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May 30, 2012

KVR Archive: Call of Duty: Black Ops Full Review



Call of Duty: Black Ops is the seventh installment in the widely popular Call of Duty franchise.

The following post contains images from the game of blood and guts, in order to get the message across.

So that means: THIS POST IS NOT FOR KIDS!!!!!!!

Areas Of Concern:

Let me make this clear: THIS GAME IS NOT FOR CHILDREN!!!!!!!! ANY PARENT WHO BUYS THIS FOR THEIR CHILDREN IS CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!! THIS WASN’T MADE FOR CHILDREN!!!!!! WHY AM I SCREAMING!?!!?!?!?

That’s because parents still buy this game for their children regardless.

Please learn to read AGE RESTRICTIONS and CONTENT WARNINGS. Seriously, every time you buy a violent video game for a child, a kitten dies. PLEASE, think of the kittens!

Wait? You say you’re older? Well then, please continue to my content warning section:

(PS: I’m still mad at you silly parents who bought this for their kids. You’re not getting off the hook this easily….)

Violence/Gore: Alright! Why don’t we get started?
This is a shooter, which involves breaking glass. And shooting of course! This game has its fair share of blood and gore, but it doesn’t entirely go to the point of being offensive.

Most of what happens is justified in context of war. But there are a few eyebrow raising moments. This game does have an option to tone the gore down. However, for the sake of the review, I will only be talking about the unrestricted version.

So here we go:

General Gameplay:

A lot of people get shot during the course of the game. When this happens, blood sprays, and stains the environment. Enemies usually scream or yell when shot. When you shoot them, bloody patches can be seen where the bullets hit. Sometimes, bloody chunks are seen flying. (A bit over the top.)

Sometimes after being shot, enemies lie down clutching their wounds, and then die.

Some of the heavy and explosive weapons (Rocket launchers, machine guns, and grenades) can dismember enemies.

This is done realistically, for the most part. When limbs are blown off, they spray blood, and you can see the tattered bones when you look closer. The enemies always clutch their wounds when dismembered. This is gruesome, but at least it happens fairly quickly.

Enemies can also be set on fire. When this happens, they flail around for a brief bit, yelling, and then collapse dead. They are charred when burned.

You can also slice enemies with a knife. When this happens, blood spurts, and stains the floor beneath you. The enemy usually dies quickly.

When you are shot, blood appears on the screen for a while, before fading away.

There is a chemical weapon in the game that kills people in a gruesome way. They bleed from their eyes, and start getting blisters. They die quickly.

Some video clips of war (Non-Graphic) are shown in cinematics.

Remember when I mentioned the option to tone down gore? I recommend you do so in the Vietnam levels. (SOG, The Defector, Victor Charlie, Crash site and Payback) Some of the more eyebrow raising moments occur in those levels.

Language: Semi frequent swearing. Uses of F**K with its variants, (Motherf****er) and S**T. More minor swear words, like D**n, C**P, B**CH, B**Tard, and H*ll. Words with anatomical connotations are used non-sexually: P***y and B**ls.

Russian equivalents of these words are also used.

God’s name is used in vain occasionally, and one use of “Jesus Christ”

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking: A few characters smoke during the course of the game. A bar is seen, with liquor bottles. No actual drinking. A few written and verbal drug references.

Spiritual Content: On occasion, the “Peace” symbol is seen. You have the option of having symbols on your weapons in multiplayer. (Yin Yang, Peace symbol, skulls)

Some of the military guys have tattoos on them.

In one level, the song, “Sympathy for the devil” plays. I’ll get more into it below.

There is also a Zombie mode. I recommend you skip this entirely. Because there is an announcer, who speaks in a demonic voice.

It automatically takes to it after you have finished the game. Just quit immediately!

The most interesting thing about the game is its mostly realistic portrayal of Multiple Personality Disorder, which a character later in the game has.

For those who don’t know what that is; Multiple Personality Disorder, also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder or MPD, is when a person acts like an entirely different person, most of the time not knowing at all what He or She is doing.

For more information, here is a Wikipedia article.

Now that I’m past general gameplay concerns, I’m going to take a more detailed look at concerns from the individual levels.

Operation 40:


Violence: The game begins with man restrained in a chair. He has blood on his shirt, he has his hands tied down, and they are also bloody and bruised. He is interrogated by electrical shock. The screen distorts when this happens, and he screams in pain.

Video clips of a man being injected with interrogative substances are shown.

In a bar, a man stabs a guy through the hand, and then hits him in the face with a bottle. This happens quickly. The man removes the knife, and then shoots the guy through the head. All of this happens with blood spraying.

A man drives through a roadblock, over some police officers. This happens very quickly.

Two men land on two enemies, and slit their throats. The men obscure the throat slitting; only slicing is heard.

You push a button, and then a man is strangled from behind. He spits, and struggles briefly, then collapses.


Ouchy. (Didn’t know what else to say.)


A man, using a woman as a human shield, is shot through the head in slow motion. The blood spraying is also shown in slow motion. The woman he is holding then grabs a shotgun and starts shooting at you. If you don’t shoot her, your ally will. He voices his displeasure over this.

A man grabs an enemy, shoots him several times in rapid succession with blood spraying, and then throws him off a ledge.

You are grabbed by an enemy, and then knocked unconscious by a rifle.

Sex/Nudity: The women in this level wear revealing dresses.

Vorkuta:

Violence: There some clips of people in labour camps, not graphic.

A man punches you; you then punch the man back.

You punch a man in the face with a rock; a blood mist is seen.



A bunch of guards and prisoners wrestle with each other. The prisoners stomp on the guards, and the guards beat the prisoners. A guard’s neck is broken, with a crack. A guard is thrown head first into a wall.

A man impales a guard from behind with a pickaxe. Blood sprays and the guard yells in pain. He is thrown aside, with blood spraying.

A bunch of prisoners run into a hail of gunfire, with bloody results.

A steel gate closes on a man, killing him. This is a lot less gruesome than it sounds, however.

U.S.D.D:

Violence: Nothing.

Sex/Nudity: A woman looks at you seductively as you walk by.



Creepy Stuff: There are screeching noises throughout the level. Your character hallucinates pointing a gun at a man.

Executive Order:

Violence: A man has his eye stabbed out, with blood spraying. He screams. Another man partially obscures this.


You stab a man in the back of the neck with a curved knife. A crack is heard, with blood on his neck. Your ally does the same to another guard, off-screen.

Two men slit two guards’ throats, and throw them into a ditch. This is seen from a distance.

Two men knock out guards with rifles. They proceed to hit them again for good measure.

You can slam a guard’s head into a tape recorder. The glass shatters and he falls over.


I know; it looks more like he’s showing a buddy his awesome tape recorder.


You can push a guard over the railing, onto a catwalk below. You see him land with a soft thud.

One of your allies, if you look around, kicks a man off a ladder.

A man sits in a room with blood stains around him.

Gross Stuff: A man suddenly throws up.

SOG:

Violence: A bunch of men move body bags around.

A man looks bloodied as he climbs out of a chopper.


Bruce Willis’s sunglasses had something to do with it.
(No, that is not Bruce Willis.)


There is a sudden explosion. A car goes out of control, and hits a soldier, who bounces off the hood. This happens very quickly. The people inside the car then fly out on to the ground. None of them are really hurt.

There is an explosion, and you see a man lying there with legs and arms missing in a blood puddle. This one of the more gruesome scenes I mentioned earlier.

A man suddenly jumps on you. You push buttons to fend him off, and then you pull a pin on one of his grenades. You push him back and then he explodes, with both of his legs blown off. This is partially obscured by the explosion.

A man stomps on, and hits a man with his rifle.

A man stumbles around with half of his face blown off. The scene never focuses on him, but it is the most gruesome moment in the game. There are several similar looking bodies lying around, but they are only briefly seen.

The Defector:

A man snaps an enemy’s neck. He then shoots two men using him as a shield. Nobody shoots the dead guy.

Enemy soldiers open fire on a group of innocent people, with blood of course.

An enemy attacks you and tries to stab you with a knife. Another man comes and stabs him in the neck, with blood.

An explosion happens, and a man half his face blown off lies on top of you. You push him off. The other half of his face is not seen in detail.

A civilian is seen kneeling over a dead civilian looking sad.

Numbers:

A hostage is restrained and refuses to answer your character’s questions. Your character then breaks a window, and inserts a piece of it into the hostage’s mouth. He then punches the man twice. Blood leaks out of his mouth, and he spits out blood too.

A man is shot through the head, in slow motion. Chunks fly out the opposite side. This does not look very realistic. However, it’s still gross. He then hits a neon sign on the way down, and falls down out of sight.

A car rams two men into a wall. He then shoots both of them. This is bloodless.

Spiritual Content: The mission takes place in Hong Kong, so some of their symbols are seen on posters, if you go looking for it. (The Chinese calendar, Yin Yang)

Project Nova:

A bunch of German soldiers surrender to the Russians. You have the option of shooting them. If you don’t, your allies will.

A man executes some hostage German soldiers. He shoots most of them, and when he gets to the last one, the gun runs out of ammo. He then takes out a knife, and slits the last prisoner’s throat, with blood spraying.

You enter a place with a lot of frozen corpses. One of them hangs from a noose. The whole scene is not brightly lit, so you don’t see it in much detail.

A couple of men are thrown in a chamber, and then gassed with a chemical weapon. They struggle and throw up, then start bleeding from their eyes, and finally die. They thankfully don’t suffer for long.

Victor Charlie:

A helicopter crashes. (This is only heard.) When you see it, one of the pilots is dead, and the other one gets shot.

You grab an enemy and use him as a human shield. Blood sprays as he is shot. You shoot a bunch of enemies, and when you get to the last one, the bullet flies in slow motion, and hits him in the head. Blood sprays.

You grab an enemy into water, and then slit his throat from behind. This is done realistically, in contrast to the rest of the game. He has a cut on his neck, and the water fills with blood.

If you turned the filter on, there is no wound or blood.

You can do the same to two sleeping guards. You cover their mouths as you stab them. They also have a realistic looking wound afterwards.

*- It’s entirely possible to not kill them, just move on and the game continues without consequence -*

You can also stab a guard who is sitting on a box. Blood sprays, and he cries out in pain. This is less graphic, as you don’t see his face.

A Vietcong soldier suddenly stabs one of your allies.

One of your allies throws a guard into water and stabs him in the neck. Of course, blood flows.

There is a tape recording that describes the effects of a certain chemical weapon. The man, who is one of the antagonists, mentions they tested it on the local population, including infants.

Crash Site:

Spiritual Content: The music that plays during the first part of the level is “Sympathy for the devil” a well-known song. It is also known for its satanic undertones. Is that the reason why the game developers put this in? Maybe not. But then again it is hard to say these days.

Not everybody is aware what is going on in these songs. A good documentary on this subject is “They sold their souls for Rock and Roll” which also touches on the aforementioned song.

*-For the people who are going to play it; turn the music off in the game's options, until it flashes back to the man in the bloodied white shirt. You’ll know what I’m talking about. -*

Sex/Nudity: Two drawings of scantily clad women are seen on the boat you ride in.

Violence: A bunch of dead people with blisters are seen.

A man kicks you in the face.

WMD:

Violence: A man stabs a man in the neck. A big blood burst and chunks are seen. Not very realistic.

A man is thrown off a ledge by another man. He hits the mountain on the way down. Only a soft thud is heard.

A man throws a knife at another man; it hits him in the neck. He then removes the knife. This is bloodless.

Another man grabs onto a catwalk, and falls just as another man is about to help him. He hits the mountain, and a soft crack is heard.


RIP, guy who we had barely enough time to care about :(

Payback:

Violence: A man is hit in the back of the head three times with lead pipe. Blood sprays, and is seen on his head. The man dies instantly.

You shoot a man through the neck in slow motion. Blood sprays and you then use him as a human shield.

A man hits you with a chair. Another man fights with him. The man punches him, gives him a knee to the stomach, and then throws him aside.

A man punches, kicks, and stomps on you continuously.



A man is stabbed in the rib in slow motion, with blood spraying.

A man pulls the pins off several of his grenades. Another man dives with him out of a window. Only the explosion is seen.

Rebirth:

Violence: Your character stabs a man in the neck with a small axe. Squishing sounds are heard and blood is seen. This happens very quickly.

Your character tries to do the same to another man. The man turns around, and then your character stabs him in the arm, blood spraying and the man cries out in pain. He then quickly stabs him in the neck.

Your character grabs a man off a ledge. He hits a catwalk fence, and breaks his back on it. A soft crack is heard.

In one room, you can see a bunch of bodies which have autopsied. Their abdomens are open.

In one of the rooms, there is a chamber with monkeys in cages. If you shoot at this chamber, a chemical weapon sprays them. They collapse and die.

A man is slammed against a computer terminal, and then punched a few times, with a bit of blood.

A man is shot through the head. Only the aftermath is seen in detail. He is sitting in a chair with blood around him, and the resulting bullet wound is seen on his head.

A man inhales some of the chemical weapon. He dies in the expected manner.

A man knocks another man out with the butt of a pistol.

Gross Stuff: A man is heard stepping in ape dung near the beginning of the level. He expresses his deep and emotional feelings for this accident in elegant and beautiful Russian language.

Revelations:

Violence: A man punches another man into a bunch of objects.

A man punches another man.

Some of the violent events of previous levels are seen.

Creepy Stuff: The whole level a man hears screeching, growling, and numbers.

Redemption:

Violence: A man is shot in the shoulder by another man, blood sprays. The man is then grabbed of the ledge by your character. Your character punches him, and then you push buttons to hold him under the water. The man then drowns.



Since I had no idea what to put in here, I decided to make fun of Soap’s hair some more.


That about covers it! I will have a short conclusion for parents and what-not at the end of the review. 

Speaking of which:

Review of Game:

What can you say about Call of Duty? 

Its action scenes are thrilling and entertaining; its stories are clichéd and far-fetched.

It provides a lot of fun online with customization; it never really changes that much year to year.

Yes, everybody everywhere seems to have differing opinions on Call of Duty, especially in its format today. So how does Black Ops stack up against all the praise and the hatred it’s received?

Let’s find out:

Story: This is a very gritty and serious game.


Serious game is serious.


No, seriously.

Call of Duty is released every year, and made by two developers:

(Gamers, bear with me. I’m explaining how this works to your parents.)

The main developer, Infinity Ward, is responsible for the Modern Warfare line of Call of Duty. Treyarch, is responsible for World at War, and Black Ops. One of their main differences from Infinity Ward is that they aim for a more dark and gritty approach to warfare.

This is very noticeable in Black Ops, especially in the game’s more gory moments. I mean, even near the beginning they make it clear this is not for anybody looking for a jolly piece of entertainment for them and their friends. 

(Although if your friends like blood, guts and gore, you can play this with them.

....You have strange friends, you know that?)

I should probably explain the basic story of Black Ops. The game centers on a man named Alex Mason, who is in some serious trouble, and can’t even remember what he did.


Not to mention, he looks like a pair of jeans.


Through a series of flashbacks you find out more of Mason’s backstory. This includes his connection to Viktor Reznov, (A Russian soldier burning for revenge) and his obsessive desire to kill the game’s antagonists. 

The game’s antagonists are: Dragovich, an evil Russian; Kravchenko, an evil Russian; Steiner, an evil German.

Not much depth to them, and that’s where the problem comes in; Most of Black Ops characters lack depth, with the possible exception of Reznov. Sure, they aren’t boring, but a game with this much talent involved, there should have been much more interesting characters.

The story was average. It was clichéd, but it did have a major plot twist to go for it. But before that, there is so much explosions, blood, guts and kittens, that when the game FINALLY slows down to explain its story, it feels abrupt and out of place. Here me out, I liked the twist, but good storytelling this is not.

Every now and then, you need a breather, and Black Ops just never slows down enough.

Is the writing bad? Well, there is not much of it for most of the game, that’s I’ll say. It could have been much better, had they taken more time to write it instead of rip off a lot of action movies.

So the story in Black Ops falls short, unfortunately.

Gameplay: “BUT KYLE, GAMES AREN’T BASED ON STORIES, THEIR BASED ON GAMEPLAY!!!!!!!!111!!1!” 

Well, that’s not completely true, but you do make a good point. Black ops can still survive if its gameplay succeeds. 

And lay off on the CAPS will ya? It gets tiring on the eyes, and you DON’T want to know what happens when I get tired…..

Anyways, back to the topic: Does the gameplay succeed? Absolutely, if not always flawlessly. 

There are a lot of scripted sequences, and for the most part they succeed. (If you don’t know what scripted sequences are, click here. Also, get into the habit of these things.)

There are a few moments, very noticeable in the beginning stages, where you have to do things a very specific way or else the game will get upset, and kill you.


These moments are especially frustrating if you have little patience, and don’t want to start 30 times over on stupid little section that should have been done easily.

However, the game’s strengths thankfully outshine the weaknesses, so I will say that Black Ops is saved by its gameplay, even if I would have liked a better story.

Audio-visual: Peculiar. There are nice graphics, but are also some very ugly minor details, such as the explosions look very low resolution.

The voice acting is not much better; 

One character is supposed to be American, but he sometimes speaks with a rather noticeable Australian accent. This is because the voice actor is Australian. Still, he could have done a better job.

Voice acting for the other characters is fine, however not much to write home about. You’d think with the amount of Hollywood talent they brought in on this game there would be better voice acting, but no. 

The only reason they were brought in was because of their names, not because they suited their characters.

So the Audio-visual is a mixed bag.

Now on to multiplayer:

Multiplayer: Since I’m not much of a Multiplayer guy, there will probably not be that much info here. However I will say this: The bit of Multiplayer I DID play was a LOT of fun. It is clear that this is the game’s staying power, as there is a lot of unlocks, weapons and killstreaks online.

Maybe if I play a bit more online, I will be able to give a better opinion, however, what I have seen left me impressed. 

So there, Multiplayer is a success. Shortest Multiplayer review ever!


CONCLUSION:

In closing, how is COD: Black Ops? Well, it is lacking, but it makes up for its failings by compensating with satisfying action sequences and fun multiplayer. I don’t if the price I got the game for (R400) was fully justified, but I still had fun with it.

FOR PARENTS: Yes, I want to talk to you again. You have to take note that COD: Black Ops is a very gory and violent game, but the bad stuff happen fairly quickly. Plus, you have the option of toning it down, in the menu under Options/Game.

There is strong language, used frequently in parts, and not at all in other parts. If you are sensitive to strong language, you might not want to get this game for you or your child.

But if you think the previous won’t deter you from getting the game for you or your child, then I'm not going to spoil your milk; go for it.

But this remains a game that is definitely NOT for children.

So what is the verdict?

Verdict: STRONG CAUTION
·       Black Ops’ Single player is fun, and has a cool twist. However, the game’s uneven story and glitches make this an unpolished and unsatisfying one.
·       Multiplayer is a lot of fun, although I might need to play a bit more of it in order to fully decide.
·       Shaky Audio-Visual. It’s clear that the game’s rushed development cycle got to it in a bad way. Still, it holds up okay.
·       Frequent Bloody Violence: I’ve made it clear how many times, and I’ll say it again, THIS IS NOT FOR KIDS! For older people, I'd say you still look at turning the filter on to reduce the gore.
·       Semi-Frequent Cursing. Strong language used throughout. If you turn the filter on, the language is reduced, but not entirely.
·       Moderate Drug/Alcohol/Smoking references.
·       Some symbols. References to Split Personality.
·       Online gamers will curse. Not to mention, a lot of them are children.
FOR AGES 16 AT MINIMUM!


So there we have it, this game is at LEAST for older teens, only! 

I hope this has been useful, and I know it’s a year late, but since I was playing this I decided “You know what? I might as well review this game while I’m at.”

I’ll start working on my Splinter Cell: Conviction and Deus Ex: Human Revolution reviews soon, so be looking for that!

In the meantime, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE, FRIEND, please! Communication makes me happy, and I do want to know if I'm doing the right thing with my blog. I look forward to hearing from you!

But, until next time! Kyle out! :D

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