Call of Duty:Black Ops released yesterday to alot of hype, but it also contains alot of substance. If you've played Modern Warfare and World at War back to back, you can tell the slight differences between the games from Infinity Ward and Treyarch. That's still the case here. It definitely plays like a Treyarch game, which isn't a bad thing, it just has that feel. This is one of the best shooter stories I've experienced this year, and even though it's predicatable in it's turn, you still want to see them play it out. With big name voice acting and twist on history, you'll definitely be interested in seeing this one to completion.
It's obvious that Treyarch as a studio loves history. You can see it throughout there company in World at War and this game is no less. Much of this story takes place around 1968, so there is still a huge Cold War influence. The game will dip into Vietnam and Laos, but you don't spend alot of time there, but the year doesn't jump around too much. You will meet Victor Reznov again, the Russian from World at War and partner with an older version of him as well. It's nice for the game to integrate itself with World at War considering how successful WaW was.
The multiplayer is of course a huge part of this game, and they've made some interesting choices. I want to focus on single player and some easter eggs here and review multi player next time after I can delve a bit deeper.
Treyarch had alot of support for World at War, and it looks like Black Ops will be the same. First there are at least 2 easter eggs I know of, and I had to find them through reviews as the badges were cryptic. First from the main screen (when you are in the chair) rapidly alternate between the L&R triggers (on X360). This will allow you to get out of the chair. There is a computer behind you and you can enter the code DOA to enter Dead Ops arcade. This is a top down, shooter where you clear hordes fo zombies and actually is one of the most fun parts of the game. It's a great side distraction, and a reminder for those of us that are old enough of that type of simple fun. Apparently, you can also enter ZORK and you will be able to play the text based game as well, (ZORK). I haven't played it yet as Dead Ops Arcade is great fun and visually pretty.
The main zombie mode is back as well, but it seems to only have a few maps. Given the popularity rise in zombies as of late (and the enclusion in WaW), I expect more to be added with DLC. Honestly, for whatever reason, the zombie mode here is actually fun, whereas I didn't have this type of fun in WaW. The first introduction to the mode after completing the game though is an intro scene with JFK, Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Castro. It's hilariously written and definitely a historical reference kids won't get.
On a whole, this game is also alot more realistic than any of it's predecessors. That is to say the kills will be close up and you will see knives entering throats etc. It can be disturbing, but there is an option to turn it off. Just a warning as unlike the scene from MW2, these kills are very hands on and right in your face.
Overall, Treyarch made a great game to define their legacy of Call of Duty. The hype made alot of people feel Treyarch would be extending Infinity Wards mythos but the two studios have comprised the CoD line and both held their own. IW may not be the same, but Treyarch delivered for Activision.