Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops (Multiplayer)

Arguably the most anticipated game of the year, Treyarch’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” has only been out for about a week, and the game has already become one of the most intense and exhilarating experiences we have ever encountered in a multiplayer FPS game.  From the moment I opened my box (I got the prestige edition… envy me) and logged on to multiplayer madness, I was hooked! There were many qualities that reminded me of “Modern Warfare 2,” and the new features made this game almost as great. While this game isn’t on the same level as MW2, Treyarch made a great attempt at making it such. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Game Modes
Still available are the basics, Team Death Match, Domination, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, and Headquarters. A very noticeable change is the fact that in order to play certain matches, you have to level up! Hardcore matches are unlocked at a higher level, which didn’t sit well with my friends who only play hardcore matches. I found the matches to be faster paced than they were in MW2, which I liked because it kept me on my toes ready to pounce when warranted.

New additions to game modes are the wager matches. In a Wager match, a player wagers their CoD Points against everyone else. The top three players are “In the Money”, meaning that they earn CoD Points (The whole amount of money is shared: 50 percent for the first, 30 percent for the second and the last 20 percent of the money for the third top player), while the remaining players earn no CoD Points.

Wager match game modes
Gun Game – Everyone will start out with a pistol. With each kill a player will move up one weapon tier, which will grant them a new weapon. Knifing an enemy does not give you a new weapon; the kill must be with that weapon in order to advance to the next tier. The game ends when a kill is achieved with all twenty tiers of weapons. However, if a player is knifed, or commits suicide, they will be demoted a tier.

Sticks and Stones – All players spawn with a Crossbow, a Ballistic Knife, and a Tomahawk. Players can bankrupt one another with Tomahawk kills, resetting their score so far back to zero. Players will receive +100 XP for a kill with the crossbow or ballistic knife, +10XP for tomahawk, but will only receive +25 XP for a kill with the players melee knife, presumably to encourage players to use the given weapons.

One in the Chamber – Each player starts out with a pistol with one bullet and their knife. One more bullet is gained with each kill. However, each player will only have three lives and if the bullet misses they only have their knife.

Sharpshooter – Every player will receive the same random weapon. After 45 seconds, their current weapon will be cycled out for a new one. Every kill will earn the player a perk (Sleight of Hand Pro for the first kill, Lightweight Pro for the second, and Steady Aim Pro for the third) and eventually a scoring multiplier.

Wager Matches are separated into three different playlists. Each playlist has a different buy-in cost, and may restrict players from forming parties.

Ante Up- One of Three playlists in the Wager Match category. It includes all four of the wager game modes. Ante Up has a low buy-in cost of 10 CoD points, and players are allowed to form parties.

Weekend Gambler- Another playlist under Wager Matches. It includes all four of the wager game modes. Weekend Gambler has a medium buy-in cost of 1000 CoD points, but players are not allowed to form parties.

High Roller- The last, most risky playlist under Wager Matches. Pro Gambler mode is enabled, which incorporates the four wager game modes. High Roller has a very high buy-in cost of 10,000 CoD points, but players are not allowed to form parties.

Everything in Black Ops comes at a price with new CoD point system. Using points earned in player and wager matches, each player can customize their load out to their liking. Points are used to purchase new guns and attachments, perks, equipment, new Killstreaks, as well as contracts. When contracts are completed, you earn CoD points. The amount is based on the difficulty of the contract. Think of contracts as challenges that earn you money. You are allowed any 3 contracts at the same time, with the contracts differing day to day.

One of the best new features in Black Ops is the Combat Training option, which places players in a simulated game match against computer controlled enemies. It’s a great way for players to find a comfort zone, improve their basic skills, and learn how to master killstreaks and perks.

Killstreak rewards work the same as in MW2. Earn a certain number of kills, and that grants you a kill streak. Spy Planes (UAV/Recon), Care Packages, and Chopper Gunners are basic favorites. Black Ops offers new and entertaining killstreak rewards. The RC-XD remote controlled car is a great killstreak. You take control of a remote controlled car with C4 strapped to it, for a limited time, and drive it into enemy territory, taking out as many players at once as you can. It’s always funny to see enemies struggle to take out the car before it gets to them. Another favorite of mine is the Napalm strike, earned after 5 kills. A selected section of the map is bombed and set a blaze bringing down and cutting off enemy forces from moving forward. The only problem is if you get too close to the flames yourself, you’re as good as cooked! Other killstreak rewards that are popular are a B-52 carpet bomber, Valkyrie Rocket, and Attack Dogs (WaW)! Killstreaks can be purchased after leveling up to Level 10 and then all killstreaks are available… at a price, of course.

Some new gameplay mechanics have been introduced, allowing players to get a feeling of being in a real war. Your shooting, I find, now has to be on point. Shooting at someone in the legs takes longer to kill them then shooting them in the head. I also found this to be annoying at times because you are left in a position that you empty an entire clip into an enemy thinking you got ’em, and they are still running! This can also be attributed to what is seemingly a lag of sorts. At the same time, there are times when shooting at someone running behind a wall (or being shot at doing the same) and there is still a “delayed” kill. This can be annoying to some, but be it a bug or not, this brings me to a new feature Treyarch ingeniously added.  In the midst of a run, you can press a button (which one depends on your system) and take a dive to safety. This is a great feature implemented that I find gets me out of the way of incoming enemy fire by diving behind random cover found in each map, and also entertaining when you see yourself dive through windows! This brings us to the Black Ops maps. Designed to suit just about everyone’s specialty, I trust you won’t find a map that you can’t dominate in.

Game Maps
Array- Snow covered landscape. Good for snipers and long range firefights.
Size: Large

Cracked- Streets of Vietnam. Close engagements in and out of war-torn buildings.
Size: Large

Crisis- Hidden missile facility in Cuba. Intense indoor and outdoor battles.
Size: Medium

Firing Range- Military practice facility. Hectic Domination games.
Size: Small

Grid- Soviet intelligence station. Fantastic Headquarters matches.
Size: Medium

Hanoi- Fight in the infamous prison camp. Fierce Capture the Flag matches.
Size: Medium

Havana- Cuban city. An abundance of tactical street fights.
Size: Medium

Jungle- Great vertical gameplay along a river valley in Vietnam.
Size: Large

Launch- Battle at the launch pad of this cosmodrome. Perfect for any game mode.
Size: Medium

Nuketown- Nuclear testing grounds. Lots of fast paced action.
Size: Small

Radiation- Uranium processing plant. Excellent objective gameplay.
Size: Medium

Summit- Research facility on a snowy mountain. Fight from all angles
Size: Medium

Villa- Cuban estate. Good corridors for long range firefights.
Size: Medium

WMD- Abandoned Soviet base. Perfect for team games.
Size: Large

Instead of playing in random matches, you are now given the ability to vote into what map you want to play. You are given the choice of the previous map, or another, and the highest vote wins it. Now this can either be great, or aggravating, as one night I found my team playing Nuketown 9 times… in a row. But if you enjoy venturing into the “great unknown, “Random” option, is still there for you.

The last feature I want to address is the ability to post your games, or clips from them, to your library. Have you even been playing alone one night and you had that 35 kills and 4 deaths game? Is it the best game you have ever played? Your friends don’t believe it? Treyarch has given you the option to post that game for others to watch at their leisure.  You can also edit clips of those matches and take one scene and post that!  Lastly, you can just take a still frame of an impossible kill, or something funny and post that as well. The possibilities are endless, and now you have proof of your stories.

One of the only things I don’t like about this game is leaving with parties seems to be impossible at this point. The option is there, but I never see it highlighted, and if it is, it doesn’t work. Although, I’m positive this is only a bug that Treyarch will eventually work out.

This being the 7th installment of the Call of Duty franchise, I’m happy to say that Treyarch has almost met Infinity Ward on this one. Modern Warfare 2 was on a level all its own, but that doesn’t stop this game from making an assault toward number one. The fast paced excitement and the new features make this game exactly that, NEW. While I miss some features found in MW2, I can say that I don’t need them to enjoy this games potential. I await any update and add-ons that will surely come to make this game that much better.

Pros

  • New features giving new depth to gameplay mechanics
  • New Guns and Interesting Secondary Weapons
  • New Killstreak Rewards
  • Customizable avatars and weapon load out
  • Game modes

Cons

  • Undetermined Lag
  • Ridiculous need for points to purchase the same attachments and contracts
  • Leveling up for new game modes
  • Leaving with parties doesn’t seem to work

My final rating is eight out of ten.  Good Job, Treyarch!

8/10

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