Call of Duty: Black Ops PS3 Campaign Review

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I don’t know what kind of campaign to expect from a Call of Duty title anymore. I know what I’ll be doing (shooting dudes), but I don’t know what the context will be. Call of Duty used to mean a close to reality retelling of World War II battles. With Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, it meant a fictional military operation set in the modern day. And then there was Modern Warfare 2 which ushered in the nonsensical over-the-top scenarios that were more ridiculous and more grandiose than anything before it.

All I knew going into Black Ops was that it was situated in the Cold War era and some of it was going to take place during the Vietnam War — and that was it. I certainly didn’t know it was going to turn out to be my favorite Call of Duty campaign.

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Checkpoint: Annual Call of Duty Edition

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This time last year, I was pretty excited for Infinity Ward and Activision’s Modern Warfare 2.

This year? The hype is replaced with cautious optimism.

2009’s Modern Warfare 2 wasn’t a very pleasant experience as time passed. It happens with all games, but Modern Warfare 2 was especially frustrating with nonsense like this and the abundance of killstreaks.

Black Ops looks like a more reasonable and level headed Modern Warfare 2 in many spots. Just check out these changes Treyarch made to the core game itself (taken from NeoGAF’s official thread):

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So that ‘Black Ops’ Game Sounds Promising

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First, I suggest you watch this little video:

Less is More

On the surface, Call of Duty: Black Ops doesn’t seem that different from last year’s Modern Warfare 2. I don’t blame you, because I felt the same way. But after last night’s events and all the tidbits came pouring out, I was beginning to see what’s making Black Ops worth a damn.

First, let’s take a look at the perks list (modified from Kotaku):

Tier 1
Lightweight – Move Faster (Pro)
Scavenger – Pick up ammo from fallen enemies. Replenish lethal grenades. (Pro)
Ghost – Undetectable by the Spy Plane and the Blackbird.
Flak Jacket – Reduces explosive damage.
Hardline – Killstreaks require 1 less kill.

Tier 2
Hardened – Bullets penetrate better.
Scout – Hold breath longer.
Steady Aim – Increased hip-fire accuracy.
Sleight of Hand – Faster reloads.
Warlord – Equip two attachments to your primary weapon.

Tier 3
Marathon – Longer sprint.
Ninja – Silent movement.
Second Chance – Pull out your pistol before dying.
Hacker – Ability to detect enemy equipment and explosives.
Tactical Mask – Reduces the effect of flash and concussion grenades.

You’ll notice a few things are different; most notably the absence of “Commando“, “One Man Army“, “Stopping Power” and “Juggernaut“.  The first two were the foundation of exploitation and abuse while the latter two were known to stagnate the meta game. A lot of people relied heavily on Stopping Power or Juggernaut — I’m guilty of the former. Hopefully this change will shake things up a bit.

I still think Marathon should be a Tier 1 perk alongside Lightweight, but at least it’s not unlimited sprinting like it was in Modern Warfare 2.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer Teaser Seems Very Familliar

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The marketing ramp up for Black Ops begins with a multiplayer teaser.

Looks very familiar, but there are subtle differences like a cleaner looking interface, new kill streaks, smiley face reticles etc. But, the big reveal is the inclusion of saved replays.

I’ll quote my NeoGAF post:

Kudos to Treyarch for bringing the community features to the franchise. I don’t understand why IW never did any of these things. WaW brought online stat tracking and now they’re bringing replays.

So if we continue this pattern: MW3 will have none of these and the next Treyarch production will have their “Forge” mode?

I’m actually looking forward to the September 1 multiplayer reveal. It’ll be interesting to see what they’ve tweaked.

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