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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Impressions: Call of Duty Black Ops

Faithful Cathode readers know that I was somewhat torn about the release of Modern Warfare 2.  In one hand, it was a slick looking military shooter with some brilliant cinematic scenes and lots of stuff blowing up.  One the other hand, it felt like it was written by a frantic monkey with homicidal tendencies and the entire No Russian controversy was clearly absurd sensationalism.

Black Ops sees the franchise in the hands of Treyarch and the early review is that they've handled it quite well.  I can't speak to the single player campaign yet, going to crack that open over the weekend - so it's difficult to say how reviews claiming it is "the best story in the series" compares to, well, actual storytelling - but I can be hopeful.

Multiplayer is still the tightly designed gameplay that military shooter fans have grown to expect.  There's little variation here from past editions - thought I have to say that I often forget how important it can be to play the same online game as a few hundred thousand other people at the same time.  Stability still seems to be a bit of a concern, and can certainly be annoying when you've had a particularly good round and get dropped - but hardly a big deal when you can just jump right back into another game in about a minute.

In the hours I spent in the game, I tended to drift to the more "strategic" game modes.  I never seem to do well point wise when it's pure deatchmatch, but I am glad to see objective based game modes which actually work.  I still remember back in the CounterStrike days how nearly every game, no matter the mode, descended quickly into Team Deathmatch - and there's occasionally the same here, but for the most part you have a game which helps team quickly organize for specific, simple goals, and it just works.

Tentatively a huge thumbs up - I'm willing to say this may be the game I wanted Modern Warfare 2 to be.