First Impressions: Call of Duty: Black Ops

After a month of running through all of the modes, maps, weapons, attachments, party disconnects and overall carnage that is the Call of Duty Multiplayer, I finally decided to tear through the campaign.

My first thoughts were, “This is definitely a movie in game form.” At the time of this writing, I would presume I’m around ninety percent done with the campaign, and compared to other Call of Duty campaigns I actually have a better sense of what is going on. I haven’t had the big reveal of the plot twist, but I think I can come up with a pretty good estimate of what’s going to happen.

The game starts you, Alex Mason, being interrogated by an unknown person. The interrogator keeps asking you about your past escapades in secret operations and something about ‘numbers’ and a ‘number station’. This is how Treyarch goes about telling the story, placing you in a bunch of flashbacks as missions. You mainly play as Alex Mason and you’re sprinkled as a couple other people in the story later on.

Black Ops has the typical Call of Duty / Modern Warfare gameplay. On the Normal difficulty, enemies take about three shots and their accuracy is on par of a five year-old child. But if you dare turn up the heat to the Veteran difficulty, you’ll find that the enemy AI has the fortitude and accuracy of a T-1000. This is compared to your AI companions that will let enemies run a b-line straight at you from fifty yards and gun butt you in the forehead before they take a shot.

The game mechanics are also similar to past games from Treyarch and Infinity Ward. There are stealth missions that turn into the typical ‘go loud’ and shoot everything that moves missions, the air-supported missions, and TWO countdown missions that end in game-over if you don’t get out in time. So I’m not bored, the game is really good at keeping things fresh.

However, I have two issues with the game so far. The first one is part of a mission that started you off as one of the other main characters in the game trying to get some information out of a doctor. Things go wrong and you have to traverse through the upper levels and roofs of some buildings. About one-fourth through the mission you have to take a jump from the roof of one building to about the fourth or fifth floor from the top of another. I made the jump and so did one of my AI partners. But for some reason, the other AI partner never showed up. So I’m standing there waiting for the AI to move a refrigerator to move through the rest of the game. After a few restarts from checkpoint and a complete reboot of my system and I realized that I had to restart the mission.

My second issue is where the game saves. I wanted to finish this mission before signing off for the night. So I turned off the system halfway through the end-of-mission cut scene, waiting until after I got my achievement but before I saw any details about the next part of the story. Unfortunately when I started up the game again, I started from the beginning of the previous mission. Now before you say anything, I know the number one rule is to ‘save and quit’, but so many games do an automatic save during cut scenes that I have gotten used to that. So you can call that user error, but it was an annoyance to me; especially since I had to do that darn exploding barrel mission over again on veteran.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how the campaign is. Look for more after I finish the Medal of Honor campaign and the DigitalDpad team does their game vs. game discussion that EA wanted so many people to do.

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