Friday, February 18, 2011

Call of Duty: Black Ops on PlayStation 3 Impression

Not for the faint of heart, this call to duty is one amazingly polished ride.

War games are violent and bloody with a realism in HD not seen on this level before but they are always just a game, until now. Call of Duty: Black Ops is an excellent first-person shooter and follows very well in the path set by the Modern Warfare entries but it jacks up the disturbance just enough to make most gamers take pause. What is this fine line in gaming warfare that’s close to being crossed? Let’s take a look.

Gameplay – You are Alex Mason, former CIA, solider, patriot (?) and you are being tortured. No opening training course level here, its right into the fire and a world of brutality not seen in Call of Duty. The core mechanics remain as this is one of the most polished, solid first-person shooters on the market. The single player story sees games, as noted, assume the role of Alex Mason as he must relive memories to figure out a grander mystery that spans decades. Like flashbacks in a movie but playable and pulled out quite well. Add to Alex’s story the inclusion of 14 multi-player levels with more ready for download and gamers get one incredible package.

Glossing over many fine points for one reason. Call of Duty, especially since Modern Warfare, has nailed it on every level. The game is a thing of mature beauty that fans of this genre and franchise should already know about. Played Halo, Medal of Honor, Doom, etc then that’s the basics folks. Black Ops does to perfection single and multi-player in the same package.

Graphics – To quote Vader, ‘impressive.’ Everything about Black Ops looks good and realistic. This in turn makes some of the torturous choices all the more difficult. The environments look outstanding and upon close up views are quite detailed. Customizations lose no detail and as the body parts fly … well let’s just say its good 3D TV is not that widespread now. It looks real folks, it looks very, very real.

Oh wait, there is 3D but it does not look that great and loses a lot of the texture, frame-rate seen in the solid non-3D game.

Sound – Outstanding voice work brings the game to life and the sounds of war are spot on (coming from a non-vet like me). The soundtrack is excellent as needed and silence is put to great use. For a title like Black Ops the sound aspect is not the reason to purchase but it really shines.

Design – The formula has been set and is polished to near perfection with a great blend of single player and multiplayer options. Upgrading in multi-player, needing to unlock/buy equipment keeps it fresh and can help gamers get better faster. The moments of brutality lead some to question this design aspect but there is zero arguing that Black Ops is not dang near FPS perfection.

Miscellaneous – Moral choices in a game will make gamers pause. Being tortured and doing the torturing. Picking the type of brutality to inflict on victims that look so real will hit home on many gamers. These are not aliens or some funny mini-game, these are very realistic feeling moments that show just how close games are now to reality. An escape or not, these in-game moments will stick with gamers.

Overall Call of Duty: Black Ops is solid. There are plenty of review sites that delve into the multi-player aspects but for this gamer just know this; Black Ops plays great, looks outstanding, sound incredible and is a joy to play. There are faults but it’s nitpicking when hours pass by without knowing it. Black Ops is a keeper and should not be missed by FPS fans.

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