Maybe this one should've remained classified.
Published by Brandyn
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
Sony could have had something absolutely amazing here. The PS Vita is a very powerful piece of tech under the hood, and by all indications, this game could have been excellent. A good handheld Call of Duty game could have even prevented the Vita from landing in the mess that it's in, or at least alleviated its problems a little. As it stands, Black Ops: Declassified ends up becoming the dictionary posterchild of lost potential.
Black OpsDeclassified is set in between the first Black Ops game and Black Ops II. The single player...campaign...has players controlling Frank Woods and Alex Mason through a series of disjointed missions. When I say disjointed, I really mean it, because they don't have much to do with each other. It's standard fare, albeit even more linear than usual. Plus, the enemy AI is pretty bad. These trained killer soldiers sure do like to run into walls until you kill them. The "campaign" (again, using that word loosely) is really short and you will probably get two hours max time out of it tops. It basically just ends up serving as tutorial for the multiplayer.
The only other thing to do solo is "Hostiles Mode". It's basically the same as the Survival Mode from Modern Warfare 3. Fend off waves and waves of enemies. For what its worth, this isn't too bad and can actually provide some decent, time-wasting arcade-style fun. Alas, it's somewhat ruined by the microscopic maps in this game, which I will come to momentarily.
The bread and butter of Call of Duty games is the multiplayer modes. Even if the single player games suck rotten eggs, we can always count on the multiplayer to deliver, right? Well, sort of...
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 one of the biggest issues with the multiplayer. The arenas are so small it's not even funny.
As a result, it is not uncommon to hit the respawn button only for the screen to go red and have your soldier drop dead on arrival. Hey there, guy I just killed! Thank you for spawning right into my 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.
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.
With that being said, however, there is some fun to be had. I mean, I can certainly cut the game some slack due to it being on a handheld. Powerful as the Vita is, and as much as I should be harder on it since it literally promised it was simply a PS3 in the palm of your hands, you have to open your mind a bit. I mean, you can't go into this expecting it to be just like its console counterpart. With this in mind, the multiplayer on COD: BOD is pretty solid for a handheld. The weapon customization is just as solid as it is in the other games.
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. While I do say it is decent for a handheld, all it really ends up doing is make you wish you were playing the real Call of Duty on console.