It's a sign of just how popular Call of Duty is when it's fans, who number in the tens of millions, will put down ten, fifteen pounds on a few new maps you could count on your hand. Regardless of Activision's exploitative profit-mongering, their customers continue to finance such thinking. I am one of those customers, as I put down 1200 MS Points when the First Strike Map Pack hit Xbox LIVE servers.
As I suffer for my financial sins, you can make an informed decision on whether you want to buy this inordinately priced product or not. Read on!
Let's kick things off with Discovery, the Antarctic-set map ripped from the campaign when Reznov first discovers Project Nova. Visually similar to the Summit map in the original Black Ops release, Discovery transports you to an snowbound facility slap-bang in the middle of an ice-cap afloat in the Antarctic ocean. Lit under the pale green glow of the Aurora Borealis, it makes the proceeding gunfights and a bloodshed a little more beautiful than usual.Click here to read the rest of Felix's review...
So. Black Ops, the seventh Call of Duty title, and Treyarch's chance to prove they can wear the crown. I can't help but lose myself to the hype. Despite CoD being an annualized series, allowing for very little change to the basic formula, it conjures such a maelstrom of buzz and anticipation, bewitching critics and consumers alike, that it's quite difficult to remain detached and biased. It's expected to shatter sales-records, generate billions in revenue, and, like it's predecessors, it'll gobble away hours of my life as I strive to Prestige!
But, as gravity likes to prove, what comes up, must eventually come down. How long can Call of Duty remain on top? Is Black Ops a solid foundation to prop the series up on for another year? Or is the entire structure set to collapse?
Alex Mason hasn't had the best life. A former CIA assassin, he's currently strapped to a chair being zapped with bolts of electric current. Ahead, a pile of televisions recounts moments from Mason's war-torn past, as he is interrogated by a distorted voice, Saw-style. Black Ops is being pitched as Vietnam game, but it's setting is, in fact, quite malleable, liable to hop timezones as Mason's kidnappers force him to face yet another memory.
It's a fantastic set-up, and quite unlike the linear theater of war we've come to expect from CoD. The writing is sharp, thanks to Batman scribe David Goyer, and, for once, you can invest in the characters, bolstered by strong characterization and terrific mo-cap performances. Sam Worthington, of Avatar fame, voices our hero, Mason, while the likes of Ed Harris and even Gary Oldman feature.
And Treyarch proves it's more than capable of handling CoD's penchant for spectacular set-pieces, blending scripted and free-form sequences to exhilarating effect. You'll chase trains on a 60's motorcycle, hefting a Winchester 1887 in one hand, or lead a prison uprising in a Russian gulag, and even spearing a prowling helicopter with a harpoon-gun. It's terrific stuff, only let down by CoD's insistence on waves of reloading Whack'a'Mole infantry.Click here to see if Black Ops multiplayer is up to scratch...