Though its seven titles have brought in over $3 billion in sales, Call of Duty: Black Ops has a lot to prove. After a tumultuous year, which resulted in one of the messiest breakups in gaming history, Treyarch had to prove that they were no longer the series B-team, and make people forget all about a little company called Infinity Ward.

The result? Call of Duty: Black Ops is simply spectacular. Filled with thrilling set piece after thrilling set piece, and tied together with a tight perfectly paced narrative, and a thoroughly impressive multiplayer suite — Black Ops is easily one of the best games in the series. It’s not just an impressiveTreyarch Call of Duty game – it’s a great game altogether.

Black Ops isn’t your average Call of Duty game, and that’s evident right from the start. Rather than opening with a big military effort like previous games, you find yourself held hostage and being interrogated by a mysterious voice man. Turns out you’ve been on some seriously hardcore missions, and the details of this mission will help unlock a puzzle of sorts for your captors. Thus, the story of Black Ops is told mostly via flashbacks as you try to recall the information. Most of the action takes place in either the Vietnam or Cold Wars, meaning that you’ll get at least a fair share of differing missions as you try to uncover the truth. It’s not exactly the most original mechanic, but it does tend to keep you interested throughout the campaign.

Interestingly enough, the title brings actual historical figures like Fidel Castro, Robert F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon into the story. It can be a bit daunting to see these recognizable faces throughout the game, but they’re used tastefully enough that it doesn’t get in the way of the game or its story.

Call of Duty is known for its dramatic action, and Black Ops is no different. From the first mission, you’ll go from one thrilling set piece to another, and the sheer thrill of blowing stuff up and shooting is undeniable. Sure, some of the things you’re asked to do are a bit on the super hero side, but it’s extremely fun to jump out of a plane about to take off and then use a massive gattling gun to clear the area of enemy troops. The varied mission locations and structures make for some interesting memorable objectives.

One of the biggest complaints about going back to World War II for Treyarch’s last Call of Duty game, World at War after the wildly successful Modern Warfare 2 is that the guns felt awful slower, and while Black Ops doesn’t feature all of the high tech weaponry of Infinity Ward’s series for obvious reasons, there is a sufficient amount of advanced weaponry that all feels incredibly realistic, weighty and fun to use.

As fun as the campaign is, it clocks in at a mere six hours, and there’s little reason to go back for another play through.  As you could probably expect, the majority of Black Ops life is found in the game’s competitive multiplayer suite. At its core, it’s the same basic experience you’ve played in games past – do well, level up, get awesome loadouts, repeat. The key difference here is that Black Ops introduces currency, or Combat Points into the mix. Not only are you able to use the currency to upgrade your weapons, ammo and gear, but you can also bet them in online competition. It adds another level of intensity to playing the game online when you’re risking up to 10,000 combat points in the process.

The much talked about Zombie mode from World at War makes a return in Black Ops, with new maps and a new and interesting set of characters. The dark humor and co-op gameplay make for an interesting time (seriously, try not to laugh at some of the one liners), but it quickly wares thin once you realize that besides the asthetics, almost nothing has been changed since the last go-round.

Blast Factor: Call of Duty: Black Ops is a remarkably fun and inventive shooter; sure it has its share of imperfections, but they’re all minor when the game is this fun to play. Though the main campaign is a bit on the short side, it’s filled with thrilling set pieces and a compelling narrative along with the always exciting multiplayer suite. Say goodbye to your wife and kids, kiss the sun goodbye – your new Call of Duty fix has arrived.

About The Author

Joe Sinicki is Blast's Executive Editor. He has an unhealthy obsession with Back to the Future and wears cheese on his head. Follow him on Twitter @BrewCityJoe

26 Responses

  1. Foxual

    “Realistic and weighty”

    Really? I found them cheap sounding and very un-realistic.

    Whilst it will keep me interested with the multiplayer I am hugely disappointed with the graphics, sound and general feel of the game.

    For a more “realistic” feel, graphics and sound try Medal of Honor. The Multiplayer gameplay is far more limited but feels far more solid and rewards decent gun play far more than this “arcade” feeling shooter.

  2. Knight

    I could not disagree more with this article.

    For starters, the graphics of this game actually look worse than cod6. Sure the campaign looks nice, but the multiplayer looks childish. Secondly, the multiplayer has not changed a bit from world at war. The guns look and sound cheap, spawning is random and usually in an enemies spawn, and don’t even get me started on how cheap the kill streaks are. Parties are not able to join games together and the constant lag is evident in the kill cams. The only halfway decent thing about this game is the zombies…… Which people only play because they are too bored or frustrated with the game. I’ve been playing the COD series since the start… And the only good thing treyarch did was put the call of duty name on the box. Sorry Joe ….. It’s obvious you haven’t really played this game, and even more obvious why infinity ward is still #1. I’d give this game 2 out of 5 stars.

  3. Fiddler

    In addition to what Foxual says.

    What was actually most interesting is that the graphics are 2 steps lower than the
    previous game “Modern Warfare 2”.

    Most gamers must have believed from the trailers that the graphics were on par with MW2 and that the guns were also on par. But that was a simple misconception.

    The guns themselves are like that of “Modern Warfare 1/Cod4” but with a worse aim and hit detection system. Next to the “Cod4″/”MW2” perk system cross over(for Cod4- You get the set up of the perks.
    for MW2- You get the pro version set up).

    The only thing I play in Black Ops is the Zombie mode. Not the multiplayer, not the campaign. I don’t see what everyone else sees in this game. What’s so GREAT about it?

    Yay, new toys, new maps, new match modes. Like every new Cod game. The guns are low quality, not to mention sounding like a bunch of bee bee guns. Remote control car as a kill-streak?

    “I got a RC-DX!!.. I’m activating it!.. Now I’m driving it!!.. OH NO! my body is dead!!.. But look, Im still driving my RC-DX with my none existent body.”

    New maps. New Stuff. Instead of showing how many people brought and pre-ordered.. How any people returned this game? How many people got their money back? Had it not been the hype from MW2 . Would Black Ops really have sold as well?

    New match types. The “currency system” yet another game in the clutches of currency. Reason I played Cod is because it did NOT have a money system. If I UNLOCK something, I UNLOCK it. I don’t want to have to pay for something and not have it. Oh, Treyarch says: “Now people won’t have to exp grind to get their stuff” Well, now they have to Money Grind… There is NO Difference, except


    And as a fact that the game still has an annoying Aim Assist. I brought the game. So let me PLAY it. Sliding my “cross-hairs” over an enemy only to have it slow down or stuck onto their character.

    “your new Call of Duty fix has arrived.” Ah! Nah! This is what happens when strange people try to take over another developers game. Treyarch will ALWAYS be the the B-Team.

    This game is NOT Call Of Duty it’s just some cheap knock off.

    I also agree with Knight whose post has just arrived 3 seconds ago.

  4. Joe Sinicki

    Hm. A lot of backlash on this one. I still stand by my review, and really enjoyed my time with the game. One thing I did notice however is that days after completing the game, I have little to no desire to go back to it. Now thats not saying anything about the quality of the game, but it doea say something about its longevity.

    regarding the RC car, I was also unimpressed,but found myself forgeting it was even there in most matches, besides when used ad nauseum by an opponent.

    An inserting idea someone just poised to me, do you think the Infinity Ward scandal had a positive or negative impact om Black Ops? Did it drum up enough pr to drive sales or did it make gamers reject the brand?

    Aaaaand discuss.

    • Fiddler

      Do you think the Infinity Ward scandal had a positive or negative impact om Black Ops?
      It had a negative feedback. Since Treyarch themselves are not the originators of the Call of Duty franchise, it gives a feeling of contempt against them. Players would most likely support the original creators of the game.

      Did it drum up enough pr to drive sales or did it make gamers reject the brand?
      I believe it as reverse psychology. Everyone buys the game to find out for themselves whether Treyarch is better than Infinity Ward. With something as big as this scandal who wouldn’t.

      As for the longevity MW2 has things that BO doesn’t have. But Black Ops has Co-Op online, which MW2 doesn’t have. I found myself playing Zombie mode with my friends, seeing as its Co-Op I wouldn’t have to set up another system to play with a friend. Everyone likes a good Online Co-Op game. Had Infinity ward realized that sooner, they would’ve had bigger sales than they already had.

      Though they had Spec Ops, playing against a computer that does the same thing over and over. Isn’t very entertaining. But Playing Co-Op online against a variety of other people with varying tactics and skills. That’s what most people yearn for.

    • Knight


      I would say it had minimal influence on the sales. To be honest I had heard very little of the scandal… And my reviews of the game stem not from bitterness towards treyarch but for the subpar gameplay. Over 3 billion in sales world wide can be attributed to the name…… The name that IW built. I’ve read up on the scandal a bit more…… Does this mean that IW will not be developing MW3?

      • Fiddler

        I believe IW will be making MW3. HOWEVER, the original members (If you read up and did research on the scandal) of Infinity Ward that made MW2 have left or were fired.

        So the group that is named Infinity Ward… is a group in name only.

        The people in IW at the moment are people(very few) who stayed after the scandal.

  5. Jocelyn

    My brother owns all the Call of Duty games, he has a PS3 and the new Black Ops game has broken his system. I thought maybe it was coincidence until I did some research and round 2 different forums with 50 complaints of Black Ops destroying their PS3 systems as well. Has anyone heard anything about a recall, my brother think maybe they rushed the game out to fast and didn’t check for all the glitches. He even called Sony and they won’t do anything to fix it unless he pays $180. I don’t think that’s fair, if anything I think the makers of Call of Duty should put out a statement or something and help all those Call of Duty lovers get their game system fixed. Please take the time out to check out the forums regarding “Black Ops broke my PS3” at and


  6. jbunji

    OK, so I own a PS 3 and ONLY 2 games for it; Modern Warfare2 and Black Ops. And I have to say I am disappointed in what’s been put out. I agree with what has already been said here. The graphics do resemble arcade graphics. I was really hoping for more realism. The sound is the first flaw I noticed. It does sound cheap. With MW2, you could hear the shots and could tell exactly what gun it was. The grenades were thunderous, the helicopters scared you, “ENEMY AC130 ABOVE!” made you run for cover. The lack of effort in that area just took away from the intensity of the game. The game play just isn’t there for me. I mean, you expect games to step up and try to leave a larger foot print than its predecessor, not ride its coat tail of success. Maybe comparing apples to apples is the wrong way to rate this game for me but MW2 may have ruined my taste. What sucks is we’re going to have to wait for a whole other release of Call of Duty and hope to get good one.

    • handmade

      i agree altho im on xbl but im not comparing to mw2 you have to remember from the start of the grates cod4 mw ok ppl were comparing that at the time to waw then ppl were comparing waw to mw2 now ppl are comparing mw2 to blackops what they are doing is wrong they are going from IW to ACTIVISION to IW to ACTIVISION now im comparing black ops to waw what a bloody improvment in 2 years look at cod4 compare that to mw2 again what a bloody improvment in 2 years

      to get to my point if your a fan of ACTIVISION (call of duty) then they are the ones you will like better
      if your a fan of IW (call of duty) then they are the ones you will like better

      i prefer ACTIVISION because of the gameplay both WAW and BLACK OPS storys were better than cod4 and mw2 and if you get board on multiplayer you have a zombie hord to defeat

      • jbunji

        Now I love the zombies. I played that with a friend for something like 6 hours Saturday. However, the WaW zombie boards are better, IMO.
        I don’t think you can only gauge Treyarchs Black Ops to only WaW just because that was their last game produced. IW replaced Treyarch as CoD producers probably because the CoD franchise needed a change in the positive direction. And to replace IW with Treyarch is, indeed, a step in the reverse direction.

      • Fiddler

        “IW replaced Treyarch as CoD producers probably because the CoD franchise needed a change in the positive direction. And to replace IW with Treyarch is, indeed, a step in the reverse direction.”

        How did IW replace Treyarch? Its IW’s game from the get go!

        Unless you are talking about the “order” the games were released…

        Why can’t Treyarch just make their own game franchise and end this damn controversy….

  7. James

    I am just so, so, SO dissapointed in this game. It feels like a huge step backwards.

    When I read your review, I had to pause and think, “Wow, is it just me?”

    But when I read the comments I knew I wasn’t crazy. I totally agree. This one sucks and I hope I can get a refund.

  8. Zack

    I’m 13 and I have been saving up for this game forever, and have been looking forward to it forever. IT SUCKS. Awful Graphics, Sound is off, And the killsteaks are awful, 8 kills for a blackbird (basically a giant uav)? No I dont think so. I mean MW2 was way better even with the noob tubers and campers. I cant believe you call yourself gamemakers. You will never live up to IW.

    • handmade

      well zack ur 13 ur not old enough to even be playing any call of duty game go back to PG12 GAMES and remember you must have your mummy or daddy beside you

      the one thing i hate more that campers scared to die are children playing games not ment for there age

      i think the game is a bit better than mw2 even waw was better than mw2 but what can i say IW dont do a zombie thing

  9. Boeke

    I agree with Fiddler. Black ops was disappointing. If you liked world at war then you would love this game, but i thought the multi player sucked for both games. The only things I like about black ops is Zombies, the wager matches, and I kinda like the point system where you get to buy your guns. The graphis in the campaign are decent, but in the multi player they suck! the sounds are off and the kill streaks suck. They made the m16 like a pea shooter, unless you are playing hardcore you have to shoot the guy up to 4 times, unless it is a head shot of course. But either way the game really does suck, but i am proabably going to keep playing it because I paid 60 bucks for it.

  10. px1

    graphics are fine, not sure what tv you guys using, its not like MW2 but if people play BC2 and MOH then its better than both, sound is bad? why? cuz you cant sound whore anymore? unlock ninja pro and it will change, but lower levels can buy ninja perk early in the game so ninja pro is kinda useless. kill streaks are lame? you want that harrier that couldnt be shot down with 10 stingers and racked 20 kills, and nuke that every second FFA game some noobs were boosting for. oh and the quick scopers who argue its a skill, its not, I also quick scoped and its just abusing the aim assist system, put a dot sticker on the middle of your tv ADS and shoot, thats not skill thats abusing the system. you hated that, so they gave you a balanced gun game yet everyone complains, people will always complain, even girls playing this game complain less than you guys., and lets not forget all the idiots who hacked the game and shot everyone through the walls the entire game. team of tubers and thumpers as secondary with OMA raining grenades causing everyone rage quit. dont complain about the game just cuz you cant do the bullshit that you did in MW2. the weapon are 60’s and 70’s prototypes and the red dot sight too, thats why it looks that way, (someone said it looked gay). if MW2 is so perfect stay with it, perhaps its change that most people cant cope with, or too challengin for them.

    • foxual

      Black ops graphics better than medal of honor?????!!

      Seriously pal, what are you smoking????

      The game play in BO is better than MW2. No quick scopers, no noob tubers etc

      But the graphics and sound are terrible in comparison to both MW2 and Medal of Honor.

      It is YOU sir that needs a better TV and headset.

      I’m set up with a 46inch 1080p HD tv, quality HDMI cable and turtle beach p21 headset.

      • px1

        my sound and graphics are fine on LED and home theater surround why do I need better. they know about turtle beach and they try to level the advantage that people have with their headsets, and I sound whore also on MW2 and I was very disappointed when I couldnt identify where the noise coming from but I got over it, cuz there are other ways to play besides listening to footsteps every game, I know its huge advantage but I know also to let go.
        to the guy who complained about the the RC XD, if you call the chopper gunner and you die you still can control it, so why arent you complaining about that? all killstreaks are good they cant help to get the next killstreak anymore which how it suppose to be; a gun game not killstreak game. people just need to let go, and just develop new ways to play. games will always change, if you stuck with the old ways, then stay with it but dont complain about bullshit stuff that dont relate and actually apply to the old game too.

      • px1

        I cant believe that you suggested to play MOH, you like to camp I assume, cuz I played that and returned the same day, was impossible to advance 4 steps before got shot, talking about early release, they knew BO was coming out soon and they wanted their share in the market before BO was bout to take it all. thats why they came out with a crap. they can say it was tested with real soldiers but its still crap.
        BC2 was mostly spawn killing and I guess thats what most people like to do, because BC2 is impossible to spawn in random places unless you spawn on a team member but if everyone trapped then its the same, or unless you play squad rush. played for 1 week, and spawn trapped others more than 10 times, played MW2 for 1 year and spawn trapped only twice. so thats why the random spawn in BO, cuz they try not to be like the other failures. people justify spawn killing and camping the whole game every game, lets see how you like it when you are on the other side. being killed.

      • conley

        Befor complaining about a game that kicks ass get some skill and achuly try instead of assuming your gonna kick ass off the bat. When i played BC2 at first i blew chunks and was furius every time i got killed but then i learned that its better than being knifed by some 10 yr old running around the map with a knife?.
        MOH is a awesome game the multiplayer is sexy becuase the killstreaks arent over powerd. If your looking for a solution for not to be spawn camped kill the enemy and run to the otehr side of the map. this game is honestly only playable threw team work than spray and pray

  11. muzashi

    Pahh! COD BLOPS is a linear, interactive (almost) movie, not a game. Disappointing is the only way I would describe it. Realistic? No.
    It attempts to focus your attention away from the myriad of glitches/bugs by using a audio-visual assault. Glitches such as:
    AI scripting that leaves you wondering just who the hell they are talking to, and whether the fools actually passed basic marksmanship,
    Triggers that are so specific that you may as well be a chess piece, because you need to be in EXACTLY the right place, or do EXACTLY the correct thing. No chance of actually using your initiative, god forbid.
    The tether system, where a mission could be failed if you decide to move ahead, or stay back. This does not belong in modern FPSs.
    Zombie Mode? WTF? Been done waaaay better by others. Worn out it’s welcome in my opinion.
    Not able to join as a group of friends? What RETARD thought THAT up?

    Treyarch would have served their masters better if they had released BLOPS as a movie, without the pretense of calling it a FPS game.

  12. Jeff Tyler

    I am an older gamer. I am a Battlefield BC 2 junky, so COD would have to go way above modern warfare 2. Well that did not happen with COD Black Ops. I play multiplayer until level 35 and traded it back in. Who has ever heard a Japanese speak Iraqi, not saying it isn’t possible though. Couple of the maps you hear the Iraqi slip. You also hear the COD WOW music overlaid in several maps at different points. The maps are terribly small with the poor selection of weapons, characters look like cartoons, and all out bad game. I am waiting on the arrival of the BC maps and with Battlefild Bad Company 3 coming out next year.

  13. Hawaii Nei

    I wish I would have read these reviews before paying for this crap game.

    Game play is clunky at best.

    Kill streaks suck.

    The guns are unimaginative

    It lags worse then mw2.

    Knife kills are crap.

    Semtex has no range.

    The maps aren’t bad, but the game play is so crappy it distracts from it.

    I think the only cool thing is you can revive a wounded comrade.

    All in all, this game is a dud.

  14. C.J.

    WOW……lots of opinions about Black Ops, I guess one more won’t hurt.
    I have been gaming for 30 years and bought into the hype that was sold. Like everyone else there were plenty of things not to like about MW2 (Boosters, quick scoping, noob tubers, etc…..) I was hoping that Black Ops would take care of a few of those problems and some they did. Here is my take.

    Pros: Graphics aren’t bad, maybe equal to MW2, sound effects are better. No more tactical insertion in free-for-all, no quick scoping, theatre mode lets you go back and view previous games from any players perspective. This is kind of nice because if you think someone is hacking or cheating you can go watch it for yourself. I have used this feature to find a cheater….I was able to view him killing several people with assault rifle yet his crosshairs never touched the persons he killed. Deaths from kill streak awarded equipment don’t count towards future kill streak awards…..makes you work for your rewards.

    Cons: The weapons are extremely weak….all of them! Unless you are a headshot pro you will reload no less than every 2 kills…if you’re lucky. Guns like the M16 and FAL take 3-18 shots to get the kill and that’s head and body shots. LAG>>>>LAG>>>LAG. Constantly getting kicked from servers or games ending in the middle. If you are a Team Deathmatch player you will probably like the maps…if you are a FFA player they suck….they are all HUGE maps except NukeTown. No place to safely camp for a minute after your hands go to sleep. The campaign mode of the game just sucks! I’m net even sure how to describe it except to say don’t waste your time.

    Conclusion: My number 1 complaint is weak weapons and I’m not comparing to MW2. yes they have recoil…kind of a nice feature but when it takes 15 shots from the M16 at fairly close range to down a enemy that’s just ridiculous! The cheats are out which is disappointing. I think the game is worth $40-$45 not $60+.


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