As a series, Call of Duty felt dead to me. I was tired of both single player and multi-player forms of the game and the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops just didn't excite me. I felt as though I had done as much as my thumbs had wanted to do within it's war-torn grasp.
I enjoyed the multiplayer games of the past but after a while the online community broke me down a little with its screaming teenagers and their 'win at any cost' mentality, and I found that I just wasn't having fun any more.
The single-player game, which was always worth a punt, had seemed to grow a little tired. Despite new settings, the basic mechanics never really progressed from the landmark CoD 4
. It felt that Treyarch's World at War
was trying to live up to the legendary Modern Warfare
, and that the developers feared to change anything too much in case of a backlash. Modern Warfare 2
, although good, felt as though it had to stay faithful to the series.
What we were left with were three excellent games in their own right, but titles that were far too similar to get you excited for a fourth. So, it was safe to say that Black Ops
didn't quite have the same buzz about it amongst the hardcore gaming community, no matter what the mass-media press would have liked you to believe.
I almost gave this one a complete miss. I'm glad I didn't.
I decided to play through the campaign first. I suppose I was a little too scared to log into a multi-player match. I'd been playing a lot of Halo Reach
before this, so I didn't want the first time I threw a grenade against a wall by accident to be in front of a group of people. I wanted to save those moments for just me. I didn't want anyone to know how much of a n00b I had become.
As it so happens, CoD Blops
doesn't give you any sort of chance to familiarise yourself with the controls. Unlike the games before it, there is no tutorial. No assault course to run around, no potato grenade to chuck at a bottle. You are dropped head first into battle. This was either an arrogant swagger, or the first in many decisions made to steer the series away from the template it had become.
Either way it was an eye opener. Within moments of the game loading, I was firing a harpoon gun at a helicopter in order to to bring it down. It felt like the start of a brainless action movie. One that had a shit-ton of money that it wasn't afraid of spending. Little was I to know that this was just the tip of the iceberg.
never lets up. There is no room for controlled storyline build up, not when there are cars to blow up. Your journey through the game feels like all of Arnold Schwarzenegger's films edited together, after deleting any scene without and explosion. Well, maybe with the exception of Jingle All The Way
As brainless and straightforward as the constant violence and set peices are, I found the whole experience to be thrilling. I never felt bored of shooting, nor did I care that the enemy had the AI capabilities of Katie Price at a chess match. With the amount of action going on around me, I soon realised that Black Ops
understood what made the CoD
It wasn't the tactical puzzles, or even the skill involved in shooting. It was the spectacle being played out before your eyes. It took that one element of the past games and turned it up to 11 and, by doing this, it's created one of the most intensely satisfying single-player shooters for a long time.
I had some minor gripes but in a way it pains me to tell you them. The odd level seems to be a little under par from the rest of the game. Some felt a little bit too much like CoD-By-Numbers
. But every 'weaker' level is followed up by an enthralling one, usually set in Vietnam.
Treyarch also decided to go back to the infuriating technique of infinitely spawning enemies. A frustrating decision that takes a minor step back for the series and seems completely unnecessary.
Still, these gripes only entered my head for a moment. Before I had the chance to get irritated by them I was screaming, “Oh look its a plane flying so low that it might take my head off!”