chopper gunner which puts you in a chopper that goes in circles a round the map allowing you to shoot at enemies down below with a Chain gun (aka minigun).
The gunship, which allows you to completely control a chopper and fly around the map while shooting at enemies with explosive rounds and missiles.
And my favorite, the dogs which take 11 kills in a row without dying to get and are quite satisfying to call in and watch them tear the enemy to shreds.

One thing about the killstreaks is that they no longer count towards each other like they did in MW2, making it harder to get the good killstreaks. Which I feel is a good thing.

In addition to the new killstreaks there are of course new weapons and attachments.

You have the usual assortment of weapon types, SMG's assault rifles, LMG's shotguns, sniper rifles and pistols.
Aside from the assault rifle and SMG category's the other weapon types dont have a whole lot of weapons to choose from (only about 4 or 5). Unlike in MW2 you can only use pistols, explosive launchers, crossbow and ballistic knife as secondary weapons. Not that you will be using your secondary that much anyway unless you are using a rocket launcher to take down aircraft.

Apart from the online multiplayer, there is also Splitscreen for up to 4 players with bots and everything is already unlocked so you don't have to do any unlocking.
And there is combat training which is basically like Splitscreen only in combat training you level up and have to use COD points to unlock weapons.

The variety of maps is quite nice, ranging from Havana Cuba, to a radar array station in Russia. Though unfortunately there is only one Jungle themed map and honestly it is not that good at all.
One bad thing I would say about the maps is that they lack color. The majority of them are either grayish, brownish color toned or are a snowy map completely void of any color what-so-ever. And with the lack of color the maps can get pretty boring to look at quickly.

The final mode and what I feel is the star of this game. Zombies mode.
You only start out with one map (kino der toten) but there are two unlockable maps, dead ops arcade and Five. Which are quite boring and disappointing and not really worth playing at all.
But in Kino there is so much to do and to discover, this one map will keep you busy for a while.
You can play zombies by yourself, splitscreen with one other person or play online with up to three other people.
You start out in a main room with four windows that zombies can come through. And it's your job to keep them from coming in. But however if they do come in you can board up the window to keep them from coming in (at least until they manage to take all the boards down again).

Weapons are scarce in zombies, you having to buy weapons off the walls wont last you long. Which is why you should open up different doors and explore the map to try and find the mystery box. Which if you have enough points to spend will grant you a random weapon. You could get a crappy pistol or you could get the almighty Ray gun.

But even a crappy weapon can become powerful when pack-a-punched. Pack-a-punching a weapon requires you to get to the power switch turning it on and then activating the teleporter. Which is no easy task since gas zombies start spawning once the power is on. When killed the gas zombies explode and emit nova gas, which if you stay in it long enough will kill you.

There are different perks scattered around the map which cost 1,500-3,000 points.. You can gain points by killing zombies and boarding up windows. Buying perks is key if you want to get to a high round. Perks such as Juggernog allow you to take more damage from zombies, Speed cola lets you run faster, reload faster and board up windows faster, while double tap lets you fire at twice the rate you would normally be able to.
While there is only one good zombie map shipped with the game, it should keep you plenty busy and give you loads of good times.


The sound in this game can be iffy at times, but for the most part the weapons, explosions and voice acting are top notch aside from a few times where the main characters actor sounds Australian.

The graphics, not much to say here aside from they still look good though there hasn't been much improvement in the graphics department.



The Call of duty series is unfortunately starting to show its age. Although there have not been any major changes to the series in the past 3 years, black ops is still a blast to play and I would recommend it to anyone who loves either killing some zombies, playing a action packed campaign or someone who enjoys playing the oh so addictive multiplayer.

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