Call of Duty: Black Ops

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Call of Duty: Black Ops
CoD Black Ops cover.png
Cover art
Developer(s) Treyarch
n-Space (DS)[1]
Publisher(s)
Director(s) Dave Anthony
Designer(s) Corky Lehmukuhl
David Vonderhaar
Joe Chiang
Writer(s) Craig Houston
Dave Anthony
David S. Goyer[2]
Composer(s) Sean Murray
Kevin Sherwood
Series Call of Duty
Engine IW 3.0 and Demonware (modified from Call of Duty: World at War)[3]
Platform(s) Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Nintendo DS,[4] OS X[5]
Release date(s)
Genre(s) First-person shooter[7]
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer[8]
Distribution Optical disc, download

Call of Duty: Black Ops is a 2010 first-person shooter video game.[7] The game was developed by Treyarch, published by Activision, and released worldwide on November 9, 2010 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360,[6] and Wii consoles,[9] with a separate version for Nintendo DS developed by n-Space.[1] Announced on April 30, 2010, the game is the seventh installment of the Call of Duty series. It is also the first to be set in the Cold War and the fifth to be set in World War II. It is the third in the series to be developed by Treyarch, and is connected to the developer's Call of Duty: World at War.[10]

Within 24 hours of going on sale, the game had sold more than 5.6 million copies, 4.2 million in the U.S. and 1.4 million in the UK, breaking the record set by its predecessor Modern Warfare 2 by some 2.3 million copies.[11][12] Capcom released a subtitled version in Japan on November 18, 2010 and later a Japanese-dubbed version on December 16, 2010. After six weeks on release, Activision reported that Black Ops had exceeded $1 billion in sales.[13] On August 3, 2011, Activision confirmed that the game had sold over 25 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games of all time in the US, UK and Europe.[14][15][16] A sequel, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, was released on November 13, 2012.[17][18]

Gameplay[edit]

Black Ops is a first-person shooter, retaining the same gameplay mechanics as previous Call of Duty titles. The player assumes the role of a foot soldier who can wield various firearms (only two of which can be carried at once), throw grenades and other explosives, and use other equipment as weapons. A player close enough to an enemy can kill with one knife blow. A character can take three stances: standing, crouching or prone. Each affects rate of movement, accuracy, and stealth. The player can drop to the prone stance from the standing stance while running, and can momentarily sprint before having to stop. The screen glows red to indicate damage to a player's health, which regenerates over time. When the character is within the blast radius of a live grenade, an on-screen marker indicates where it is in relation to the player, helping the player to move away or to throw it back. Among the weapons new to the series in Black Ops are crossbows with bolts and explosive ammunition, Dragon's Breath rounds and ballistic knives.

The player assumes the role of various characters during the single-player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the story. The playable characters are special forces operatives conducting black operations behind enemy lines. In this way, the player's characters have their own traits such as voices and shadows.[10] Each mission features a series of objectives that are displayed on the heads-up display, which marks the direction and distance towards and from such objectives as it has been in the earlier versions. The player is accompanied by friendly troops throughout the game. Although primarily a first-person shooter, certain levels feature sequences where the player pilots a Hind helicopter and guides friendly troops from a SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft.[19][20][21] The campaign features several scripted cinematic moments. One of them is a bullet time effect during the "Victor Charlie" level, activated when the player fires toward the last enemy of a Viet Cong squad.[22]

A screenshot of Alex Mason firing a SPAS-12 Dragon's Breath rounds

Multiplayer[edit]

Players can customize their weaponry in the game, as seen with this customized FAMAS.

The online multiplayer mode of Black Ops usually revolves around two teams on a specific mission. For example in Team Deathmatch the team with the most kills wins, while in Capture the Flag, players take the other team's flags and return it to their own base. Additionally, there is Free For All in which players aren't separated into teams.[23] Not including Downloadable maps, there are 14 different maps.[24]

Black Ops retains the experience points and unlockable reward system that has been kept since Call of Duty 4. The game's multiplayer focuses on socialization and customization.[10] "Create-a-Class 2.0" allows enhanced personalization with appearance items as well as upgradable perks;[20] weapons are extensively customizable with writing, emblems, attachments and camouflage painting. Even reticles can be modified. There are more than one style for an attachment, which allows for a lot more personalized weaponry; for example, the player can choose between a red dot sight or a reflex sight, both of which share many of the same traits, although the red dot fills up less of the screen (something desired by many players). Character models depend on the first tier perk instead of the weapon's type. Furthermore, face paints can be unlocked.[25] New custom killstreak rewards include explosive R/C cars, guided missiles and controllable attack helicopters.[26]

A currency system has been implemented allowing players to buy weapons, accessories and clothes. Players can gamble with their "COD Points" in a free-for-all based playlist called "Wager Match", which is composed of four game modes.[27] Time limited objectives known as "Contracts" can be purchased to gain more currency and experience points.[25] The progression system is not featured in local split-screen multiplayer. In local split-screen play, all character customization options are already unlocked. Players can no longer define game rules such as win conditions.

Players can play alone or with friends against AI opponents in "Combat Training" with a separate progression system.[28] Online split-screen is re-introduced on Xbox 360 and PS3. The guest account can rank up but is reset after each sign out. Only on Xbox 360, a second Gold Xbox Live account can be used to keep the second player's progression.[29] Aside from the Combat Training mode, Xbox users can also have up to four players in split-screen mode play against AI opponents even without having an Xbox Live account. This is done by configuring the Local Split Screen settings and setting the number of enemies to a value greater than zero.[30]

For the first time in the series, clips from online gameplay can be recorded. Some specific features that have been removed from the PC version of Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 return, such as lean,[31] mod tools, the developer console[32] and dedicated servers.[33] Dedicated servers are exclusively provided by Game Servers.[34] Steam is the exclusive platform for Black Ops on PC, and the game is protected by Valve Anti-Cheat.[35]

The Wii version of the game includes in-game voice chat. This is the first Call of Duty title to include the voice chat feature for the Wii. Nintendo and PDP have partnered to release the first headset to be used with the Wii known as PDP's Headbanger Headset.[36]

Nazi Zombies[edit]

A zombie cooperation mode, titled "Zombies", is included in the game. Originally featured in World at War, it was revamped to be included in Black Ops.[37] It is a four-player online and two-player split screen co-op mode (which can also be unlocked online). Based on the original game, in the map "Five", players take the roles of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro as they fight zombies at The Pentagon.[38][39] Another map, called Kino der Toten ("Theater/Cinema of the Dead" in German), features the characters from World at War – Edward Richtofen the German, Tank Dempsey the American, Takeo Masaki the Japanese, and Nikolai Belinski the Russian. Limited editions of the game offer graphically-enhanced versions of the four zombie maps from World at War, featuring the newer weapons from the rest of the game.[40] There is an unlockable top-down, two-stick arcade-shooter version of Zombies known as Dead Ops Arcade.[41]

Included in the First Strike Map Pack is the Zombie map Ascension. Ascension takes place in an abandoned Soviet Cosmodrome, and like Kino der Toten, features the characters from World at War. Additionally, it includes two new weapons (the Gersch Device and Matryoshka Dolls), as well as two new perks (PhD Flopper and Stamin-Up), and one new power-up (the Random Perk Bottle).[42] A new enemy, the Space Monkeys, appear in this map, replacing the Hellhounds and the Pentagon Thief.[43]

Included in the Escalation Map Pack is the Zombie map Call of The Dead. Call of the Dead takes place in an abandoned part of the Siberian coast and centers on a shipwreck and lighthouse. This map features new characters, modeled after and voiced by real-life film actors Danny Trejo, Robert Englund, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Michael Rooker.[44] The actors provided voices for the game. It includes new weapons (the VR-11 and the Scavenger), and a new perk called Deadshot Daiquiri. Another new enemy, George Romero, replaces the Hellhounds, Pentagon Thief, and Space Monkeys of previous maps.

Included in the Annihilation Map Pack is the Zombie map Shangri-La. Shangri-La takes place in a jungle and once again features the World at War characters. It includes a new weapon (the 31–79 JGb215), new enemies (Shrieker Zombies, Napalm Zombies, and Zombie Monkeys which steal power-ups), and new traps and utilities such as a mine cart, waterslide, and Punji Spikes.

The fourth and final map pack, Rezurrection, is made up of only zombie maps. The Rezurrection Map Pack includes the first four maps from Call of Duty: World at War ( Nacht Der Untoten/"Night", Verruckt/"Asylum",Shi No Numa/"Swamp", Der Riese/"Factory") and a new map called "Moon."[45] Moon takes place on a fictional Nazi moon base and features the original World at War characters. Moon is the largest Zombie map in Black Ops and features new weapons (Wave Gun and Quantum Entanglement Device), new enemies (Astronaut Zombies and Phasing Zombies), new equipment (Hacker and P.E.S.) and an extensive Easter egg. The Rezurrection pack allowed players who had not purchased the limited editions of Black Ops to gain access to the original maps.

Plot[edit]

Characters and setting[edit]

From left to right: Mason, Hudson, and McNamara.

Call of Duty: Black Ops takes place during the 1960s in the Cold War. It focuses on CIA clandestine black operations carried out behind enemy lines. Missions take place in various locations around the globe such as the Ural Mountains in eastern USSR, Kazakhstan in central USSR, Cuba, Hong Kong, Laos, South Vietnam, and the Arctic circle. The single-player campaign revolves around an experimental chemical weapon codenamed "Nova-6".

The main protagonist the player controls is SAD/SOG special forces operative Alex Mason, occasionally CIA agent Jason Hudson, and some other characters are playable to progress the story. Alex is often joined by fellow operatives Frank Woods and Joseph Bowman, while Jason teams up with Grigori Weaver, a Russian-born field operative. Viktor Reznov, a key character from the Soviet campaign in World at War, returns along with that game's Russian protagonist Dimitri Petrenko also making an appearance. Black Ops also features several historical figures: during the story Mason meets John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro.

Story[edit]

On February 25, 1968, SOG operative Alex Mason is strapped to a chair in an interrogation room, bombarded with questions by his unseen captors about the location of a numbers station. Mason then recalls several events, as an attempt to answer their questions.

In 1961, Mason, Woods, and Bowman take part in Operation 40 to assassinate Fidel Castro in Cuba during the Bay of Pigs. Mason apparently succeeds and stays behind to protect the extraction plane from an oncoming blockade, before being captured by the real Castro, having shot a double. Handed over to General Nikita Dragovich to be held captive at Vorkuta Gulag, Mason befriends inmate Viktor Reznov, the former Red Army soldier. Reznov recounts to Mason the identities of his enemies, the same people involved in Mason’s torture: Nikita Dragovich, his right-hand man Lev Kravchenko, and ex-Nazi scientist Friedrich Steiner, who defected to the Soviet Union.

In October 1945, Reznov and Dimitri Petrenko were sent to extract Steiner from a Nazi base in the Arctic. Dragovich later betrayed them by testing Steiner's creation, a nerve agent known as "Nova-6", on Petrenko and other soldiers in a ship. Reznov was spared the same fate when British commandos, also attempting to acquire Nova-6, attacked the Soviets. During the confusion, Reznov destroyed the Nova-6 and escaped. However, the Soviets recreated it using Steiner and a British scientist, Daniel Clarke. Mason and Reznov later spark a prisoner uprising to escape the gulag, but only Mason escapes and Reznov is captured. One month later, President John F. Kennedy meets Mason and authorizes a mission to assassinate Dragovich. Mason briefly envisions aiming his side arm at Kennedy.

In November 1963, Mason, Woods, Bowman and Weaver are dispatched to Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakh SSR to disrupt the Soviet space program and eliminate members of "Ascension", a Soviet program giving sanctuary to Nazi scientists in exchange for their knowledge. Weaver is captured and Kravchenko stabs out his left eye. Mason and his team rescue him and destroy the Soyuz spacecraft, while Woods apparently kills Dragovich, though Mason believes him to be alive.

In 1968, the team is sent to Vietnam. After defending Khe Sanh, they recover a dossier on Dragovich from a Russian defector in Hue during the Tet Offensive. Mason finds the defector is none other than Reznov. They then penetrate Laos to recover a Nova-6 shipment from a downed Soviet plane. At the crash site the plane collapses and they are captured by Viet Cong and Spetznaz infiltrators. Bowman is executed, while Woods and Mason hijack an Mi-24 Hind and rescue Reznov at Kravchenko's base before confronting Kravchenko himself. Woods stabs Kravchenko, gaining the upper hand. But then as Kravchenko pulls the pins off four grenades strapped to his chest, Woods sacrifices himself by pushing Kravchenko and himself out a window. In a huge explosion, Mason presumes the two dead.

Meanwhile, Hudson and Weaver interrogate Clarke in Kowloon. Clarke reveals the location of a hidden facility in Mount Yamantau before being killed by Dragovich's men. Hudson and Weaver move to destroy the facility and receive a transmission from Steiner requesting to meet at Rebirth Island, as Dragovich has begun killing loose ends. Mason and Reznov head there to assassinate Steiner at the same time, succeeding just as Hudson and Weaver arrive. Mason is adamant that Reznov executed Steiner, but Hudson had witnessed Mason carrying out the act alone.

At this point, Hudson and Weaver are revealed as Mason's interrogators. Dragovich has communist sleeper cells placed all over the United States which, when ordered by the numbers broadcast, will release the Nova-6 gas. As a result, the U.S. is preparing a retaliatory strike on the Soviet Union, which will lead to a full-scale war. Hudson needed Steiner to abort the gas launch but after his death only Mason has any knowledge of the numbers station. Hudson reveals that Dragovich brainwashed Mason to understand the numbers broadcasts, effectively making him a Soviet sleeper agent. It is revealed that the real Reznov never escaped and died during the Vorkuta break out, and that the Soviet defector in Hue was actually killed before Mason reached him. Mason’s visions of Reznov are a result of a dissociative disorder caused by the traumatic brainwashing program. Prior to the Vorkuta breakout, Reznov had secretly met and reprogrammed Mason to assassinate Dragovich, Kravchenko and Steiner for what they did to him and for killing Petrenko and his comrades, instead of Mason's original aim to kill the U.S. President. Mason finally remembers the location of the station: a Russian cargo ship called Rusalka off the coast of Cuba.

An assault on the Rusalka begins, with Mason and Hudson infiltrating the underwater submarine and broadcast station protected by the ship, intended to be used for an invasion of the U.S. after the planned Nova-6 attack. Confirming that the Rusalka is the numbers station, Hudson calls in the US Navy to destroy the ship and its underwater base. Mason and Hudson finally confront Dragovich in the lower levels of the facility. Dragovich taunts Mason and hints at his hand in assassinating Kennedy but Mason drowns him and escapes.

Archive footage of President Kennedy prior to his assassination is shown, revealing Mason in the crowd, implicitly suggesting that Mason may have carried out his initial programming.

Development[edit]

In May 2009, publisher Activision was rumored to be looking for licensing regarding Vietnam War-era music which led to speculation that Call of Duty 7 would be set in Vietnam.[46] In May 2009, Treyarch employee David Kim revealed on his LinkedIn profile that he would work as a senior animator on Call of Duty 7.[47] In November 2009, only a few days before Modern Warfare 2's release, Activision officially announced a new Call of Duty title for 2010 through their third quarter financial call.[48] In February 2010, a casting call for Call of Duty 7 led to speculation that the game would be taking place during the Cold War era with some battles taking place in South Vietnam.[49] On April 30, 2010, Black Ops was officially announced.[6]

The game runs on an enhanced World at War engine (which itself was improved from Call of Duty 4 '​s) at 60 frames per second on consoles.[50] It features a streaming texture technology (also seen in Modern Warfare 2), making bigger levels possible such as "Payback" where the player controls a helicopter. Lighting effects have been improved as well.[51] Call of Duty: Black Ops supports 3-D imaging rendered by the engine itself.[52] This feature is available on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions.[53]

For Black Ops, Treyarch focused only on this game unlike past practice. However, it had different teams, each working on separate game modes.[54] Treyarch used a motion capture technology similar to the one used in James Cameron's film Avatar, which allows accurate facial expressions, capturing the whole performance of the actor.[8] The studio also consulted special forces veterans from both belligerents of the Cold War: Major John Plaster (US Army-Ret.) who served in the MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War, and former Soviet special forces operative Sonny Puzikas.[55] The latter taught Treyarch how Spetsnaz soldiers would react in combat, such as rolling out of the line of fire. Spetsnaz AIs in the game have been modeled after him, from his tactics and his movements to his face.[56][57] Although having a historical background, the classified aspect of these Cold War black operations allowed the studio to create its own fictional story.[58] The game also allows players to turn down the blood and turn off the profanity.[59]

Audio[edit]

Black Ops features the voices of Sam Worthington as Alex Mason,[60] Ed Harris as Jason Hudson,[61] Gary Oldman reprises his role as Viktor Reznov from World at War and also voices Dr. Clarke,[60] James C. Burns voices and provides performance capture for Frank Woods[62][63] and Ice Cube voices Joseph Bowman, who is also the multiplayer announcer for the SOG faction.[64][65] Gene Farber voices Grigori Weaver,[66] Emmanuelle Chriqui plays a live-action character called Numbers,[67][68] Eamon Hunt voices Nikita Dragovich,[66] Andrew Divoff voices Lev Kravchenko and[66] Robert Picardo voices Secretary Robert McNamara.[66] Dimitri Diatchenko, an American born actor and musician voices the Spetsnaz faction and several other characters due to his strong Russian accent.

Call of Duty: Black Ops features Vietnam War era music including "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones[69] (played during a gameplay sequence and the credits) and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son".[70] Eminem's "Won't Back Down" (featuring Pink) is used for the credits as well, and additionally appears as an Easter Egg in the Zombie map "Five". In the Call of the Dead zombie map the song "Not Ready to Die" by American rock band Avenged Sevenfold is featured as an easter egg.[71] The original music was composed by Sean Murray, who also composed Call of Duty: World at War. The soundtrack was released on November 9. The use of The Rolling Stones' music in the game has seen a significant increase in the band's music sales since launch. "Gimme Shelter" sold 2,000 copies in the week before the launch trailer was revealed, 5,000 the week after, and 11,000 the week after the game's release. "Sympathy for the Devil" experienced a similar boost as gamers discovered the band's music.

Call of Duty: Black Ops (Original Game Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Sean Murray
Released November 9, 2010
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 1:36:57
Call of Duty: Black Ops (Zombies Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Treyarch Sound
Released January 25, 2011
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 45:49

The game's score was composed by Sean Murray, and the official soundtrack was released on November 9, 2010. In addition, a soundtrack for the popular Zombies mode was released on January 25, 2011.

Call of Duty: Black Ops (Original Game Soundtrack)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cube One"   Sean Murray 0:58
2. "Eagle Claw, Pt. 1"   Sean Murray 4:15
3. "Mac-V"   Sean Murray 2:17
4. "Blackbird"   Sean Murray 3:12
5. "Pegasus"   Sean Murray 3:10
6. "Dwarka"   Sean Murray 3:10
7. "Melville"   Sean Murray 3:14
8. "Crash"   Sean Murray 0:44
9. "Commies"   Sean Murray 4:16
10. "Hard Target"   Sean Murray 3:18
11. "The Wall"   Sean Murray 3:18
12. "Virus"   Sean Murray 2:30
13. "Invictus"   Sean Murray 2:17
14. "Foe"   Sean Murray 3:21
15. "Beheaded"   Sean Murray 3:57
16. "Resurrection"   Sean Murray 4:56
17. "Pentagon"   Sean Murray 3:14
18. "Albion"   Sean Murray 3:06
19. "Eagle Claw, Pt. 2"   Sean Murray 2:16
20. "Panthers"   Sean Murray 5:08
21. "Flaming Dart"   Sean Murray 3:04
22. "Delirious"   Sean Murray 3:38
23. "Drexel"   Sean Murray 4:09
24. "Anvil (Remix)"   Sean Murray 2:19
25. "Revenge"   Sean Murray 3:19
26. "Punch Through"   Sean Murray 4:55
27. "Deviant"   Sean Murray 4:45
28. "Bendz"   Sean Murray 3:34
29. "Rooftops"   Sean Murray 3:32
30. "Epilogue"   Sean Murray 1:22
Total length:
1:36:57


Marketing[edit]

Black Ops was first officially unveiled when the website for the game went live on April 30, 2010[6] prior to the release of its debut teaser trailer on GameTrailers TV Episode 310.[72] In early April 2010, an unmarked envelope was sent to various gaming news publications as well as high profile Call of Duty fans via mail. It contained a USB flash drive with sound and text files. These files were codes to be decrypted, only to find a mysterious teaser site for an unknown game. Other codes were updated periodically.

Similarly to Modern Warfare 2's marketing, the first full-length trailer of Black Ops was aired after the 3rd quarter on ESPN during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on May 18, 2010.[73] During E3 2010, studio head Mark Lamia opened the Microsoft conference by playing Black Ops on stage.[74] It was also announced that the timed Xbox 360 exclusivity for additional content of Call of Duty titles, which began with Modern Warfare 2, extends until 2012.[75] A remixed version of the ESPN trailer with Eminem's "Won't Back Down" was released on June 14,[76] prior to the E3 Activision conference for which he also performed.[77] A multiplayer teaser trailer was released on August 9, 2010 revealing killstreaks, weapons, and other in-game multiplayer features. A full multiplayer reveal took place on September 1, 2010, and revealed many multiplayer features from the game.[78]

Chrysler produced a limited-edition Call of Duty Jeep as the Wrangler is featured in Black Ops.[79] In late September, viral site GKNOVA6 was updated revealing fuzzy footages of zombies.[80] On October 11, a single player trailer aired on ESPN during the New York Jets versus Minnesota Vikings NFL Monday Night Football game.[81] The same trailer was aired the next day in the United Kingdom at half time of the England versus Montenegro 2012 European Football Championship qualifying game. On October 29, the official launch trailer was released online. The same trailer aired on October 31 during the New Orleans Saints versus Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Sunday Night Football game. The trailer features the song "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones.[82]

Retail versions[edit]

Like Modern Warfare 2, "Hardened" and "Prestige" limited editions are available: the Hardened Edition includes a SteelBook case, a medal with its display case, four exclusive co-op levels and an Xbox Live or PlayStation Home avatar outfit. The Prestige Edition offers, in addition to the Hardened Edition's content, a real RC-XD remote-control vehicle modeled after the in-game killstreak reward, which gives video and audio feedback to its controller.[83] In Japan, the game is distributed by Square Enix. Two versions are available: subtitled or dubbed,[84] released respectively on November 18, 2010 and December 16, 2010. Both have dismemberment censored.[85] Gore is censored as well in Germany in addition to the removal of "Sympathy for the Devil" and Nazi symbols considered "anti-constitutional" in the country.[69]

Downloadable content[edit]

Treyarch released the "First Strike" Map Pack on February 1, 2011 for the Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 received the map pack on March 3, 2011 and the PC version was released on March 25, 2011 through Steam.[86] The Map Pack includes additional maps that can be played in the Multiplayer. These maps include "Berlin Wall", "Discovery", "Kowloon" and "Stadium" and a map for the Zombie mode titled "Ascension" which takes place in a Soviet launch site.[87]

On April 11, 2011, a second map pack called "Escalation" was announced by Activison and Microsoft. It features 4 new multiplayer maps named "Zoo", "Hotel", "Convoy", "Stockpile" and one new zombie map named 'Call of the Dead'. This map is based on the movies by George A. Romero, the revolutionary epic-zombie-horror director. The trailer for this map shows the four playable characters: Danny Trejo, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund and Michael Rooker. The name is a reference to the immensely popular Dead Series created and directed by Romero. The trailer also offers a sneak-peek of a zombiefied version of George A. Romero himself, lurking out of water. The map is set on a ship, with instead of Nazi zombies, shipcrew zombies. It was released on May 3, 2011 for the Xbox 360, June 2 on the PC and June 10 for the PlayStation 3.[88]

A third map pack called "Annihilation" was released for the Xbox 360 on June 28, 2011, and on July 28, 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and PC. It contains four new multiplayer maps named "Hangar 18", "Hazard", "Drive-In", "Silo", and a new zombie map named "Shangri La", which takes place in a legendary shrine lost in an exotic jungle.[89][90]

The fourth map pack, "Rezurrection" was released on August 23, 2011 for the Xbox 360 and September 22, 2011 on PlayStation 3 and PC. The Rezurrection Map Pack is made up of 5 zombie mode only maps. It includes the first 4 maps from Call of Duty: World at War ("Shi No Numa"/"Swamp", "Nacht Der Untoten"/"Night", "Verruckt"/"Asylum", "Der Riese"/"Factory") and a new map called "Moon". "Moon" allows players to fight zombies in zero gravity with both the player and the zombies under zero gravity influence.[45]

Reception[edit]

Call of Duty: Black Ops
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 88.36%[91]
(X360) 87.56%[92]
(Wii) 81.47%[93]
(PC) 78.10%[94]
(NDS) 73.67%[95]
Metacritic (PS3) 88/100[96]
(X360) 87/100[97]
(PC) 81/100[98]
(Wii) 80/100[99]
(NDS) 74/100[100]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com A-[101]
Edge 7/10[106]
Eurogamer 8/10[108]
Famitsu 39/40[107]
Game Informer 9/10[114]
GamePro 5/5 stars[111]
GamesRadar 9/10[110]
GameSpot 9/10[112]
GameSpy 4/5 stars[113]
GameTrailers 9.3/10[109]
IGN 8.5/10[102][103][104]
(Wii) 7.5/10[105]
Official Xbox Magazine 9.5/10[115]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 9/10[116]
VideoGamer.com 6/10[117]
X-Play 5/5 stars[118]
PC Gamer 64/100[119]
The Escapist 3/5 stars[120]
The Daily Telegraph 10/10[121]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[122]
Destructoid 6/10[123]
Giant Bomb 4/5 stars[124]

Call of Duty: Black Ops has received generally positive reviews from critics. GameSpot awarded it 9.0 out of ten and wrote "Call of Duty: Black Ops bears the series' standard superbly, delivering an engrossing campaign and exciting competitive multiplayer."[112] Edge magazine was less positive, giving it a 7/10, writing that "As polished and pretty and fun as Black Ops often is, it feels more like a yearly update than a sequel [which] isn't distinct from its predecessors in any important way".[125] Several reviewers also complained that the game felt too much like a rail shooter, with PC Gamer branding it "barely interactive".[126][127][128][129]

Reviewers also noted that the PC version of the game was buggy and had "a number of frustrating problems", including a lag in multiplayer modes which for some players rendered the game almost "unplayable".[130][131][132] Players have also reported serious bugs with the PlayStation 3 version, including compatibility issues with 3D televisions.[133] PC World magazine noted that user reviews of the game were much less positive than those of critics.[134] As of November 12, 2010, three days after the release, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions of the game held average user ratings of 3.1, 3.1, and 1.8 stars on Amazon.com, respectively (on a 1 to 5 scale),[135] with many PC users complaining about lag, stuttering and bugs.

In January 2011, to a player complaining about the remaining connection problems for the game on PlayStation 3, an Activision customer service representative threatened that they could shut down the servers for the game for the PlayStation Network at any time.[136][137][138] After some days and following some game media heat,[139] Dan Amrich, Activision Social Media Manager, declared that even if they could kill the servers, they did not plan currently to do it.[140] The Daily Telegraph praised Black Ops as a superb experience of gameplay, "the meaty kick of the guns, the blistering pace of the action and the sterling soundtrack of explosions, gunshots and whistling bullets all serve to quicken the player's pulse and tighten their grip on the controller",[121] and mentioned, it is beyond the overwhelming, chaotic action in the game's major gun battles, offers among other things, a stealthy infiltration of a substation in the snow-capped steppes, in which the slow down in action is compensated for by nail-shredding tension and creepy atmosphere.[121]

Official Nintendo Magazine awarded the Wii version 90% and said "Black Ops on Wii is a fantastic shooter packed with all the features of its HD brothers, with the only exception being split-screen multiplayer."[141] Martin Gaston at videogamer.com gave the Wii version 6 out of 10, complaining of Treyarch's reworking of in-game sequences as movies, poor AI, and gameplay problems from lower-resolution graphics.[117]

In February 2011, the Xbox 360 version was named the Xbox Live's top title of 2010 by GameSpot.[142]

Sales[edit]

Within 24 hours of its release, Black Ops had sold a combined total of 5.6 million units in the U.S. and UK market, surpassing that of Modern Warfare 2 and establishing a new record for largest entertainment launch.[143] Compared to the much anticipated opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the game earned more than twice as much as the film, earning $360 million.[144] Only five days after its release, sales from the game worldwide reached US$650 million, surpassing the previous record achieved by Modern Warfare 2 which earned $550 million in five days.[145] By November 22, the game remained the bestselling title in the United Kingdom, despite sales dropping by 85%.[146] Some estimates had placed sales of the game as reaching 18 million units sold, earning a revenue of $818 million. This would fall about 2 million copies and $182 million short of Modern Warfare 2.[147] By December 22, worldwide revenue of Black Ops exceeded $1 billion.[148][149] Sales remained strong months after the game's release, remaining at the top-seller list in February 2011.[150] On March 3, 2011 the news magazine The Hollywood Reporter also reported on the best selling video games ever. It announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops was the best-selling game ever in the United States of America.[151] Black Ops was the best-selling game of all time in the UK until Grand Theft Auto V overtook it in November 2014.[152] By November 2013, the game had sold 26.2 million copies.[153]

Controversy[edit]

Cuba has condemned the release of the game as it has special forces trying but failing to kill a young Fidel Castro, killing instead a body-double.[154][155] The website Cubadebate said the game "encourages sociopathic attitudes of American children and adolescents, the main consumers of these virtual games".[154][156][157] Adam Biessener questioned events depicted in the single-player campaign stating that they push "the lines of good taste."[158] Specifically noted was the scene depicting the torture of a restrained prisoner.[158] In Germany, the uncensored version was expected to be banned by the end of November due to graphic violence. The Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons received an "urgent request" to ban all international versions of the game.[159]

Mobile phone version[edit]

Black Ops was also released for both mobile phones and smartphones.[160] This version is a side-scrolling shooter. It features a different storyline, a different set of characters, and is set in the Vietnam War in 1967. The game was developed by Glu Mobile and published by Activision.[160][161]

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External links[edit]