I’m not completely counting Black Ops 3 in this because I haven’t played it as thoroughly as the other three games. I will take into consideration the Zombies mode for the game, but I have not played/watched any other part of the game enough to review it.
In this review, I will be talking about three games specifically:
Call of Duty – World at War
Call of Duty – Black Ops
Call of Duty – Black Ops II
Call of Duty – Included Zombies mode (With the exclusion of Black Ops 3)
With every Call of Duty that’s come, there has been a barrage of various opinions. With Infinite Warfare (developed by Infinity Ward), it has received the most hate on a single video in the history of YouTube, at 34M views, 50k likes and 3M dislikes. Black Ops II had a similar ratio, but turned out to be a pretty decent game overall. I’ll be reviewing the games for gameplay and story, but not multiplayer. I will, however, put forth that I’m at 1st prestige level 44 in Black Ops 1, and 2nd prestige, level 40 in Black Ops II.
Side note, I actually played the DS version of the first two games on this list. World at War was incredibly difficult, and did mention Dmitri Petrenko in the Russian campaign of World at War, but it wrapped up a portion of Black Ops 1 into its own prequel. The console/PC releases are VERY different from their DS alternatives. I’ll give my overall ratings for each one at the end.
Let’s start from the linear beginning:
Call of Duty: World at War – The bread and butter of a WWII shooter.
This game was released in the year subsequent to the original Modern Warfare, and was Treyarch’s third title in the series. Prior to WaW, Treyarch developed CoD 3, and CoD 2: Big Red One. But I digress.
In this game, you switch between two soldiers.Private Miller of the U.S. Marine Corps in the Japanese Theater, and Private Dmitri Petrenko of the Russian Red Army pushing west to Berlin. Both sides have very different styles of warfare, with Miller’s being more close range jungle/cave warfare, while Dmitri’s is in a more industrialized setting of going through buildings, villages and cities.
And yes, after you beat the campaign, you’re dropped in a small house where you fight NAZI ZOMBIES.
With the Americans’ side of things, there really isn’t much story in here. But, playing as Dmitri, your ally Viktor Reznov makes the entire run on the western front worth it.
Playing as Miller, you would be stuck with two sergeants who sounded the same, and someone of your rank whose voice acting is sub-par. And when there’s a lack of seeable enemies, it makes even close-range combat incredibly hard.
Playing as Dmitri, seeing the Nazis you had to kill was way easier than the Japs. They’re easier to see, and the areas are far more open. The challenge lies in open areas where you have to snipe to get a good shot in, and I love those situations in open-world shooters. I really enjoy sniping, even though I’m pretty terrible at it.
Black Ops 1 (Xbox 360/PS3/PC)
Up to Black Ops 1, I had played COD4, World at War and MW2. When I started up Black Ops 1, it stuck me in a spot I’d never been in- an interrogation chamber where we were exploring memories in a soldier’s many tours.
Focusing in the Cold War era, you play as Sgt. Alex Mason under care of the CIA. It sets you in the Bay of Pigs invasion to start with, and you move on through various events on both sides of the spectrum. You also play as Mason’s handler Jason Hudson, and Viktor Reznov for a bit of background. (Spoiler, Reznov is in all three games) Mason also works with one of his best military buddies, Sgt. Frank Woods.
Gameplay-wise, it doesn’t feel much different than World at War- at least until you play the Reznov mission. After that, you’ll feel a lot of differences in how everything feels and operates. It makes a good bridging gap between the first and third games, and leaves things just open enough to deliver a sequel.
And yes, Zombies returns as a full-blown game mode.You have one map to start out with, another to unlock through the campaign, and a totally new mode through an easter egg. There are definitely zombies maps included with DLC packs, however I’m not going to review all of those. I’ll just give a quick review on all of the included maps.
Kino Der Toten is pretty basic, and includes everything from Der Reise with the addition of Mule Kick (Carry 3 weapons). Map is in a figure-8 pattern, and is really easy to run a horde of zombies behind you without getting caught. My record is 69.
FIVE is a map that takes place in the Pentagon, taking inspiration from two campaign levels: U.S.D.D. and Rebirth’s labs. It feels like a crappy throwaway, for lack of a better word, and way too compact. It’s easy enough to get killed way before you turn the power on, with my highest round completed on the map being 13.Dead Ops Arcade is a parody of 80’s arcade games. Instead of being in a first-person perspective, you have a top-down view of the map and have to battle zombies and the Cosmic Silverback. It’s a fun twist, but I don’t play it often enough.
Black Ops II (Xbox 360/PS3/PC)
This is where the title “Black Ops” starts to become questionable, especially towards the end of the campaign. Additionally, there’s some actual character-building in the game to make it a little more worth it.
You primarily play as David Mason, Alex Mason’s son in a later year and war. There are sequences where you go back in time to play as Alex alongside Joseph Svimbi, and during other scenarios. Frank Woods is also a key player throughout the game. Though later in the campaign, it turns into very public, very violent war where nobody can deny that this is happening. This makes it difficult to maintain the “Black Ops” title, in my opinion. Black Operations implies that the words will be covered by black ink to refute details, giving plausible deniability to the situation. (i.e., it never happened) But when the war is taken to your homefront? It becomes difficult to deny
And yes, zombies are included in a slightly futuristic installment. You’re given one map that was separated into three areas, with different game modes in each.
Green Run: You can play the story (Transit), survival in three smaller parts of the map (Bus Station, Town and Farm), and a game mode called “Grief” where you survive in teams.
Personally, I like the fast pace of this game in a literal sense of the word. Swift movement and being able to do everything at a fast, brisk pace? I’m one to speedrun a game (Or a world in an MMO) first, then take in the story on a second run through. Although, one thing that makes it difficult to speedrun and continue a story is that this game is non-linear. There are multiple endings thanks to three choices you have in the game:
Do you save the girl and kill her captor?
Do you shoot the man with the bag over his head in the legs or head?
Do you kill your best friend when under pressure to maintain your loyalty to your leader?
Do you kill the bad guy, martyring him to his cause? Or do you spare him, in hopes that he will see the world in a better light?
Of course, these are choices you have to make that will affect the outcome of your game.
World at War & Black Ops (DS)
Of course, you wouldn’t expect a Call of Duty game to be played on a device that wholly is the size of the first Xbox Original controllers. Right? Right? Well as it turns out, Nintendo licensed out their hardware for Activision to make Call of Duty games for their systems. Old news, I know. And in my opinion? They’re pretty terrible. I’ll be reviewing these two together because my criticisms are largely the same.
There are characters that look vaguely human in the game, but the controls are so weird! And in the American campaign, especially in Iwo Jima, it’s hard to tell your enemies and allies apart! The stories, unlike their console counterparts, are so terribly disconnected on all fronts, and nobody ever gives any sort of good exposition anywhere. Additionally, the controls are tough to use because your bottom screen affects your look, and it’s easy enough to accidentally press the ADS button while trying to figure out where the hell the bad guys are. It’s like they said “World War II shooter,” and gave nothing to warrant an individual story, like Private Miller or Dmitri Petrenko.
Now, to the credit of Black Ops on DS, it actually had key bindings available in the options, and two separate aiming options. But it felt like Black Ops did nothing but parody both Black Ops games for that same generation, and did nothing to expand anywhere. Though oddly enough, you played alongside David Mason at some points.
And to my surprise, zombies was included on Black Ops for DS. Four maps, where everything was ungodly expensive, and the zombies ran at a brisk walk. You could probably give a Vietnamese stealth trooper from the console version glowing eyes and you’d have every zombie in that mode.
In other words, I found no justifiable reason to play those game after awhile.
So, what’s your score?
Starting from the top…
World at War gets a 7.5/10. Despite how little narrative there is, it’s still enough to bring about an enveloping story for half the game.
Black Ops 1 gets 9/10. While it may not feel fast enough, I love the story and how it’s presented.
Black Ops 2 gets 8/10. Fast pacing, decent game overall, though the point of the game and title comes into question after a certain point.
Both DS counterparts get 0/10 and 0.5/10 respectively. At least Black Ops made some slight improvements to its prequel, of whom I will no longer mention.