Review By: Zorro
Beyond the hype for the release of the game and anything else that we will tell you is that the best thing about the game is having the ability to ASSASSINATE FIDEL CASTRO. If you're a Cuban American or can understand the horrific crimes this dictator has committed through out the last 50 years, you cant help but feeling warm & funny when being granted the opportunity. Oh not to mention, that there is original Celia Cruz music playing at the beginning. What a treat! After months of hype, and following one of the most drama-filled situations in recent gaming history with Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Black Ops has been released and guys everywhere are playing. Thanks to the appeal of the subject, the pedigree of the name, and the monstrous success of the last game in the series, Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops was destined to be a massive hit from the moment it was announced. But would it be any good?
Activision could have sold Black Ops on name recognition alone. It could have released a terrible game and still made money on the pre-orders, but it would have damaged the most successful third-party property in video game history. After the falling out between Activision and Infinity Ward, the level of scrutiny on the franchise has been at an all time high. But the behind-the-scenes drama isn’t important right now. If you are curious about the telenovela surrounding the Infinity Ward and Activision split go ahead and Google it. Or just wait for the multiple lawsuits to begin. But for now, it is Treyarch’s big day. So with the video game world watching, did Treyarch manage to succeed with the shadow of its predecessor looming so large?
Yep, they sure did.
Call of Duty: Black Ops does a few things very well — mainly by not doing anything at all. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Treyarch looked at what worked and what didn’t with Modern Warfare 2 and its last title, Call of Duty: World at War, then made changes — some subtle, some innovative — but for the most part the game looks and plays like the previous games in the series. In a good way. The multiplayer is as strong as ever and some of the new features have added a layer of depth that will keep fans playing for a long time, while the campaign delivers one of the most intense stories you will ever see in a video game. So basically, Black Ops lives up to the hype.
The Cold War
With just a little bit of work, the story of Black Ops could easily be adapted into a Hollywood movie. It has the action elements down, plenty of twists and turns, and it touches on enough historical events without subjecting itself to the limitations of history, to make it appeal to a broad audience. World at War contained some compelling characters, interesting scenarios, and intense scenarios, but there wasn’t much of a story. It was WWII—you fought the enemy and advanced; beyond that there wasn’t much to it. On the other hand, the Modern Warfare titles took a more fantastic story, with invasions, nuclear detonations, and the start of World War III. Black Ops falls somewhere in between.
You play as Alex Mason, and in a change for the series, you are a fully realized character, voiced by Sam Worthington, with a very specific story. Unlike previous entries, you do not switch between characters (with a few brief exceptions), and you are not just “that guy”, bouncing between events because you are trained to be there like all the characters in a WWII game. Instead, Mason is at the center of a mystery involving a series of numbers that relate to his long career as a soldier, which has included some of the most difficult, and secretive missions that occurred during the Cold War. Beginning with the Bay of Pigs, Black Ops weaves in and out of Mason’s career as a soldier, a spy and an assassin, and takes him everywhere from Cuba to Vietnam; from the Ural Mountains to Star City, Russia.
Mason has seen the worst places in the world, and along the way he has made allies and enemies with people that live in the shadows. One of those people is Viktor Reznov, the one-time Russian Sergeant who acted as your guide through the Russian settings in World at War. Voiced by Gary Oldman, Reznov and Mason form a friendship through mutual adversity, and the pair work together despite their ideologies, in order to stop a new enemy. Giving away more would do more of a disservice than it would help illuminate the game, but the story is well thought out, and the finale nicely wraps everything up.