When Treyarch announced they will be making the 7th instalment of the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops, it garnered the same response as when Modern Warfare 2 was released. But did they make the right choice?
Black Ops was released in 2010 to huge fanfare, after months of leaked footage, game play and raving reviews. However, many believe Treyarch took a risk basing the game around like a political thriller, pulling away slightly from the typical Call of Duty storyline and trend.
You play American agent Alex Mason, a man torn between fighting for his country and playing puppet to the enemy. The story begins in 1961 at the height of the Vietnam War and follows Mason and his outfit for seven years. Among the men is a familiar face: Viktor Reznov from World at War fame. In Black Ops, he plays a large role helping the Allied forces. His appearance added excitement, wonder and slight concern from players who questioned his motive and role in the game. Treyarch broke the rules and it seemed to have paid off.
Black Ops is unique and very unlike any other Call of Duty game; so much so that it seems you are playing an entirely new shooter. It’s cinematic, beautiful and vividly epic. It plays out perfectly like a Ridley Scott thriller, keeping you on the edge of your seat. But be prepared for a huge plot twist at the end of the game.
However, unlike others from the franchise, your movements are scripted and monitored. A fault made famous with EA’s Medal of Honor is the annoying trend of other characters running off without you, leaving the player scratching their head and often being punished, citing you have failed a plan or lost your team. This happens quite frequently if you do not keep up with the current mission or decide to explore. It does inhibit the player’s freedom within the game.
Created with the same engine as World at War, the game offers players similarities in the finest of the details in the music, AI and even coming down to the familiar blood splatter. There is a noticeable comparison to be made between Black Ops and World at War and Infinity Ward’s masterpiece Modern Warfare 2. For the first time in Call of Duty history, the playable character is seen and heard, marking a new trend in the franchise.
Despite its small flaws, Black Ops is a masterpiece catapulting Treyarch into new found respect and admiration with Call of Duty fans. With new weaponry, powerful characters and a unique plotline, this game will mostly find its place in history.