Since it’s release, I’ve had no less than 5 people tell me to by Call of Duty: Black Ops, usually because quote:
“Trust me, you’ll like it.”
That’s 5 different people inside of what, a week?
Now it should be noted that most of these people are not exactly close friends of mine, and are thusly unaware of how cheap/Azn/stingy I am when it comes to purchasing games, particularly at full retail price.
I suppose it also helps that I have a distinct phobia of register clerks, which makes the purchasing process all the more difficult.
We’ll get into that some other time…
Anyway, while I have yet to buy into the hype and pick myself up a copy of Black Ops, today I was fortunate to have the game quite literally brought to my door by my Krn buddy from up the street.
While both of us are veterans of the Call of Duty series, spanning all the way to the original title; my friend has been playing them online on his PS3 quite consistently in the past few years, making him a far more experienced player than myself.
I sort of dropped out of the series after Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
I had it for the PC, and really enjoyed it for the most part, however I never played it online; and rarely caught myself missing it when I had to format my PC.
That being said, I would never consider any game in the Call of Duty series to be anything less than excellent.
Well, except maybe Call of Duty 3… And maybe Big Red One.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say here, is that I’ve played COD, and I like COD, so don’t get butt hurt if it sounds like I’m being mean to your precious COD.
That being said, here’s my first impression of Black Ops after about 2-3 hours of online split screen play with my friend:
Black Ops makes me feel like an old man.
An old man with poor eyesight and shitty reflexes.
In short, like any online COD experience, the game is an insanely fast-paced rollercoaster ride of half second moments of awesome, followed by equally miniscule (yet all too frequent) moments of fail and butt hurt.
You run around, you shoot at things that move/have evil red words hanging over their head, and you die.
And yet, this unbelievably troglodytic cycle of mayhem and Red Bull fueled chaos somehow equates to something fun.
This is coming from somehow who’s probably played 10 hours of COD over the past 5 years, and just played Black Ops for the first time today.
What I mean to say is:
From what I can tell, I sucked pretty epicly at Black Ops my first time out.
My kill-death ratio was in the neighborhood of .70-.80, while my buddy’s was 2.0 even.
As mentioned above, the online component of Black Ops has an interesting (well, at least to me it’s interesting…) flow to it.
For a FPS newb such as myself, the game felt alarmingly fast, as if everything in the game world, my character included, was moving just a half beat quicker than I was ready for.
Then again, I’ve been playing Demon’s Souls and Metal Gear Solid 4 for the past several weeks, so by comparison; just about anything would seem fast…
Being a newb really hurt me in Black Ops.
At times, I found myself getting killed quite rapidly, to the point where it felt downright embarrassing.
Despite this, to it’s credit, Black Ops, like any COD game I’d imagine, manages to counter this quite well with it’s quick pacing.
In short, you simply aren’t given enough time to feel shitty about anything in the game, ’cause in most cases you’ll be back in the fight in no time anyway.
That being said, it should be noted that I felt myself “going numb” at times.
That is to say, I would kill and die, (mostly die) and do something cool every now and again, but everything came so clustered together, that I would just stop caring after awhile.
When you don’t care whether you live or die in a game, that either means that the stakes of the game aren’t all that important, the actual gameplay experience isn’t as meaningful as one would hope, or the player is someone that truly doesn’t give a fuck.
I was somewhere between the first and the last portions of the above statement, however I’d imagine it would really ruin someone’s day to find that their feelings coincide with the second.
Make no mistake, playing COD online is a very different beast from playing something like Demon’s Souls that severely punishes failure.
It’s an instant gratification game that punishes and rewards by inches, with all the worthwhile rewards only coming as a result of logging a great deal of playtime hours.
Personally, I prefer my games to have tangible stakes tied to my performance, however this is simply a case of personal preference.
Regardless, I died all the time when I was playing Black Ops, and while that pissed me off from time to time, particularly when I was getting my ass handed to me mere seconds after respawning, I’d usually forget about it once I got my legs back under me and scored a kill or 2.
In a sense, playing COD online is a strangely bipolar experience, with pleasurable and frustrated emotions coming and going as rapidly as they can manifest.
And they say A.D.D. isn’t a problem among the current generation…
From a features standpoint, while I can’t really compare it to the previous COD games all that much, I have to say, it seems like Black Ops has a lot going for it.
The equipment and perk customization is back, largely unchanged from it’s previous iterations.
The map selection is well varied, and seems adequate in quantity, with a number of the maps being tailor made for the Ground War mode in the sense that close-quarters engagements are almost a guarantee.
The Nazi Zombie mode from World At War is back, and seems to be a little more forgiving than it’s previous iteration.
That is to say, the weapons are more effective for the most part, and the initial map is far more spacious, lending the player a great deal more survivability due to their ability to turn tail and run if need be.
Outside of that though, Nazi Zombies feels largely the same, albeit with a lighter tone, a few campy power ups, and a more frantic pace.
Anyway, I only played Black Ops for a few hours, but those are my thoughts.
It seems like a pretty good game, though my lack of skill, combined with my recently adopted positive stance towards “deeper” gameplay experiences, leads me to believe that I probably won’t be buying another COD game anytime soon.
Sorry peoples that told me to by Black Ops, while I did indeed “like it,” I think I’m gonna’ hang onto my $60 for now.