Preview: Call of Duty: Black Ops

I give my thoughts over at SquareGo, on the upcoming Call of Duty game Black Ops.



(Full text below)

It’s been two years since Treyarch’s last foray into the world of Call of Duty and it could also be an end to the joke that, like odd-numbered Star Trek films, Treyarch’s Call of Duty games weren’t worth the effort.

After their utterly unimpressive turn with Call of Duty 3, Treyarch have been somewhat forgiven after crafting the far better World at War, which despite its detracting points managed to show that with a good engine and enough time, Treyarch were more than capable of creating inventive and enjoyable COD games, if not quite up to the standard of their Infinity Ward brothers.

What with Modern Warfare and Medal of Honor both hogging the current geopolitical firefights, and WWII having being genuinely run into the ground and buried alive, it was clear a new epoch was needed. Not content with limiting themselves to a single geographic area or single confrontation; Treyarch have turned their minds instead to the longest and most varied conflict of the 20th century: The Cold War.

A bit chilly out…

Call of Duty: Black Ops theoretically has the scope to outshine any other First person Shooter on the market. Following on from World at War and revisiting some of the same characters, we have a game that spans a currently undisclosed portion of a 50 year conflict that will see the player embroiled in combat from locations as far flung as the jungles of ‘Nam and Cambodia, to the Streets of Cuba and even stopping off briefly in the wintery perils of the Former Soviet Republic.


Cast in the guise of Alex Mason and Jason Hudson, two members of the Studies and Observations Group (SOG), players will be put through their paces during infiltration missions, open assaults and, apparently, more stealth segments than any COD game to date. What’s even more enticing is the promise that it will also be the grittiest and goriest of the series so far.

The Art of Mime

Of course, as anyone who has played one knows, one of the perennials of the COD series has always been the fine voice acting and the attention to character detail. This is bolstered by the news that Gary Oldman has returned to re-voice his Red Army soldier Victor Reznov, from World at War, in addition to the talents of Topher Grace and Ed Harris. Not only have these A-list thesps provided the game with their dulcet tones, but they also motion captured their performances to add an even greater level of authenticity to the performances.

It’s a safe bet to surmise that since the game includes Reznov, it can’t be set too close to modern day, fuelling the likelihood that this will be focussing more on the Vietnamese and Cambodian theatres of war.

Bring Your Friends

If there was one major factor that has bloomed in the last few years, it’s the necessity for A-list titles to include co-op play. The brilliant Spec Ops mode from MW2 is definitely going to be a hard act to follow. Which is perhaps the reason why Black Ops is instead taking a route closer to Splinter Cell: Conspiracy in giving a completely new campaign designed solely for multiplayer co-op.

The Walking Dead

One of the most important additions to the COD series was Treyarch’s genius when adding the Zombie mode to the multiplayer of World at War.  Well, the undead are rising again! This fan favourite game mode has returned in an all new guise with even stranger foes than before. Leaked video has even shown that one of the maps will cast players as JFK, Nixon, McNamara and Fidel Castro struggling against the odds to defend the Pentagon against the might of the brain-gobbling hordes.

All in all, it looks like we’re in for a massively varied and enjoyable experience from Treyarch this time round. With all odds pointing to a more rounded and story-led campaign, along with the extra modes that we’ve come to expect from the staggeringly brilliant COD series.

We can’t wait!


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