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Having developed a taste for first person shooter games thanks to Medal Of Honor and Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2, I decided to treat myself to Call Of Duty Black Ops. I was yet to decide whether I preferred Call Of Duty or Medal Of Honor and I had high expectations for this game. Now I think it important to mention that the online sides of these games are good, but for me itís about the campaign or story mode or whatever you like to call it. I do enjoy the online element of the games but I have to be honest and say that I prefer the single player missions and on that basis I set off on the Black Ops journey.
with the more recent Call Of Duty games taking a more modern view of warfare it was an interesting move for them to tackle the Cold War. A time that hasnít really been explored in Video Games but COD tackles a new era for the franchise and actually did it reasonably well. Within the game you can feel the heightened tension that the Cold War created and the way the makers have brought this to life through the plot and the scenarios the character is cast into work really well to create a tactical environment for the player.
Cuban Missile Crisis
The game is split into two different factions. First of all you have the single player campaign mode, during which you assume the role of Alex Mason a CIA agent sent behind enemy lines with Seal Teams to capture intel and prevent threats to America. Unlike my complaints with Medal Of Honor the plot is a lot better. It develops throughout the game and although the main cut sequences with your character strapped to a chair you feel there is a good reason for this and as the story develops it becomes a lot more intriguing. The cut sequences and in game graphics are really good and it also has a plot to back it up.
Iíve also found with the two COD games Iíve played to date that the story seems to last a lot longer than the Medal Of Honor game I played. It took me at least 4 or 5 days of reasonable length game time to get all the way through the 15 scenes within the game to find out exactly why Mason was being held captive. The settings take you from the Jungles of Vietnam to the cold desolate setting of a Russian gulag in the Ural Mountains.
The settings within the game are incredible realistic and the more advanced technology becomes the more realistic games like this appear to be becoming. During the game you get to pilot a number of different vehicles from a helicopter to a boat and again this adds another dimension rather than just being a point and shoot game. The game difficulty depends on your level of ability but i found that the settings increased how difficult the game were in decent amounts as you went from one level to another. In fact my biggest complaint of the game was the vehicle sections as the helicopter in particular could have been easier to control.
I found that the most impressive aspect of the game was the storyline though as it developed the lead characters well along the way. You get dragged into Masonís story and really feel compelled to find out who is asking him the questions and why. The missions themselves are the memories Mason is being reminded off and itís his way of telling his captors his story. The plot has some very good twists and turns along the way, which really impressed me.
One of the aspects the Call Of Duty series is famed for is its online gameplay and Black Ops is no exception. I found that the range of levels was quite good and the quality of the opponents meant there was something on offer for every level of gamer. I used to worry about the speed of my internet connection and the ability of online gamers with games like this, but the game, even on our slow connection performed well and the opponents were really mixed making it a lot fairer for everyone.
As the makers push the Playstation to test its capabilities the quality of gaming output is continually improving. I started playing this game in HD and was impressed with the quality of the graphics and the overall look. Half way through the mission we bought our new 3D TV and whilst the HD graphics were good the 3D is amazing. With the addition of depth the characters look a lot better and the realism seems to increase. In particular when you shoot someone the wounds seem more realistic and itís through these kinds of details that the gaming experience is only going to get better.
Just like the graphics the quality of the special effects and in particular the sounds are incredible, bringing the game more to,life. From the sound of your weapon as it fires on an enemy position to the change in breathing as your character prepares to take a shot with a sniper rifle, every detail has been accounted for. Even the music and cut scene sequences sound and look as you would want them to enhancing the gaming experience.
Game Play & Control
I do firmly believe with the more of this type of game that I play that its games like this that the console control pad actually comes into their own. Each of the buttons performs one task and one task only and as the game is told from the eyes of your character looking down the barrel of his gun it is pretty easy to work out the controls. The firing action is quite easy and even though it took me a little while to work out the running action is also pretty simple. There is a lot more hand to hand combat in this game than Iíve experienced in others too but the game guides you through this really well.
The left stick on the PS3 pad is used to make your character walk and turn and as the game progresses you get more used to the response time between your controller and the character. The controls are pretty basic, making it quite easy to get to grips with. This is a gameplay method that I think works on all games of this style of games and opens them up to even the most novice of computer game player.
Having been won over to this style of game by the latest Medal Of Honor it is perhaps a shame that my allegiance has changed to Call Of Duty. The deciding factor has however been the plot contained within the game and the general length of the game. As far as value for money this game offers a lot more than Medal Of Honor and as the mission aspect of these games is my main consideration then the plot of the Call Of Duty games just seems to have been better planed.
I was impressed with the game on the whole, it had some really good settings, easy to control gameplay and an interesting plot. Iíve read that this isnít as good as some of the older Call Of Duty games but other than the Modern Warfare series this is one of my favourite first person shooters on the PS3. Iíve recently started to play some of the older ones but so far Black Ops has been the best first person shooter I have played. Thatís not to say it couldnít have been better but from the style of game this is the one Iíve enjoyed the most.
Platform: PS3 Other Platforms: PC, Wii & Xbox 360 Age Ė 18 plus