Reader Reviews: Call of Duty: Black Ops

Reader Reviews: Call of Duty: Black Ops

You’ve heard what Kotaku had to say about Call of Duty: Black Ops, but now it’s the turn of Justin Robson, who has written up a reader review on the Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer section.

Take it away Justin…

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Rather than a fully featured review, I thought I might write my impressions of the multiplayer aspect of the game so far. I know personally I was getting sick of all the bullshit that came along with Modern Warfare 2, and that a lot of people who were looking for a more skillful experience may pass up Black Ops. Regardless, I bought the game, and here’s what I think of it so far:

Less bloated: This was my number one complaint about Modern Warfare 2, it was just too over the top. There’s nothing wrong with a game that has a lot of content, but it was claustrophobic. Black Ops on the other hand delivers on the content, but scales back to what feels more focused, more streamlined and less messy. There have been too many tweaks to the gameplay to list, but things like the commando perk being gone, the removal of quick scoping snipers, and some of the more advantageous perks/weapons are just what we needed all along.

There’s some skill involved now: MW2 was a severely unfair game, which tended to punish those who played honestly. You could get by doing nothing more than exploiting the game’s ridiculous balance issues. I proved this to myself once by coming first in a free for all match without firing a single bullet. It was stupidly easy to do so: marathon, lightweight and commando perks with a tactical knife was all it took. Then on top of this even was the one hit kill auto aim euthanasia device – the Intervention… among many other things (claymorons, noob tubers, ‘nade spammers…) I’m harping on about the previous game, but I can round all this off by simply stating that Black Ops has fixed all these issues. It’s no longer a game about who can setup the most insane class, but rather the twitchy, reflex based combat that made the series so famous to begin with. It makes up for everything MW2 did wrong, and that’s saying a lot.

Cold war era: I was admittedly disappointed when I heard that Black Ops wasn’t a Vietnam epic, but a more general “Cold War era” game. After playing it, now I think they couldn’t have picked a better setting. The CoD series has always been gun porn, and Black Ops is set during the late 1960s: a time when the technology was advanced even by today’s standards, and was evolving at an amazing rate. Everything is so well integrated here, and it’s fascinating that most if not all of the guns featured in Black Ops are still in use in the real world. It wasn’t such a “cold” war after all.

Nothing but respect for Treyarch: a few years ago, Treyarch were living in Infinity Ward’s shadow. Now they’ve quietly surpassed them. I think firstly that they’re hugely talented developers who have been repressed by Activision into making the same old WWII shooters over and over. Now they’ve been given a bit of creative freedom they’re beginning to stand out. Secondly, they’ve managed to put the series back into perspective, scaling back all the ridiculousness of Modern Warfare 2 and creating a more focused, skillful game.

Besides the fact that I wasted so much time playing Modern Warfare 2, there isn’t much I don’t like about Black Ops. What we’ve got here is a more focused game, not just a repeat of the bloated abomination that MW2 was. It’s the direction the series should have headed, and personally I’m going to be playing it for a very long time, perhaps even after next year’s inevitable Modern Warfare 3. We’ll see what happens, but for now you should be living and breathing Black Ops.

Agree? Disagree? How have you guys been finding Black Ops multiplayer so far?


  • I agree about the feature set, but Multiplayer right now is pretty stuffed in terms of raw performance on PS3 at least.

    So many frame rate issues etc. that effect how smooth it runs, and its just frustrating. Modern Warfare runs a bunch smoother than this. I can’t recommend it to anyone until this is fixed.

  • I think that’s the major reason why people are so frustrated with the netcode troubles on the PC, the bits and pieces people have played make them realise just how bloody fantastic this game is.

    I have some minor gripes as im sure most people do, but all in all i think this might (shock horror I know) be the best CoD yet… Feel free to disagree of course, but I honestly think it is.

  • I don’t play FPS multiplayer shooters, I just always like to read reader reviews.

    Just a note that when the hated section has nothing in it about what they could have done better it seems a bit biased. Maybe you should have put the location/setting comment down there. 😉

  • Well i’ll have to disagree 100%.

    What was so good about MW2 was the Tubes, Claymores and Grenades Launchers. Anyone who hated them just didn’t know how to use them. I hate snipers and campers (so boring). Each to there own.

    I do like Balck Ops, but its no where as fun as MW2. I feel the guns are less balanced than MW2. It takes a minimum 5-10 bullts to take someone down, yet they can take you out with 1-2 bullets depending on what gun they have.

    The perks are not very usefull so far. Scavenger doesn’t even re-kit your claymores or grenades. The explosives have a really small area of damage. Grenades are pretty much useless.

    Also the leveling up of the guns isn’t as easy as MW2. I still can’t find where to see what the challenges to get XP points.

    • I think you missed the point of the complaint about tubes etc. What do you mean “anyone who hated them just didn’t know how to use them”? Nobody hated them because they didn’t know how to use them – people hated them because EVERYONE knows how to use them. They’re unbalanced and cheap – that’s the point.

    • Oh and “It takes a minimum 5-10 bullts to take someone down, yet they can take you out with 1-2 bullets depending on what gun they have.”

      Are you still talking about mutliplayer here? Because if you are, please explain, that doesn’t make any sense. You’ve contradicted yourself – you say a problem with the game is that “you” – the player – need 5-10 bullets to kill other players. But those other players would also come under the umbrella of “you” – so do they need 1-2 bullets to kill or 5-10?

      I don’t mean to be blunt, but if you’re talking about multiplayer here, then the problem is with your aim – not game.

      • Well again i’ll have to disagree. Not many people did use the Thumper or Grenade Launchers. And only a few times i heard people whinging after i had nailed them heaps of times. And also people complaining on these types of sites.

        I am as accuarate with a Thumper as any good player with any gun. Nothing beats Thumping someone right in the face whether its close range, or a long distance shot.

        Well if you see the other comments there are many people who beleive the guns are unbalanced, again if you actually play online you would here everyone complaining as well.

        My main complaint is that i have to use guns i dont like to try to compete, due to them being unbalanced. The maps are so large its hard to find enemies, very boring. Campers and sniper heaven, shit for everyone else.

  • @vedderman

    That’s your opinion. But having noobtubes, rpg, claymore fest in a game is not the definition of fun.
    I played MW2 again for the first time in ages on the PS3 – it has turned into an absolute explosives fest. A few skilled players… but most people just use the noob tubes + danger close or whatever that perk was.

    I actually prefer the levlling system for Black Ops – It’s quite unique to have the cash to purchase the different weapons, perks, equipments, etc.

    Also – Zombie Nazis is a hellova lot more fun than Spec Ops 🙂

    “It takes a minimum 5-10 bullts to take someone down, yet they can take you out with 1-2 bullets depending on what gun they have. ”
    … I don’t get that.

    And i do like what they did with scavenger perk. No longer will it be “grenade, pickup via scavenger, grenade, pickup via scavenger, grenade, pickup via scavenger, grenade” etc etc.

    I applaud Treyarch for this.

    One beef for me thouhg – is whenever i exit campaign / finish a map in zombie mode – it does the whole short movie flash animation. That’s my only beef as of yet

    • on that last point; my friends and I were wondering if the movies actually screen loading delays – because when we’ve watched the movies through the campaign there hasn’t been any loading time for the most part between levels – in which case it makes sense due to the menu being a map itself instead of a static screen.

  • Im unhappy with how the guns are a lot weaker in multiplayer… 3 or more bursts with M-16 to take down one guy? Really?

    • I found the M16 – the first assault rifle unlocked – virtually useless for that reason. Which was strange because it was one of the more effective guns in MW2.

      Once I unlocked the next one – the Enfield – switched to that and found it much easier. Full auto, enough power to compete with sub machine guns at close range but enough accuracy to pick off players at medium range too. Coupled with the red dot sight is very useable.

      Haven’t got to the FAMAS yet but heard that’s good, although full auto this time instead of a burst weapon.

    • Don’t know how your aim is like but everyone I’ve killed took no more than 3 bursts and everyone else who’s killed me.. the samething.

  • I don’t see what everyone has been complaining about regarding the multiplayer. Its very smooth for me both lag wise and playing wise.

  • I’m loving that most people haven’t found the camping spots yet. I am sure its only a matter of time before it happens so i am enjoying it while it lasts.

    • Obviously you are lucky so far- I want to join YOUR camper-freelobbies.

      I find people camping on Nuketown (AKA New Rust), casually hanging out, making 4 and 5 KDR… never mind Jungle and others… Oh wells I guess Im just too gung-ho for my own good.
      Loving the Barebones option- no perks, killstreaks etc. Pure skill. (As long as you connection handles it for 10 minutes at a time- matchmaking needs some work).

  • Tell me Justin, is the multiplayer still mostly a camping competition or is there more action and map usage than running to the best hiding spots with a sniper rifle?

    • Although I haven’t encountered any of those absolute bastards of campers yet (I think for the first month at least it’s the more honest/dedicated players who are online mostly…) there are idiots in all online games that ruin it. But that said, there are some obvious measures that will hinder campers, and that’s simply the removal of overpowered weapons like the Intervention and the quick scoping perk.

      If I had to make one point that’s more important than any other, it’s that they’ve ironed out all the cheap exploits that people have been taking advantage of for so long. Simply not having the chronic knifers/teleporters has made the game so much more balanced and fair.

      @Vinnie, Darren and anyone else who said the guns are underpowered, I think a lot of people are finding Black Ops harder because they find that now they have to now… y’know… aim their weapons and pull the trigger to get kills? I know that I’ve always stayed true to my honest play style, and it’s finally paid off. I’m finding where I’d come near the bottom of the scoreboard in MW2 using nothing more than a vanilla M16, I’m coming top three nearly every time in Black Ops. For the longest time you couldn’t walk ten meters without being arseholed by some retard with an Intervention or a .50 cal…

      @Vedderman, I 100% disagree with you too. :p When I used all of those things, I got tonnes of kills. Cheap kills. It’s just not fun for me, I like to be challenged, that’s why I play online games. I don’t know why people bother if all they do is tube.

      @Palstran, I don’t know what they could have done better. It’s exactly what I wanted out of a CoD game. If that’s biased, so be it.

      I think that’s everyone, haha… as for frame rate, lag problems… I’m playing the 360 version and it’s beautiful. Oh well.

  • The return of Locale Only search is enough to beat MW2.

    Agree with the comments about guns being weaker for some reason, but I think it rewards more skilled players.

    Also, split-screen online is the single best addition to the CoD series.

  • I have been kicked out of the Playstation network in the middle of games about 5 times now.

    Lag is not to bad 98% of the time. But the spawn killing is out of control. So much camping going on as well.

    I also find some people kill me with half the bullets it takes me to kill them.

    No sound whoring sucks.

  • Yeah my friends letting me borrow his PS3 and Black ops while he writes his personal statement and its fliippin awesome man. Its got some new nazi zombies which is cool. I mean like ohhh yeaaaah

  • Yes!!! That tube, then explosion noise has finally stopped. I thought MW2 was epic, but this game is (new word) EPICSOME. Everything is nice and clean… The laws of explosive physics aren’t totally warped, horrifically disregarded or completely broken, like most detonations in MW2. Locomotion is way smoother on BO also. Even running on MW2 looked soooo special olympics (sorry being PC is restrictive). Downsides? I know the coders are going to squeeze every cheater assist they can on this one. Can’t wait to see what inject BO with.

  • Oh bollocks, I never played like a cheap twat in MW2, no Intervention, scavenger, etc, and obviously always faced those who did, yet I still could win each match. Black Ops has made the multiplayer mode severely boring by creating cavernously large apps, and then modifying the Marathon perk to not include unlimited sprint. I never found it to be a huge advantage when equipped, nor a huge detriment when faced — it simply made the game fun and compensated for some of the larger maps in MW2. This new iteration is just boring as you never can quite estimate just when you’ll stop sprinting. And you can now go a full minute in FFA without seeing an enemy. It bores.

  • I haven’t got the game yet, but I am happy they did something about that quick-scoping bull-crap. It was really annoying. I tried doing it myself once, and while I am shit with any sniper-rifle,
    I can’t understand what so fun about playing a shooter like a complete spastic crab.

    Did they do something about the boosting problem?
    After I got tired of constantly giving away weapons for Prestige, I decided to stick at level 70, and become a Booster Hunter.
    Heartbeat Sensor, Stopping Power and a nice TAR to finish them off quickly, and then hunt them down all over again.

  • I really want to love BlackOps, but at the moment it’s a huge disappointment.

    Imbalances and connection/matchmaking issues aside, MW2 looks fantastic and responds beautifully (on PS3).

    BlackOps feels completely off in comparison and the graphical and audio performance is absolutely dreadful (again on PS3). The framerate is jerky, graphics are rough, the guns all sound the same, explosions are muted (sound like party poppers), even the players footsteps are laughable and completely out of time. The killstreaks are pathetic, the maps look like a dogs breakfast…. In fact graphically it’s unquestionably inferior to MW1.

    Also, on the RC-XD: TREYARCH – WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! This is the most irritating feature of any video game I have ever played.

    I’ll keep playing to see if I warm to it, but right now I think it’s a piece of crap. All they needed to do was take MW2, fix the problems with the balance of some mechanics, offer some new weapons and create some new maps. I don’t get how they screwed it up this much.

    I realise I’m in the complete minority here, but that’s my thoughts so far. Real shame.

  • Hated

    -Sam Worthington: I played through the game constantly wondering if it was him, then quietly forgetting about it… then being reminded of it when he starts screaming in a VERY Australian accent. And it reminded me of that other, supposedly-American soldier-with-suspect-accent he played. He seems like a cool bloke, but dude… don’t they have voice coaches for this sort of thing?

    -Glitches: Played it on PS3 and my game would bug out all the goddamn time. Could not finish the first mission because Woods kept getting stuck on shit like barrels and I had to escort him through waves of Cubans. Had to restart (since it was first mission, had to restart the whole game) several times.


    -Everything else.

  • Gr8 review and I agree with most of it. Some of the campaign moments drag on and I start thinking I am playying a Final Fantasy game but once the game kicks in proper most of those moments are largely forgotton.

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