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Call of Duty: Black Ops

Score: 92%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Call of Duty Black: Ops looks surprisingly good on the Wii. The game starts out in Cuba in the late 1960's, in a rather dense city street full of odd shops and buildings. Of course, you'll be more concerned with the police cars trying to run you over, but the attention to detail is there, and it shows. I never once found myself distracted by the graphics, as you might find in other Wii games that try to stretch beyond their limits.

The sound is equally well done. You've got good music and ambient sound that acts much like a movie soundtrack, and great voice acting. The intro alone will give you a taste of what's to come, but everything is done to just the right intensity level. A lot of this is going to be your comrades yelling things to you, but hey, that can be done very poorly, and if bad enough, can get annoying. Every weapon also sounds like it should, or at least sounds impressive enough to match expectations. Much of the sound and sound effects of this game is very familiar from the previous games in the COD series, but they continue to sound just as good.


Gameplay:

The intro itself is some intense stuff, all by itself. Let me correct that, the opening menu is intense. You find you can look around a room, and if you look down, you're strapped by the wrists to a chair, apparently already bloodied up by some earlier struggle, possibly torture. You hear a voice on an intercom goading you on, interrogating you with questions like "What do the numbers mean?" and "Who are you working for?" and claiming "You killed him Mason, no one else, just you." If you look to the left, there's the main menu on another monitor. It's great, atmospheric, moody stuff that sets the tone for the cold war feel of the game beautifully, and it's just the opening menu.

This is the set up for the rest of what you'll be doing in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Between interrogation bouts from the mysterious voice, you replay your memories of a secret mission you were assigned to. Your first mission is to assassinate Castro, but of course, this doesn't go as planned. Early on, there's a twist, and your character decides to practically sacrifice himself to save his friends. Ultimately, you won't be bored with the drama, just as you won't be bored with the action.

Of course, you're probably wondering what the multiplayer is like on the Wii. Unfortunately, I didn't get much of a chance to test out this aspect since it was a little too early to have people playing online at the time. What you'll find here is that there are no friend codes, and you even have the option to use a mic. Any hardcore gamer who owns a Wii will breathe a sigh of relief at this. You've got all your standard options, private matches, multiplayer matches, and more. You also have some rather interesting options like the ability to set up a wager match to bet (in game) money against other players. Zombie mode is here as well, where you survive against hordes of zombies. One thing that might have been nice would be the ability to play the campaign mode with a friend, but there is at least a cooperative option with Zombie mode. Another thing that would have been nice would be a split screen option, but I guess it's best to be happy with the options you get here that you don't get with a lot of other Wii shooter titles.


Difficulty:

Call of Duty: Black Ops has plenty of different difficulty levels to choose from, whether you need a big challenge or an easy ride. If you're not a big first person shooter player, you can still find a way to enjoy this game. In addition to just difficulty level settings, there are settings to tweak things like aiming assist, camera speed, and cursor sensitivity. It's really nice to see that this game was made to be accessible not only to players of different skill levels, but players with different play styles.

The learning curve for the game is also pretty low. I found myself lobbing a grenade or two trying to find the pause button at first, but this was about the only thing that didn't seem to come naturally. Still, it will take some time to really become proficient with the game, it's just that it doesn't take very long to jump in and get going.


Game Mechanics:

Call of Duty: Black Ops has a great control system, fitting for the kind of first person shooter it is. It just feels right, and if it doesn't, there are plenty of fine tuning options to get it where you want it. The Wii Zapper add on is pictured in the manual, but you can easily live without it. This is stuff that shouldn't be complicated, and it isn't. Aiming feels quick and natural, turns flow easily, and movement is easy with the Analog Stick. If you want, you can even eliminate the waggle controls completely, though this doesn't really feel necessary. Also, the option to simply use the Classic Controller Pro is here if you want a completley controller-based control scheme.

Call of Duty: Black Ops feels like a solid shooter for the Wii. Of couse, it's not the best looking version of the game out there, but it does pretty good with the resources it has. If you're starving for something a little more mature, a little deeper on the Wii, then this is your game. This is one of those games that proves that the Wii can do shooters very well.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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