Guest Article: Call of Duty Black Ops – A Review

posted by on 31st December 2010, at 6:59am

This guest article is from Peterreaper on the forums. Please join me in thanking him for this article. If you want to write a guest article of your own you can find instructions here.

After the long wait, Activision has finally released what has got to be the game of the year, Call of Duty: Black Ops. In this review, I will cover many aspects of this highly anticipated game. Activision published the game and Treyarch developed it, as we’ve seen before in the series with the alternating developer company between Treyarch and Infinity Ward. So, let’s begin!


In the past few months there had been huge speculation about this massive title and it has big boots to fill. Its predecessor, Modern Warfare 2 (MW2), sold over 5 million copies on the first day alone. MW2 was developed by Infinity Ward, a Californian company, whereas Treyarch have developed many titles that simply didn’t sell. This has been the trend with some of the previous Call of Duty games. So far in this great series, other developer’s games such as Infinity Ward sell well but whenever Treyarch release one, they just seem to lack a bit of flair and power (as seen in CoD 5: World at War). Obviously, we hope they got this one right, especially me as I pre-ordered this on both PC and Xbox 360 for the very expensive price of £35 each (US$55). Interestingly, when the trailer was released for Black Ops, there was quite a positive response. So, the developers can be praised for that and the overall impression of it reminded me of MW2, not surprising considering how well that sold. This is good in some ways but huge fans like me would like something a little new. In this new title, CoD points are rewarded after games which can be used to buy extra guns and other equipment.

Menu Screens and Interface

The interface on the single player is actually very unusual. It is also not at all like any of the other games in the series. You are greeted by a television with the various options including: campaign, zombies, options etc. In the background, there are shadows of zombies and other beings wondering around aimlessly. This certainly shocked me as I’m used to clean, simple menu screens.

In the online play, it is pretty much as you would expect. There are simple menus that are quite easy to operate.

Game Modes/ New Features

In Black Ops, there are many new game modes such as gun game and wager matches. The new modes include very complex rules although some can become quite addictive. My pick of them all would have to be the challenge feature. This is where you are set a target to complete which could vary hugely and you are given a time limit in which to complete the task. If you complete these, you are rewarded with extra experience points as well as other rewards.

Another great new feature is the wager match. These give good players the opportunity to win extra CoD points. Although, if you’re having a bad day, you can just as easily lose your CoD points. A top three finish guarantees you at least some points. Annoyingly, the best players seem to play this game mode so it is rare for you to win these matches unless you are an extremely good player.

Guns and Equipment

Even though the game is developed by Treyarch, they have tried to stick to the favourite guns from Infinity Ward’s titles. The guns in this game include: the AK47, the M16 and the MP5K. Of course, already people are very into the AK47 because of its intense power and accuracy. There is also the Ak-74u which is a different take on the Ak47. It is commonly used by experienced players due to it’s high power. Interestingly though, it is actually a sub-machine gun, not an assault rifle.

Claymores are as over-used as ever and less and less people seem to be using grenades these days. Fortunately, there is no tactical insertion therefore removing any possible ways of boosting for experience.

Zombies Mode

I would normally have included this in the ‘Game Modes’ section but I think that people would like to see a more detailed review of this game mode. CoD: Black Ops has its very own zombies mode which is fairly similar to CoD 5. It has a very similar style of game play and of course as the same objective; to survive as many levels as possible. The only major differences between this zombie mode and CoD 5’s is that there are some new maps and some new guns. There is certainly not a huge change in terms of the overall experience.


In Black Ops, there are many new perks as well as old perks. Some of our old favourites such as: hardline, scavenger and lightweight have been included in the online play and some new ones such as: scout and warlord have been introduced. Many new abilities have been added which gives the game a new feel. It took me a while to get used to the new perks and I have finally picked out my favourite set up. I generally choose these: hardened, ninja and hardline but of course, it all depends on which game mode I am playing.


In conclusion, I feel that Black Ops is a good addition to the Call of Duty series although it has not brought many new ideas to the table as we expected. It certainly fills the boots of modern warfare 2 which in itself was a great game. I occasionally find myself dusting off MW2 just for a quick play but I think that Black Ops has been a good release, just not a spectacular one.

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  • Killjoy4eva Says:
    2nd January 2011, at 10:55am

    A few notes:

    There IS tactical insertion. I don’t know why you didn’t think there was..

    Also you didn’t talk about the campaign which I think is one of the strong suits of this game. It has an awesome and unique story line that the whole game is based around.

    Other than those two points it is a very good review.

  • Daphine Cleland Says:
    2nd January 2011, at 8:53pm

    After having spent substantial time with Black Ops, I stand by my initial impressions. The overall balancing has proven to be exceptional as there is no single “money” class to exploit or be forced to use in tough games. The maps are fun, weapons and upgrade system a blast and all of the customization available makes the game really enjoyable.