CoDBlOps (or Call of Duty : Black Ops to give it it’s full name) was released under a cloud of controversy, a cloud that seems to grow towards a storm with every accusation.
Treyarch, CodBlOps developer, is the innocent party in all off this. Infinity Ward (the developer behind CoD Modern Warfare 1 & 2) and Activision (the publisher) came to blows after the release of Modern Warfare 2, with all sorts of breach of contract claims and other mud being slung. Poor Treyarch, like a child caught in a divorce, became unfairly treated especially by the Call of Duty fans claiming that it was the puppet of Activision and therefore evil. Apparently everyone on the whole internet claimed that due to Activisions poilicies of World Domination that they wouldn’t buy Treyarchs Black Ops. Now months later and looking at the sales figures, apparently they were all lying.
You can read about that whole fiasco on Kotaku : http://bit.ly/gWB6G4
So Black Ops got released November 9th, but I was forbidden from purchasing as it had already been earmarked as a christmas present. Yesterday, with Clare and Beth out the house, I tried it for the first time.
Modern Warfare (1 & 2) and Black Ops all play in a similar style. Treyarch have done a very good job of continuing the series without making it apparent that there’s a new development studio at the wheel (they are of course responsible for CoD World at War and some other previous CoD titles). Having completed the single player campaign in one six hour sitting it could have been a little longer, but the focus on the CoD series later is obviously leaning towards the multiplayer community. Those six hours however were a cinematic experience. The twisted plotlines, multi-character perspectives, and massive explosions could rival any big budget low thinking thriller that Hollywood could produce today. In order to keep up the pace though, I did feel like the game was railroading me into the action. I had no choice as to where to proceed in a level, with usually only one path to follow and enemies randomly jumping out along the way. The helicopter level especially had hidden walls that prevented you from just flying off into the jungle. Having come from playing huge sandbox titles like Just Cause 2 I found this a little constricitve.
Like I said though, multiplayer is where this game will get it’s longevity. i can’t imagine how may hours I’ve played Team Deathmatch on Modern Warfare 2, but it must at least be into hundreds of hours. With this enthusiasm I tried this out. I joined my first game, and got dropped to the lobby after ten seconds. Dissapointing. I joined my second game and did reasonably well for not knowing the map. I was even very pleased when I managed to get the game winning kill, which was then displayed for everyone to see. At that point I got a torrent of abuse over the microphones of other player for being a “camping noob”, due to the fact that I was only a level 1 player. This is the downside of multiplayer. Despite being a certificate 18 title there are still far too many 12 year olds with potty mouths running around xbox live acting like complete arseholes. Dissapointing.
Did I enjoy CoDBlops, yes. Was it the smash hit and everything that Activision said it would be, no. I think inifinity Ward had just a little better polish on their titles. Will it continue to sell through the roof, of course it will.