Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
Ah, the month of November. Ah yes, we all know what beautiful occasion happens every November.....A NEW CALL OF DUTY! And something about turkey and being thankful to celebrate a bunch of people in funny clothes coming to America on a boat. But more importantly, a NEW CALL OF DUTY!
Black Ops Declassified is set in between the first Black Ops game and Black Ops II. Players control Frank Woods and Alex Mason through a short series of missions in the single player campaign that takes place in between Black Ops 1 and 2. Though there aren't many missions in the single player campaign, it can be rather frustrating due to pretty bad enemy AI. Also another thing is that there are no mid level checkpoints so if you die, you have to start the whole level over again. It's not too shabby, but this is a CoD game, so the majority of your time will be spent in multiplayer. As is the case with all CoD games, who really buys these mainly for the single player campaign? Your only other option for solo play is a mode called "Hostiles" which is much like "Survival" from Modern Warfare 3. This is pretty much all I do whenever I am unable to play online. It's simply an endurance round where you must survive an onslaught of enemy soldiers in waves. While it can be addictive at times, the meat of these games is the multiplayer. And suffice it to say...the multiplayer in BOD is rather watered down, even for a handheld entry.
For starters, none of the six maps in this game are original. Rather, they are all smaller versions of maps from other CoD games. For example, there is Nukehouse, which is literally just half of Nuketown, or Range, which is a much smaller version of Firing Range. The size of the maps is definately the biggest issue with the multiplayer. The arenas are so small it's not even funny. It is not uncommon to die instantly upon respawn because you spawned right in front of the enemy's line of fire. Imagine any of the maps in past games scaled down to a quarter of their original size. That's how small these maps are. One could argue that that at least keeps the games fast paced and helps to eliminate camping, which it does, so I suppose there is a silver lining in that. However it's ultimately more of a drawback. Even if this is a handheld game I am pretty sure Nihilistic could have made these maps significantly larger. Especially since there are only six of them, and no DLC at this time.
For the most part, I personally have no gripes with the controls. This is where the Vita's dual analog control scheme shines. Grenades, Lethal Equipment, and the Knife are all handled via the touchscreen which is not as awkward as it may sound, actually. Your soldier automatically sprints. Some players seem to complain about the controls in this game but they've never been a problem for me.
In terms of the multiplayer modes, it's rather bare bones. The five modes are Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Drop Zone, Team Tactical, and Free-For-All. That's pretty much it. Multiplayer in this game can support up to 8 players per room for 4 on 4 games, which is fitting due to the really small maps. In terms of traffic for the game I can usually find a game relatively easy, although the games tend to often be pretty empty and especially these days it's rather rare to have a full room. Oddly I seemed to be in more full games earlier in the year close to the release date.
Despite the abysmal reviews given to this game by many of the major gaming publications on the web, I actually think this is a pretty okay entry for the series (for a handheld), flaws and all. It gets the job done when you need a Call of Duty fix while on the go. The problem is that this game shamelessly sports a price tag of $50 at retail. I'll tell you right now that this game is not worth 50 bucks because at that price you simply don't get quite enough content for your buck. You might as well pay the extra few dollars and get Black Ops 2, or the original Black Ops for 20. If you are interested in this game but do not have a Vita, I would strongly recommend getting the Black Ops Declassified Vita bundle where the game is included with the system. That's why I have it. Otherwise, wait until this one finds its way to the bargain bin.