Wednesday, July 27, 2016

LTTP Review: Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified

Late to the party.... um, yep! Just a few scraps of cake and some people on Table 9 playing online! However, at just a few bucks for a US import with some Amazon vouchers I had kicking around, why not? Seriously, don't pay more than $15/£10 for Call of Duty, and you may find it offers a limited amount of fun.

Head online, and there's always plenty of people to play against in tight, tense, close quarter battles, in team deathmatch, free for all and a couple of other modes. Just throw away your memories of the Xbox epics and think back to school when you played Killer/Tag/Hunter with a bunch of friends in a small area. It does feel silly initially, spawn, die, spawn, kill, kill, die, spawn, die, spawn, die - all within a minute. But, once you get a feel for the map you can learn a few tactics and locations to string together a killstreak.

Getting used to aiming takes a fair while, and it is never as tight as the big-screen versions, with everything compressed into such a small space. Always having a finger free to tap the screen for melee is recommended, as it is very easy to run into opponents, missing from one-foot away with a weapon.

Unfortunately, you can't take screenshots, so here's a grainy photo
Overall though, apart from the crappy shadows, the game actually looks pretty decent, with maps borrowed liberally from the history of the Black Ops series. It really shouldn't be called Declassified, perhaps Fragmentation would have been a better name!

That's pretty much what you get with a totally random collection of set piece single player missions, where you get one life to complete it, and can aim to achieve better ratings, through faster, more accurate run throughs.

There are rescue missions, acts of sabotage, protection jobs, but each boils down to enter room, kill, move on, achieve objective, more rooms, more kills, repeat. The enemy AI is so poor, it won't take long to figure out a speedy pattern through.

The graphics mostly look okay, but there are some alarming texture jumps, probably why the game won't let you take screenshots. There's also a few solo survival missions to play, and then once you're done with them, there's always multiplayer with custom classes and loadouts. They are fun on the larger maps with enough players, and it is still easy enough to find a decent game.

I should have perhaps played it first without the patches to see if CoD was really as bad as early reviewers claimed. However, while it never feels as tight as Killzone, it is at least playable, if more random than any spec ops operator would expect. Boresight mode is too slow, and free aim is a one-way trip to low ammo, but once you've gone a few rounds, things feel slightly less hectic.

So, yeah, this is a bargain basement nod to the CoD series, cooked up in a few weeks by some over-stressed coders at Nihilistic/nStigate who should never have got the job. Check out the many YouTube videos to see how it can be played, and to prove that people still enjoy it.

Score: 4/10
More reviews
Price: $19.99 (Amazon US)
Developer: Nihilistic
Progress: Wounds, some mental!

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