If you’re a veteran Call of Duty player, then Black ops introduces a new mode called “Wager Match”. As you play through the multiplayer and earn experience, you also earn Call of Duty Points, which you can use to customize your weapons or buy clothing etc. In Wager Match mode, you can ‘gamble’ these points away in one of four unique matches: One In The Chamber gives you only one gun with a single bullet, awarding you an additional bullet for each kill you make, while Sticks And Stones gives you a crossbow, knife and a tomahawk to kill your enemies or reduce their score to zero if you bludgeon them with your tomahawk. Gun Game will automatically give you a more powerful gun with each kill you make, while Sharpshooter cycles your weapons every 45 seconds. The winner of the match of course gets the pool of Points spent for that match, and believe me it is a freakishly addictive game mode to break away from. If the though of going up against other human players makes you feel uneasy, then the Combat Training mode is for you. Here you can perfect your skills against practice dummies before jumping back into the live multiplayer. There is also a very interesting feature called Theater, which lets teams replay every multiplayer mission they’ve played to look for flaws and better perfect their strategy – something that hardcore Call of Duty gamers and teams will appreciate. And lastly, the game includes a “Zombie” multiplayer feature, where you and other players pit your wits against never-ending waves of zombie infantry.
While the game does do an overall good job in portraying the atmosphere and gritty nature of war, there are some areas where the presentation does need work. In the first level of the game the presentation and details look very impressive, but as you continue to play you notice that the textures used aren’t great at all, and in some places make the levels look washed out and dull. There are also some issues with the way enemies behave when killed. In several cases when I would shoot an enemy, he would literally fold in half at the waist, and fall to the ground in a heap. Grenades were also an annoyance to use in battle, as they never seemed to do much damage unless they landed right at an enemy’s feet. The main chore with grenades was when an enemy threw them at me, I kept trying to follow the on-screen grenade indicator to try and find the thing and throw it back, but not once was I able to find it fast enough to toss it back. The voice acting does redeem the game somewhat, with well known names such as Ed Harris, Gary Oldman, Ice Cube, and Sam Worthington lending their voices to the characters, though for the life of me I can’t figure out why Treyarch would ask Ice Cube for any sort of voice acting.
Call of Duty: Black Ops certainly has some strong points. Its tense story of deception and uneasy alliances is certainly captivating, but even if you aren’t too captured by it, there is a strong multiplayer component here that is almost like a separate game in itself. Players may be annoyed with the technical glitches that seem to creep up every now and then, and while the presentation isn’t as polished as it should be, the game\s stellar multiplayer modes more than make up for its shortcomings.