shivermetimbers's Call of Duty: Black Ops (PlayStation 3) review

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A classic formula, done well.

Call of Duty is becoming like a holiday. We've been getting one of these every year around the same time and it's hard to be unique when you're just filling a status-quo that consists of: campaign, multiplayer, and an extra mode.  While Black-Ops does do some new and interesting things with the status-quo, the end result is an entertaining game that's well made, but not very memorable.  
Everything you expect from a Call of Duty campaign is here. There's an air vehicle sequence, a land vehicle sequence, a boat sequence, sequences where you're killing important people, sequences where you're saving important people, you get the idea.  A lot of cliches, like slow-motion sections and sections when you're in peril happen too often and the effect grows tiring. It does offer a more interesting storyline than in previous games that has an overlying mystery attached to it. Despite this, I was just waiting for the big plot twist to come and the conclusion wasn't very exciting. It's still meets the status-quo of well paced and fun throughout and while the story elements were interesting, it wasn't as fleshed out as I hoped.  
I'll be honest, I'm not a big multiplayer FPS fan. Black-Ops multiplayer didn't impress me. The spawn system constanly placed me right into enemy sights. There isn't too much strategy involved: find the enemy and try not to die. You can do this in a variety of ways (some more cheap than others), sure, but the main point is to find and put your shots in your enemy before they do it to you. As far as weapons go, everything seems blanced except that shotguns seem worthless because of their low rate of fire and having the range of the knife. Despite being mostly balanced, they all feel and sound the same for the most part.  Despite my gribes, they're a lot of options here, including a mode where all perks, killstreaks, and attachments are turned off. If you don't like the controllable killstreaks you can go back to the Call of Duty 4 set up and have the traditional 3,5, and 7 killstreaks. New pro perks are both challenging to unlock and really helpful to use. Wager matches feel more like mods than actual game modes and their novelty wore out fast for me, but they're fun while they last. It will keep fans busy and it meets the status-quo of entertaining carrot-on-a-stick multiplayer, but it's not a revolution or an evolution in anyway.   
I like zombies, but the shallow nature of shooting zombies in the head and making money to buy new guns and open doors makes this an entertaining mode, but like the rest of the package isn't very memorable. It can get tense once the zombies start coming at you in hordes, but even that gets old.  You can bring friends or jump online which makes things more tense and fun, but once you memorize the maps it feels like you're just going through the motions. There's more bonus content in the form of a top-down shooter and a text game that are fun for playing once or twice for the" wow factor," but aren't really worth much of your time.  
If you want more Call of Duty, you got it. I didn't need to tell you that because you already are playing it, but for those on the fence it's worth at least a rental if you aren't already sick of the franchise. The game is fun, but let's hope that Call of Duty day doesn't become a worldwide holiday.  

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