Call of Duty: Black Ops

aka: Blops, Call of Duty 7
Moby ID: 49001
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Call of Duty: Black Ops is the seventh edition of the Call of Duty FPS franchise, which is set during the Cold War theater, and casts the player in the role of various special forces soldiers conducting covert top secret operations colloquially known as 'black ops' that which governments maintain deniable knowledge of. As with previous Call of Duty games, the player will switch between different characters engaged in operations around the globe that include Vietnam, Russia, Cuba and Laos. The two primary characters are soldiers Alex Mason and CIA agent Jason Hudson, members of the black ops group known as the Studies and Observations Group (SOG), who have been tasked with investigating and dealing with the Nova-6, an experimental Soviet chemical weapon.

As with its predecessors, Black Ops comes with online and offline multiplayer support that features the usual game modes including Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, during which players will once again earn XP points and gain new ranks. Returning from Treyarch's previous Call of Duty outing, World at War is a zombie co-op mode that allows two players to play together offline and four players online. Players will be able to earn CoD Points, which are awarded as the player earns XP, with CoD Points being awarded at a rate of 1 for every 10XP earned. These can then be put on bets on special 'wager matches', which if won gives the player additional CoD Points and XP.

A new feature in Black Ops is the Create a Class 2.0, which allows players to more extensively customize their multiplayer character, including dog tags, camo patterns, emblem and gun sight reticules. Also included for the first time to a CoD game is the ability to pilot aircraft which comes in the form of the Hind helicopter gunship and the SR-71 Blackbird stealth plane.

Spellings

  • コール オブ デューティ ブラックオプス - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

1,556 People (1,428 developers, 128 thanks) · View all

Directed by
Executive Producer
Director, Online
Project Senior Producer
Project Lead, PC Team
Producers
Associate Producers
Production Coordinator
Build Managers
Associate Build Managers
Additional Production
Chief Technology Officer
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 85% (based on 85 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 111 ratings with 2 reviews)

Check out your windows; pigs may be flying. I actually liked this one!

The Good

  • Entertaining, stylish, and clever story
  • Keeps the trademark of having big set pieces
  • Nice attention to detail and high performance makes up for aging graphics
  • Zombies mode is fun with a friend
  • Slightly more variety in setting


The Bad

  • Still fairly shallow online and off
  • Lengthy battles get repetitive very quickly
  • Not much replay value
  • Graphics are starting to age and colors seem washed out
  • Buggy online net-code
  • Zombies is no fun without a friend
  • Favorites list and friends list is broken


The Bottom Line
I'm hardly a fan of the Call of Duty series. I don't necessarily despise them; they're far more playable than some of the utterly generic and worthless shooters that get dumped on the market, but they just never truly appealed to me and I've never understood their appeal to others, including my wife who almost always shells out for the new releases.

I'll grant the original Modern Warfare some merit, it had some genuinely fun sequences that didn't just feel like I was watching the game play itself through its many scripted sequences. Its sequel, however, rubbed me the wrong way. I'm fine with games that have a serious or dark tone; hell, the one I'm about to review is pretty bleak at times, but Modern Warfare 2's campaign was far too oppressive for me to enjoy and other than the level early on where you were ice-climbing and then the sequence in a darkened Washington DC I simply didn't feel compelled or satisfied.

Anywho, on to Black Ops. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It doesn't really stray far from the formula in that it's essentially an interactive movie that lets you shoot stuff for a bit as you get to the next scene. Naturally with a formula like that - you need a compelling "movie." Thankfully, Black Ops delivers. It's no master-work of fiction, but it absolutely drips with style and atmosphere. It's a genuinely creative and compelling political and psychological thriller - yes, psychological elements are introduced here.

You are Alex Mason - a renowned black operative with an impressive resume. However you are a bit tied up right now and are being interrogated in a dark and dingy room. An endless repetition of a string of numbers is giving you a headache and your captors demand their meaning; however, to do this, he has to go back in his past to piece the mystery together. It all begins with the Bay of Pigs uprising and the assassination attempt on Castro. You manage to kill a double, and are soon captured by the real Castro who hands you over to a Russian Terrorist named Dragovich as a present to signify their new partnership.

Dragovich takes you to Russia and imprisons you in a hellish labor camp known as Vorkuta, where you meet Viktor Reznov. Remember this name - Reznov is not only my favourite character in the game, but he is also an indispensable character in this plot who is just as crucial as Alex or even Dragovich. Anywho, you quickly befriend Reznov and formulate a plan to escape Vorkuta and free its prisoners.

You succeed and escape, and return to America with new orders; but you did not escape Vorkuta the same, but the truth behind that is something I'll let you find out by yourselves.

The story's patchwork style works in various advantageous ways for the gameplay. Not only does the story flow into the gameplay more smoothly, it allows for more variety in setting and objectives. You can argue that most of the game takes place in Russia with Vietnam coming up second; but what you do in both places is varied when you go back to them.

For the most part you play only as Alex, however in a couple segments you play as a different character. One mission has you playing his fellow Operative Woods and later on, you play as his Operator Hudson in order to gain clarity during one of the games more revealing moments. You also get a brief chance to play as Reznov and go back to World War II, to find the origins of Dragovich's plans.

The gameplay is pretty much more or less the same as other Call of Duty games. You often have to push your way up to progress, and engage in tough firefights. Like games before it, the highlights are a variety of big set pieces. In one mission, you get to blow up a space rocket. In the Vorkuta uprising, you get to Harpoon a helicopter and use a makeshift slingshot to blow up guard towers. My personal favourite though is a sequence where you are kidnapped by VietCong soldiers and after an intense sequence of the classic Russian Roulette torture, you escape and capture a helicopter to deal out some death. There is also a memorable moment where you are surrounded by a deadly nerve toxin and to survive, you must prevent your hazmat suit from being cracked. You can only take 3 or 4 bullets here, and your suit doesn't repair itself meaning that once it cracks open, you are toast.

One of my problems with the Call of Duty formula though is it gets repetitive. I often found myself getting tired of standing in the same hallway as an unending number of enemies come by. I also hate how there is almost always only one solution to a sequence. The first Vietnam level has a part where you have to make your way down a hill blanketed with VC soldiers and machine gun emplacements. The only way to push forward is to go in a nearby bunker and find the grenade launcher.

I was also punished in a later level where I didn't want to carry the crossbow, and then it killed me because I came to a part that required it. I don't mind having big battles that require a mix of brains and brawn to overcome, but you spend too much time standing in a small area firing at about a thousand enemies and waiting for them to be thin enough for you to move and you die a lot if you miss a seemingly exact quotient of baddies. I actually kept count one level I was stuck on. I killed exactly 149 soldiers, moved up the cramp corridor, and then got killed by a group that randomly spawned in without any support since my buddies wouldn't move. I replayed the sequence, and until I killed at least 154, I kept dying. The game wants so desperately to be fast paced, but you spend far too long in certain areas even if you aren't losing.

At least there are some fun toys, like a Spas12 shotgun loaded with Dragon's Breath rounds that cooks and maims at the same time and while the weapons are still mostly a parade of generic real life guns, they sound great and the gruesome death animations at least make them satisfying to use.

The multiplayer is fun. Once again, it doesn't really change the formula. I'll be honest and say that I never felt the experience to be "Deep" like a lot of people do, to me a deep multiplayer experience would be something along the lines of Battlefield. To me CoD multiplayer is more of a suite containing fairly routine multiplayer modes with a tiny pinch of spice, not unlike Quake 3 or the like.

Black Ops does improve the multiplayer from last entries though. I understand that this is something that people like about the MP, but I personally never liked the way you had to grind your way to get things. Sure - Battlefield has you rank up and you get new stuff, but it handles that system differently. In Call of Duty, it always annoyed me how you had to strive for specific achievements. In Battlefield, you got pins for those achievements but the weapons and upgrades came naturally instead of forcing you to get a specific amount of special kills. Black Ops still keeps that system, but there's one majour improvement: Call of Duty points.

You earn money that lets you unlock stuff. Some weapons still won't be available until you level up, but when they unlock you can buy them and you don't have to earn special achievements to unlock their attachments. If you have enough points, just buy them. It allowed me to get into the MP more, because I simply don't have the time to waste to get "50 kills with the red dot sight" just so I can unlock the next upgrade for my gun. I can just pick the one I want at any time, which is nice.

Black Ops isn't a masterpiece, but surprisingly - I enjoyed it. It is the first Call of Duty I would actually recommend to people like myself who aren't huge fans of the series. The story is entertaining and creative and multiplayer is an alright time waster. I would recommend only renting it if you just want to experience the single-player, as it is still short and beyond difficulties and finding intel it isn't very replayable. But regardless it is worth checking out.

Windows · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2010

Hello Vietnam

The Good
Call of Duty Black Ops is unique in that it is the first game in the Call of Duty franchise to take place during the Vietnam War. Following a unique story worthy of a novelization, Call of Duty follows CPT Mason, who goes on covert assignments with the CIA in an attempt to prevent the Cold War from going hot. During the game, players will traverse locations all over Russia and Southeast Asia, exploring launch sites, dense Jungles, and even undersea stations.

The standard gameplay mechanics ensure that COD veterans can grab their trusty firearms and take off without much in the way of learning the controls again. New comers will also be able to essentially pick up the game and play without having to consult the manual too much. Add in some on rails segments (with a little bit of freedom to control the vehicles themselves in some cases) and COD Black Ops becomes easily one of the easiest games to use, allowing players to focus on some epic set pieces.

COD Black Ops features some of the most epic moments in gaming. The icing on the cake comes from some of the missions in Vietnam and Laos, thanks in part to songs that set the tone, with the defining moment being a riverboat assault featuring "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones. These particular scenes standout quiet well and really work to put the player into the time period in which the game was set.

The Bad
Call of Duty Black Ops, while containing memorable moments, falls rather shallow on the single player end. The single player campaign takes less than two days to play from start to finish, and the missions are generally fairly short. And while the game is easy to control, the game offers very little control over what you are doing.

The game, while beautiful and lush, almost feels more like a guided tour than being in charge of a covert operation. Through out the entire game, object arrows guide you where to go, and objectives don't change beyond "follow so and so", and the frustration gets worse when your allies refuse to pick up an object to destroy a helicopter but insist that YOU do it instead. Progressing faster than the computer allies will result in waiting for them to open a specific door (some doors you can open, others you can't, and its never clear which ones are which) to the next stage or getting ambushed by other enemies. While this teaches players to work as a team (which is essential for co op play online), it doesn't change the fact that the game makes you play it its pace, not your own.

And while the story is worthy of becoming a novel, that doesn't mean it would be the best one on the shelf. About half way through, most people will be able to put all the pieces together and already have the game's twists figured out, ruining the surprises the game tries to throw at you. And even though the dialogue is well written, it still doesn't change the fact that you are still Fighting the same communists you have been fighting for years (and a flashback levels even brings back the over used Nazis again).

The Bottom Line
Call of Duty Black Ops is well designed game with great graphics, solid controls, and a tried and true story. Everything functions as intended the game is largely free of glitches or problems. Its primary downfall is that the game is almost literally holding your hand the entire time, can respawn you in the middle of a firefight, and becomes fairly predictable near the middle. And while the primary draw is online play, for those without that option, Call of Duty Black Ops is less of a must have item and more of a 'if you already bought these other games, give this a go" item.

PlayStation 3 · by Lawnmower Man (137) · 2011

Trivia

Awards

  • The Game Awards
    • 2018 – Best Audio Design – Nominated
    • 2018 – Best Action Game – Nominated
    • 2018 – Best Multiplayer Game – Nominated

German versions

There exist two versions with German language: one with a USK rating and one with PEGI18+. Both feature a different amount of cuts and, in contrast to the uncut version, the Windows version can be unlocked on Steam. In the USK version the whole torture sequence from the mission "Numbers", cut off limbs, gore effect in zombie mode, burning enemies and some level specific decorations were all removed. Additionally the song Symphony of the Dead was removed, the German audio version was cut in some instances and all swastikas were replaced with iron crosses. A detailed list of all changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).

The German PEGI version features only the replaced swastikas and the cuts in the German audio. Symphony of the Dead and the torture sequence are there, but the latter with two smaller cuts. A detailed list of all changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).

References

If you have collected all intel items in the mission Crash site, you can read a report about using Patrol Boat River (PBR) to transport special agents. A reference is named where an agent was transported on a PBR upon the Nung river to eliminate a renegade Special Forces colonel. Well, the Nung river is fictions and is used in the novella Heart of Darkness as well as in the movie which belong to that novella: Apocalypse Now. There a special agent is ordered to kill a renegade Special Forces colonel.

References: Terminal

This game contains a rather unusual easter egg; interacting with the start menu in an unorthodox fashion frees the player from the bonds of an interrogation chair and allows him to wander a sinister chamber, in the corner of which is an old computer terminal containing several files and simulated programs tied in to the game's story (keyboard interaction with the simulated terminal is effected through a virtual keyboard presented on-screen and navigated using the joystick).

Additionally, the terminal can run Zork I, Infocom's chart-topping fantasy text adventure of the early 1980s, part of publisher Activision's portfolio since absorbing Infocom in 1986 and last seen in 2000 in their Zork Classics: Interactive Fiction compilation.

A Wired commentator notes:

"Although Infocom is long gone, Activision still owns the brand, which means the Call of Duty publishing company can include Zork in every game it releases.Did you hear that, Activision? We demand Zork in every game you release."

Accessing Zork unlocks an achievement, Eaten by a grue.

References to the game

Call of Duty: Black Ops was parodied in an episode of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. It was published on the DVD of issue 02/2011.

Weapon models

Much like for Call of Duty: World at War, the World War II era weapon models are re-used from Call of Duty 2. They were re-skinned with higher resolution textures, but the reload animations remain the same.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Starbuck the Third.

Additional contributors: jaXen, MegaMegaMan, Pseudo_Intellectual, Havoc Crow, Fred VT, Caelestis, Patrick Bregger, Ƒreddƴ.

Game added February 19, 2020. Last modified March 1, 2024.