Buff Review Show- More Grey Ops, with a Hint of Brown…
Am getting a new (old) Xbox360, hurrah, nice to have it back in place on my TV stand. And as such, in tribute to my former 360, here’s my review for last year’s COD: Black Ops. Night all!
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Another year, another Call of Duty game is released and another percentage point the divorce and separation rate for couple gets cranked up. If you own a home console and at least one thumb you will have played one of the previous Call of Duty games, or seen someone play it, or known someone who has played it, seen an advert, heard it mentioned on the news and so forth. This time around we head away from the Modern Warfare bubble of realism and head for a new string to the franchise’s ever-expanding bow: Black Ops, and a new style of first-person-shooter for all other game franchises to mimic for a sequel or two.
Although it seems the creators of COD aren’t above copying others themselves, as it would appear the next instalments of COD are going to be set in space, and feature what they are preliminarily titling “space marines”, a concept so done to death in the past decade there are more soldiers fighting war in space than there are planets and alien races to conquer.
So until Call of the Dead Gears of Halo Wars: Space Edition inevitably is released next year, we’ll get stuck into Black Ops for a bit. This game is from the makers of COD World at War, Treyarch, as oppose to Infinity Ward who have made the two Modern Warfare titles, and while it is definitely a Treyarch title with all the great aspects that made ‘World at War’ a success, there are a few things it lacks that the Modern Warfare games have tried to make an established cog in the series, such as the training course level at the start of the game for us ham-thumbed shooting game newcomers. Also missing are the stealth and sniping missions, which are substituted with more frantic bullets flying through the air missions, which to be honest there are plenty of already.
But this won’t stop people running out to buy a new instalment every time. Two million units were sold in the first 5 days in the UK alone, and I think total worldwide sales have hit nearly 6 million at time of writing, and this is just for Europe and the US, let alone the various other regions that will get the game over the next couple of months. Needless to say there are a few bugs with the game that someone, such as myself, who was not queuing outside the local electronic store at midnight wrapped in my modern warfare blanket awaiting the game’s release so I could get the extra golden joy-pad, or something, would like to point out to the gaming community whom should know better by now.
So the story that accompanies the single-player campaign can be completed in the time it takes to eat a sandwich made simply of one piece of bread and the paper wrapper from the top of a tub of butter, but frankly this is as unsurprisingly to a Call of Duty game as me saying “the game contains guns badly characterised macho-men”. Also the writers, or indeed the producers of the unplayable cut scenes during the game gets absolutely no points for seemingly ripping off both Se7en and The Mahcurian Candidate. There are frequent instances when we are treated to odd moments of editing and trickery to the photography of it all that leaves me with this strange impression that the game is being edited by someone who has perhaps been shown very briefly what editing tools he is supposed to be using but instead of reading the instruction manual supplied decided to watch a box-set of Lost on one screen and reading the footnotes to a script from Se7en at the same time.
Also, often on the subtitling (if you choose to have it on) sometimes the various colourful swear words are written as they would be said, and sometimes they are replaced with miscellanous symbols as you might see when they are written in comic books and so forth ($#@£*%,, you know what I mean). I know it seems like a minor gripe, but with a game as polished as this is, and based on the highly polished finished to Treyarch’s previous COD titles, it’s a bit of a shame that something like this is missed.
The multiplayer is stellar but games can’t win points for this anymore. What I will happily debase myself in appreciation for is Treyarch managing to make the Wii version of the game contain almost exactly the same content as it’s PS3 and Xbox360 counterparts. There are the obvious graphical limitations of the Wii and it may not run at as smooth a framerate as it’s HD counterparts, but this is firm proof that developers can’t use the old line of “we had to downsize everything for the Wii to be able to handle the game because it’s made of crackers held together with cream cheese”. You know whom you are, serial offenders of this excuse (and previous COD games aren’t above using this one themselves) but Black Ops shines brightly above most other realistic FPS’s on the Wii to date. Treyarch even manage to capitalise on the control scheme the Wii was designed for from the very beginning, that up till now only the Metroid Prime trilogy Wii remake has succeeded in utilising to a great degree (that’s FPSs only, some other Wii-games work well on it… not many), and I can’t think of a joke for the end of that line so let me just end this pithy little review by saying Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo fans can finally join hands and agree that a multiplatform game is equally good (albeit equally slightly flawed) on each of the consoles.
Now if only we could get them all to play nicely and agree that FPS games are still better suited to a PC then maybe the world will be a better place. And maybe Sega will produce a 3D Sonic game that isn’t awful, and then the four horseman of the gaming apocalypse will truly descend upon us. That’s if they can draw themselves away from playing the added multiplayer levels on a game of COD I guess…