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Review: Call Of Duty: Black Ops - PC, Xbox 360, PS3

by Steven Williamson on 11 November 2010, 16:20 4.2

Tags: Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI), FPS

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Rain hell with your Death Machine

The plot is clichéd and the middle a little confusing, with one twist too many threatening to spoil things, but it’s engaging from the start. Through some great looking cut-scenes and explosive scripted sequences, it delivers impressively in the end and builds things up very nicely throughout. Black Ops isn't going to win any awards for script-writing, but it’s an entertaining storyline with strong voice acting from the lead characters and the impressive star cast, which includes Gary Oldman.

The plot is set during the Cold War period where you're involved in a number of black operations that take you from a Soviet Labour Camp to hunting the streets of Cuba for Fidel Castro, then from the battered trenches of Vietnam to the inner sanctum of the Pentagon to meet none other than U.S. President, Nixon. Aside from visiting some iconic places, none more impressive than the Pentagon offices, what makes it all the more intriguing is that you’re playing the game through your flashbacks.

In the current year, 1968, you’re strapped to a chair and are being interrogated by people that you don’t know. You have numbers whizzing around your head and neither you nor your captors know what they mean. Via flashbacks, you move between 1961 to the present day where you finally work out who these people are and what the numbers mean. Inevitably, that means shooting a lot of folk to get answers and using a variety of different weapons for different situations. Such is the diversity of the weapon set in Black Ops that you'll be blasting away at close quarters with a shotgun at one minute and then executing stealth kills from a far with a crossbow the next.

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Though Black Ops is a typical-Treyarch Call of Duty experience, variety comes in the form of the scenarios you face and the locations you visit. You start off on the streets of Cuba, where buildings can provide refuge and danger as you press enemy forces back through the relatively condensed area. You might then switch to an on-rails section and command the gun on the back of a jeep as you flee from attackers, or be in charge of calling in tactical air-strikes on buildings and tanks. Disappointingly, there aren't that many ways that you can progress forward through the missions. Some levels allow you to take alternative routes through buildings, but largely you’ll be moving forward following your team-mates on a set path. This means that using tactics rarely comes into it. The only real tactical know-how that you need is ensuring you have the right weapon equipped for the right circumstance, namely choosing a long-range, short-range or anti-vehicle weapon. Stealth play breaks things up occasionally, but largely you’ll be looking down your iron-sights for the majority of the game and blasting away like your life depends on it.

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