The most successful console gaming franchise ever has returned with Call of Duty: Black Ops, a game that has already shattered sales records ahead of the holiday season. Millions of fans rushed to stores on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to get their copy of Black Ops, the newest release by gaming publisher Activision. The series, known for its dramatic yet adrenaline pumping Hollywood-style campaign and multi player that centers around weapons customization returns with its best installment yet.
The game takes place in the Cold War era during the Kennedy presidency and the campaign revolves around the protagonist Alex Mason, a former black operations operative for the United States. The campaign mode begins with a compelling scene, which starts you off in a room being tortured and brainwashed by an unknown man, who is trying to retrieve important information from you. The only problem is that your character does not remember the information, which is why you find yourself being tortured and treated with psychoactive drugs.
The missions are made primarily of Mason’s flashbacks to his time spent serving in the black ops branch of the military. His missions take place behind enemy lines and are presented as super-secret government operations. The first mission revolves around Mason’s role in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and his involvement in a CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. The campaign features amazing in-game visuals as well as dramatic cut scenes. The variety of missions and locales is sure to keep the player entertained for the estimated 10 hours it takes to complete the campaign. Russian slave mines, the jungles of Vietnam, the tundra of the Arctic and the symmetrical hallways of the Pentagon all provide backdrops for the game’s theatrical campaign.
The game also brings back the infamous Nazi zombies game mode that both enthralled and frightened players as they were being overrun by undead Nazi soldiers. In one of the game modes players can now play as Whittier alumnus Richard Nixon as he uses a variety of weapons to protect the Pentagon from a zombie invasion. The zombie game mode has been vastly expanded and some levels now have story line aspects that only deepen a game mode that has become a hallmark of the series.
The multi player that has captivated millions of fans worldwide is what sets the Call of Duty franchise apart from the rest. New weapons and equipment like a crossbow and a remote control car strapped with explosives add new twists to the already strong gameplay formula that was nearly perfected in previous games.
The last version of Call of Duty was released last fall, with their installment of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The most notable change in the newest version is the addition of a new monetary system that is used to purchase weapons and their attachments as well as perks and equipment. Players can also buy contracts that reward them handsomely on their investment if they can achieve certain feats while playing online. Some examples of these feats are getting five headshots in one life or winning three games in a row in a given amount of time.
This feature, along with the new wager game modes, uses currency to enhance gameplay by introducing a new gambling aspect to playing online, where players can bet against each other or against the house.
The older game modes that have engrossed gamers for hours in previous versions return untouched. Aside from connectivity issues and lag that some gamers experience, the multi player experience returns better and stronger than ever before.
Publisher Activision teamed up with developer Treyarch instead of returning with Infinity Ward in a move received with mixed emotions but ultimately the finished product speaks for itself. Call of Duty: Black Ops is a game every first-person shooter fan should own.
The franchise that has become known for raised the bar and defining the console shooter genre over the past few years has only risen the bar further with Call of Duty: Black Ops.