Call of Duty: Black Ops Review by JoeyCartoonz

16 Jan 2011 29 Aug 2011
47 23 9
Let me start off by stating that I am a huge Call of Duty fan since COD4. COD4 was incredible and even though MW2 has some aggravating flaws and a poorly told single player it’s still worthwhile game overall. So when I heard about Black Ops, I couldn’t wait for it to come out. I pre-ordered it and then counted down the days until November 9, 2010. The whole time waiting I thought to myself: “Treyarch will have learned from MW2’s mistakes and will make a game that brings back COD4’s greatness with some of the good aspects from MW2. Treyarch will succeed and it will be awesome!!!” November 9 came and all that hype I had built up for Black Ops turned into disappointment and hate. It took a couple months to clear my mind of that anger and see what Black Ops has to offer us. The game has many good aspects, as one would expect from a Call of Duty game, but it is also has a lot of setbacks from those previously mentioned Call of Dutys, that makes it disappointing. Just a warning, I believe it is necessary to compare this game heavily to its predecessors.

Graphics/ Sound

It seems Treyarch tried to make Black Ops more colorful than the previous Call of Dutys. At times the colors and textures look spectacular and at other times they look plain and uninviting. Animations are good for the most part. Overall the graphics are decent, but definitely a step backwards from MW2.

The sound in Black Ops is good. Even though the music jumps around quite a bit, I think it fits and is well done. Gary Oldman, Sam Worthington, and Ed Harris do great jobs with their respective parts in single player.

Single Player

The storyline takes place in the 1960’s and is told through the eyes of one U.S. soldier, Alex Mason. He’s being interrogated and every question he’s asked leads him to a flashback. Each flashback turns into a mission played with him. There are all kinds of twists and turns in the story and for the most part it’s a lot of non-stop action. The story isn’t particularly long (a common theme with shooters these days, unfortunately) and is definitely beatable in a day. Just like previous Call of Duty’s, there are many scripted events and sequences. Many of them are great, but some lack the intensity, look, and overall feel of the one’s in MW2. Also, just like previous Call of Duty’s the enemy AI is beyond stupid, although at times I found it pretty entertaining to watch. There are also some noticeable flaws in the level design that can become aggravating, but for the most part they shouldn’t cause too many problems. Overall, I think most people will enjoy this experience.


I believe most people spend $60 on Call of Duty games to play multiplayer and here is where Black Ops really disappoints for me. I feel as though the changes to Black Ops from its predecessors only take away from what makes their multiplayer’s so great and addictive. In other instances I feel as though Treyarch is just stuck in Infinity Ward’s shadow and can’t find their way out. Here is my rundown:

The Good:

It’s no surprise that Treyarch decided to bring back “Zombies” mode and people seem to find it just as fun as it was in WAW. Treyarch added a Theater mode, where one can film and watch matches, as well as his/her friend’s matches. They also added a mode called “Combat Training,” where one can set up matches just like multiplayer, but with enemy and ally AI. There are also some small yet cool changes such as an interactive main menu, a global map showing where people are playing around the world, and an addition to every players profile called the “COD Playercard” which shows all kinds of stats about the player. All of these are welcome additions and can be a lot of fun.

The Whatever’s:

This time around Treyarch decided to introduce a currency system to the Call of Duty multiplayer (sort of similar to the one they used in Quantum of Solace). The new system uses “COD points” to buy weapons, camos, gun attachments, killstreaks, emblems, titles, etc. This is separate from the traditional Call of Duty multiplayer “XP,” which is used to level up. I feel as though the currency system makes no improvement on the multiplayer and takes away from the fun of leveling up. I love how in MW2 there are challenges to complete to get the coolest emblems and titles, headshots to rack up to get the best looking camos, and certain types of kills to accumulate in order to unlock gun attachments. Now with Black Ops a player can play for a while, accumulate some COD points, and buy the items he/she wants sooner. This leaves little extra incentive to play. I believe Treyarch added a contract system and wager matches in order to add that extra incentive, by betting COD points. They’re fun for a while but ultimately the setup is not as rewarding as the previous Call of Duty multiplayer’s.

A major complaint from people who have played MW2’s multiplayer was the lack of perk balance. Certain perks could be combined together and be abused, which at times made MW2 a frustrating experience. Treyarch set out to solve this problem with Black Ops by getting rid of some perks, such as commando, danger close, martyrdom and stopping power. This was great at first, but the more I played the more I realized some perks had been made worse. People abused perks such as Ghost (UAV jammer in COD4 and cold-blooded in MW2) and Second chance (Last stand in COD4 and MW2) to the point of frustration. This being said I do think the perk balance is much better than MW2 and generally not as frustrating, but it’s not perfect.

The Bad:

Of course the previous things I mentioned would not matter that much if the game had great maps, guns, and was just plain fun to play. RIGHT??? Unfortunately this is where Black Ops really disappoints.

The maps (for lack of a better word) SUCK!!! I remember playing computer games and building my own maps with a map-maker tool. Put a mountain here, a bridge there, and a couple trees over here. I feel as though this is what Treyarch did; they were just having fun making maps. When I play COD4 I feel like the maps have purpose to them and are all well balanced. One can use all the different gun classes effectively on almost every map. In Black Ops the maps seem to be only geared towards using assault rifles and little else. This leads me to the actual guns themselves. In an attempt to get rid of “quick scoping, ” Treyarch decided to give snipers a hitch when scoping in. This makes it very difficult to be an effective sniper. Shotguns and submachine guns are underpowered and even in close combat are not as effective as assault rifles. Combine this gun un-balance with the large assault rifle made maps, one is pretty much forced to use assault rifles to be effective against good players. I loved the days of COD4 where I could use a variety weapons on multiple maps and it just drives me insane being forced to only use assault rifles map in and map out in order to be an effective player.


In the end, I personally feel disappointed with Black Ops and I can definitely see how people hate the game. But at the same time, I have friends who love the game and play it to death and there okay with some of those things I hate and can’t stand. If your okay with some of the things I mentioned and you have a bunch of friends playing Black Ops, then it will probably be a great game for you and you will think I am an idiot. But if your like me and some of those things might bother you, then I would suggest you play COD4 and MW2 first, if you haven’t done so already, and also other series on the market such as Battlefield or even Halo, or maybe rent or borrow a friend’s Black Ops.

This is my first review so any suggestions on how I can improve would be much appreciated. Feel free to comment too and thanks for reading!!!
xXCHAPTERF0URXxi find it funny that if this game gets less than 5 stars in a review people vote negatively. This game is just so horrible.
Posted by xXCHAPTERF0URXx on 17 Jan 11 at 01:03
IrishBeatdownThis review is just so.......right.
Posted by IrishBeatdown on 18 Jan 11 at 05:01
JoeyCartoonzThanks for the support!!!
Posted by JoeyCartoonz on 18 Jan 11 at 20:01
WookieKiller247Great review, keep it up!
Posted by WookieKiller247 on 20 Jan 11 at 21:05
No the thing I love about Cod Blackops is the shift to assualt rifles, that's what's smart about it, MW2 was plagued with t\entire teams of snipers, Blackops is balanced, in the right situation sniping is effective, shotguns are too, but that's just it, the game wants you to adapt, I'm sorry all you want to do is snipe, but I feel Blackops actually makes players change, and the maps aren't always as pretty of as effective as those in MW2, but I will say this, the maps in Blackops are fair, their are no fully indoors, or fully outdoors maps, so again you have to adapt, snipers are really only good at range, and shotguns are good up close, while assualt rifles are supposed to be the bread and butter of multiplayer, in Blackops, there are fewer campers, there are fewer noob tuber, and maps don't feature objectives in places where there are easy camp spots to kill anyone who gets near the objective from any angle. If you want to do all the BS things like noob tubing, and camping, go play MW2, but I for one love Blackops, it's a million times more balanced than MW2 (which I love as well, but has some serious gameplay flaws)
Posted on 11 Apr 11 at 22:56
JoeyCartoonzThanks for the comments!!!

I'm going to make some changes to the review to better reflect my opinion and then I will share my thoughts on your comments.
Posted by JoeyCartoonz on 12 Apr 11 at 03:21
JoeyCartoonzYou are right. Black Ops is much more balanced than MW2. I re-wrote a couple sections of my review to hopefully reflect that fact. Much less noob-tubing, quick-scoping, and overall aggravation.

I guess your points on shotguns and snipers have to do with how I define “effective.” To me COD4 is the standard. I could go ten straight maps and used five different classes of weapons and be among the top 3 each time. To me, that’s effective. Shotguns and subs are good in close quarters, snipers at range, and assaults are balanced. I’ve never seen anyone do well consistently while sniping or shotgunning in Black Ops. Is it possible, sure I guess with a truly great player, but probable, no. The maps are just to open to allow them to be effective. Add in that assaults are naturally much better than the other weapons. Take the Famas, in close quarters a sub should win most of the time, but countless times, they don’t. Same with the AK-47 and the Commando, their more effective at close range than subs and shotguns and more effective at long range than snipers.

And I didn’t say all I wanted to do was snipe. I just like sniping periodically (not quick-scoping, I can’t do that, plus it’s cheap and I hate it), and I want to be effective when I do it, like in COD4. I don’t know that’s just how I feel and those are my thoughts.
Posted by JoeyCartoonz on 15 Jun 11 at 05:33
iksolokosYou shouldn't ever compare a game to its predecessor. Each game stands on its own. Exceptions happen, i.e. if you are reviewing Assassin's Creed II and you reference some of Assassin's Creed's story. Your love for COD4 should not reflect you love of any other game with "Call of Duty" in the title.
Posted by iksolokos on 17 Jun 11 at 13:19
JoeyCartoonzI think I can see where your coming from, but I think the I think it’s necessary to compare games to one another as a measuring stick. I think the ultimate point of a review is for the reader to get a better understanding of whether or not the game is worth his/her money.

Even game review sites such as IGN and Gamespot mention the same facts in their reviewing philosophies. The assumption is that someone has a limited amount of money and time. Someone should want to play a game that worth his/her time and money. So In my opinion the reader would get more enjoyment (for less money I add) out of playing COD4, the Halo series, and the Battlefield Series.

Activision pops out a new Call of Duty every year and a lot of people, myself included, feel that over the years the games aren’t getting any better, even though they seem to be selling more and more. Each game costs $60 and all the downloadable contents now are $15 each. In my opinion, there are more games out their worth your time and money.
Posted by JoeyCartoonz on 17 Jun 11 at 16:47