Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops Review for PC

On: PCXbox 360PS3WiiDS

The latest instalment in the blockbuster franchise.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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Call of Duty: Black Ops screenshot
Call of Duty: Black Ops screenshot

Simple modifications to the established formula have a profound impact on the end result. Deathstreaks are gone. Killstreaks no longer count towards further killstreaks, and the new CoD Points currency - doled out at about a tenth of accrued XP, and required to purchase items after being unlocked - allows you to buy that red dot sight as soon as you obtain your next weapon. Anyone worried about those bloody dogs will also be relieved to know they've been bumped up to an 11-kill streak, which turns them into an occasional horror instead of a frustrating plague. Alternatively, 11 kills can also buy you access to a pilotable Hind helicopter, so don't expect to see the mutts too often.

On top of that, regular attack helicopters now only patrol a (user-selectable) spot of the map, as opposed to dominating the entire level. The skies are, on average, far less occupied than before, but a barebones playlist is now available for those who'd prefer to be rid of them entirely.

Perks are, as always, split over three tiers and are mostly recognisable (with the odd name change) from their MW2 incarnations - the only all-new addition being Tactical Mask, which protects you from the new Nova grenade. More significant, perhaps, is the non-inclusion of Stopping Power and the massively contentious Commando and One Man Army. The remaining lot - running faster with Lightweight, holding your breath longer with Scout, reloading quicker with Sleight of Hand and so on - are now transmogrified into their Pro version, which confers a further bonus by accomplishing multiple challenges.

This seemingly never-ending trail of rewards and unlocks remains compulsive, though the slight changes are evidently geared towards refinement rather than revolution. The devil is in the details: the MP5K has considerably less recoil and bounce than its Modern Warfare 2 iteration, for instance, though its still duff at long range. You've also got weapons like the G11, which is an absolute monster but finds itself crippled in reload speed and available attachments.

On top of this, Treyarch has added a major suite of community-building features to reward dedicated players. Playercards are now almost entirely customisable by the user, so if you've ever fancied turning your red dot sight into a smiley face, well, now's your chance. Theatre mode, perhaps more usefully, allows people to preserve their finest moments and share them online. But the most exciting and immediate addition is Contracts, which allow you to bet CoD points on strictly-timed challenges - win x amount of games, get y amount of headshots - that you set for yourself.

If you’ve got a taste for taking such risks, you'll probably also love the new Wager Match mode. Here you gamble amassed CoD Points, instead of receiving XP, to potentially win big (or small; there's a mode where you gamble mere pennies) from a novelty 6-player free for all game; only the top three players will walk away with a share of the money. Modes are even selected randomly on bigger bets. One in the Chamber gives you three lives, a single bullet and a knife; Sticks and Stones dishes out explosive crossbows with aplomb, while also letting players "bankrupt" each other with tomahawks (Black Ops' take on the throwing knife); and Gun Game and Sharpshooter play around with a wider arsenal. The latter has everyone using the same random weapon for 45-second bursts, whereas the former has you incrementally progress through 20 weapons, changing your gun after each kill.

Wager Match is unlikely to dethrone Team Deathmatch as the series' premiere multiplayer mode, but that's clearly not its intention: this is a meticulously developed way to play some novelty games, and one that will prove invaluable for burning through some time while you wait for your friends to show up online.

Zombies mode makes its ever-controversial return, but once you get over the raucous tonal incongruity of headshotting the walking dead as JFK and Nixon, it exists as a self-contained co-operative survival mode - albeit one where you're constructing barricades and earning credits for new weapons while trapped in the Pentagon. Two maps are supplied on the disc, one with the aforementioned political figures and another which heralds the return of undead Nazis. The zombies don't stop until you're dead, and despite your eventual demise it's still a surprisingly enjoyable romp. A third map turns the game into a top-down twin-stick shooter, but while the gimmick is initially entertaining, the mode doesn't really have the legs to stand as anything other than a temporary diversion.

Treyarch isn't trying to reinvent the formula which made Modern Warfare 2 the most successful video game of all time, but it has laid down solid multiplayer foundations while adding a series of necessary and intelligent tweaks - which should be music to the ears of the game's many fans. A spectacular but silly single-player campaign rounds off the package, and while it comes without Modern Warfare 2's ambitious (but unsuccessful) attempt at carving out a political message, Black Ops offers its own thoroughly enjoyable romp through some entertaining set-pieces. I've considered myself a Call of Duty fan for many years, and I've held a deep-seated distrust of Treyarch since Call of Duty 3. No longer.

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Highest Rated Comment

CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ SexyJams

If you could afford a top-spec rig I'm sure you wouldn't waste time reminding all the "console kiddies" how superior you are, Jams. Bloodstorm doesn't constantly Lord it over us the way Highwayman obviously is doing, so why can't more of them be like him?
Posted 14:26 on 30 November 2010

User Comments

topgamer's Avatar


Hi everyone! Sorry to be an idiot, but does anyone know the password to the GKNOVA6 website? It ties in with Black Ops 2 Zombies. It says insert your age and when you type your age in the screen goes blank. Can someone help? :( :( :( :(
Posted 11:11 on 12 July 2012
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Which was 11 days earlier....
Posted 15:02 on 03 September 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ Bloodstorm

I didn't bump, I was replying to the guy who bumped above my comment.
Posted 20:57 on 02 September 2011
topgamer's Avatar


I think COD:BO is a godd game by most standards I have got up to level 29 in Zombies, Unlocked everything in Team Deathmatch but the downfall of the game is the actual Campaign itself. I didn't think there was much of a plot and the controls were unresponsive and difficult to use. I would rate this game overall a 7.

Posted 14:37 on 21 August 2011
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Why bump?

What do you expect for a game that was rushed?
Posted 04:24 on 30 June 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ Tron

The graphics in Black Ops were actually very poor in my opinion. I could see the age of the engine, and I didn't appreciate it. Some of the textures were borderline awful.
Posted 23:03 on 29 June 2011
Tron's Avatar


best game i've ever play on ps3!!!! it's amazing, and only a 9 in graphics, are you sane??!!!
Posted 00:17 on 18 June 2011
ghostdog25's Avatar


a 9 for graphics? LMAO oh wow
Posted 17:01 on 29 March 2011
burridge's Avatar


this game is amazing but there bringing out modern warfare 3 whitch i hope its good as this because modern warfare 2 was quit crap after a bit like. hope the killstreeks are the same tho coz modern warfare 2 killstreks are difrent to black ops
Posted 22:30 on 07 January 2011
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ Bloodstorm

Haha, I'm sure it's well deserved.

@Endless, although I cannot see myself spending more time on each PC game, I can certainly see myself spending a hell of a lot less. It seems like PC games are always half the price of console games, and that's excluding the absolutely ridiculously good Steam sales!
Posted 18:37 on 30 November 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ CheekyLee

You flatter me good sir.
Posted 15:14 on 30 November 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ CheekyLee

Not to mention console gamers could afford a gaming spec PC in no time if they bought less console games. PC gamers generally buy a fraction of the games a console gamer does. Because they generally spend more time on each game and, imo, the games offer a longer lifespan than console games.

I remember buying one PC game every couple of months, let alone one or several a month. And the games are cheaper in general.

Anyway... PC FPS experience > console FPS experience if what you're looking for is uber fx and L337 headshotz-kiddies.
Posted 14:58 on 30 November 2010
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ SexyJams

If you could afford a top-spec rig I'm sure you wouldn't waste time reminding all the "console kiddies" how superior you are, Jams. Bloodstorm doesn't constantly Lord it over us the way Highwayman obviously is doing, so why can't more of them be like him?
Posted 14:26 on 30 November 2010
Tsar_Chasm's Avatar


Actual game play less than an hour? I give to you 10 out of 10 journolisms!
Posted 14:11 on 30 November 2010


played through and found it boring with to many cut scenes unneccassary actions like stagering through corridors doing nothing, actual game play less than an hour.
very disapointed. 1 out of ten for the graphics.
Posted 13:49 on 30 November 2010

Game Stats

System Requirements
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Out of 10
Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • Excellent customisation options
  • Multiplayer changes are for the better
  • Single-player is very entertaining
  • Takes a while to kick off
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 09/11/2010
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360 , PS3 , Wii , DS
Developer: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 384 4
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