Thank COD for 'Black Ops'

"Call of Duty: Black Ops" is a step up from last year's lackluster "Modern Warfare 2" (Photo courtesy of
"Call of Duty: Black Ops" is a step up from last year's lackluster "Modern Warfare 2" (Photo courtesy of

By Kevin Mallin
Staff Writer
The second Tuesday of November is a holiday of sorts. Publisher Activision has turned the previously unknown date with its yearly release of the “Call of Duty franchise.
Last year’s smash hit, Modern Warfare 2, has sold 14 million copies since it’s 2009 release, making it one of the highest grossing games in entertainment history.
With numbers like these, it’s no surprise that the follow up, Call of Duty: Black Ops, has generated millions of pre-orders, and heaps of hype. Critics of the series have been quick to point out the rushed nature of these titles, and the similar style and appearance of the games.

This criticism is well placed, and Black Ops isn’t breaking any molds. However, developing Black Ops is a studio by the name of Treyarch. A shift from Infinity Ward, developers of both Modern Warfare games. The change in management is seen clearly, and the change is good.
A revamped multiplayer system and a surprisingly engrossing singleplayer make Black Ops the most complete Call of Duty yet.
The reason most responsible for the series’s ridiculously high sales is the online multi-player. Modern Warfare 2 gathered 8 million online players within the first five days of release, and Black Ops is likely to pick up where its predecessor left off.
Players are in for a change of pace however, and a welcome one at that. A large part of this is the new currency system in the game, known as COD Points. Pretty much every customizable aspect of the game requires these points.
COD Points are earned very simply by just playing the game, but a set of play lists called Wager Play lists allow players to bet on their own performance in more unorthodox game types, such as Sticks and Stones, a game in which players are equipped with a crossbow, knife, and tomahawk, making for a more fun and diverse online experience.
Other differences come in the shape of new guns and perks, but that’s to be expected from a new title. All in all the online experience is refreshing and fun for fans of any recent shooter games.
Lifers of the franchise will have fun with the new game modes, maps, and an overall more balanced game play. If you didn’t like the previous games, or shooters in general, don’t expect Black Ops to change your mind.
Where the game ironically shines is in the singleplayer campaign. Modern Warfare 2‘s singleplayer was abysmal. Terrible writing, awful plot, boring characters, any bad thing you can describe a story with, MW2 had it.
Much like a Michael Bay film, a majority of the “story” was told by things blowing up. Black Ops almost mocks this. Here’s just a sample. One level starts off with the player getting beaten up in a Russian prison, and ends with him stealing a motorcycle and fighting a helicopter with a harpoon.
Any shred of realism the franchise had just jumped off a cliff.
If you can get past the campy insanity of the game, you’ll have a really good time. Instead of some nameless (or maybe the player had a name in MW2, I can’t even remember, it was that bad.) and bullet-proof macho-man, the main character is a different bullet-proof macho-man, but this time the story is presented in a manner that makes the player want to know what happens next.
The game opens up in the middle of things as the player, Alex Mason, is being held captive by some unknown agency. The playable missions are presented as relived memories that a masked voice interrogates Mason about, mainly regarding Vietnam era conflict.
Being based very loosely on real events, players can expect appearances of historical figures such as President Kennedy and Fidel Castro.
Linearity aside, the game does get some things right. The scenery is incredible and the events on screen are more action packed than any Summer blockbuster.
For a game that sells most of its copies based on it’s online capabilities, this is one campaign that players will definitely not want to skip if they already purchased the game.
With improvements to the already wildly popular “Modern Warfare 2”, this most recent installment is almost sure to be the game of choice for online gamers, and annoying-thing-of-choice that most girls will have to listen to their male friends talk about for a long while.  Or at least until the next “Call of Duty” comes out.