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Call of Duty: Black Ops review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £35
inc VAT

With innovations thin on the ground, we simply can’t raise the same level of enthusiasm for this year’s iteration of the popular shooter.


In-game there are some new tweaks to liven things up. New killstreak rewards include a remote control car with an explosive package (good fun, but at three kills, it’s so common we quickly tired of it), along with napalm strikes and a blackbird spy plane – which gives a precise indication of your opponents locations and the direction they’re facing. There’s also new equipment, like a remote camera to cover your rear, but none of it messes with the usual run-and-gun dominated gameplay.

All the classic game modes make a return, but it’s the new wager matches which really grabbed us. You can bet your hard earned COD points here against other players in a series of all-on-all matches. There are various wacky modes, with weapons that switch with every kill you make, crossbow and tomahawk matches, and pistol duels with a single bullet – you get a new bullet with every kill, miss and you only have your knife.

COD black ops 2

It’s too soon to fully judge the 14 new multiplayer maps. Some have fun themes like Nuketown’s faux-suburbia atomic test site, but our first impression is that these don’t translate into interesting gameplay – like sniping from the cranes in Modern Warfare 2’s Highrise, or holing up in Terminal’s passenger jet. If you tired of its predecessors multiplayer before reaching the maximum level, then there’s little here to tempt you back for another lengthy campaign.

Treyarch’s last Call of Duty title, World at War, was probably most notable for its Zombies mode – a co-operative blast-fest where players worked together to hold off waves of the undead. It returns here, again not hugely changed, but still both amusing and satisfying. It certainly helps to round off an otherwise limited package, and deserves its inclusion on the main menu.

Following on from Modern Warfare, World at War and Modern Warfare 2, the latest Call of Duty game fails to make any big improvements to the franchise. It’s not a bad game, but it certainly feels like one you’ve played before. Fans will enjoy it, and there’s little competition from elsewhere, but it does feel like Call of Duty has settled into middle-age. The developers will need to seriously rework the next instalment if they expect us to answer that titular call again.

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Price £35
Rating ****