So if you know anything about me, you should know that I love me some Call O' Duty. I've been a reasonably loyal buyer over the years ever since I first played the original Call of Duty (Wayyyy back in WWII) on PC. Well now that the series has progressed all the way to modern day (and made more money that JESUS) we come to Black Ops.
Here's some background for those of you not in the know.
The original Call of Duty (hereafter referred to as CoD) was produced by a teensy tiny studio called Infinity Ward. The game was eventually picked up by production company Activision (of Pitfall, Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero fame) and won game of the year. Naturally, milking that cow for all it was worth, Infinity Ward ground out CoD 2: Patriotic Subtitle Here...Once that got its huge release as well, Activision began milking ever more furiously. Soon expansions came out (CoD: United Offensive and CoD 2:Big Red One <-I hope they fired whoever the fuck came up with that one....) followed by more games. But tiny little Infinity Ward couldn't produce milk as fast as Activision was yanking, so they brought on a second studio to make games for the CoD series. This studio was called Treyarch, and was presumably staffed by a bunch of Infinity Ward wannabes. Lemme put it this way...Infinity Ward is to J.K. Rowling as Treyarch is to those creepy people who write Harry/Ron/Voldemort slash fics in their basements.
Throughout time, the Treyarch games have NEVER been as good as the Infinity Ward games, and Black Ops is no different. Everything about Black Ops is lacking in some way. For example, the sprint mechanic feels fake, as if your character model is simply swinging its arms and gliding forwards at a slightly faster than normal pace. Or when a building blew up early in the campaign and I saw I-beams (that would have probably weighed upwards of 400 pounds) spinning and skidding across the ground as if they weighed nothing. The hands holding the plastic-y looking gun seem like they were modeled after early era Malibu Ken dolls that could never quite get their shit together. And in the end, it all adds up to this somewhat uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw once described this feeling as having some stranger, thinly disguised as your best friend coming by your house, and all you can do is sit there and uncomfortably wonder if he is going to leave or disembowl you and use your guts as a jumprope (paraphrased...terribly...). The point is, there is a sense of familiarity that surrounds Black Ops, but each of its TINY little mistakes adds up to an altogether less than wonderful experience.
Bearing in mind that the game is all of 24 HOURS OLD and naturally since I have a job and pretend to be a USEFUL member of society for upwards of 12 hours a day, I don't have all that much time to play. Maybe it will get better and the beginning is just shit...Maybe the multiplayer will end up being the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST that gamers have been looking for (read as an EVEN BETTER goldeneye)....Maybe Zombies will be the saving grace of this otherwise pedestrian shooter....then again, maybe the disk will jump out of the tray and begin blowing me. In the end, I'm not holding my breath.
All in all, the hype worked against it in my opinion. The game feels anything but spectacular. If you have the money to spend, then do it. But there are better games out there if you ask me.
And that's what I learned today.
DISCLAIMER: THESE ARE MY OPINIONS, YOU DON'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME! THE SAME WAY YOU DON'T REALLY HAVE TO LISTEN TO THAT "CAUTION 50,000 VOLTS" SIGN ON THE THIRD RAIL OF THE SUBWAY.