The Strangulation reviews Call of Duty: Black Ops

I was thinking recently about how I have a category for games but I haven’t actually talked about any games in this blog. The thing is, I don’t play a lot of games, mainly because of money but also because I don’t have a lot of free time. This year I have only bought Red Dead Redemption, Starcraft II, Worms, Fat Princess, Borderlands and The Godfather II. And most of those just because they were on sale. I do, however, rent a lot games or borrow them from friends. Hopefully now that I have a substantial and somewhat steady income I’ll be able to play more games, like the upcoming Gran Turismo 5, Killzone 3 and LBP 2. Also Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Need for Speed and a wheel to play GT5 the proper way.

With that cleared out, now it is time to talk Call of Duty. I’ve always been a pretty big CoD-head, especially since the first Modern Warfare came out. I have good memories with that game. For some time me and my friends used to hang out at my place playing MW before we headed out on the weekends. Then World At War came out made by the then infamous Treyarch and it sort of cleared out their reputation by building on what MW did so well and adding Zombies. Once again, Infinity Ward did everything right again with Modern Warfare 2 and gave us a game that had quite some quite long legs. Up until this summer I was still actively playing it. Now, we are again given a pretty damn good game by the guys at Treyarch.

Lets start at the beginning, the story. And lets make it clear that the story is pretty irrelevant at any Call of Duty game because what everyone really cares about is the multiplayer aspect and the zombies. I usually take my time with the campaign, in MW2 it took me about 2 months to finish it, and that was about a 6 hour long campaign. I don’t even think I understood it. I’ve only played about an hour of this campaign, around 2 missions. You are supposed to be a black ops dude who was kidnapped by an evil organization of some sorts and is forced to recall some of his experiences as a Black Ops dude. And Vietnam and the Cold War are somehow related. Maybe I’m wrong about all of this but who cares because the multiplayer is what counts.

Speaking about the multiplayer, this is a bit different from the other CoDs, but not as much as it’s advertised. There’s a currency system that works pretty well, you get money by playing and you can then spend that money on getting new things. You still have to get to a certain level in order to unlock weapons, but you also have to buy them and as soon as you do you are able to buy every accesory for it without having to complete challenges and stuff like that. There’s also a lot of new stuff yhat you can upgrade now like the reticles and their color.

The maps are not great but they aren’t bad either. I don’t think there are many, I can only recall about 10 of them. The game feels a bit laggy, and not because of the servers (even though the servers do suck and there are a lot of problems with them, but those usually happen with every CoD release and then get fixed), the graphics are what feels laggy. Like, there’s something off with the framerate  or something. And it’s not the framerate because it’s supposed to be an improvement over MW2, so it’s definitely something wrong with the game (PS3 version, at least).

What I like the most, and what I have found the most exciting and innovative part of this game are what Treyarch calls the Wager modes. These are 4 types of games where you can “gamble” your money. My favorite is One in the Chamber, where you are given a pistol with one bullet and 2 lives. If you kill someone, you get another bullet, otherwise you have to knife people in order to survive. You get points for killing people and for surviving more than the others, and in the end the top three scorers get a part of the total money. That’s usually how most wager modes work, except that in one of them you only get a crossbow, a tomahawk and a ballistic knife, in another one you start with one weapon and when you kill someone you advance a level and you get another weapon, and the first one to finish all levels wins, but if you are knifed you are setback one level. In the last wager mode you have a weapon that gets switched every 45 seconds and you have to rack up points until the game ends. These all have a buy-in price that you have to pay in order to play, and if you aren’t in the top 2 you won’t get your money back, hence the “gambling” thing.

Everything else is pretty normal. There are the usual game modes, Sabotage, Domination, Headquarters, Search & Destroy, etc. There are also more Oldschool game types than before, I don’t play them but I guess that’s cool. There’s also more Hardcore games, which is awesome. I wish there was a “Team Tactical” mode but with more people, like there used to be. Sometimes I don’t really feel like playing any specific type of games and it’s nice to have the game modes switch every game. Zombies mode is cool, but I don’t play it that much as I don’t have many friends with mics. It’s a bit confusing, though.

Overall, I really like the game. It’s not perfect, but it definitely is a lot of fun. I’m sure Treyarch is working on a patch now to fix all the multiplayer issues and the slowdowns that occasionally occur. Is it worth your money? Maybe. If you aren’t tired of this franchise, you’ll have a blast with this game. Because let’s face it, everything that has come out since Modern Warfare has only been a slight improvement over the last one, with some addicting factors added.

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