I heard a story once about an instructor who put a bunch of rocks into a glass jar until he couldn’t fit any more, and then asked the class if the jar was full. When they all agreed it was, he poured in some marbles. When they said it was full again, he poured in some sand. Then water.
Black Ops is a lot like that glass jar. The rocks are, of course, the campaign and the multi-player, the butter-smooth matchmaking, a brand new Theater mode, and the endangered split-screen (even online). Gameplay looks and runs great, and the Campaign offers all the amped up war shooter action we’ve come to expect, plus that Treyarch twist that makes it a little rough going down, but will definitely show you a good time. Multiplayer has been tweaked from MW2, but remains just as interesting. I was really annoyed by the RC cars until I put on the Flak Jacket. Now I don’t even bother to hurry when I hear that little one-stroke, and I take grenades to the chest and laugh.
Best 2000 credits you’ll ever spend.
There is actually a lot of gear and perks that interact with each other, producing some very interesting moments to go back over later in the theater.
Then come the marbles. Zombie mode is back (“5″ has the best intro ever), and Treyarch has upped the ante with the Wager Match modes, which are surprisingly entertaining. The use of in-game credits to unlock attachments, perks, contracts, etc. is a very suitable system that lets you build your classes the way you want from the get-go, but there are still challenges that encourage you to fully explore your options. Purchase Contracts to capitalize on your mad skills, or cowboy the hell up and risk your hard-earned credits in Wager Matches. Also, what kind of lame Playercard is that? Simply put, you will be very busy.
So now you’ve scoured the menu, making sure you’re at least aware of all the possible gametypes and knick-knacks, even if you tend to stick to your favs. Is that everything? Is the jar full yet?
Hell no. You forgot about the sand. In what I consider to be the coolest main menu ever, don’t you notice that you’re strapped to a chair? If you manage to pull free, you can get up and walk around in the room. You’ll find a computer terminal in the corner that has, among other things, two more games for you to play, all waiting to be discovered withinin the DOS-like setup.
Honestly, this game is packed with so much cool stuff to do, and even after the novelty wears off, it’ll still be a great game to keep in the library for those seemingly endless stretches between worthy titles. Good thing, too, because the future of the franchise might be a little hazy now that Infinity Ward is no more. It’s a lot of fun for the money, and if you’re one of the 12 shooter fans who haven’t bought or played it yet, you’re really missing out.