Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Game Review (Call of Duty Black Ops "The Multiplayer" - 360)

Call of Duty has, for recent years, been among the most played multiplayer games on Xbox LIVE, and Black Ops will no doubt continue to maintain similar popularity.

I've logged about 42 hours into the multiplayer so far, and while not too much has changed, the game remains as fun as ever. Unlike Modern Warfare 2, this game - in my opinion - has great maps top to bottom with maybe one or two exceptions, which is really great. [See my review of the maps in my past post.] Most of the changes/additions to Black Ops, like extra gun camos, recticle customization, emblem creation, and so on, don't change how the game is played, but do add a little extra fun to the multiplayer, I guess.

Black Ops LIVE has very few flaws. Fortunately, with Treyarch, you can trust that when a problem arises, they'll get off their asses and do something about it ASAP, unlike Infinity Ward. Some glitches worth naming have now been patched, leading to this waste of a sentence.

Trying to keep this review short, I'll go ahead and talk about Zombies - I hadn't played too much WaW, and didn't touch Zombies in it at all, but it never REALLY appealed to me. Black Ops has two Zombie maps on disc - one during World War II, and another to be unlocked after finishing the campaign. [Future Zombie maps are very likely to become available via DLC.] While I don't find Zombies awesomely fun, it is entertaining for about a half hour/hour at a time. But hey, to each their own. Future map releases for the Zombies gametype may change my opinion, but as of now, I only really enjoy the "Five" Zombies map. [The one unlocked after beating the campaign.]

Dead Ops is also available to play once you unlock it. [See YouTube if you don't know how to unlock it yet.] I guess the best way to describe Dead Ops is to compare it to Contra, but instead of being a side scroller, it's played bird's eye view. It's fun, and plays a lot like Smash TV, if you've ever played that game. The game looks good, there's a lot of Zombies to kill, and it's really a fun little addition to the game.

Overall, Black Ops - to me - is the best Call of Duty since the original Modern Warfare. The game feels more balanced, and despite a small handful of flaws, is much, much, MUCH better than the mess that was Modern Warfare 2. If you don't already have the game, pick it up as soon as possible.


[Few minor flaws keep it from being perfect, but they should be fixed in future updates ... Map packs will also give the game more variety.]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Game Review (Call of Duty Black Ops "The Maps" - 360)

This is part one of three reviews I will have for Call of Duty Black Ops. Maps being part one, online play being part two, and the campaign being last - maybe I'm doing this in the complete reverse order as many other people would do, but I don't plan on playing the campaign for awhile.


[*] indicates a bitchin' map.
(S) indicates a small map.
(MS) indicates a medium-small map.
(M) indicates a medium map.
(ML) indicates a medium-large map.
(L) indicated a medium map.


(L) Array: This is one of four maps on-disc for Black Ops that is snowy. Of the four, I'd say this one's my least favorite, mainly because it doesn't fit my playstyle. Being a big map, it tends to have long, drawn out games on Team Deathmatch, as people seem to camp a lot, and there are also a lot of snipers on this map as opposed to most others. It's not a terrible map, but it definitely caters more to the snipers. 4/5

(MS) Cracked: There are very few maps on this disc that I dislike, and Cracked is one of them... it just feels blah. Blown out buildings as a map has been done several times before in Call of Duty 2/3/WaW, and I'm pretty much over them - they were boring then, and they're more boring now. Not much to say about this map besides the obvious - don't get caught out in the open. 3.25/5

[*](L) Crisis: Some sites claim this is a medium map... to me, it sure as hell doesn't feel like it - BUT - it's a great one. It doesn't come up often in matchmaking for me, so when it does, it's a treat to play when it gets voted for. I think I like this map more than most people do because it's sort of nostalgic - it feels a bit like Death Trap and Enowapi from SOCOM II. Fun map, a ton of different areas, and it encourages all of what you'd expect to see in a Call of Duty game, with camping spots for snipers, as well as close-quarters areas for those that like to run-and-gun. 4.75/5

[*](S)Firing Range: Not quite small, not quite medium small, Firing Range is a SMALL-ISH map that I find a lot of fun... then again, I always tend to prefer the smaller maps. There's nothing particularly unique to be said about this map besides the fact that it's a hell of a lot of fun on virtually any game mode from my experience. 4.5/5

(M) Grid: The first Black Ops map I played, Grid is the second of four snowy maps on Black Ops, and what I would have to say is my favorite, although I'm not sure why. The way it's set up, it feels great on objective-based matches, but of course works fine and dandy on Team Deathmatch as well. Grid's almost a prime example of how I like the size of maps to be in games I play, and it's just fun all-around. 4.5/5

(ML) Hanoi: Hard to judge the size of this one as well - although I haven't played it much - but Hanoi, to me, is just a 100% average map. The fact that it's night-time and so blah on colors doesn't help. I've played about three matches on it, and I just think this one's utterly forgettable. Not terrible, but nothing awesome. 3.5/5

(ML) Havana: Feeling a bit bigger than Hanoi, Havana is said to take place in Cuba (Hence the map name.) This maps feels to me a bit like Crossfire from CoD4, but instead of such an open area in the middle, part was thrown behind a row of buildings. I'm probably the only one in the world that feels that way. Havana encourages a LOT of camping, as there are plenty of areas to do so, and I've yet to be in a game in Team Deathmatch where the game ended at 7500. If people stop camping this one so much, it could be a much more fun map. 4/5

(L) Jungle: When you hop online and see Jungle as an option to vote for, you may notice that it tends to not get picked. You may ask yourself, "Why?" and I'll tell you why - it sucks. I understand why they put a Jungle map on-disc, but it's just a frustrating map because it's essentially just one giant campfest. It looks cool upfront, but when you're actually playing it, it's very underwhelming and controller breaking. Eh. MAYBE it'll grow on me, but for now, it's in the pooper of Black Ops maps. 3.25/5

[*](M) Launch: This is the map I was most excited to play before release. I must say, I am a bit disappointed. The fact that when the rocket launches, those beneath it die is a pretty cool idea, but other than that this map's not that great. Like Havana, I found that part of this map reminded me of a CoD4 map - Ambush. The middle area of this map feels that way to me for some reason, except where the area is dipped down in Ambush, it's raised here. As said, fun map. Because of the atmosphere on this map - I can't believe I said that - it gets a star. 4.25/5

[*](S) Nuketown: Thank GOD! After the abominations that were the smallest maps in CoD4 and CoDMW2, ("Shipment" and "Rust" respectively.) Treyarch gives is something to smile about. Nuketown, by and away the smallest map in Black Ops, is fantastic fun. The games are quick and sweet with a lot of running and gunning and grenade chucking - a classic. 4.75/5

(M) Radiation: In a thawed out version of WMD, - eh. Almost. Sort of. Maybe. Feels inspired by - Radiation's good fun. The factory area where you can be incinerated is cool, but unfortunate for those that don't realize they're on a belt to the fiery pits of hell. Again, not a ton to say, but Radiation's just another good map - whether it be on Team Deathmatch, or especially on objective modes. 4.25/5

(MS) Summit: Don't plunge to your DEATH. This map's pretty narrow, but a lot of fun. Obviously, this is the third of four snowy maps in Black Ops - it's not the best one, but it's a close second I think. 4.25/5

(ML) Villa: This one seems to come up a lot, so get used to it. I didn't care for it much at first, but after playing several matches, I think I've accepted the fact this one's going to be thrown in my face a lot. It's a pretty big and open map with a few areas for snipers - but they can easily be flushed out. If you don't like sniping, an accurate assault rifle should do the trick. 4.25/5

(ML) WMD: Reminds me of Radiation, but a bit bigger with a few more buildings thrown in there. Hell, if you don't think they look similar, just look and compare the loading screen pictures! While they are quite similar, I prefer WMD to Radiation. And, oh!, this is the fourth and final snow map - alphabetically - in Black Ops... it also happens to be one of the best. 4.5/5


PHEW! That's it. Pretty half assed, but yeah. The maps in Black Ops, overall, are MUCH better than those in Modern Warfare 2. Next: Online play.